It's either a far-reaching conspiracy, or one very industrious (and creepy) dog-hater: the person(s) responsible for the trail of poisoned meatballs is still at large and has been hitting neighborhoods across the city. So far, three dogs have been taken to the vet after eating the poisoned meat, including 7-year-old dachshund Oskar, who is on a ventilator for what vets suspect is strychnine poisoning.
The Glen Park/Twin Peaks/Diamond Heights area was the first to be hit with the cooked meatballs, but new reports have pinpointed meatballs in the Lower Haight, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley and Bernal Heights. According to police, hundreds of the tainted meatballs have been collected off of sidewalks, but police have no suspects thus far.
Here's what the nasty things look like:
Vets suspect that the meatballs are tainted with strychnine, a rodent poison. Strychnine is a highly toxic poison which causes seizures and muscle spasms 10 to 120 minutes after ingestion. Oskar the dachshund is expected to survive his ordeal, although the veterinary bills for his owner are reported to be as high as $26,000.
Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services says that Oskar is recovering:
Oskar is getting stronger today. His lungs are improving and we are working to get him off the ventilator. The criticalists anticipate it will be another day or so before he is 100% ready to breathe on his own, but he's taking baby steps in the right direction.
Get well soon, Oskar.
Dog owners should be on alert for the meatballs, and should bring their pet to the nearest vet or animal care facility as soon as possible if you suspect they may have ingested them.
If you have any information about the meatball poisoner, call the Police Department’s anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.