CANTON, Ohio — A pet owner in Canton is demanding answers and justice after she says her three dogs were apparently poisoned in the family's fenced-in front yard.
"It's sad. It's heartbreaking to know that somebody would literally harm my animals, my kids," said Sara Meadows, who lives on 15th Street NE. "My dogs are my whole life."
On the morning of August 15, Sara's husband, Carl, noticed that one of their dogs named Rosie, a 5-year-old Shih Tzu-Poodle mix, was eating something, she said.
It turned out it was cooked hamburger meat that had a green substance in it, Meadows said. The Meadows family believes someone tossed the tainted meat over their fence and onto their grass.
Meadows said she contacted Stark County Veterinarian Emergency Clinic and was told to give a hydrogen peroxide solution to Rosie and their two other dogs, a 9-year-old Black Lab named Bob, and a 3-year-old Toy Chihuahua named Toby, to help them vomit.
"I did what a mother would do. My instinct was to get them treated right away," she said.
The dogs were taken to the emergency clinic in Canton for treatment, Meadows said. According to records shared by the family to News 5, the clinic's staff indicated all three dogs may have ingested rat poison.
Meadows has no idea why anyone would do this to her beloved pets.
"I don't know why they would have done it. If they had something against us, they could have talked to us. They didn't have to take it out on our animals," she said.
Meadows said the dogs are now taking other medications to prevent internal bleeding or any further damage from the poison. She would like her pets to get more extensive treatment, but the cost is too high.
"We only had a certain amount of funds set aside for the animals and it's all gone," she said. "They wanted to hospitalize them for seven days, push fluids through. We don't have that kind of money."
The dogs are typically seen at Camden Animal Clinic. Dr. Henry Jones said he's very pleased with the progress Bob, Rosie and Toby have made, but he's also angry about the case of animal cruelty.
"The capacity for cruelty some people have toward other people or their pets never ceases to amaze me. Our hearts go out to all people like the Meadows who suffer as a consequence of that cruelty," Dr. Jones said. "Thank God for our colleagues at the emergency centers who save countless lives with their skill, commitment and availability every year."
More than two weeks after the frightening incident, the dogs are not back to normal, according to the owners. They are also worried the poison could have long-term effects on their pets.
"They're just moping around the house, not being playful, not wanting to drink water," Meadows said.
Canton police said they expect to get lab results on the tainted meat sometime this week, but would not comment any further on the investigation.
Sara and Carl believe they could have lost all three of their dogs if they hadn't acted quickly. They're hoping police are able to figure who's responsible for the case of animal cruelty.
"We would like to find out who did it and hopefully they will serve time for it," she said.