For six years, Andrew Stolz ran on mountain trails in the company of his beloved German Shepherd, Topaz. (Photo submitted)

$1,000 reward offered after B.C. dog dies of strychnine poisoning

Topaz, a German Shepherd, collapsed while out on a run with her owner

An animal welfare group is offering a $1,000 reward after it was confirmed a dog near Creston died of strychnine poisoning.

Andrew Stolz was out for a run up Mount Cowley in late March with a friend and his German Shepherd, Topaz.

The trio came to the crest of a hill, they saw three golden eagles fly off from a what turned out to be a raccoon carcass with its tail cut off further down the bank.

They kept running, until Topaz dropped to the ground.

Her back leg seized in mid-run,” Stolz said. “She collapsed.”

He thought she might be having a stroke, so he sent his friend to go get his truck.

“I carried her, and she was having horrible seizures. I tried to give her water, but she didn’t want it.”

Topaz took her last breath, suffering an “excruciating” death, and he carried her body back down the trail.

READ MORE: Petition to end B.C. ‘wolf-whacking’ contests gains 60,000 signatures

Later that day, Stolz’s friend’s wife, a dog walker, said a dog in her care recently had to be rushed to the vet after eating strychnine-laced meat.

Stolz went back to the raccoon carcass with a conservation officer, and saw two plastic bags of meat nearby – one eaten.

“Some pieces of meat had slipped down on to the road and Topaz must have got some while we were running.”

Lab tests later confirmed strychnine in the meat. Samples were sent for further testing.

“In my investigation, what I saw at the scene is troubling,” said the officer, James Barber. “If this is a poisoning, it will be very hard to find the culprit and we are going to need the public to help with information.”

Stolz wondered if the meat had anything to do with the Creston rod and gun club’s competition to kill wolves and other predators in an effort to protect farmers’ livestock. Some cattle at ranches across B.C. have been decimated by an overpopulation of wolves over the past decade.

The Fur-Bearers, a B.C.-based non-profit group, is offering a $1,000 reward for information that helps to identify and convict whoever is responsible.

“Strychnine is a horrific way for an animal to die, and it is illegal for use in British Columbia,” said spokesperson Michael Howie. “This was a crime that someone committed knowing full well that they would cause suffering to any animal who came ingested the bait.”

Anyone with information is requested to contact the BC Conservation Service at 1-877-952-7277 or Conservation.Officer.Service@gov.bc.ca.


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