By John Bowler
Four dogs have reportedly been poisoned at Crooked River Ranch since Dec. 4, 2007, according to Josh Capeheart of the Redmond Humane Society, who said two died from strychnine poison and the other two were suspected of having been poisoned.
Capeheart is a state humane agent working with Central Oregon police agencies, veterinarians and owners of afflicted pets, who regard him as being in charge of investigating Central Oregon animal killings.
Capeheart has animal remains analyzed at the Oregon Department of Agriculture lab to confirm the cause of suspicious deaths.
He recently reported three more dogs were poisoned in the Cinder Drive area of the Ranch since Jan. 9: a golden retriever, yorkie terrier and German shepherd.
The first two were confirmed as having died from strychnine and the third, two weeks ago, is suspected of poisoning, but he awaits confirmation by the lab.
The first two dogs died after returning from wandering free. Where they got the poison found in them is unknown. The third is thought to have died from eating part of a poisoned dear carcass found just outside the fence around its home property.
Capeheart said there are no suspects in the poisonings at this time.
Sgt. Brian Skidgel, a Ranch resident and member of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, echoed Capeheart's report and pointed out all of the CRR animals poisoned since December were outside the boundaries of their home properties, a significant fact about their deaths other pet owners should note.
Both policemen urge people putting out poison to get rid of pests to take extreme care with its placement. They also advise pet owners to keep their animals tethered or within enclosures and not let them roam free under any circumstances or they could suffer similar poisoning fates to those that others have.
Strychnine is a common animal control poison used against moles and other pests. It could have been deposited on some surface where other animals might have ingested it, died, and attracted wandering pets to their affected carcasses for a deadly snack.
Pet owners whose animals shows signs of seizure or convulsions from poisoning, especially if they have been roaming, should take animals to a veterinarian immediately and call 911 to report the occurrence and where it took place.
The Ranch Association Board meeting March 17 with a large number of important agenda items attracted unusually heavy attendance. Highlights of actions taken include:
1. Accepted Jefferson County Librarian Sally Beesley's advice to Ranch members of the Redmond Library, to buy Jefferson County Library annual nonresident cards for $45, which includes access to the Deschutes County Library system's catalog and services.
2. Agreed to halt reclamation of excess dirt and gravel from Ranch roads requested by a petition of 70 Ranchers until all aspects of the project can be thoroughly reviewed. The petition questioned the economic feasibility of the program and the location of the intended reclamation processing area.
3. Supported development of a southern Ranch emergency exit recommended by Ad Hoc Committee.
4. Reviewed covenants, conditions and restrictions draft of changes recommended by the CC&R Review Committee; will submit those to property owners for review, and implement the final set of changes adopted in June.
5. Approved purchase of new accounting software to improve financial reporting.
6. Postponed approval of proposed fees and dues increases pending decisions at budget committee meeting April 7 at 6 p.m. in the administration building which Ranchers are encouraged to attend.
7. Approved support of Jefferson County Economic Development program with $500 per year for five years.