The Humane Society began looking into the issue last week after hearing a report that veterinarians at Friendship Hospital for Animals had found 22,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (that’s about 44 Tylenol pills worth of the stuff) in the stomach of a local dog. According to WHS Vice President Scott Giacoppo, the pills were contained inside pill pockets, treats used to encourage reluctant pets to swallow pills.
The dog’s owner, who posted about the incident on a neighborhood listserv last Thursday, wrote that the dog became violently ill after being taken on its walk, which led him to believe that the dog had eaten the treats while outside. Prince of Petworth picked up the story the next day, sparking general hysteria among local dog lovers: One commenter on the blog demanded that the “psychopath” behind this “needs to be off the streets immediately,” while a second said that they were now watching their puppy “like a hawk.”
It’s still not clear how the dog did manage to swallow so many pills—a WHS press release cited “limited cooperation [from the owner] and the lack of direct evidence” as two reasons for closing the investigation—but after interviewing local dog owners and animal hospitals and scanning the neighborhood for additional pill pockets, the WHS says that fears that someone is intentionally trying to poison dogs are unfounded.
Still, Giacoppo urges dog owners to keep an eye on their pets.
“We don’t want people to be afraid to walk their dogs and think there’s some serial poisoner out there,” he says. “But even for a quick moment when you’re not paying attention, your dog could consume something.”
Photos of Logan Circle dogs by Darrow Montgomery