Capitol Hill has a lot more dog fans than, say, ice cream truck fans. That’s why frequenters of Stanton Park were likely freaked out to find numerous warning signs posted around the green space this week, alerting pet owners of possible evil lurking about in the form of little greenish-blue pellets of rat poison.

It seemed a sinister plan was at work. The pellets were just the sort of thing a pooch might scarf down, and they had been placed “adjacent to the area frequented by off-leash dogs,” according to the signs. The author of the unsigned warning claimed to have found the poison on June 6.

City Desk called the District’s Department of Health (DOH) about the potential poison scattering. DOH informed us that if there was any poison flung around Stanton Park that day, the District wasn’t resposible for it. When the city applies rat poison to a site, the poison is placed inside rat holes that are then covered up, a department spokesperson explained.

City Desk’s own search of the park turned up plenty of cigarette butts, matchbooks, salt and pepper packets, ziplock bags and one crisp, blue M&M. But no poison.

Kyle Mackintosh, 24, whose brown lab-shepherd mix bounded around the park during our hunt, didn’t see any either.  Mackintosh frequents the park and wasn’t too worried about the warnings: “My dog’s still alive,” he joked, “so he hasn’t found it yet.”

City officials sent entomologist Baldwin G. Williams to inspect the park. In an email, Williams reported finding no poison, although he did offer a possible explanation. “Beneath several benches I noticed some small greenish bluish cylindrical fruits that fell from nearby ornamental trees.” he writes. “They look somewhat like common pelletized rodent bait.”

Photo by Rend Smith