Police in southeast Minnesota are urging pet owners to be cautious after treats laced with potentially fatal medication were found in a neighborhood.
The Scott County Sheriff's Office says hot dog pieces and beef sticks with ibuprofen hidden inside them had been found on the border of Elko New Market and New Market Township.
Ibuprofen can be deadly to dogs and cats if they are ingested, with VetStreet noting that cats in particular are susceptible. A single, 200mg tablet can cause rapid toxic effects to small cats and medium-sized dogs.
The treats were found in the area of Cedric Lane and Harvest Drive, and were removed by a police officer after a thorough search of the surrounding area.
"Pet owners please use caution with your loved furry ones while you are all out and about enjoying this beautiful weather!" the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post Sunday evening that has been shared more than 1,000 times.
Anyone with information about the person responsible is being urged to contact the sheriff's office on (952) 496-8300.
Why does this happen?
It's a sad state of affairs, but this is the third time in as many months that GoMN has reported on poisoned dog treats.
In March, police in Lake Hallie, Wisconsin, put out an alert after several dogs became ill eating treats that had been laced with an unknown substance.
Then just last month, Minneapolis pet owners were warned that somebody was throwing chemically-tainted bread over yard fences, which was intended for dogs but resulted in the deaths of two squirrels.
The same thing happened in St. Paul in December, again with poisoned bread.
The motives driving the people who do this vary, but it's an unfortunately common occurrence across the U.S., with this Wired.com investigation finding that some people do it to take revenge on a pet's owner, or because the animal in question has done something that irritates them.
Other cases meanwhile found that some people have carried out the poisoning "for the kick of it."
Dogster also highlights the difficulty of catching a perpetrator and proving they were responsible, and the nature of the crime – whereby the killer doesn't see the animal die – separates them from the physical pain they cause the animal and emotion pain they cause the owners.