Sinister signs stuck to an Aurora Harbor bulletin board threaten dogs with D-Con-laced treats. Though no ill or injured animals have been reported, Harbormaster David Borg said he’s taking the threats very seriously.
D-Con is the name brand of a popular rodent poison. Most D-Con products use difethialone or brodifacoum as their active agent. In dogs as well as rodents, these poisons act as anticoagulants, causing spontaneous and uncontrolled bleeding that results in death, according to the Merck veterinary manual.
In dogs, the most common symptoms of anticoagulant poisoning are nosebleeds, blood in vomit and stools, and a weak, wobbly animal. Dogs typically do not show signs of poisoning for several days.
“Some of my treats Have Been ate that means dogs are still Running Loose AND Pooping ON the Docks Soon They Will Be All Gone,” reads a hand-written note. Additional marks state: “YeA! No Dogs” and “yeA! NO poop” and drawn on it is a smiley face with eyebrows and a tongue sticking out.
Another note reads: “Dead Dogs Dont Poop So Let Them Run Loose AND EAT MY D-Con TreaTs mmmm! Good”
Borg has been forthcoming with the finds, posting examples to the Docks and Harbors website under “Hot Topics.”
Borg has informed harbor patrons, Juneau Police and Animal Control of the threatening notes.
“I hope they’re just idle threats,” Borg said. “But I’m not going to assume they are.”
The notes have been taken down, but Borg has issued statements encouraging pet owners to be watchful and to keep pets on leash or contained, and to clean up any nuisances.
Patrols have increased and Borg said harbor staff have gone through the area “with a fine-tooth comb” without finding any sign of poisoned treats.
He suspected if there had been treats, they may have been found first by some of the many wild animals that frequent the harbors, like ravens, otters or mink. No signs have been found of any animals, domestic or wild, being harmed.
Animal Control has also added patrols at Aurora Harbor, and Animal Control Supervisor Ben Peyerk said everyone is trying to figure out who is leaving the notes and why.
“At this point in time we don’t have any reports of animals being injured,” Peyerk reported.
He added that Animal Control is doing everything they can to keep animals in Juneau safe.
So far there don’t seem to be any leads as to who the disgruntled dog-hater might be.
“I don’t have a clue,” Borg said. “Obviously it’s somebody who’s very upset. Probably a harbor patron, possibly a liveaboard.”
Borg didn’t note any complaints — “nobody coming in and saying, ‘If I step in one more pile…’”
With harbor patrons squeezed together during renovations of Aurora Harbor, Borg said he expected there might be some confrontations among boat owners, but so far “everyone’s been pretty mellow.”
JPD, Animal Control and Docks and Harbors are all working together to assure no animals are harmed, but pet owners should do their part to keep their pets out of danger.