A Longview woman is ecstatic to have her four-legged companion home after he almost died in what she suspects may be a case of poisoning.
Charlotte Judd’s 10-month-old great Pyrenees cross Sampson sustained liver damage and severe allergies from what she was told by doctors at the Southern Alberta Veterinary Emergency (SAVE) in Okotoks was caused by consuming acetaminophen.
“They said, ‘We’ve never seen a dog that close to dead and still alive,’” she said. “He was horrendously sick.”
Judd believes Sampson, as well as her daughter’s two-year-old border collie-kelpie cross Quinn, were intentionally poisoned in her back yard on March 4.
“We found mysterious footprints in our yard,” she said. “We just don’t feel safe there anymore.”
Judd has been training Sampson to assist her with her limited mobility caused by lupus, fibromyalgia and severe arthritis.
She and her daughter Michaela moved to Longview five years ago for the low cost of living, quiet atmosphere and what they thought was a safe community.
Sampson and Quinn had access to the back yard through a doggy door in their mobile home while Judd and Michaela spent the day in Calgary on March 4. Upon returning home, they noticed Sampson had a dirty mark on his eye, a black mouth and itchy eyes.
Judd called SAVE and was told to bring him in, but Sampson was eluding her efforts to get him into the vehicle.
Thirty minutes later, things got worse.
“He laid by the front door and his stomach started making odd noises and he was crying and whining,” she said. “He vomited profusely and his legs buckled. It was everything he could do to stand.”
When Sampson collapsed, Judd struggled to carry him out to her vehicle.
“I fell on the steps with him in my arms,” she said. “He didn’t even flinch. It was absolutely horrifying.”
After returning home from SAVE early the next morning, Judd noticed similar, less severe symptoms with Quinn. Her mouth with black and she peed brown urine on the kitchen floor.
When SAVE’s staff told Judd acetaminophen was present in both dogs’ systems and Michaela found pieces of bacon in Sampson’s vomit, Judd suspected someone put acetaminophen-laced bacon in their yard.
“The fact that someone could be so cold and callus to do this it just boggles my mind,” she said. “It’s something that only took a few minutes to do, but this has devastated us. They didn’t take any kind of thought into what this would do to us.”
When asked if she’s received any complaints regarding the dogs, Judd said she couldn’t comment.
Staff at SAVE wouldn’t comment on Sampson’s and Quinn’s case due to patient confidentiality.
Asked about the effects of acetaminophen on animals, Dr. Amber Hutchinson said it’s toxic to dogs.
“It can cause severe liver and kidney damage,” she said. “It can be life threatening if they are not treated appropriately. It can be deadly if they consume too much.”
Judd said Quinn returned home March 7 with medication, nutrients and a restricted diet.
“She is getting stronger every day,” she said. “She is bright and happy.”
Sampson arrived home two days later and Judd is unsure if he will fully recover.
“Sampson requires 24 hour care,” she said. “He’s very weak, tired and drained. He’s going to the bathroom every half hour and his eyes have to be treated every hour.”
Judd’s vet bill exceeds $4,000 and she was only able to pay $600.
“I used the last bit of money I had,” she said, adding she was recently laid off from her job. “Now I can’t pay my car payment or my bills. It’s not only devastated us financially and emotionally but I haven’t been able to job search and likely won’t for a while.”
With both dogs requiring regular check-ups, Judd expects the vet bill to increase another $1,000 in just a few weeks.
Help came quickly for Judd after a GoFundMe page was established. As of March 10, $3,695 has been collected.
“There just isn’t words to explain how truly touched we are that people have helped us – and especially in the financial times that we’re in right now,” Judd said. “They really have made such a difference. We are so blessed to have all these people who care so much. My daughter and I are so grateful.”
Jill Thomas, who lives a couple doors down from Judd, said she gave Michaela $100 and is concerned for the safety of her Jack Russell terriers.
“I’m a huge animal lover and I don’t like this,” she said. “I don’t know who to trust anymore. It’s making us scared. I want to find out who it is.”
Turner Valley RCMP Sgt. Paulina Larrey-King said she’s unable to release details regarding this incident.
“At this point I can confirm that there has been a complaint and we are conducting an investigation,” she said.
Anyone with information regarding this incident can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the Turner Valley RCMP detachment at 403-933-7227.