A Boise family is mourning the loss of their one-year-old Red and Blue Heeler, Rue, after they say she was poisoned just outside of their backyard near the Boise foothills.
On June 20, Ruth Hurt saw Rue playing in the hills behind her home like she did on a regular basis. Then two hours later, she looked outside and saw Rue’s lifeless body sprawled out beneath a small tree in her yard.
“She was just laid flat out on her side,” Hurt said. “I went over and I grabbed her, and she was already gone. Her tongue was already purple.”
Ruth began screaming, crying, and yelled for her roommate. Then they took Rue to the vet, where an autopsy revealed a large amount of small green pellets, mixed with what appeared to be raw meat and fat.
“He said it looked like the most amount of poison that he had seen in an animal’s stomach pretty much ever," Hurt said.
The doctor’s determination was that Rue died of strychnine poisoning -- a poison designed to kill gophers, illegal to use above ground.
Ruth immediately thought back to a scare three weeks ago where she saw Rue and her other dog, Hashbrown, licking something off the ground roughly 25 feet away from where Ruth was relaxing in her yard.
When she walked over she found what she believed to be strategically placed strychnine pellets on a wood surface in an oily substance, which she believes was put there intentionally to harm her pets.
Both dogs experienced several seizures and stiff muscles but both recovered over the course of 24 hours.
Since Rue passed, Ruth says her next door neighbor’s dog also began showing signs of illness, and both homeowners have found dead mice in their yards.
Now, she feels she can’t keep her eyes off her other pets, and worries for the wildlife, pets, and children in the area.
Her advice to other pet owners: “Watch your pets, because you never know.”