BERRYVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Dozens of pets are turning up dead in an East Texas town. Residents say someone is poisoning dogs and cats in their area. It is happening along County Road 4117 in Berryville, in Henderson County.
Wednesday, the Henderson County Sheriff's Department found six more dogs dead.
"Matilda," a basset hound puppy and "Rufus," a chocolate lab were both lovely family dogs. But, Staci Palmer says her children were heartbroken when they mysteriously turned up dead Saturday.
"That was the hardest part is watching my child sob uncontrollably because she lost her friend," said Palmer.
Rufus was found along the road, but Palmer had to watch Matilda suffer.
"When I left, my basset hound was laying on the front porch, and I loved on her for a second, petted her and got back and my basset hound was not there," said Palmer. "So I went next door to the neighbor's and there's Matilda. She is having a seizure...at this point she's dying."
And, this was apparently not an isolated incident. Just talking to residents in this area we heard of nearly 20 cats and dogs dying.
Dr. John Brown at Lake Palestine Animal Hospital saw a couple of these dogs. He was out of town Wednesday but said he found traces of gopher poisoning or strychnine in raw hamburger meat in one of the dog's stomachs.
"Not only are they poisoning our animals, it's a possibility they're going to poison one of our children," said Palmer.
Henderson County has sent out deputies and animal control to investigate, but need anyone who suspects their pet was poisoned to report it.
"First thing, if there's that many out there to make a case, we're going to have to prove the dogs were poisoned," said Sheriff Ray Nutt.
For families like the Palmer's who have lost their best friends, catching whoever did this won't come soon enough.
"It's a malicious act by a miserable human being," said Palmer.
Dr. Brown says gopher poison is available over-the-counter and causes violent uncontrollable seizures in dogs and cats. Sheriff Ray Nutt says this is a state jail felony if it is the suspect's first offense, and for each animal that is poisoned, it is a separate offense.