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Neighbors on guard after dogs poisoned

After three dogs were reportedly poisoned, Jacksonville police are urging pet owners to keep their eyes open and their pets close.

Police began canvassing the neighborhood around Applegate and Graham streets over the weekend after two pet owners said their animals had been poisoned, according to Jacksonville police Sgt. Greg Nichols.

Police first received a tip Jan. 9 after a resident reported two of his dogs had been poisoned over six days, Nichols said. After talking with neighbors and a local veterinarian’s office, police found a second person whose dog had been poisoned last week. All survived.

“We’re looking into this as a possible neighborhood issue,” Nichols said.

No poisonings have been reported outside city limits, according to Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Julie Denney.

Nichols recommended that pet owners, particularly in the Applegate Street neighborhood, keep an eye on their dogs and cats and regularly walk through their yard to see whether anything is out of place.

“They know what belongs in their yard,” Nichols said.

The poisoned pets all reportedly started convulsing and having seizures in the morning, leading police to believe a suspect may have left the tainted treats on the victims’ lawns overnight. Nichols said he believes the animals would have come into contact with the poison while going outside first thing in the morning.

Attempts were unsuccessful to reach two Jacksonville residents who said on social media that their dogs had been poisoned.

If owners find a dog or cat convulsing or seizing, they should seek medical attention right away, according to Dr. Renee White, a veterinarian at Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center in Central Point — the region’s only 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.

“There’s not really much you can do over the phone for convulsions,” White said.

Calling ahead, however, can prepare veterinary staff to treat the pet, White said. The clinic’s phone number is 541-282-7711. If a pet is seizing, a veterinarian administers rescue medications to treat the seizure as quickly as possible. If the treatments aren’t working, a veterinarian will heavily sedate the animal to mitigate harm.

“In the emergent situation, our goal is to treat the seizure itself,” White said.

A vet, however, has few tools to find out what the poison is in the pet’s system, according to White.

Police are struggling to find the substance involved in the suspected poisonings on Applegate and Graham streets.

“We don’t have any toxicology back,” Nichols said.

Police have seized biological evidence related to the poisonings, according to Nichols. Police are working to determine whether the Oregon State Police crime lab will be the fastest way to get toxicology results, among other forensic avenues.

For nonemergency animal poisonings in which the owner knows what toxin is involved, White recommends owners call the ASPCA’s 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.