At least 3 Lehigh Acres dogs poisoned to death; killer remains at-large

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Dog watches the front yard in Lehigh Acres. (Credit: WINK News)
Dog watches the front yard in Lehigh Acres. (Credit: WINK News)

Dogs in Southwest Florida are under attack! Someone is going around poisoning them and at least three have died since Christmas.

Melissa, who asked that we do not use her last name, said someone poisoned her 1-year-old bloodhound, Ruby.

“She definitely did not deserve to die in a malicious way like that,” Melissa said. “My kids are very, very upset about this. It is their family member, our family and now that was taken from us for no reason.”

SWFL CrimeStoppers believes there are more victims. Two other dogs have died in the same Lehigh Acres neighborhood since Ruby’s death. On Jan. 7, a 5-year-old pitbull suddenly became ill near Grayson Ave. Then, on Jan. 8, a 1-year-old pitbull passed away near E. 21st St.

A separate woman, Brenda, said she saw a man putting food out as she visited her friend.

“Once we realized it was dog food,” Brenda said, “I just knew there was something more to it.”

They immediately threw the scaps away. But days later, they found three additional trays of food.

“I am almost positive it is a poison,” Brenda said. “You just don’t put rotten food or dog food down without it being something other than feeding a dog or something. It was something more malicious than that.”

The owner of the 1-year-old pitbull took her dog to the veterinarian. CrimeStoppers said the vet found a high level of an unknown substance in her liver. Investigators believe it is anti-freeze.

Ruby’s mom hopes the person involved is caught, so dog owners do not have to experience the same pain her family has gone through.

“We have suffered consequences,” Melissa said. “Now, we have a permanent loss in our family for no very good reason or explanation.”

Anyone with information is encouraged to call SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000. Tips can also be made online at SWFL Crime Stopper website or on the P3Tips mobile app.

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