In 2018, the Wisconsin DNR became aware of animals showing up dead alongside forest roads in northern Forest and Florence counties.
Then came reports of hunting dogs and pet dogs dying in the same areas, plus Marinette county.
DNR Conservation Warden Lt. Bryan Harrenstein said it tapered off for a bit only for more deaths in fall of 2019 right around deer season.
At least nine pets have died.
Harrenstein said most of the owners reported their dogs eating something or having something in their mouth.
“Some of them the dogs had been off leashes and then ran and they didn’t really know, the dog came back and started acting weird. A lot of cases we would see loss of the strength in the legs, maybe loss of bowels, maybe vomiting or foaming at the mouth and this poison acted pretty quickly. Some of them reporting that their dog was deceased within 15 minutes,” said Harrenstein.
The cases have been on public lands in the northern parts of Forest, Florence, and Marinette counties.
The DNR is asking pet owners to be cautious while recreating in the area.
“If anybody comes across something suspicious that they let us know right away. We’ve had some delays in reports over the last couple years. If we can get to that right away it’d be very helpful,” said Harrenstein.
Harrenstein said the DNR is confident someone is responsible for poisoning these animals.
“It depends on who you talk to, we’ve gotten lots of different feedback on how people think the suspect should be punished, as you can imagine, but we’re obviously going to charge to the full extent that we can within the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Harrenstein.
There is a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or charges filed against the person or people responsible.
Anyone with information can call 1-800-TIP-WDNR.