Santa Rosa meatballs tested for poison

Eight meatballs that were found Saturday near a dog park in west Santa Rosa have been sent to a lab at University of California at Davis to determine if they contain poison, Sonoma County Animal Services officials said Tuesday.

A citizen contacted Sonoma County Animal Services on Saturday about suspicious substances left in the dog park area of A Place to Play on West Third Street in Santa Rosa, according to Brian Whipple, interim director and supervising animal control officer of Sonoma County Animal Services.

Animal control officers collected eight meatballs from a fenced-in, off-leash dog park area and wooded trail, Whipple said. The meatballs were sent to the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis.

Whipple said:

“The meatballs are being tested at this time and could take up to a week for results to come back. Up to this point we have had no reports of animals being affected by this incident.”

The lab’s director, Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, said this morning the lab isn’t releasing the results of the tests and referred calls to Sonoma County Animal Services.

There were incidents of potentially poison-laced meatballs in the Twin Peaks and Richmond District neighborhoods of San Francisco this past February.

In July 2013, a dachshund named Oskar died after eating a suspected poison meatball in The City’s Twin Peaks neighborhood. Sonoma County Animal Services officials are advising dog owners to be vigilant when visiting local parks.

Dog owners should walk the off-leash areas and keep an eye out for suspicious treats, Whipple said. Dogs that show signs of illness after being at a community park should be taken immediately to a veterinarian and owners should call Sonoma County Animal Services at (707) 565-7100, Whipple said.