SEBASTOPOL, Calif. (KTVU) - The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is investigating the intentional poisoning of two horses and a dog south of Sebastopol, a sheriff's sergeant said.
Based on necropsies, veterinarians believe the animals likely were poisoned with oleander placed in homemade cookies. Oleander is highly toxic to animals and one of the horses and the dog died, Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
The poisoning occurred on private property on Kennedy Road in unincorporated Sonoma County. Leslie Webb, the owner of the animals, reported the poisonings on Feb. 12, Focha said.
Sheriff's investigators have identified a person of interest, although no information about the person was being released, according to Focha.
Neighbors in the area and Sonoma County Animal Services have been notified about the poisonings, Focha said.
Leslie Webb says earlier this month she was walking in her fields when she noticed her dog and two horses weren't feeling well.
“I monitored them all night and by 7 a.m., both of them I had to take to the E.R. and they didn't live through the day,” says Webb.
She then went back to the farm to check on her other horse that was also sick. While looking for possible foreign items, Webb found 10 cookie-like treats piled up in the pasture.
She turned them over to police and her veterinarian. The doctors treating the animals say the results of the animals necropsies show the animals died of oleander toxicity.
Webb says she feels the treats were used to attack her animals.
"Shredded carrots, shredded apples, oats on top in each pile; one of the cookies was soaked in molasses. So they know horses," says Webb.
Oscar the horse survived, but since then several other animals have turned up dead.
"A dog that was found dead bleeding from the nose and mouth. Last couple of days a llama dead for unknown reasons" says Belle Sweeney of Sebastopol.
Sweeney says she also had two alpacas turn up dead because of possible toxic exposure. Since then she's moved her animals away from the road and added a second fence.
Many people in the area she's adding motion detectors and surveillance cameras to keep her animals safe.
The Sheriff’s office says currently there is one case of intentional poisoning, but people living in the area disagree. They say with so many livestock turning up dead, they think it may be connected.
"I'm hearing of more and more cases now that are popping up. People who thought their situation was isolated, they're finding out, no and it's all in this area," says Mary Moldowan of Sebastopol.
Authorities say no cookies were found in connection with the other animal’s deaths, deputies are following up on leads.