Apr 7, 2015

Authorities investigate apparent animal poisonings

Several animals — including three dogs — have died, apparently after consuming poison near the Timber Creek Trailhead southwest of Meeteetse.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other law enforcement agencies are investigating the deaths, Cody Region Wildlife Supervisor Alan Osterland said Monday.

The suspicious deaths were reported to law enforcement in the latter part of last week, he said. Two of the dogs belonged to Powell families.

Other dead animals, including a raccoon, a skunk and a coyote, also were found in the area, the Game and Fish said in a news release.

“Anyone recreating in the Timber Creek area is urged to use caution and be aware of the potential risk for both humans and pets,” Scott Werbelow, game warden coordinator for the Cody Region, said in a statement. “If dead animals are detected, the public is advised to not handle the carcass and notify the Sheriff’s office or call the STOP POACHING hotline.”

The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday that it's offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people involved in the suspected poisonings.

The Game and Fish is encouraging anyone who may have information about the incident to call the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847) or the Park County Sheriff’s office at 307-527-8700.

Authorities have not yet confirmed the cause of the animals’ deaths, but they appear to have been poisonings, Osterland said.

“It appears that something’s going on, so we’re just trying to put our finger on it right now,” Osterland said, adding that, “The investigation’s in the preliminary stages right now, and more information will follow.”

State and federal law generally prohibits poisoning animals, and Osterland said such reports are pretty rare.

“We don’t hear of this very often, thank goodness,” he said. “It (poisoning) is so non-discriminatory, obviously. I don’t know why — if it is poisoning-related — why anybody would do it, but it just kills everything.”

The BLM, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Game and Fish and the Park County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident, which appears to have occurred during the week of March 29 to April 4.

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