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Lehi police: Neighbor confesses to 1 of 2 suspected dog poisonings

Published July 8, 2014 7:14 pm

'Just didn't like the dog' • Suspect also being looked at for second neighborhood dog's illness.
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Lehi police say they have the man responsible for at least one of two therapy dog poisonings, and they suspect he may have been responsible for the second, as well.

"We do have a suspect who confessed to the [poisoning of] the first dog, the one that died," Lehi police Sgt. Jeff Swenson said Tuesday. "He was a neighbor who lived next door. ... He said he just didn't like the dog."

However, the suspect did not take responsibility for the suspected poisoning of the second dog, which also lived next door to him. The animals, both Labrador retriever mixes, were on either side of the suspect's home, Swenson said.

Lehi police were led to the suspect by "information and evidence" Swenson could not further detail, pending filing of charges.

Swenson said charges, including animal cruelty, were being screened with the Lehi city attorney's office.

The suspect, while admitting to the fatal poisoning of a 2-year-old dog, maintains he does not know how the second, 8-9-year-old dog became ill. Both animals reportedly suffered seizures consistent with strychnine poisoning, though final results of laboratory tests were still pending Tuesday.

Swenson said charges would "definitely" be sought in connection with the first, fatal poisoning, and police have submitted stool samples from the second, still-living dog for testing to determine if additional charges are warranted.

"It will take a week or two for us to get results back on those tests," Swenson said.

Both dogs were in fenced yards at residences within the same cul-de-sac in northwest Lehi. The first dog suffered a series of ultimately fatal seizures beginning about 6 a.m. on July 1; the second suffered a seizure four hours later, but survived.

The Humane Society of Utah had offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case, but spokesman Carl Arky said that as of Tuesday, no one had claimed it.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims