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Authorities: Dogs died after intentional poisoning
Bulloch County Animal Shelter

Three dogs are dead after what authorities suspect is intentional poisoning.

Sunday morning, residents of Bel-Air Drive were alarmed and angry after two dog owners discovered their pets had been poisoned. David Wilmouth lost two beloved pets, but saved a third who became ill after consuming poison-laced meat.

John Allen Mixon lost his dog a short time later in spite of efforts to rush him to a veterinarian. Other neighbors are concerned that their dogs are in danger; the poisoned meat was found in the victims' own yards.

Bulloch County Humane Enforcement Officer Stephen Mixon responded Sunday to the Bel-Air subdivision after the victims called Statesboro police.

Two of Wilmouth's dogs died, and one is under veterinary care, while John Allen Mixon's dog died at the vet's office before the veterinarian arrived, he said.

"We found meat with poison on it" in the owners' yards, Stephen Mixon said.

While test results have not yet been returned on the hamburger and "hard beef" found in the vicinity, authorities suspect the poison used is Temik, a pesticide, Bulloch County Humane Enforcement supervisor Joey Sanders said.

According, a health education website, Temik has been known to be used by burglars to rid targeted houses of dogs. The poison is so strong, "One teaspoon is enough to kill a grown rhino and a mere 1 mg can kill a rodent weighing less than a kilogram — this substance is more poisonous than arsenic," the site claims.

One must have a license to purchase Temik, Sanders said.

Wilmouth found tainted hamburger in his yard after his dogs became ill. A dachshund was dead within five minutes after eating some of the poisoned meat and a shepherd succumbed to the poison within 25 minutes, he said.

"He was foaming at the mouth, throwing up and shaking all over," he said. A third dog was rushed to the veterinarian and survived.

Wilmouth knocked on John Allen Mixon's door Sunday to inform him of the poisoning and the possibility that neighborhood pets were in danger. After looking around his fenced yard, Mixon took his American bulldog Noble out on a leash to protect him.

However, while making a phone call, Mixon heard his dog eating something.

"I looked down and he was eating meat," he said.

Mixon tried removing the meat from Noble's mouth, but it was too late. Within five minutes, the dog was sickened, and "we rushed him to the vet, but when we got there, he was foaming at the mouth and fell out of the truck."

Because it was Sunday, the veterinarian's office was closed. A veterinarian responding to the emergency call arrived just minutes after Noble died, Mixon said.

"I held him in my arms," said Callie Johnson, Mixon's girlfriend. "He looked me in the eyes and just passed."

While the case is still being investigated, no definite suspects have been identified, Sanders said. However, some suspect a neighbor who complained about the dogs in the neighborhood in the past, Wilmouth said.

Sanders said the investigation will be turned over to the Statesboro Police Department after his office completes its investigation.

"It's a bad situation," he said, adding that evidence shows the acts were intentional because the poisoned meat was left in the victims' yards and not randomly scattered.

Poisoning animals is bad enough, but children could have come into contact with the tainted hamburger, Sanders said.

"Small kids could touch it and put it in their mouths. If a child gets a hold of (Temik), they're gone," he said. "Even if they didn't eat it, they could have got it on their hands and it could have caused a (human) fatality It is suspicious, the way it was done."

John Allen Mixon said he used a fundraising site to gather enough money to have the tainted meat tested and is continuing to collect to fund a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Funds collected beyond that will pay for Noble's cremation, and the rest will be donated to the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County, he said.

"Noble was the smartest, most incredible dog I've ever known," Johnson said.

Mixon agreed.

"I loved that dog more than life itself," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Bulloch County Humane Enforcement office at (912) 489-6911 or the Statesboro Police Department at (912) 764-9911.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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