Someone in Northern California intentionally killed a woman's horse and dog with poison-laced cookies, official say, stoking fears among rural neighbors that their own animals could also be targeted.
Sonoma County Sheriff's officials are investigating who may have left three piles of the poisoned cookies on Leslie Webb's property earlier this month. The irresistible cookies were laced with oleander, which is highly toxic to animals, and sickened her dog and two horses. Only one horse survived.
"For them to put out three piles out for three horses — yeah, they know something about horses," Webb told the local ABC affiliate. "These are my kids and they mean the world to me."
The intentional poisoning occurred in a small area of the unincorporated area of Sebastopol and was confirmed after necropsies were performed on the horse, Cowboy, and dog, Rosie.
"Placement of the toxic treats within the contained private property, where the animals would surely consume them, was intentional," the sheriff's office said in a statement Wednesday.
Officials said they have followed up on "strong leads" and have identified a possible person of interest in the animal cruelty case.
Despite other recent livestock deaths, Webb's property is the only confirmed incident of intentional poisoning, officials said. Neighbors were also been notified of the incident.
"A lot of us like to give them carrots and apples...but it has eliminated that now because for fear that they may think that we're somehow harming their animals," neighbor Diane Phelps told ABC7 News.
As for Webb's third horse, Oscar, veterinarians said there won't be any permanent damage to his organs.
Jason Wells is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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