The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for using strychnine to poison and kill 12 dogs in Parma, Idaho.

The Case: News reports give the following account: Since April, 14 stock dogs have been poisoned with strychnine, and only two survived. According to autopsy reports by Dr. Brent Varriale, DVM, the dogs ingested large amounts of meatballs laced with the deadly poison.

These highly trained dogs belong to Casey Escheverria, a local rancher who raises sheep and goats in the area.

Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented. Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.

Lisa Kauffman, Idaho state director for the HSUS said: “Someone is targeting Casey Escheverria’s operation. I cannot think of a worse way for an animal to die a slow and agonizing death, and the person responsible needs to be criminally charged for this crime.”

Varriale said: “Strychnine is a horrible way for an animal to die. The poison paralyzes the muscles, closes off the airway, and essentially these dogs all strangled to death.”

Escheverria said: “These are working stock dogs but they were also part of our family. One of the dogs we lost was a nursing mother and two of her puppies were also victims.”

The Investigators: The Canyon County Sherriff’s Office is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 208-454-7531.

Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty.

The National Sheriffs’ Association and the HSUS launched ICE BlackBox, a free smartphone tool, to allow users to record video of illegal animal cruelty and share it securely with law enforcement for possible investigation and prosecution.

The HSUS has doubled its standard cruelty reward from $2,500 to $5,000 thanks to a generous donation. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, visit our animal cruelty statistics page.

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