By Lisa Kava
Upper West Side dog owners and parents of young children BE AWARE!
In the latest episode of what appears to be an ongoing story, an alarming amount of exposed rat poison was found in tree beds, on the sidewalk, and in West 75th Street, between Broadway and West End Avenue, over the past 48 hours.
On Thursday evening, June 16, at 7:30 PM, a neighborhood resident named Erika took her dog, Beti, a six-year-old terrier mix for a walk. On 75th Street, she saw Beti snatch something from the ground.
Then, she saw numerous green balls scattered in a tree bed nearby. Some were also outside the bed and some were on the street, she told WSR. “The balls were the size of marbles,” she said.
Erika then saw a Department of Health sign on the tree, saying that rat poison had been placed in the area, and “may have been injected deep down into rodent tunnels.”
Rat poison is extremely toxic to dogs and children, and if ingested requires immediate medical attention or the poison can cause internal bleeding and death.
Luckily, Erika recalled reading previous Rag articles with photos of the poison. While, this time, the poison was “in the form of round balls” rather than bricks, the bright green color alerted Erika, as did the DOH signs. She rushed Beti to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, where, within the hour, vomiting was induced.
Back in April 2022, we reported that a dog named Waffles ate exposed green bricks of poison in Riverside Park near the River Run Playground at 83rd Street. The dog’s owner, suspecting the bricks were poison immediately brought Waffles to the vet where he was successfully treated.
Like Waffles, Beti will be on Vitamin K1 for one month which is considered an antidote to rat poison due to its ability to clot blood. “Vitamin K1 is an important cofactor in activating coagulation factors, which is affected by these rat poisons. It can take up to 30 days for the anticoagulant rodenticide to clear the system so treatments and rechecks typically last through this time period,” explained Dr. Seth Bishop, of Brilliant Vets at 641 Amsterdam Amsterdam Ave (91st street).
“Rat poisons often contain anticoagulants or neurotoxins which children should not be exposed to, either by ingestion or physical contact,” said Dr. Michael Yaker, a pediatrician, at Westside Pediatrics, on Columbus Avenue and 90th Street. “If you suspect your child has been exposed, call poison control immediately (212-POISONS).”
Once Beti was home and safe, on Friday morning, June 17th, Erika returned to the area and, wearing gloves, picked up the remaining poison she found and disposed of it. She checked the block late Friday afternoon and did not see any poison.
But on Saturday morning, June 18th, at 9:30 AM, she returned only to find numerous new piles of poison in multiple tree beds on the block, the sidewalk, and in the street.
“I am so worried that a child or another dog will ingest this poison. This morning I put on gloves and threw away as many pieces of poison as I safely could, especially the pieces in the street and on the sidewalk, but you can still see some poison pellets in the dirt — I didn’t want to dig in the soil with my hands, since it was a rat nest,” she said. That’s when Erika also placed her own hand-written signs in the area to warn people.
West Side Rag has reached out to the NYC Department of Health, the NYPD, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the Parks Department. We will update this story when we have more information.
According to the NYC Department of Health website, rat poison is “used in accordance with State and City law. It is placed in locations where it will not harm the health of the general public, pets, birds, or squirrels.”
Lincoln Neto, manager of Basics Plus Hardware on Broadway at 84th Street, sells rat poison in his store. He told WSR that the poison is meant to be placed in secure bait stations and should never be left out in the open.
Update, Tuesday, 3:05 pm: The NYC Department of Health responded to WSR stating, “These images are not of Health Department products.”
We will continue to investigate.