Family claims dogs being poisoned in Sevier Co. neighborhood

Family claims dogs being poisoned in Sevier Co. neighborhood

"We believe he was poisoned intentionally," Ginni Ham says, holding back tears. "We believe he was poisoned intentionally," Ginni Ham says, holding back tears.

April 19, 2007

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Reporter

SEVIER COUNTY (WATE) -- A Sevier County family says someone is poisoning dogs in their neighborhood. It's just off Walnut Grove Road outside the Sevierville city limits. They're offering a reward to solve the case.

Ginni Ham and her 10-year-old daughter are grieving over the death of their dog, Sam. The three-year-old golden retreiver, who was more like family than a pet, died after swallowing antifreeze.

"We believe he was poisoned intentionally," Ginni says, holding back tears. "We received a telephone call from the vet. She said his kidneys are failing and you need to come and say goodbye."

Sam died on April 1. Sarah Ogle works for the veterinary hospital that tried to save his life. "They had to euthanize him because he had antifreeze poisoning and he was suffering," Ogle says. "It broke all of our hearts to see him like that."

Family pictures show sam playing in the water and with a ball. His owner says he never went far from home. "Because he never left the yard, I don't believe that he stumbled upon anti-freeze accidentally", says Ham.

Vets say it appears the golden retriever ate some sort of stew poisoned with antifreeze. The Ham's spent hundreds of dollars trying to keep Sam alive. Now they are worried about their other animals because Sam wasn't the only victim.

The day after Sam's death, another dog died. He was also poisoned by antifreeze according to a veterinarian. Now the Ham family has posted signs offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for both dog's deaths. 

Ginni Ham adds, "It's extremely disturbing to think that one of your neighbors would poison your pet. Especially an animal that didn't have anything but love for everybody. We called him our love sponge."

The Sevier County Sheriff's Department is investigating. 

Antifreeze has a sweet taste and is very toxic. Just a tablespoon can be deadly to animals and children.

Intentionally killing an animal in Tennessee is a felony if prosecutors can prove the intentions were to inflict a cruel death. In that case it can carry up to two years in jail. Otherwise it's a misdeamenor, which carries less than a year in jail.  

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