NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) – The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible animal cruelty case after a local shelter said four dogs may have been exposed to rat poison.
Four dogs from Friends Animal Shelter in Newport were taken to the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley to be spayed and neutered on Oct. 21 around 7:30 a.m. Friends Animal Shelter Director Elisha Henry says she was contacted by a veterinarian at the Humane Society that told her it is believed that the four dogs were exposed to rat poison. The four dogs suffered severe bleeding.
Henry told investigators one dog was taken to a spay/neuter clinic in Greenback the previous week and was returned to Friends Animal Shelter with severe bleeding. The dog was taken to the Appalachian Veterinary Hospital for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding.
A worker at Friends Animal Shelter told investigators she noticed a powdery substance in the dog food that was being fed to dogs within the shelter. All dog and cat food at the shelter has since been removed and replaced.
Detectives have collected samples of the dog food believed to be contaminated and photographed the food storage room.
Henry says there are no cameras inside or outside of the facility and the door locks have not been changed during her time at the shelter.
The investigation remains ongoing.