GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Signs are posted in a Gaithersburg neighborhood alerting the community of potential poison in the area. A neighbor's effort to eliminate pests around his home has turned into a scary situation for pet owners after the rodent poison he used spread to other parts of the Kentlands neighborhood.
That poison - green, rectangular blocks about the size of an egg - is toxic to dogs and cats. At least one dog had to be treated after getting a hold of it.
The resident put the poison out in his own yard, but it has spread beyond his property line. A neighbor who has been helping lead the cleanup effort in the last 10 days said he has found the pellets in trees, buried under mulch and a good distance from the man's yard. Neighbors think squirrels and other wildlife are to blame.
"It's all over the neighborhood now," said James Bohlin, who was out walking his dog on Monday. "And they are asking people to even check your own yard several times before you let your dog out. My dog's part of the family. I don't want anything to happen to him."
"It's just coming to light how far the pieces have spread," said dog owner Robyn Buchbaum. "It's terrifying."
One family's dog got a hold of a pellet, according to the veterinarian who treated the dog. He said the dog owners immediately realized what happened, took the pellet from the dog's mouth and brought the animal in for treatment. The dog did not get sick.
A woman who lives next door to the man who put out the poison is wondering if her dog could have been poisoned. She said before the poison was uncovered, 11-year-old Snowflake wasn't eating or drinking and struggled to walk, and veterinarians were not sure what caused it. The dog has since recovered.
There has been a big cleanup effort underway in the Kentlands, and according to the homeowners association, a landscape service raked a wooded area in the neighborhood Monday morning "to make it easier to find any other poison hidden under brush."
The man who put out the poison was in his yard with another neighbor Monday afternoon working to get of any remaining pellets. He declined an interview with FOX 5, but the neighbor he was with said the man feels terrible.
The rodent killer he used is available at any big box store. If you are thinking of using it on your property, know that it might not stay there and could put pets at risk.
Veterinarians said if your pet should ingest rodent poison, go to a veterinarian right away because there are treatments that will help. Small dogs are especially susceptible to getting sick or dying.
Dogs and cats can also get sick from eating a rodent that died from the poison.