A ''very evil person'' has struck again, poisoning a third dog inside the fenced backyard of an Omaha family.
Murphy, a 3-year-old Papillion, was poisoned with strychnine earlier this month at the home of Vicki and Dale Wagner. Murphy survived, but the Wagners' pug-beagle mix, Bella, and Chihuahua, Peanut, died from the strychnine left about five months earlier inside the same fenced yard near North 65th Street and Hartman Avenue.
“Obviously, there's a very evil person out there,'' said Mark Langan, vice president of field operations for the Nebraska Humane Society. “We have a very bad person targeting dogs.''
The Humane Society sent a urine sample from Murphy to Iowa State University, which confirmed that the poison was strychnine, Langan said.
Murphy survived after a veterinarian treated the dog with medication, including Valium, said Vicki Wagner, 48. But it took Murphy about 72 hours to recover, she said.
Murphy belongs to her son's girlfriend, she said. Just before 6:30 a.m. on April 4, the family let Murphy out in the backyard of their corner lot. About 10 minutes later, the dog became ill.
“We don't know all of our neighbors, and I can't accuse anybody,'' said Wagner, “but it seems like we're being targeted.''
Langan agreed: “I can't ever recall a situation where somebody's been targeted twice.''
He called the Wagners responsible dog owners whose pets were never the subject of complaints to the Humane Society. No other dogs have been poisoned in the neighborhood, he said.
Langan called the poisonings “a top priority case'' for Humane Society investigators.
After Bella and Peanut were poisoned, the Humane Society offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Officials have increased the reward to $2,500 after Murphy's poisoning.
Tips may be called into the Humane Society at 402-444-7800, ext. 1.
Wagner said she hoped that the reward leads to an arrest.
“Maybe somebody will remember something'' about the dogs being targeted, she said.
“It's been a very, very hard time,'' Wagner said. “This all has been awful.''