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Tea Family Trying To Move On After Dog Poisoned

May 12, 2010, 9:44 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Tea Family Trying To Move On After Dog Poisoned
TEA, SD - At least nine dogs were poisoned, some of them even died, and authorities in Lincoln County are still trying to figure out who laced beef jerky with a poisonous pesticide.

On April 12th a veternarian in Tea reported that at least nine dogs were poisoned with strychnine. A few days later lab results confirmed the jerky contained the pesticide. 

"We lost a good dog, we really did," Rick Kunkle said.

For the last month Rick Kunkle and his family have been trying to move forward after losing their year and a half old Brittany Spaniel, 'Copper.' 

"The first couple of weeks are pretty tough. Wake up in the morning, the dog is not here, come home from work, the dog is not here," Kunkle said.

It didn't take the family long to buy a new puppy, but it will take them awhile to get over how their last dog died. Copper was one of four dogs in Tea killed from eating beef jerky tainted with the poisonous pesticide strychnine. 

"It was a bad thing to witness. The convulsions and tremors the dog went through, it was hard," Kunkle said.

'Hinder' is the Kunkle's new dog and is helping with the healing, but the family is still searching for justice. Kunkle says many of his neighbors who had sick dogs think the culprit lives in their neighborhood and was mad that the dogs were in their yard.

Kunkle has been keeping in contact with the sheriff's office to see if they've made any progress on the case, but authorities say its still an ongoing investigation. 

"The little bit of evidence they do have they will be turning over to the state's attorney and hopefully they will file charges against him," Kunkle said.

But, until that happens Kunkle says his family will try to move on, and like many of the other families in the neighborhood, keep a closer eye on their dogs.

"We haven't seen any of the other dogs out on walks or running anywhere. You don't see any dogs running anywhere anymore," Kunkle said.

Anyone charged with poisoning or killing the dogs in Tea would face a Class 1 Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of one year in the county jail and a possible $2,000 fine.

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