WATERFORD (CBS13) — A local veterinarian is speaking out about poison spread along canals in Waterford that’s believe to have killed at least one dog.

Frankie Bonafacio is upset after watching one of her patients, a black lab, die last week.

“He found his dog splayed out in the road,” she said. “He thought he was hit by a car at first in front of his house.”

But she thinks it’s the result of the Modesto Irrigation District spreading a rodent poison around canals in Waterford.

“He had no signs of external trauma, but he had all the signs of classic rodenticide toxicity,” she said.

MID’s Samantha Wookey says they and other irrigation districts have been using the poison for years to keep squirrels from burrowing in the canal levees.

“They mess up the structural integrity of the canals,” she said.

On top of that, they say the land where the poison is spread is private property and anyone walking on it is trespassing.

“It’s not a hazard to anybody or the environment, unless it’s ingested at large quantities,” she said.

But Bonifacio says people with homes bordering the canal, including herself, have found the poison on their property, too.

“This dog was inside my fenceline, on my property and sniffing their bait,” she said. “That’s wrong and that’s careless on their part.”

Because of this incident, MID says they will review how they use the poison in the future.

“They try to spread it as carefully as possible,” Wookey said. “With factors such as wind, with people walking, it’s easy to get distributed into other property.”

After hearing the complaints, Stanislaus County went out and cleaned up the poison.

“I think it should have been containers,” Bonifacio said. “That would make it safe so that your average dog and wildlife couldn’t get access to it.”

The vet hasn’t heard of any other animals getting sick.


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