SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - A military family is still searching for answers after their dog was poisoned and had to be put down. The family believes someone broke into their yard and intentionally poisoned their pet.
The dog's owner says it was rat poison that appeared to be mixed with chicken that the dog ate, and he's worried whoever poisoned her could harm someone else.
"I've never seen anything like this. It was pretty disturbing," said Major David Maestas with the New Mexico Army National Guard.
Maestas still can't figure out why someone would poison his 3-and-a-half-year-old yellow lab mix, Honey.
"Normally in the morning she's the first one to greet us when we come outside," said Maestas. "She wasn't there so we automatically thought something suspicious, so we called out for her and she came around the corner, like, stumbling. It was not normal."
Maestas said one morning about two weeks ago, Honey couldn't use her rear legs and appeared to be in a lot of pain. Then he saw her food bowl in their yard at their Española Valley home with a green mixture inside.
He rushed Honey to a veterinarian in Santa Fe where he said toxicology tests confirmed Honey ingested rat poison.
"According to the veterinarian, it is a type that affects the nervous system so there was nothing they could do for her. She had to be euthanized," Maestas said.
Maestas said his family adopted Honey three years ago from a shelter and can't understand why anyone would want to poison his dog.
"She was a very good dog. To see her go like that was just very inhumane," said Maestas.
He believes someone had to have gone inside their fence and knew where the dog food bowls were located to put a mixture of what appeared to be chicken and rat poison in them.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident as an extreme animal cruelty case.
"I'm a little worried because that's never happened before, never in our neighborhood," said Maestas. "I think if they're capable of trying to harm a dog in a sense like that, then what's to stop them from trying to harm somebody else in the neighborhood? So its kind of disconcerting to think that somebody is capable of doing something like that to an animal."
So far, investigators have not named any suspects in the case. Maestas had another dog as well, a Rottweiler, but he was not poisoned.
Extreme animal cruelty is a felony. If the person is caught, he or she could face a year and a half in prison or a fine up to $5,000.
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