Owner: Meat laced with rat poison kills dog in fenced-in yard

Tim Rittmeyer was working in his yard when he spotted a small plastic container that would turn his family’s life upside down.

The container was tucked under the edge of his porch while a second bowl was hidden behind a fire pit. The first bowl, which appeared untouched, contained meat laced with rat poison. The second bowl, the one behind the fire pit, had been found by the family’s 6-year-old golden retriever, Gander.

“You could see there was some meat left in it but what looked to be a tongue licked through the middle of it,” Rittmeyer said.

Whoever put the containers in the yard went through a gate in the fenced yard to put them there. The yard was completely fenced in so the dog could safely play there.

He immediately called a veterinarian and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Rittmeyer said the sheriff’s deputy took the bowls to test for fingerprints.

When Gander started having seizures, they took him to their vet.

“The hardest part was when I came home to see him,” Rittmeyer said. “He came running to the door and collapsed in front of me. That’s when I picked him up, put him in the truck and we took him.”

By Sunday morning, Rittmeyer said, Gander’s organs began shutting down and the family made the decision to put him to sleep and end the suffering.

“To see your dog go through that change and that pain, it is something I wouldn’t wish on the worst of people,” Rittmeyer said.

A “Justice for Gander” page has been created on Facebook and donations have been made for a reward. At this point, more than $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for poisoning Gander.

The family said they don’t know who would have done this.

“Whether it was someone that knows us or a random act, that dog didn’t deserve what he got,” Rittmeyer said. “We want answers to why anybody could do that.”