S.C. dog park closes after ant poison blamed for puppy’s death

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – News13 investigates how an 8-month-old puppy died after going to the Conway Dog Park. Her owner says an insecticide used for fire ants, killed her dog.

Sharon Buckwell and her daughter fought to get the dog park open, and last Friday, they brought their puppy, Ginger, as they had done before.

What they didn’t know was that the City of Conway Parks and Rec Department had just treated the park for fire ants, using an insecticide called Talstar Xtra .

“She ate it, or inhaled it or something, and got that toxin in her system,” said Buckwell’s daughter, Sarah Cummings, who was with Ginger on Friday.

Cummings says the dog got sick as soon as they got home. “She started trembling a little bit and acted a little dizzy, and by the time we got her to the vet, she was in full blown seizures.”

They brought Ginger to the Animal Emergency Hospital of the Strand, but the seizures kept getting worse. The vet tried to save her, but six hours later, Ginger had to be put down.

“It was causing neurological damage that would be irreversible and, it was making her suffer,” said Cummings.

Cummings says the vet, “told us it was some sort of toxin that was ingested. Probably about an hour or so before she started seizures, we were at the park. She hadn’t had anything since the park.”

News13 looked at the veterinarian records which showed that the dog’s symptoms were consistent with eating insecticides.

The family collected their vet records and took pictures of the ant hill, then they went to the city.

The Parks and Rec Department closed the park to flush out the insecticide. Now, the director says the poison is gone, but for Ginger’s owners, “no more dog parks, ever.”

The park will remain closed until November 20th, as the city takes care of other issues. Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director, Foster Hughes, issued the following statement to News13:

On Friday, November 13th, staff treated the Conway Dog Park for fire ants and an incident with a dog did occur. We have reached out to the pet owner and are working with them on this matter. They are in agreement that we responded properly to this situation. The Dog Park is currently closed to address safety and maintenance issues. Safety at all of our parks is always a priority. The Conway Dog Park is scheduled to re-open on Friday, November 20th.

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