San Francisco dog dies after eating meatball laced with strychnine 

Oskar, the 7-year-old Dachshund who ingested a poisoned meatball that was left on a street in Twin Peaks earlier this month, died Thursday, owner Dorothy Schechter said.

Police say Oskar ate one of hundreds of poisoned meatballs that were placed around various neighborhoods in an apparent attempt to sicken dogs.

Oskar had a seizure minutes after ingesting the meatball. Veterinarians were optimistic about his recovery, but the pooch suffered a setback a few days after falling ill and failed to improve.

"About 9 [Thursday] night he passed away," Schechter said, adding, "We better catch these bastards."

Schechter said police investigators called her Friday afternoon to say they were working "very hard" to find out who has been leaving the meats.

Also on Friday, police said tests confirmed what vets have been saying since Oskar became sick, that the meat is laced with strychnine. The amount present, according to police, is lethal to humans. They advise people to not handle the meat or to wear protective gloves to do so.

Schechter said neighbors also are blaming tainted meatballs for the deaths of other animals, such as a raccoons, cats and skunks.

Police issued a warning about the deadly meat after Oskar ingested some near Crestline Drive and Burnett Avenue in Twin Peaks. Community members have since collected hundreds of tainted meatballs in other neighborhoods.

The Bay Area-based national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

"For the safety of animals, and of our communities, we call on anyone with knowledge of this criminal activity to come forward." Stephen Wells, the organization's executive director, said in a statement.

Anyone with more information about the case is encouraged to call San Francisco Animal Care and Control at (415) 554-9400.

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