BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- A three-inch long ear of corn, laced with bluish-green poison, was apparently tossed into Jon Hartmann's back yard on Wednesday.
Hartmann said he was inside the house, in the Northmoor neighborhood, when his son came running in.
“I said, 'there’s an emergency,'” Austin told Denver7. “That’s what I told my daddy.”
Austin also said he saw their dog, Donut, pick up the corn with his mouth.
When Jon Hartmann came outside, he saw that their other dog, Olive, had the corn in her mouth. That’s when he spotted the blue-green crystals.
"It looked like rat poison to me," he said. "I didn't know how much she had eaten."
Hartmann said he took both dogs to the vet.
"He induced vomiting," Hartmann said, "and then treated them with activated charcoal and gave them an injection to stop the vomiting."
He said neither dog ate last night and are now both being treated with antibiotics. The Broomfield dad said he’s glad his dogs survived.
"He's the hero," he said, pointing to his son. "If he hadn't told me about the corn, our dogs could be dead."
Hartmann also said he's grateful that Austin didn't touch the poison himself.
“Everything fascinates him,” Hartmann said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a rock, or a stick, or a car, or a microphone. I’m just glad he had the presence of mind to tell me about it before it became a toy.”
The Broomfield man said he doesn’t know if the poisoned corn was randomly tossed into his yard, or if he was specifically targeted by someone who doesn’t like barking dogs, or by a disgruntled solicitor who had been turned away at the door earlier in the day.
The incident has startled other neighbors.
“We’re really scared,” said next door neighbor Jim Fischer. “We have two dogs. If it was random, we could be next.”
Fischer’s wife, Janice, said one of the dogs they’re taking care of belongs to their daughter.
She said they were planning to keep “Lilly” at their house until their daughter had moved in to her new apartment, but they don’t want to put Lilly at risk.
“We don’t feel it’s safe, with her having diabetes” Janice Fischer said, “If she got poisoned, it would be a much higher risk for her than for other dogs.”
Second cob found
Another neighbor, Chris Hespe, said he found a dried-out corn cob in his front yard earlier this week, after he returned from a camping trip.
“I was rinsing out my coolers and noticed the cob by the tree.”
There were no kernels left on the cob, which measured about 4-inches long.
Hespe told Denver7 that he doesn’t know if any poison had been placed on the ear of corn, or whether any animals ate the kernels.
“I would guess that somebody is trying to get rid of rabbits,” he said. “There have been a lot of rabbits on the street this year.”
While Hespe pointed out the dried cob, a plump little bunny sauntered by his fence. He said he’s noticed fewer bunnies since he came back from his camping trip.
Hartmann told Denver7 that if someone is trying to control rabbits, they’re not doing it safely.
“It’s completely irresponsible,” he said, “with so many small children, school age children, in the neighborhood. People walk their dogs all the time.”
It’s also illegal.
Police ask for help
Broomfield Police said they’d like to hear from anyone who has information about the person responsible. The phone number for the Police Department’s Animal Services Unit is (303) 438-6400.