Around the States



Livestock Dogs Poisoned

Fourteen stock and guard dogs have been poisoned with strychnine in southwestern Idaho since early April and 12 have died.

“We lost another dog today. The poisoning is still going on,” the dogs’ owner, Casey Echevarria, told Capital Press on May 30.

At the Snake River Veterinary Center, the concern is not with criminal charges but with ending the suffering of innocent animals.

Brent Varriale, DVM, the veterinarian who examined the dogs, said they had large amounts of green dyed grain in their stomachs, which is consistent with gopher bait that contains strychnine. The strychnine bait was mixed with raw ground meat to encourage the dogs to eat as much as they did and the large amount of bait found in the dogs’ stomachs, coupled with the large number of dogs affected, convinced Varriale they were intentionally poisoned.

The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it is investigating this case. Under Idaho State Law, it is a felony to intentionally poison an agriculture animal worth more than $1,000. Working dogs like the ones killed range in value from $1,500 to $3,000.

Strychnine is a restricted use pesticide and requires a license from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture before using it in bait, said George Robinson, administrator of Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Resources Division. To obtain the license, a person needs to pass an exam. There are about 3,000 licenses statewide.

The poisonings have drawn the attention of the Idaho branch of the Humane Society of the United States. An award of $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the responsible party.


Spooner Sheep Day

The 64th annual Spooner (Wisc.) Sheep Day will be held at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station on Saturday, Aug. 27. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. at the Station Headquarters (W6646 Hwy 70, Spooner, WI 54801). The educational program will start at 9:15 a.m. and end at approximately 3:30 p.m.

It is very likely that the 2016 event will be the last Spooner Sheep Day because the sheep are to be sold in October due to severe budget cuts to the University of Wisconsin system. The Spooner Agricultural Research Station was established in 1908 and is the oldest of the several agricultural research stations operated throughout Wisconsin by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sheep were introduced to the Spooner Station in 1936 and the first sheep field day was held in 1953. The Spooner Sheep Day is thought to be the longest-running agricultural field day of the several held each year by CALS. This year’s program will be a look back and a celebration of the accomplishments and impact of the Spooner sheep program.

A complete schedule for the day’s events is available on the Spooner Agricultural Research Station’s website at

Pre-registration for this event is required with a deadline of Aug. 19. Contact Lorraine Toman at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station at 715-635-3735 or to register. Space may be limited. Attendance at the educational sessions is free, but a nominal fee will be charged for a delicious lamb lunch.

For additional information, contact Dave Thomas at UW-Madison at or 608-263-4306.

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