Facebook and other popular sites are filled with fetching rumors of dogs picking up chunks of cheese, filled with nails, tacks, and other harmful objects in public pet parks. For several years, frightful posts have circled the internet, often including photos of cheese curds, cocktail wieners, ham hunks, and other canine-enticing treats with pieces of hardware poking out all over.
The fur-raising alerts, which have made the rounds since at least 2010, resurfaced in early February online. In fact, popular urban myth debunker Snopes.com issued a February 5 update on a previous post, responding to a new spike in searches on the supposedly spiked cheese cubes.
Usually, the alert goes something like this one (quoted verbatim from a post on Pet Pardons):
We have received two notices. (1) Nails wrapped in cheese at dog parks in Chicago and Massachusetts (see pic). (2) from some friends that in Augusta Maine dog park, antifreeze is being found in doggie water bowls. Please beware and be careful and PLEASE SHARE and spread the word.
Pet lovers have circulated warnings of hardware-spiked food tempting pets in dog parks in such cities as Augusta, Boston, Chicago, Toronto, Tucson, and even Buenos Aires. Similar reports have arisen from dog park denizens – from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to South Wales – as recently as January 2013.
Any dog that ate such a morsel could be mortally injured internally. But are these photos real? Have dogs actually died by picking up such dangerous items in public pet parks?
Do these pet-harming rumors hold water?
An actual warning did appear on an Argentinian website in the summer of 2011, including the photo (seen here) of nail-embedded cheese chunks, apparently found at a pet park near a Buenos Aires dog kennel. The same image and report has been the stuff of urban legends ever since.
Pet owners do well to supervise dogs carefully in public places, anyway.
Additional rumors abound about antifreeze, rat poison and pesticide-tainted foods or water at pet parks. Clearly, caution is warranted whenever folks take their beloved animals out and about where they may interact with unknown individuals and unfamiliar pets.
Who knows when a copycat may try to harm a pet?
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