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Licking County Labrador retriever breeder grieving over poisoned dogs

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Don and Valeria Butts of Gratiot, Ohio have been raising Labrador retrievers for much of their lives; many of the dogs have gone on to be service dogs, but last Friday someone poisoned 18 dogs in their outdoor kennels reported The Columbus Dispatch.

A veterinarian confirmed the dogs were poisoned with antifreeze. An eight-and-a-half-year-old male named English Male Storm had to be euthanized after his kidneys failed from the poison. Sixteen other dogs have since returned home, however one other dog still remains in guarded condition.

Blue Ribbon Labradors, owned by Michelle Wood and her grandparents have a relatively small kennel where all puppies are raised indoors. All dogs are vet checked and certified for health and eyesight. According to the family's website, adult dogs who are retired from breeding are not sold, but often made available for adoption.

So who would want to intentionally drop antifreeze into the dogs' kennels? Don Butts stated he has been raising dogs for 53 of his 73 years and couldn't imagine who would do such an evil deed.

The nightmare began on Friday night when the couple's grandson went out to the kennels to feed the dogs. Storm was usually the first dog to line up for dinner, but was nowhere to be found. Storm had been in the back of the kennel curled up, hardly moving, and having trouble catching his breath.

Storm was rushed to the vets with the family initially thinking a virus may have caused Storm's sudden illness, and while the vet tried to figure out what was wrong with the dog, the family scrubbed the kennels from head to toe wanting to make sure none of the other dogs would get sick, but that was not to be. By the next day, one after another Lab started to show the same symptoms of vomiting, collapsing, and heavy breathing.

When Storm was transferred to another vet, the antifreeze poisoning was confirmed. All of the dogs were administered the antidote of vodka intravenous therapy. Sadly it was too late for Storm; his kidneys failed and his family had to have one of their very favorite dogs humanely euthanized.

On the Blue Ribbon Labradors website the following statement was posted:

"On March 29th we discovered that 18 of our sweet Labradors where heartlessly poisoned with Antifreeze by some unknown and malicious person. This has devastated our family and caused unmeasurable pain to these precious dogs. We sadly were forced to euthanize our English Male Storm who was raised from a puppy at our home to 8 1/2 years because of the effects of this poison. We are still caring for 17 of the remaining dogs who we have been able to save so far, some are still in a very critical condition and under great care at Masterson's Veterinary Clinic who we thank from the bottom of our hearts for their amazing efforts, time and dedication to save the lives of these dogs. We were very happy to bring home the majority of our dogs on Sunday March 30th so they can continue their recovery under our families watchful eyes and in our loving home."

The family is so devastated they have now offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit who did this heinous deed. If you have any information, please call the Licking County Sheriff's Office at (740)-349-6400 or the Licking County CrimeStoppers at (740)-349-6888.

Rest in peace Storm.

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