By Paige Levin and Charles Levin
DALLAS — Two Dallas residents say they’ve twice found raw meat stuffed with glass in their backyards — and they’re afraid their dogs are being targeted, CNN affiliate KTVT reports.
“I just started crying because all I could think about was if my dogs had gotten ahold of it,” said Cathi Holtsclaw, who found the potentially deadly meat in her backyard.
Holtsclaw told KTVT that she originally thought the meat was left out for coyotes or bobcats, or may have been left by accident. Then she found the tainted meat in her backyard a second time.
“I feel very confident that it’s deliberate now,” Holtsclaw said. “I’m worried my dogs are going to die or someone else’s dogs are going to die.”
Holtsclaw’s nextdoor neighbor, Paul Burkhalter, told KTVT he also discovered shard-filled meatballs in his backyard. “That seems like a lot of work, and it’s really bizarre,” Burkhalter said.
Burkhalter and Holtsclaw have both filed incident reports, Dallas Police said, adding that this appears to be an isolated incident.
“If there are more individuals that have experienced this, then we encourage them to call us to make a report,” Public Information Officer Debra Webb said in an email. “It is possible that an animal cruelty charge could be filed if an animal is injured by ingesting the glass-filled meat. Other charges, such as criminal trespass or stalking could be filed depending on the circumstances.”
In Texas, both civil and criminal laws protect animals from cruelty, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The state’s Health and Safety Code prohibits a person from “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly treating an animal.”
Webb said that because no animals were harmed, they could not pursue a cruelty to animals offense. Dallas Police is looking into the incident, but it is unclear whether or not a formal investigation is underway.
Burkhalter told KTVT he’s not sure why anyone would want to target him or his pets specifically.
“These dogs are wonderful dogs and parts of people’s families,” Burkhalter said.
Both residents told KTVT their dogs bark sometimes, but never enough to cause complaints.
“If this is a neighbor and you’ve got an issue, why don’t you come talk to us about it?” Holtsclaw said. “Why do something like this? I don’t understand it.”
Holtsclaw said she is glad she discovered the danger before her dogs did, but worries it may happen again.
“I just get sick to my stomach,” she said. “They’re my children.”