The dog’s death appeared to be premeditated and well planned.
Last week Penny Kotterman discovered that her dog, Jaeger, had been poisoned in the backyard of her Ahwatukee Foothills home, near Wildwood Drive and 14th Avenue.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 16 years. I’ve never had any complaints about him,” said Kotterman of Jaeger, the German Shepherd/Chow mix her son got for her two years ago from a rescue shelter.
But there is no question that it was a deliberate act.
“The vet tells me that this was terribly purposeful,” Kotterman said.
Apparently a ball of dog treat type substance with a core of what the veterinarian identified as rat poison, was tossed into Kotterman’s backyard, near where Jaeger liked to hang out, around 8 p.m. March 14.
Jaeger, who usually didn’t eat treats from strangers, apparently nosed open the ball of food and probably licked the poison, which resulted in a slow death, instead of instantaneous death. Hours later, when it was clear the veterinarian couldn’t help, Kotterman had her dog put to sleep.
“It was just so awful. It was clear that someone wanted to kill that dog,” Kotterman said.
The death of Jaeger was also a shock to neighbors.
“It’s very sad and most scary for people with barking dogs on the golf course,” where strangers can get easy access to a backyard, said Jill Parisi, who doesn’t know Kotterman, but who lives nearby and has dogs of her own.
Police, while upset, are at a loss when it comes to finding a suspect.
“No suspect information and anybody can buy the rat poison – if that’s what it is – over the counter. This kind of leaves everyone scratching their heads for motive and potential suspects,” said Sgt. Scott McCauley. He called the poisoning of Jaeger, “very disturbing and repulsive.”
Kotterman is also at a loss as to whom would want to kill her dog.
“He was a rambunctious dog, but extremely friendly.” She admitted that he did bark sometimes, “but he didn’t sit and bark all the time,” Kotterman said. Besides, she hadn’t gotten any complaints from neighbors for ages. And with the homeowners association available to enforce the CC&R’s, anyone with a problem with Jaeger could have easily reported a complaint.
“It’s not like there wasn’t something they could have done if they didn’t like the barking,” Kotterman said.
Chad Blostone, a board member for The Foothills HOA, said that it has and will help homeowners who have problems with neighbors, including barking dogs.
“We’ve had a lot of these over the years,” he said. But this is the first time Blostone said that an apparent barking dog problem has resulted in a dog being killed.
McCauley said the city also has a process for people to follow with barking dog complaints, if that is what caused the death of Jaeger.
“I would encourage folks, if they have problems with their neighbor’s dog, we would like to mediate that first, person-to-person. If that doesn’t work there is a formal process that they can file a barking dog complaint with the city prosecutor’s office,” so that problems don’t escalate, McCauley said.
Meanwhile, killing a pet is a crime, and police would like information on what happened to Jaeger.
“It’s what we preach all the time. If anyone sees anybody or anything suspicious, to call it in,” McCauley said.
Anyone with information on Jaeger is asked to call Crime Stop at (602) 262-6151. And for more information on how the police can help mediate conflicts between neighbors, call Officer Chad Williamsen at (602) 534-6534.