Carolyn Catlett is devastated.
On April 5, Carolyn and her husband arrived at their Milan home to find their dog, Rocky, seizing underneath the porch in their backyard with something blue surrounding his mouth. In the ten minutes it took them to rush him to the veterinarian, he died.
Rocky, a lab mix who was nearly four years old, had been adopted by the Catlett’s from the Humane Society when he was just 12 weeks.
“He was just a lot of fun and just a good dog,” said Catlett. “Our family and friends — everyone was devastated. It wasn’t just us.”
The family had suspicions that Rocky was poisoned and took him to Michigan State University the next day to receive a necropsy. The report found Rocky had methomyl in his stomach, a carbamate insecticide that is highly toxic to humans, livestock, pets and wildlife.
Once the report discovered it was a pesticide that killed Rocky, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development conducted an investigation. In the disposition letter written to Catlett, MDARD stated that they found traces of methomyl in two spots in her backyard and on the tree near the property line of their neighbor’s yard. However, the letter also stated they could not determine who supplied the methomyl to Rocky.
Catlett said that an incident like this happened in March as well but after being able to tell something was wrong with Rocky, she gave him peroxide to induce vomiting.
“We were just trying to do the right thing and go through the police, but it’s really just incredibly frustrating because I don’t want this to happen to any other animals,” said Catlett.
Catlett said deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office also came to investigate a few days after Rocky’s death, but came to the same conclusion as MDARD.
Monroe County Prosecutor Michael A. Roehrig said the pesticide found is commonly used in the agricultural community and there was not enough evidence to suggest someone fed it to Rocky purposefully.
“At this point we’re not even suggesting there was a crime,” Roehrig said.
However, the investigation is not completed and Roehrig added that if evidence is uncovered that shows a crime has been committed and an individual purposely fed the dog poisonous substances, the prosecutor’s office would act accordingly.
“I want justice so bad, but the further out we get, I get more discouraged,” she added.
Catlett said she will keep trying to get to the bottom of Rocky’s death and that she plans to discuss the matter with a civil lawyer to see if there are any other steps she could take.
“I just want to keep trying just in case there’s some hope for justice,” she said.