2 Dogs Dead After County Puts Rat Poison in Yard

Posted June 25, 2007

— A Fayetteville woman hired the county to put rat poison in her yard on May 25. Now, two of her dogs are dead, and a third became seriously ill.

The county failed to properly warn her of the poison's danger to her pets, and someone needs to be accountable, Lisa Rey said Monday.

Leda was a lost, hurt pup nine years ago, wandering the side of a road with another pup, one so ragged her rescuer named her "Ugly."

Rey said Monday that she “got in my car, took her to the vet because she was in terrible condition." Leda, she said, has "stayed with me ever since."

And there was Jack, a hound she had adopted from a shelter.

The three had the run of her back yard, but so did rats.

Rey paid $15 for the Cumberland County Health Department to bait her yard with rat poison.

"He laid a bait right there, under the faucet,” she said. The worker tossed pellet bags in places she thought her dogs could reach, she added.

"And he said, 'Well, they may dig some up, and they may toss the bags around, but they'll have to eat their weight in it in order to make them sick.’ I trusted that. And I believed him," Rey said.

In the next few weeks, though, Ugly and Jack were dead. Leda has racked up more than $800 in veterinary bills.

Highland Animal Hospital confirmed that the dogs died of blood clots consistent with ingesting rat poison.

The Health Department has apologized to Rey for the loss of her dogs, but says its employee did nothing wrong. One official describes it as a matter of miscommunication.

"The rat has to eat its weight in the poison in order to die, not the dog eating its weight in order to die," said Tony Ferguson, who works in the department's Division of Vector Control.

“This has happened before, but it’s very rare that it happens because most of the time a dog will not – he doesn’t mess with the bait,” Ferguson said.

Every homeowner who pays for the service must sign a disclaimer that says the county will accept no responsibility for anyone who ingests the poison, Ferguson said. The worker followed procedure, he added.

“He followed the standard procedure and what he was supposed to be doing. He had the owner with him as he was putting the poison down and inside the hole," Ferguson said. He added that policy requires the worker to put poison in holes where rats are known to travel.

Lisa Rey is not satisfied, “Because he looked me in the eye several times and assured me they'd be OK."

As she did nine years ago, she's trying to nurse Leda back to health.

Cumberland County requires workers to have the homeowner with them as they're setting out bait. In response to this case, the department has mandated that every client receive a written explanation of the dangers of rat poison.


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  • LisaRey Jun 27, 2007

    You are right about mean people, and my family has told me to quit reading these posts, because no one can know the whole story here. The whole situation is now beyond me, Ill just see what happens. If I get the law changed, great. If I hold someone accountable for wrong doing..good for me. I never asked for anything more than that.Some of these people are scarey...Ill stay away.Take Care

  • Jun 27, 2007

    Sorry, my mistake. I do feel like im reliving a situation of my own, but no worries. Keep your head up, you are doing what is right. MEAN PEOPLE STINK!!!!!

  • Jun 27, 2007


  • LisaRey Jun 27, 2007

    WHAT??? what are you talking about. I appreciate your support, but Are you talking about my case, or one of your own???lol. Probably a typo, but thanks anyway!!!!

  • Jun 27, 2007

    I have already stated that I do take responsability for trusting someone to do a job that he WAS TRAINED to do,DID have a TITLE, and had been doing his job since 1989.You obviously have no idea what youre talking about.Would you allow your children to play in a yard with evidence of rat activity? Would you just let it go,and let them take over? Please people..Get real.

  • poohperson Jun 27, 2007


    I am not much different than you in life I am sure. I ma raising a well adjusted, well liked child, my husband serves in the military (reserves), and I love my family and pets. I do get angry when people do not take any responsibility for their actions. As I stated, yes there was wrong done by the county, but where has Lisa admitted that she failed to do some free thinking and not allow them to place the poisoning out there at all. If her yard was not fenced in, god forbid a child could have wondered back there and eaten it. All because she assumed someone with a unmentioned title, that she deemed to be qualified (that is a huge assupmtion), with no know certifications told her it was okay. She does have some responsibility the bear here!

  • 82ndwife Jun 27, 2007

    Lisa Rey I want to commend you for taking in those strays like you have done. You did trust others , but what type of world would it be if we couldnt trust anyone that we believe to be trained to do a certain job? I am sorry that you have had to deal with some very harsh, judgemental people here on this site that is intended to inform people of the news . Believe me this is not the best example of North Carolinians on here. You did what you believed to be best and tried to protect you family and dogs from disease that could have been spread by rats, not to mention the nuisance. I think you should be commended for your efforts not judged. I have asked several people that have all agreed they wouldnt know the exact effects of rat poisioning and would have believe this man. Just because someone is ignorant on a subject dosent mean they are an idiot..We need more animal lovers like you ..Great job and best of luck !!

  • 82ndwife Jun 27, 2007

    what ever type of angry, sad people would first have such a name as "kick theirs cover yours" and post such terrible things about someone who tried to do good and be a RESPONSIBLE pet owner. I am so glad that other agencies have gotten involved Lisa nad have found the Health Dept. negligent! Seems that they werent even supoosed to be out there anyway..there is another dept. that was supposed to handle that for ya. hmmmm no wonder they didnt know what they were doing. Jokers wild you def. have some anger issues or suffer from a very unhappy childhhod and some deep embeded issues to be on a news site passing judgements like you do, you obviously DO care or you wouldnt be on here so much. I think some therapy would do you good..and lots of prayer. best of luck to you on that , sorry you have such a sad exsistance..

  • innocent bystander Jun 27, 2007

    "Maybe I can sue the electrician that wired my house after my dog chews through wire's, because he failed to warn me of it's dangers."

    Great example. If your electrician wired your house in a way that left live wires exposed for your dogs to get at, then you'd be a fool NOT to sue because the job was done improperly. Same as the rat abatement job that the HD did in this case, it seems...

  • LisaRey Jun 27, 2007

    How about you call an electrician, and he says if you turn this switch your house will blow up, you say"Well, fix it ELECTRICIAN" He says "All Fixed. "Are you sure?" "Yes Im sure,turn the switch, it will not blow up." Ok, Mr ELECTRICIAN have a good day". Turn switch, house blows up. Who do you hold responsible?