News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, December 12, 2013
Sheriff’s report: No malicious intent
Rat poison on Perkins Street “isolated” incident

by Anne Berleant

Packets of rat poison found on Perkins Street on December 2 came from a resident’s garage and were deposited along the street by the wind or by animals, reported the Hancock County Sheriffs Office after concluding its investigation.

“They were scattered like the wind had blown them,” said Lieutenant Tim Cote in a December 9 phone call.

Resident Kenny Eaton said he had found one lodged up in a tree.

Deputy Luke Gross had fielded calls from residents after the packets were found, and told Town Manager Dale Abernethy on December 5 that as it was not a criminal activity, the department could not pursue it, said Abernethy. However, Gross investigated the scene in person on December 7.

“It appears from Deputy Gross’s report that he found the source of where the packets came from,” Cote said. “They came from a neighbor’s garage and were either deposited [along Perkins Street] by animals or by the wind.”

Residents had reported up to 50 packets, some torn open, some not, found along Perkins Street.

“It appears to be an isolated incident and nothing that had any malicious intent,” said Cote.

However, one casualty of the accidental incident was Wallace Alston’s 11-year-old dog, who first showed symptoms of illness on December 8.

“She was perfectly okay until Sunday [December 8] evening, when she manifested the symptoms that…rat poison is associated with,” he said. Alston, a Perkins Street resident, said that “several times a day the dog would either walk along Perkins Street or be out walking along the yard.”

When Alston took his dog to the veterinarian on Monday, the rat poison packets had not yet been found.

Talk among residents and Castine Calendar Facebook postings alerted dog owners as soon as the packets were found, with concern of the incident’s proximity to Otter House child care center also expressed.

Many residents also called the sheriff’s department over the past week.

“There were at least 10 calls when I was here on Friday [December 6],” said dispatcher Nikki Dennison.