Rat Poison Culprit Remains a Mystery
A recently concluded investigation by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) could not determine who left dozens of bags of rat poison outside a South Lake Union restaurant.
A woman discovered the rat poison last December when her dog, a 4-year-old Staffie/Cattle Dog mix named Maddie, ate some green pellets it found on the sidewalk.
While trying to find the origin of the pellets, the dog’s owner said she found approximately 50 bags of rat poison in the planters outside some of the restaurants there.
Some of the bags were torn open and spilled rat poison on the sidewalk by the planters.
When she saw the bags of rat poison near the pellets, she immediately took Maddie to an emergency vet.
Due to her owner’s quick action, Maddie survived the incident and has fully recovered.
After taking Maddie home, she went back to the area to ensure the poison was cleaned up.
The brand of the poison was Ramik® Green. Its labels said, “HAZARD TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAUTION: Keep away from humans, domestic animals and pets. If swallowed, this material may reduce the clotting ability of the blood and cause bleeding.” It smells like fish to attract rodents.
The rat poison interferes with the production of blood clotting factors, and dogs that ingest it usually die of excessive internal bleeding in 3-5 days.
After learning about the incident, WSDA opened an investigation to determine who dumped the rat poison around the planters.
WSDA compliance investigator Kevin Jensen led the 4-month investigation which took him along a complicated trail that found who was responsible for applying rat poison in the area but couldn’t pinpoint who left the bags of Ramik® Green out in the open.
Mr. Jensen began the investigation on December 30. The first thing he did was inspect the area where the woman found the rat poison. Here’s what he found according to his report:
“I found three empty Ramik® Green packages located around the 1001 Fairview Ave N building complex; I observed no loose Ramik Green rodenticide pellets on any walkway through the property.”
He also noted that he observed 15 Orkin Pest Control bait stations, 2 Terminix bait stations and 3 unlabeled bait stations.”
No one he interviewed from the businesses in the immediate area knew who left it there.
Mr. Jensen later determined that 3 companies were responsible for rodent control in the area – Terminix, Orkin, and Eagle Pest Eliminators which services a nearby Seattle Public Utilities pump station.
Representatives from all these companies told him they don’t useRamik® Green. The application records Mr. Jensen examined confirmed their statements.
An Orkin employee he interviewed did tell him that “he has witnessed empty Ramik® Green rodenticide packages around the 1001 Fairview Ave N property for at least the year of 2015.”
Applicator Doesn’t Use Rat Poison
Mr. Jensen then contacted Condo Commercial Grounds Maintenance, which maintains the landscaping on the property, to see if any of its employees put out the Ramik® Green. Its commercial applicator told him that the company didn’t apply any pesticides to the property in 2015.
The applicator also said company doesn’t use rodenticides on any of the properties they maintain. The company’s application records and Mr. Jensen’s inspection of its pesticide storage area confirmed this.
Lastly, Mr. Jensen spoke to the president of the company that owns the property to determine if their employee that provides janitorial service to the businesses knew anything about the Ramik® Green packages found there.
He said he never saw any of the packages but he “occasionally saw dead rats around 1001 Fairview Ave N. and associated them with the Orkin Pest Control boxes.”
At that point, Mr. Jensen had interviewed all the companies/employees involved with pesticide/rodent control on the property. He concluded none of them were responsible for dumping the rat poison planters.
Three Minor Violations
The only thing he found were three minor violations:
- Three of Orkin’s bait traps “were not labeled with the proper information.”
- Orrin’s pesticide application record from last November was missing the EPA registration number for one of the applied pesticides
- One of the commercial applicators for Condo Commercial Grounds Maintenance had an expired license
I don’t think any of the companies/employees Mr. Jenson interviewed were responsible for dumping the Ramik® Green. Their records showed none of them even used that rodenticide.
I guess someone from one of the businesses in the area could have decided to deal with the rats him/herself and left the rat poison around the planters, but leaving over 50 bags of it in one specific spot wouldn’t have made sense.
Fast Response by WSDA
Even though WSDA couldn’t determine who put the rat poison there, I appreciate the fact that once they received the complaint about it they immediately opened an investigation and did a thorough job of trying to locate the responsible party.