Dog dies less than 24 hours after visit to popular dog park in Charlestown, owner fears poison

Pet owners in Charlestown are on guard after the mysterious death of a beloved family dog.

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. — Pet owners in Charlestown are on guard after the mysterious death of a beloved family dog. The dog’s owners say it happened less than 24 hours after a visit to a popular neighborhood dog park – Eden Street Park – and they’re convinced the animal may have ingested poison.

Another dog suffered a similarly tragic fate less than two months ago.

Neither dog owner has any proof their animal was poisoned, but both are suspicious after losing their beloved pets just hours after visiting the Eden Street Park.

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The city says the inspectional services department searched the park Tuesday but didn’t find any trace of poison.

“This park is usually full of dogs and it’s empty,” said Elizabeth D’Oliveira, who owns a local dog-walking service.

It’s a place known for uniting both pet owners and parents, even in the dead of winter.

“It could be my dog, it could a client’s dog, it could be a child,” D’Oliveira said.

The typically carefree atmosphere that fills the Eden Street Park is on hold at the moment after news of what happened to one of its regular visitors, Gunner, this past weekend.

“These dogs are as much family,” said Tim Donovan, a dog owner. “I wouldn’t say it’s equivalent if somebody took my child’s life, but at the end of the day it’s on par, this is a family member.”

Just hours after their routine walk through the park on Saturday, Gunner’s owners told Boston 25 News their dog stopped eating, became lethargic and, on Sunday, had to be put down.

They say their vet suspected Gunner could have ingested rodent poison.

“[At] this park, there tends to be a lot of animosity toward people who have dogs and people who don’t,” D’Oliveira said.

“Maybe it was an accident, then we know there’s not someone out to get our dogs,” said Steven Murphy, another dog owner.

For the Fasano family, it only adds to the questions about the death of their English bulldog, Gucci, who they say became sick with similar symptoms after visiting that same park back in November.

“We came home, within a couple of hours she got lethargic,” Fasano said. “I tried to feed her she wouldn’t take anything.”

Fasano said Gucci could not be saved and died at a local vet’s office less than 12 hours later.

“I was slightly suspicious at the time, now that this happened, I’m even more suspicious,” he said. “If there was a trend that dogs were consuming something toxic, I would love for that to be investigated and solved.”

Boston Parks and Recreation Department gave the following statement to Boston 25 News:

The safety of all users is the top priority at the Boston Parks Department. We have not changed our typical maintenance schedule and no poisons nor pesticides have been used in the park that would be harmful to pets. We are reviewing this matter to ensure the safety of all at Boston’s parks.
Boston Parks and Recreation Dept.

For now, almost all of the dog owners that spoke with Boston 25 News say they wouldn’t be letting their dogs run free off-leash like they typically would. Local dog walking services are avoiding walking through the park for the time being.