Mystery green pellets found in DI neighborhood identified as rat poison
The mysterious green substance found in several public areas and some private yards around Daniel Island has been identified as rat poison - and two local pet deaths could be linked to the substance.
The rat poison was discovered on May 2 and the Property Owners’ Association was alerted to it on May 3. Originally described as an “unidentified granular substance” by the POA, it was announced on May 16 to be a rodenticide called Ramik Green.
According to the POA, how the substance got into these open areas is still unknown.
Ramik Green was generally found in the Ralston Grove area of Daniel Island Park on Ithecaw Creek Street, Brailsford Street, Lesesne Street, and Chimney Back Street.
“The DIPOA would like to restate that neither the DIPOA staff nor any of their contractors have used or applied Ramik Green in any of the areas that they maintain,” they said in a public statement released to residents.
The POA also wanted to remind locals that they should never take it upon themselves to apply harmful substances to public areas.
Neither the POA nor the Charleston Police Department have concrete leads on the identity of the individual that spread the rat poison. Ramik Green’s label specifies that the product may only be used inside or within 100 feet of a structure or inside a motor vehicle.
“We’ve had a lot of people indicate that they’ve seen it in locations it’s been seen, but not a whole lot to go on at this point,” said Lieutenant Patrick McLaughlin of Daniel Island-based Team 5.
The penalty for spreading poison unregulated is tricky to find because there are barely any mentions of poisoning in the S.C. Code of Laws, but it is still a punishable offense.
“If intent of harm could be proven, then the individual could be charged with animal cruelty or a similar charge,” McLaughlin added. “Civil penalties could arise from a successful lawsuit as well.”
The Daniel Island Animal Hospital (DIAH) said that two cases of suspected poisoning in the last few weeks have come to their attention. Likewise, POA Field Operations Manager Chris Hamil told The Daniel Island News that they are aware of two pet deaths potentially related to rat poison.
“It [Ramik Green] is an anticoagulant, which can cause internal bleeding and death from ingestion, but it can be proactively treated before those symptoms arrive,” said DIAH Practice Manager Abby Suiter.
Clinical symptoms take two to five days to appear, according to Suiter. They include lethargy, inappetence, extended abdomen, difficulty breathing, coughing, and swollen joints, depending on the location of the bleeding.
Rat poisoning for a pet is treatable, as long as symptoms are heeded early.
“If a pet is symptomatic, it becomes an emergency situation, and they need to go to an emergency veterinary hospital,” Suiter warned. “If an owner knows that their pet ingested this toxin and gets them to a general practitioner, like us, quickly— within a few hours— we can induce vomiting to help reduce the amount of toxins in their symptom. We can go ahead and get them on the medication they need to be on.”
Some residents have drawn parallels between this situation and a case in Durham, North Carolina where a woman’s dogs ingested rat poison tossed into her yard by an unknown party.
At this time, Daniel Island citizens are encouraged to scan their yards for rat poison to ensure their pets’ safety and to alert the POA and police department if any is found.