Dog dies after visit to local park


Charleston, S.C.— The City of Charleston says the HAZMAT crew that went out at Bees Landing Dog Park found no evidence of hazardous materials at the park.

The city shut down the park Monday after a West Ashley family told them their dog died after playing at the park and their veterinarian suspected poison.

The dog park is part of the Bees Landing Recreation Center on Ashley Gardens Boulevard in West Ashley.

We talked to the Harwell family, who wanted to share the story of how their dog Dixie died so that other families would not have to go through a similar heartache.

Mrs. Harwell tells News 2 she is thankful the city is taking the death of her dog seriously and closed the park to investigate the situation.

When Sarah Harwell and her husband took Dixie to the dog park on Sunday, they had no reason to think their healthy pet would never return home.

Harwell describes what happened when they loaded Dixie into the car. “She just started yelping and her jaw started locking up. Her tongue and gums turned black.”

They rushed Dixie to the emergency vet, but it was too late. “She was crashing,” said Harwell. “With her jaw locked up, they couldn’t intubate her. They tried CPR for a little bit and then she was gone.”

Their vet said Dixie showed signs of Strychnine poisoning or something like it. The toxin is often found in rat poison and can kill an animal within hours of exposure. “The vet said it was something that was quick acting. An acute toxin that had a quick onset…and we want to make sure that people are aware so that so animals are hurt and no people are hurt.

The Harwell’s woke this morning without Dixie in their bed like usual. The couple described the dog saying, “She was our kid, our baby and she was a special dog so it’s really heartbreaking.”

Charleston Fire Department Chief Karen Brack said, “We do not take reports of this nature lightly. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we sent our HAZMAT crews out to the park to inspect for any signs of toxic materials that would be unsafe for people or their pets. Our highly-trained HAZMAT team assessed the park and did not find any indicators of harmful chemicals at the time of their investigation.”

As a result of the negative tests, the park will re-open on Tuesday February 14th.

The Bees Landing dog park, located on Ashley Gardens Boulevard, is open daily from 8:30AM to dusk.

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