LAKE COUNTY, Tenn. — A Tennessee family is grieving after someone allegedly poisoned their pet dogs Wednesday night in the rural area of Lake County.
"We have to have our dogs cremated because we can't have them back," said Tammy Leland, an owner of the poisoned dogs. "We can't bury them."
Leland said someone tossed food out along Highway 22 near Cates Landing Circle.
"It's intentional," she said. "This was intentional. They laced the food, dropped it in front of my house and killed four dogs."
She said her dogs ate the food she says was laced with pesticides and were dead within minutes.
"They made it probably five feet from where it was dropped, to the yard, and fell over dead," Leland said.
Leland said the dogs' names were Ellie Rae Ann, Daisey, Tipps and Athena, and she considered them more than just pets.
"Our pets were our babies, you know," she said. "The white lab, my daughter raised from a pup. She found her in the yard and raised her on a bottle. These were our family."
The Lake County Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation and has requested assistance from the Pesticide Section of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Neither agency would comment on the matter, but Leland said scraps of food left behind are being tested.
Rose Ellison, who owns Rosie's Rescue in Lake County said she and other volunteers are outraged at the poisonings, and she called whoever is responsible "sick."
"Somebody that's not right in the mind, if you ask me," Ellison said. "They're cold-hearted. They have no empathy, no compassion. They think dogs are quote 'dogs,' and they have no feelings and just kill it."
There have been three other animals poisoned in Lake County, including a fox found near where Leland's dogs were killed.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Office.