Meatballs with fishhooks planted at Ormond Beach dog park, deputies say

Similar incident reported 2 years ago, records show

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Authorities are investigating after raw meat with fishhooks was left at the dog park inside Bicentennial Park in Ormond Beach, according to deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded to the park Tuesday afternoon after a park-goer saw Rita Michelini's mini schnauzer Buddy was eating one of the balls of raw meat.

"He's my life, he's my baby, he's my child. He likes to search for turtles and bark at them and at one point, I looked back and he had something in his mouth," Michelini said.

Buddy was taken to Tomoka Pines Veterinary Hospital with two meatballs and fishhooks were found inside them, deputies said.

Animal hospital staff examined the meat brought in with the dog and found several small fishhooks. After an X-ray veterinarians determined that the dog did not eat any of the fishhooks, according to the report.

"As small as that hook was, a dog could very easily could have swallowed that quickly, without even knowing they had swallowed it. That could have been very detrimental to his health," Dr. Nick Avis of Tomoka Pines Veterinary Hospital  said after examining Buddy.

A total of five raw meatballs were found near the east fence line of the small dog section of the park. Several small fishhooks were found inside the meat found by deputies, according to the incident report.

No one at the park saw who left the meat, according to the report. There are no cameras at the park.

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Deputies said the meat appeared to be "sweating" like it was frozen and thawing in the sun for awhile. The meat consisted of minced paste, like liverwurst, according to the report.

Volusia County Parks and Recreation employees closed the park until they could search the area for more contaminated meat. 

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Another incident happened at the same park two years ago, where ibuprofen pills were found inside meat in the small dog park area, deputies said. Ibuprofen can be toxic for dogs.

At  a public meeting Tuesday deputies said that citizens expressed disagreement over the expansion of the dog park.

Parks and Recreation is looking into having security cameras installed, according to the report.

Officials from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said the case is closed for now because they don't have any witnesses, but that could change if someone comes forward.