A San Diego man accused of poisoning his neighbors’ dogs appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.
Jerrold Alan Schwartz faces charges of poisoning and attempted poisoning of dogs.
Diane Ferreira talked with NBC 7 San Diego in an exclusive interview about what’s been happening for more than a year along Arizona Street in the University Heights neighborhood.
From September until May 2015, residents say they found Vicodin and rat poison coated in peanut butter in their yards.
“We aren’t talking one or two pieces,” Ferreira explained. “There were dozens of pieces.”
Owners’ never knew of anyone trying to poison dogs until Mickey, a rescued Terrier mix, died in September 2014 – a veterinarian told his owners the dog may have been poisoned.
As a result, the vet pumped the stomach of another dog named Hobbes, a mix that was rescued after Mickey died.
Neighbors worked hard, pleading with County Animal Services employees to listen. With enough surveillance video, they say they made their case.
Ferreira said she was also worried about children wandering by and picking up the pills.
Judge David Szumowski ruled that media reports could not show Schwartz’ face and he approved a protective order barring any contact between the defendant and the alleged victims during the case.
Deborah Brueggeman said she and her neighbors check their yards every morning before letting dogs out.
“We feel the sooner this case is resolved, the sooner we’re going to get back to a normal life again,” she said.
Ferreira said this changed the feel of the neighborhood and cost thousands of dollars in vet bills.
“My dogs passed away from old age, right before this happened, (and) I’ve been afraid to get another dog,” she said. “I don’t feel like it’s safe when someone is throwing poison over your fence, trying to poison any dog that barks.”