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Potential animal serial killer terrorizing St. Pete neighborhood

At least three pets killed so far, say neighbors
Posted: 4:55 PM, Mar 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-02 10:11:52Z

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Back in 2016, a dog owner received a note saying, "Shut your dog up or we will."

Days later, Annabelle, a three-year-old brindle pitbull terrier mix, nearly died from kidney failure.

The owner says the kidney failure was caused by wet dog food laced with Acetaminophen, known best as Tylenol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Rob McCahan says he believes the contaminated food was tossed into his yard from the alley behind his home on 44th Avenue North in St. Pete.

The dog found and ate the contaminated food before the owner realized there was a bag there at all.

It happened again in March 2018, and this time, Annabelle died.

"She was the most lovable dog in the world," says McCahan, whose cell phone is filled with photos of his beloved dog, who he rescued from a local shelter.

She died after several days in the animal hospital.

"These people are sick. I'm just kind of confused right now. Trying to figure out who did it," adds McCahan.

The second poisoning coincided with a second note left on his door that read in part: "Shut him up. Your neighbors are tired of it."

McCahan says Annabelle didn't bark too much and certainly didn't bark any more than his neighbors' dogs.

Just a few houses down from McCahan's, on the 700 block of 44th Avenue NE in the North East Park community of St. Pete, another dog apparently died in the exact same manner.

A brown bag with poisoned food was thrown into another yard, killing an otherwise perfectly-healthy 8-year-old golden retriever, according to the pet's owner.

This pet owner shared her devastating experience on social media online with her neighbors, saying their dog died this past Monday, and wanted to warn others that someone was doing this.

"I'm afraid for animals," she writes, adding, "My family was devastated and are still recovering. Please be aware. We're upgrading security."

St. Pete Police were out in the neighborhood again Friday trying to confirm this second report of a dog's death, but have not yet been able to.

Another neighbor on the same 700 block of 44th Avenue NE tells ABC Action News that his cat was found hanged about 8 months ago.  

A woman who lives on nearby 43rd Avenue NE tells St. Pete Police that she has received similarly-threatening letters recently, but her pets are doing okay. A police officer who has reviewed all the letters says it's in the same handwriting.

Several residents declined to speak to ABC Action News on camera out of fear that their pets would be targeted as well if they were seen speaking about their concerns.

The FBI says on their website that violence against animals is a major indicator of future violence against other animals, and future violence against people, including kids.

Note: We are not publishing the name of the second dog owner because we have not been able to get in touch with them yet.