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Poison rumors went viral, but pet dog likely choked on cheese, owner says

The mystery over what killed Abby, an Olde English Bulldogge – a poisoned piece of cheese or a nasty parvovirus? – turned into a Facebook-fed frenzy after the initial media report about the pet’s death.

Abby’s death led to posts speculating about what happened to her and about what killed other area pets, including several Rottweilers and pit bulls in Lovejoy.

Facebook users even formed an online support group.

Now, Abby’s owner has offered a simpler – but no less heartbreaking – explanation of her death.

The Olde English Bulldogge most likely died by choking on the cheese.

“It wasn’t what everyone blew it up to be,” said Abby’s owner, who asked not to be identified.

The Amherst resident said in late June his wife heard a couple of teenage boys yell at the dog. A piece of cheese flew over the fence just as his wife went outside to see what was going on.

She immediately commanded Abby not to eat the cheese. But her command came too late, and it’s what probably caused Abby to suck in and start choking, the Amherst resident said. The dog died within minutes.

The police later filed a report and SPCA investigator William Heine looked into what happened.

Heine figured it was highly unlikely that poison could have worked so quickly to kill the dog.

“My personal feeling is that that’s awful quick to have a dog dead in two minutes,” Heine said.

Choking or a seizure are the more likely possibilities, he said.

The owners said Abby had all her shots, including the parvo shot.

Over the weekend, the investigator and the owners talked about the possibility of death by choking. Without any suspects, it didn’t make any sense for the non-profit to shell out about $1,000 for a necropsy.

The owners agreed, so a necropsy was not performed.

The story about Abby’s death went viral after the initial TV news report, which the owner called accurate except for mistaking the dog’s breed.

“The rest of the story has just enough truth to make it a story,” the owner said.

If the station had just reported Abby likely choked to death, “there would be no story,” the dog’s owner said.

Now, the Amherst resident and his wife have a new 2-year-old dog named Bailey.

“We just loved Abby so much, that we felt that we had so much so give,” he said.


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