June 2014

Crime & Safety Report: June

Keith Burbank

Last month a wavelet of panic roiled Potrero Hill residents after a meatball was discovered at Mississippi and 19th streets. A few days earlier a plate of meatballs with white pills lodged inside, thought to be left to poison a dog, had been found in the Sunset. In that incident, the Sunset resident, who was walking her dog, “took a closer look, and noticed what appeared to be several white pills lodged inside the meatballs,” according to a San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Taraval Station crime alert. The meatballs were found in the vicinity of 24th Avenue and Ortega. 

Police confiscated the meatballs and sent them to their crime lab for testing, which hadn’t been completed before the View went to print. According to police spokesman Albie Esparza, the meatball case is open, though no other dogs in the Sunset have been reported to have ingested suspicious meat.

In the past 12 months police have made no arrests, nor have any suspects in any of the similar incidents in the City, which include meatballs by the dozen found in the Lower Haight, Cole Valley, Hayes Valley, and Bernal Heights, according to a post on Nextdoor Potrero. Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported a dachshund living in either Twin Peaks or Diamond Heights ingested meatballs cooked with rat poison. That dog, named Oskar, died, according to a Nextdoor Potrero post. 

The Hill resident's dog lapped the meatball, but didn't chew or swallow it before the owner pried the treat from its jaws. Besides suspicious meatballs, Kansas Street resident Alyssa Landy watched a man leave chocolate cake and pennies near McKinley Park recently. 

“I posted [on Nextdoor] about seeing the man who placed down chocolate cake and pennies near McKinley Park,” Landy wrote. Landy called San Francisco's Animal Care and Control office, but Animal Control told her to notify the police. When she contacted SFPD they referred her back to Animal Control. “Nobody came out,” she said, even though she was “able to describe the guy and the location of the cake.” Animal Control was not immediately available for comment about the incident. 

Chocolate can be deadly to dogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ website. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. The ASPCA recommends taking a dog immediately to the veterinarian if it ingests chocolate and shows “more than mild restlessness.” And a post answered by the ASPCA on its website says pennies minted after 1982 are potentially dangerous to dogs. The pennies contain zinc, which can be toxic, causing damage to the animal's kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and red blood cells. 

In the Hill's meatball incident, the resident saw the suspicious food at around 7 p.m., May 8. Later in the evening, police sent a patrol to investigate, but said the meatball didn't fit the same profile as the ones found in the Sunset, which were formed from raw meat. The Hill meatball was cooked. Police didn’t confiscate the meatball; no testing can be done. The resident's dog remains healthy.

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