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Exterminator Charged After Dog Ate Rat Bait And Died

July 19, 1985

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The death of television producer Jay Redack’s poodle from rat poison has led to municipal charges against an exterminator who spread the poison in a neighbor’s back yard.

The city attorney’s office says Dewey Pest Control Co. and its exterminator, Wendell Davis, improperly used poisoned rat bait intended for sewers in a suburban yard in March 1984.

Pooh, a nine-year-old poodle belonging to next-door neighbor Redack, producer of the ″Hollywood Squares″ game show, wandered into the yard and ate some of the poison, prosecutors say.

The dog died three days later. Blood tests showed the poodle’s death was consistent with poisoning by rodenticides. Dewey employees confirmed that they had used the bait blocks and insisted the use was lawful.

″Pooh was like our child; we have no children,″ said Redack’s wife Teri. ″It’s not only an animal. When you love something it just doesn’t make any difference, and we loved her very dearly and something very dear was taken from us very needlessly and pointlessly.″

But defense attorney Richard Moore contends the sewer use was only a suggested use and says Pooh should not have been in the neighbor’s yard, anyway.

He added: ″There is no way for anyone to say with medical certainty the dog died from (the poison).″

If convicted, Davis and the company could each be fined $2,000. Davis, an 11-year Dewey employee, could also be sentenced to one year in jail.

Dewey executive Ronald Pelham called the case ″an absolute absurdity, a waste of taxpayers’ money.″ But Deputy City Attorney Keith Pritsker said that if the company had admitted making a mistake and agreed not to use rat poison again the same way, there probably would not have been a trial.

Pritsker said the blocks of poison are clearly labeled: ″Suggested use: For control in sanitary and combination sanitary and storm sewers....″ They also say, ″Caution: Protect bait from children, pets and domestic animals.″

The case, before Municipal Court Judge Mel Red Recana, is expected to go to the jury early next week.

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