Pet owners warned to be careful after meatballs stuffed with fishing hooks found at dog park

- The Volusia County Sheriff's Office is warning pet owners who go to Bicentennial Park to be careful after someone put nearly a dozen meatballs, filled with fish hooks, at a Florida dog park. 

They say that on Tuesday, one of their deputies responded to report of contaminated meat found in the dog park. The deputy found balls of meat with small fish hooks embedded inside them.

Rita Michelini's dog, "Buddy," found some of the meatballs on Tuesday while they were at the Bicentennial Dog Park in Ormond-By-The-Sea.

"I called for him to drop it. He dropped it immediately, and I went to check what it was. I was concerned. If 'Buddy' had ingested any of that, he would have gotten hooked somewhere inside of him," Michelini said.  

She rushed "Buddy" to the Tomoka Farms Veterinarian Hospital.  There, Dr. Nick Avis said the dog did not swallow any of the half-inch hooks, and he'll be just fine.

"A small hook like that could get caught anywhere along the digestive tract -- the esophagus, above the heart, in the chest -- which would require specialized surgery," Dr. Avis added. 

Reportedly, nobody saw who put the meatballs out there.

The deputy says that the meatball was still cold and sweating, like it had been frozen and was thawing in the sun for awhile. Several were very mushy. The meat appeared to have the consistency and smell of liverwurst.

The deputy went on to cut the meatball open. He reported that he observed a small piece of metal showing in some of the meatballs. Inside the meat were several small fishing hooks. 

The park and recreation personnel were contacted, as well as the Volusia County Animal Control. Several searches are ongoing and parks were only re-opened if no meatballs were found. 

Deputies said two years ago, deputies were called to the same park after dog owners found similar meatballs with ibuprofen inside.  

The Sheriff's Office is investigating.  Anyone with information is asked to called 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). 

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