NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a warning for pet owners in the East Village after one woman says her dog was sickened by consuming the remains of marijuana cigarettes left on the sidewalk – and it’s happened more than once.
Caitlin Tormey is happy her 2-year-old French bulldog, Dusty, is doing much better now. But Thursday night, it was looking bad.
She believes her dog ate a marijuana cigarette butt off the sidewalk for the fifth time in two years.
“The very first time it happened, I honestly thought she was having a seizer or a stroke. I thought, oh my gosh, my dog is dying,” Tormey said.
She said she and her dog walker always keep close eyes on Dusty, but the dog eats things so fast they don’t even see it happen. The side effects last a long time.
“It causes tremors, vomiting, total loss of bladder control,” said Tormey. “It is scary for them. They don’t know what it happening.”
She lives by the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street. Over the years, she has seen a growing number of people tossing illegal drug remains on the sidewalk.
“A lot of owners don’t realize it is actually pretty dangerous for dogs,” said veterinarian Kian Madden, of the Lower East Side Animal Hospital, where Dusty has been treated and they see about one case a week.
Madden said it usually isn’t fatal but can cause serious problems.
“Usually they get really lethargic, they become neurological, they get dizzy, sometimes they can have heart arrhythmias,” he said.
Now, dog owners and the walking they employ are watching their pets closer.
“I know there could be lots of unexpected things on the street,” one man said.
“It makes me want to be a little bit more aware of my surroundings and how I walk her and where I walk her,” said a woman.
The Department of Sanitation said it’s up to business owners to clean the sidewalks, it only does the streets.
Area vets say if your dog is showing any symptoms, you should never hesitate to get your dog to an animal hospital right away.