For Immediate Release, March 7, 2014

Contact:  Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 318
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund, (707) 795-2533 x 1015

$20,000 Reward Offered for Information on Poisoning of Scientist's Pet Dog

Researcher's Work Highlights Dangers of Highly Toxic Rodenticides on Wildlife

ARCATA, Calif.— Wildlife and animal rights groups today increased to $20,000 a reward for information about the fatal poisoning of a Northern California dog owned by a leading ecologist studying how the same controversial poison affects endangered species. The dog, named Nyxo, died Feb. 3. He belonged to Dr. Mourad Gabriel, who has been investigating how the highly toxic rat poison brodifacoum threatens wildlife, including Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls. A necropsy revealed that the dog had ingested red meat along with brodifacoum.

Justice for Nyxo
A PDF of this poster is available for download here.

“Nyxo was a handsome, inquisitive rescue dog who was at my side on many research trips,” said Gabriel. “His death was so unnecessary.”

Dr. Gabriel discovered Nyxo was having seizures and had vomited red meat, which the family had not fed to the dog. The dog was immediately taken to a local veterinarian, who was unable to save the animal’s life. Dr. Gabriel drove Nyxo’s body to a laboratory at the University of California at Davis, where a necropsy determined Nyxo had died of brodifacoum poisoning after being fed meat and the poison.

“Although the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate death remain unclear, we demand justice for this malicious poisoning and condemn the use of violence to silence any scientist, researcher or citizen whose work aims to conserve wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “What is very clear is that the reckless use and sale of these poisons must be banned to end the indiscriminate killing of pets and wildlife.”

The Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Legal Defense Fund increased an initial award of $2,500 that was issued last month. More than 53,000 people have signed a petition demanding justice for Nyxo’s poisoning.

“Poor Nyxo was a beautiful rescue dog and did not deserve to suffer and die,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “We hope this substantial reward offer will help Humboldt law enforcement track down the dangerous individual at large who could do such a thing to a helpless family pet.”

Anyone with information about Nyxo’s poisoning is encouraged to email or contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539. Click here for more information.

Individuals wishing to contribute to the reward fund can visit

Anticoagulant rodenticides interfere with blood clotting, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding that leads to death. Second-generation anticoagulants — including brodifacoum — are especially hazardous and persist for a long time in body tissues.   

The state of California and the Environmental Protection Agency have taken steps to ban hazardous d-CON products containing brodifacoum because of the documented poisonings of children, pets and wildlife. Brodifacoum in d-CON products is still being sold because the manufacturer of d-CON, Reckitt Benckiser, is currently challenging the EPA cancellation order. Conservation groups have called on stores such as Wal-Mart and Lowes to stop selling d-CON products that the EPA has declared unsafe.

A coalition of nonprofit organizations, municipalities, businesses and scientists formed the Safe Rodent Control Coalition to promote effective, affordable rodent-control strategies that protect children, pets and wildlife. For more on the Center’s work to combat anticoagulant poisoning click here.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit

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