Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 7, 2014

Contact: Jonathan Evans, (415) 436-9682 x 318

55,000 People Call on California Attorney General to Investigate Poisoning Death of Scientist's Dog

Owner's Research Highlights Dangers of Highly Toxic Rodenticides on Wildlife

SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity delivered messages from more than 55,000 people to California Attorney General Kamala Harris today requesting an investigation into the fatal poisoning of the pet dog of a scientist studying the deadly impacts on wildlife of the same toxin that killed his dog. A necropsy showed that the dog, Nyxo, had been fed red meat and poisoned with the highly toxic rat poison brodifacoum. Nyxo belonged to Dr. Mourad Gabriel, one of the nation’s leading ecological researchers on the dangers the rat poison poses for wildlife like imperiled Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls.

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 projects,” said Gabriel. “His death, like the deaths of so many wild animals, was so unnecessary.”

In early February at his northern California home, Dr. Gabriel discovered that Nyxo was having seizures and had vomited red meat, which the family had not fed him. The dog was immediately taken to a local veterinarian, who was unable to save the dog’s life. His body was taken to a laboratory at the University of California at Davis, where a necropsy determined Nyxo died of brodifacoum poisoning.

“Thousands of Californians are demanding justice for this malicious poisoning and we 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. “While the exact circumstances of Nyxo’s death are still unclear, we know that the reckless use and sale of these poisons must be banned to end the indiscriminate killing of pets and wildlife.”

Investigations by local authorities have not led to any convictions and tens of thousands of people have called for a statewide investigation into the fatal poisoning. In addition, the Center for Biological Diversity and Animal Legal Defense Fund are offering a $20,000 reward for information about the poisoning of Nyxo. Those wishing to contribute to the reward fund can visit

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

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 products containing brodifacoum because of the documented poisonings of children, pets and wildlife. On July 1 a statewide ban on the most dangerous direct-to-consumer rat poisons went into effect. This ban prohibits the sale of products by d-CON, the only second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide which could be sold directly to the public. Mice and rats eat these slow-acting poisons, making them easy prey for predators in their weakened state. However, the predators are then poisoned by eating the rodents.

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 rodenticide poisoning click here.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 775,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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