TEMPLE — When Deborah Bensfield’s ex-husband, an Iraq War veteran, returned from Baqubah in 2007, he was able to find a bright spot in the form of a dog — Bear.
Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Bensfield’s ex-husband committed suicide on March 30, 2013.
Left with Bear, who she affectionately called “my baby,” Bensfield had him until April 20 when she had to have him euthanized after he became deathly ill.
The illness was allegedly caused by hamburger meat laced with ethylene glycol — more commonly known for its use in antifreeze, according to a veterinarian’s report.
According to the report, the prognosis for Bear was grave because of lack of urine production and seizures. The veterinarian gave Bear medication to slow the seizures and once Bensfield arrived, Bear was euthanized.
The report stated Bear’s urine tested positive for between 50 and 75 milligrams of ethylene glycol.
Antifreeze poisoning affects the brain, liver and kidneys.
The veterinarian, Dr. James Black, said the serum test proved positive for ethylene glycol, and using meat or ground beef is a common way to poison animals.
Since her dog was kept in the house or backyard, without access to anything that would have antifreeze, Bensfield said she believes her dog was deliberately targeted.
She said she has been a vegetarian for 14 years and has no meat in her home.
Now Temple police are investigating a report of animal cruelty, Cpl. Christopher Wilcox said Thursday.
Black said no one from the Temple Police Department had contacted him as of Thursday in regard to Bear’s poisoning.
House Bill 653 and Senate Bill 1724 called “Loco’s Law” went into effect Sept. 1, 2001. The law made animal cruelty a felony and punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail.
“This offense specifically is addressed under 42.09(a)(5) and is a state jail felony,” Wilcox said.
Section 42.09(a)(5) refers to the administering of poison to kill an animal.
A petition to promote the ethical treatment of animals and bring justice in connection with Bear’s death had 1,669 signatures as of Thursday.
“I need justice for Bear. He was such a sweet angel,” Bensfield said.