A routine walk at a Studio Park last week turned into a medical emergency for one pet owner after his dog was sickened by drugs it had found on the ground.
Andrew Epstein told KTLA that he and his dog, Nova, walk in Woodbridge Park nearly every day, but that after one walk last week, his 4-year-old hound wasn’t herself when the pair returned home.
“Having trouble walking, wobbling, her eyes started getting glassy,” Epstein said of Nova’s condition at home.
After a visit to a 24-hour animal hospital, the vet informed Epstein that Nova had somehow ingested THC and cocaine.
“And that’s when we were absolutely shocked, just stunned and the vet was asking, ‘Do you know what she ate, how much she ate,’ and we said, ‘We have no idea,’” he said.
It’s not the first time something like this has happened. In August, a 15-year-old rescue dog was permanently blinded after eating something containing oxycodone that it found while on a walk in Santa Monica.
Epstein believes these run-ins are more common than most people realize, and he’s concerned for other people’s pets and families with young kids who play at Woodbridge Park.
“We get together and we bring the kids to play and then we are afraid they can find something that’s dangerous for the kid, you know?” parkgoer Rosivel Reyes told KTLA.
Nova’s owner said he’s observed a growing homeless encampment near the 101 Freeway, not far from the where the park is located. The encampment, according to a spokesperson for City Councilman Paul Krekorian’s office, has been removed several times, but remains problematic, saying in a statement:
“The homeless encampment under the 101 freeway at Moorpark has been a recurring problem for our community. In the last four months, this encampment has been removed six times. A small number of people continue to return to the site and store their belongings there. At present, the LAPD North Hollywood Division does not have sufficient staff for daily enforcement. The site is scheduled for Care+ cleanup by L.A. Sanitation, and Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) workers will be on hand to offer the occupants assistance with interim shelter and other services.”
In the meantime, Epstein said he wants people to be vigilant and to learn from his experience.
“What’s the difference between a dog and a little kid grabbing something and putting it in their mouth,” he said. “It’s shameful that we have to even be afraid that a walk in the park can kill a dog.”