Attention pet owners. Be on the lookout for mothballs on the ground in your neighborhood. Residents living on North Laurel Avenue near Fountain Avenue in West Hollywood tell KNX News that they believe a dog-hating neighbor is purposely putting toxic mothballs on lawns throughout the community.
KNX news reports that a West Hollywood resident’s little dog nearly died recently and that a vet bill indicates his dog was poisoned by mothballs. The man wished not to be identified out of fear that the suspect lives in his building.
Another resident says she lives on the same street that this has been happening for years, so the number of dogs that have been sickened or killed is unclear.
She said the community wants the person putting the poison out to be arrested, but the sheriff’s department told them they couldn’t do anything.
According to the pet poison helpline at petpoisonhelpline.com, mothballs are pesticides that slowly release a gas vapor to kill and repel moths (and their larvae) and other insects. Mothballs are also used to repel snakes, mice, and other animals, though this use is not recommended and can be harmful to pets, children, and the environment. Mothballs come in cakes, scales, powder, balls, cubes, spheres, and flakes and may contain the insecticides naphthalene, paradi-chlorobenzene (PDB), or occasionally camphor. Older mothballs most commonly contain naphthalene. Due to concern for naphthalene’s flammability and toxicity, most modern mothballs now contain PDB instead.
The chemicals in mothballs can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or absorbed through the stomach and intestines. Cats are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mothballs, but dogs are more likely to ingest mothballs. Naphthalene mothballs, or old-fashioned mothballs, are considered the most toxic type of mothball. Modern PDB mothballs are less toxic but still can cause illness, especially when ingested. Clinical signs of mothball poisoning include vomiting, mothball-scented breath, pale or brown gums, weakness or lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, and organ failure (e.g., liver, kidneys)
Call the 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center at 855-764-7661 if you believe your pet has ingested mothballs.