Dog Hater Places Pins Around Trees in New York

May 15, 2019 Updated: May 15, 2019

An unidentified suspect is believed to have placed hundreds of thumbtacks in the grass around trees in New York, causing injuries to dogs.

“It’s terrible really. It’s hard to believe someone would do this,” dog owner Cody Butler told The Daily News.

He added that whoever booby-trapped the tree beds in the Queens neighborhood should be punished.

“They’re knowingly putting at risk the lives of loved animals for no reason,” Butler told the publication.

Police found the thumbtacks hidden in the mulch of three tree beds in the vicinity of a new apartment building along 23rd Street in Astoria, according to ILoveMyDogSoMuch.

The publication surmised that the reason whoever put the sharp objects there was hoping to deter dogs.

The pins have allegedly injured at least one dog, ABC13 reported, and police have launched an investigation.

An area resident identified only as Caitlin told ABC13 this was not the first time she had come across dangerous objects embedded in the tree beds.

“It was about a month ago, we put her in this bed right there to go to the bathroom as usual,” said dog owner Caitlin. “And she was sniffing around in it and I looked at her face, and it was covered in blood.”

She told the publication she suspected glass had been placed there with the intent of causing injury.

“I noticed it was a piece of glass, and then went back to it and found more large shards of glass in it,” Caitlin said. “Like sharp dagger pieces of glass.”

As yet, police have no suspects, the Daily News reported.

The allegedly booby-trapped tree beds are located across the street from a new dog park.

Tree Beds Off Limits to Dogs

According to urban tree pit care guidelines published by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, tree beds are off limits to dogs.

“Keep dogs and dog waste (both liquid and solid) out of the tree pit. The waste will overwhelm a tree, burning its trunk, and throwing the soil nutrients out of balance.”

The department says trees in the city struggle to thrive in an inhospitable environment.

“A city tree must battle many urban hazards daily—from air pollution and bicycles to dogs and people. In addition to above ground threats, tree roots also must contend with tough below–ground conditions. A tree pit or lawn strip provides limited space for these forest giants and this soil is a tree’s only source of nutrients.”

The Parks & Recreation authority says because of these factors, “it is essential to create as nurturing a tree pit as possible.”

The department encourages using fences to discourage canines from accessing tree pits.

“Consider installing tree guards. Strong metal guards around the edge of the pit protect the soil by discouraging pedestrians and dogs from walking through the pit.”

The guidelines say some measures that limit access—such as tree grates—are inadvisable.

“Do not place tree guards close to the tree. Do not build solid walls; these encourage people to add soil to the tree pit (see above guideline). We do not recommend tree grates, the metal grating that sits flush with the sidewalk. Trash accumulates beneath the grates and trees that outgrow a grate can be fatally girdled or strangled.”

The department offers no specific guidance on the use of embedded objects to discourage intrusion into tree pits.

It’s unclear what laws may have been broken by placing the pins in the mulch.

Dog Swallows Food Laced With Pins

The incident in Queens recalls the case of a golden retriever named Murphy who last year swallowed a piece of discarded food laced with 10 pins.

The dog’s owner Terence Doherty told ABC7 that he realized his dog had swallowed the pins when the dog defecated.

Earlier, Doherty noticed the dog had pins in its mouth after eating the laced food at an upper Manhattan park.

He said he believed someone had intentionally booby-trapped the food to hurt an animal.

“It was just shocking to look down and see. It was like evil,” Doherty told the outlet. “I have to believe it was an evil person that was behind it all.”

He took the dog to the vet and an X-ray revealed eight pins in its stomach. Surgery was required to remove them.

The dog is believed to have made a full recovery.

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