Authorities Investigating Fish Hooks Stuffed In Dog Treats Along Appalachian Trail

Over the weekend, a hiker stumbled upon a disturbing scene of dog treats laden with fish hooks along the Appalachian Trail between PA Route 873 and the George W. Outerbridge Shelter. For day and thru-hikers accompanied by a canine companion, these maliciously-planted treats pose as an intentional threat to furry friends on this popular trail.

Photo Credit: Lehigh Gap Nature Center

While all the treats found on Sunday, May 5, were removed, Lehigh Gap Nature Center cautioned those using this pathway to stay vigilant. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), there is no evidence that any pets or wildlife were injured from these lethal treats. However, there is no way of knowing if any treats still remain along the trail.

Investigations Underway

Given the immense popularity of this section of trail, PGC has emphasized the gravity of the situation, urging the public to come forward with any relevant information that could aid their investigation. 

“We are continuing to investigate as this is a pretty disturbing and very unusual event. We certainly want to hold the person that’s responsible for this accountable,” Dustin Stoner, a Game Warden for PGC, told GearJunkie in a recent news article. 

Under Pennsylvania state law, tampering with pet treats with malicious intent carries severe legal consequences, including felony charges and substantial fines. There could be additional charges if wildlife became collateral damage to these sharp, hook-infested snacks too. 

As the investigation unfolds, authorities urge anyone with pertinent information to come forward and assist in the effort to ensure the safety of both pets and their owners. The PGC would like to connect with anyone who was in this area over the weekend that could give them leads, including photos of license plates or vehicle descriptions. Contact the game commission at 833-PGC-WILD.

Tips for Keeping Your Canine Safe

In the wake of this unsettling discovery, concerns regarding the safety of canine companions have been amplified. Here are a few proactive measures you can take to safeguard your four-legged friends. 

  • Vigilance Is Key: Remain observant of your surroundings while hiking with a dog. Keep a close eye on suspicious items or unusual behavior along trail, especially in this Pennsylvania section where officials are unsure if harmful treats remain.
  • Leash Up: Keep your dog close by to prevent them from inadvertently coming into contact with harmful substances, especially in areas with potential hazards, such as tainted treats.
  • Train Recall Commands: Train your dog to be reliably responsive to recall commands. Practice regularly to reinforce obedience and responsiveness. 
  • Carry First Aid Supplies: Just as you would for your own safety, equip yourself with canine-specific first aid essentials, such as tweezers, compression wraps, and antiseptic wipes. 
  • Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter any suspicious items or behavior along trail, report it to the authorities immediately. Your prompt action could prevent any further harm to humans, pets, or wildlife. 

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Comments 1

  • Michael 'Mizman' Misiaszek : May 11th

    This is alarming and despicable. Pure evil.

    I’m going to say this anyways, against my better judgement but this is clearly an overt act of aggression towards our Trail community…

    A few years ago in the Lehigh Gap area, a known person was responsible for repeatedly finding and knifing an entire water cache of about fifty one-gallon milk jugs of precious water that was left for hikers during a dry season on a long waterless stretch on AT.

    I’d like to suggest that the authorities go and visit that sick bastard and see what he’s been up to lately.


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