California dog dies of poison owner researched

BLUE LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Sheriff's officials in Northern California are investigating the possibility that a dog was fatally poisoned because of research its owner was conducting.

The 10-year-old Labrador mix named Nyxo died earlier this month in Humboldt County after eating red meat laced with rat poison. The dog's owner, ecologist Mourad Gabriel, says he has been studying the same poison and its effects on Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has opened an animal cruelty investigation. Lt. Wayne Hanson says investigators are considering the possibility that Nyxo was targeted because of Gabriel's research.

No other neighbors have reported using rat poison or having their animals poisoned, and Gabriel did not let the dog loose in the neighborhood.

A $2,500 reward has been offered for information in the case.

©2016 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.