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Utah Pets Sickened By Mysterious, Dark Substance, Owners Say

MIDWAY, Utah – A mysterious substance appears to have sickened three dogs in a Wasatch County neighborhood and county authorities and federal experts said they are trying to figure out what the substance is.

Officials said they weren’t sure if the substance is toxic, but based on the severe reaction of the dogs, they said it could be.

“We didn’t know it was there,” said the dogs’ owner, Robin Baker.

She and her husband, Andrew, still don’t know what made their three dogs sick in their Interlaken neighborhood. They said they think the dark, mysterious substance appeared near the end of their driveway as early as Dec. 1. But, they didn’t know it was there and did not suspect any health threat until they started piecing together the recent illnesses of their three dogs.

The Bakers said they think the dark, mysterious substance appeared near the end of their driveway as early as Dec. 1. (Robin Baker)

“Our biggest bulldog started behaving weird,” Robin Baker said. “He started excessively salivating, started to heavy breathe.”

Fortunately, Ozzy got better in less than an hour.

“So we thought, OK, he’s fine,” she said.

Five days later, their oldest dog, Misty, also fell ill.

“Looked like she had had a stroke,” Baker said.

Still, nothing made them suspicious about the illnesses.

Then, on Wednesday, Andrew Baker was outside with Lola, their other bulldog.

“He saw her go for something on the ground, right next to our driveway, and he saw her recoil,” Robin Baker said.

That was at the end of the driveway, where all three dogs regularly do their business near a power pole. He raced over to Lola, who was frothing at the mouth.

“We checked her, and it was all gone,” she said. “It was done.”

However, they noticed later that night that Lola was frothing at the mouth again.

“Within 10 minutes, she went into a massive seizure,” Baker said.

They immediately began the 45-minute drive to a veterinary hospital in Salt Lake City. Baker said Lola continued seizing and had a temperature of 107 degrees until doctors treated her at the hospital.

“They saved her life,” she said.

Baker contacted Wasatch County Emergency Services on Thursday about the potentially toxic substance at the end of their driveway.

“They’ve been outstanding,” she said. “They’ve come to the house at least three times.”

The director of Wasatch County Emergency Services said they went out and took samples of the mysterious, dark substance staining the ground and they removed it Thursday to eliminate any public health threat.

Emergency services officials have been working with the Wasatch County Health Department to try to figure out what the mysterious substance is. A health department spokesman said they’ve been able to rule out motor oil and are working closely with state and even military experts to identify the substance.

They expected to have results early next week.

“They’re taking it very seriously,” Baker said. “Illegal dumping of toxins is a crime.”

If they can identify the substance, that might help Lola in her recovery and help find the phantom dumper.

“It’s a message to people: don’t dump toxins,” Baker said. “She would have died if we had not gotten her here as quickly as we did. That’s somebody’s fault, whether it was intentional, or not.”

Lola went home Friday and the other two dogs were recovering.

Baker said Lola’s severe seizure may have left her with brain damage.

“She needs more time,” Baker said.

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