Family believes dog was poisoned after finding troubling note in mailbox

SAUK CITY (WKOW) — A Sauk City couple is mourning after their dog suddenly became sick and died. They weren’t sure what happened to Jax, their three-year-old rescue dog. However, when they received a note in the mail, they became outraged.

“Nobody should have to go through this,” said Jim Buttolph, Jax’s owner.

Jim and his wife, Lisa, are still trying to come to terms with their beloved dog’s death.

“He would be in the window every night waiting to greet me,” added Jim as he remembered the times spent with his best friend.

The Buttolphs have spent the last five months being foster parents to several dogs through Brown Paws Rescue in Waunakee. Jax got along with everyone one of his foster brothers or sisters as he played with them in the backyard.

“He looked like a tiger with the coloring,” said Jim as he smiled, remembering what his pet looked like. “He was bronze with stripes.”

But the fun times, the greetings in the window, the long walks and the constant pets came to an end on Labor Day.

“He wasn’t holding down his food,” said Jim.

The Buttolphs said weeks before the holiday weekend, Jax started throwing up. They took him to the vet where, at first, a veterinarian thought Jax has some sort of blockage.

They ran tests, but nothing out of the ordinary popped up, according to Jim.

The couple took Jax home to see how he would do.

“He just didn’t seem right to me,” Jim said. “We tried getting him back on regular dog food and he would just throw it up.”

A switch to a special diet seemed to fix Jax’s problems, according to Jim and Lisa.

Then, came Labor Day.

“We went for our regular walk and came home and it was about an hour after we got home. He looked at me and I knew something was wrong,” Jim said.

What happened next, shocked Jim. He said Jax became violently sick.

“He just couldn’t stop throwing up. He was throwing up like a white bile. He looked really bad,” Jim explained. “He looked like he had aged about 10 years and his gums had turned pure white.”

After Lisa rushed home, they drove Jax to an animal emergency room where Jax collapsed before even getting into a room.

The visit would end with a vet tech telling the couple the bad news.

“She said, his heart-rate is slowing down and we need to let him pass because his heart is slowing down,” Jim said as he fought back tears. “And you need to come in and say goodbye.”

Jax died. Since then, the Buttolphs have tried moving forward.

However, on Tuesday, they were reminded of the heartbreaking moments when they received a note in their mailbox.

“There was a post-it in there that said, ‘Woof, woof, grrr,'” Jim said. “It was like they were telling me they were the ones who killed my dog and were laughing about it and taunting us.”

The couple doesn’t know who would do such a thing. They aren’t sure if someone could become mad enough at them, for whatever reason, to take the life of their dog.

“We went from heartbreak to rage and disgust,” Jim said.

“You killed an innocent animal,” he added when asked if he had a message for whoever may have poisoned Jax.

It’s why they’re wanting to find who may have poisoned Jax and warn others who live nearby.

“Anybody’s dog — this could happen to somebody else very easily,” Jim said.

The couple notified Sauk Prairie Police, who now have the letter and are investigating.

The Buttolphs say they will now add security cameras around their home, hoping to stop any potential future poisonings from happening.

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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