Investigation underway: 3,000 to 5,000 thumbtacks discovered at dog park, handed over to police

BERKELEY, California — Police say they have stepped up patrols and are considering putting cameras to try to catch whoever is spreading thousands of thumbtacks across a Northern California dog park.

KNTV reports ( dog owners have picked up between 3,000 and 5,000 tacks from the Ohlone Dog Park and a nearby creek in Hercules over the past three weeks and handed them over to police.

Dog owners say they clear one area of tacks only to come back the next day and find more tacks strewn in the same place.

Anthony Hayes brings his dog to the park and says people have even found thumb tacks in the water bowls.

Hercules police have posted notices alerting people to be cautious and asking anyone who may have information to call them.

PETA has issued a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case -- and an additional $1,000 for surveillance cameras at the park.

PETA posted this statement on its website:

"Following reports that thumbtacks have been found all across the Ohlone Dog Park in the past several weeks and that at least two dogs have been injured by them, PETA is sending a letter to the local police chief offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible—and another $1,000 toward the installation of security cameras at the park.

“All dogs desire and deserve a safe, protected space in which to run, explore, and interact with other dogs,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA hopes the police will install cameras and that anyone who can help nab the person or persons responsible for trying to harm dogs will come forward right away.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—advises families to keep their animal companions safely indoors and never leave them unattended outside. When taken to dog parks, they should be watched closely, and dogs should always be accompanied in the backyard and escorted on walks on a comfortable, secure harness and leash."

PETA’s letter to Bill Goswick, police chief of Hercules:

February 12, 2016

Bill Goswick
Police Chief
City of Hercules

Dear Mr. Goswick:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including hundreds of thousands across California, regarding the thumbtacks strewn throughout the Ohlone Dog Park and to make an offer that would benefit the residents of your community, human and canine alike: We’d like to contribute $1,000 toward the installation of CCTV cameras at the Ohlone Dog Park and a $1,000 reward to encourage someone to come forward with any information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this cruel act.

All dogs desire and deserve a safe, protected space in which to run, explore, and interact with other dogs, and this designated dog park should, of course, offer a safe way for responsible guardians to meet their animals’ needs. Cruelty to animals is always a community concern. People who abuse animals rarely do so only once and often go on to harm humans as well. According to the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, 76 percent of people who abuse animals also abuse a family member, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders.

Our offer would help protect all Ohlone Dog Park visitors—both people and dogs. We would love to work with you and the police department to make this happen. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing back.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk