Dog may have been drugged at DuPage pet show
By Dan Rozek email@example.com November 8, 2011 2:58PM
Photo of 'Pixie' a Siberian husky show dog at the center of alleged dog-drugging case in DuPage County. Provided photo.
Updated: December 10, 2011 9:51AM
Jessica Plourde said she hadn’t given her prize-winning Siberian husky any drugs, but still found pill fragments in and around Pixie’s cage last year during a Wheaton dog show.
An undigested pill was discovered after a veterinarian induced the white-and-brown female show dog to vomit, Plourde testified Monday.
DuPage County prosecutors contend 68-year-old Ralph Ullum slipped human drugs to Pixie last Dec. 17 so a competing husky trained by his girlfriend would have a better chance of winning the American Kennel Club-sanctioned show.
Ullum faces misdemeanor charges that include animal cruelty and attempted criminal damage to property for allegedly giving Protonix and a second drug, possibly Benadryl, to Pixie.
Pixie wasn’t harmed by the drugs, but neither she nor the dog trained by Ullum’s girlfriend won the coveted best in show award.
As Ullum’s trial opened, defense attorney Ed Maloney contended the allegations against his client are unfounded, suggesting they came as the result of a long-running competition between rival dog trainers. He noted that when Ullum allegedly was seen putting something into Pixie’s cage, the dog already had finished competing.
“I think when all the evidence is in the judge will determine the state’s case doesn’t have four legs to stand on,” he said.
Two witnesses testified they saw Ullum walk up to Pixie’s cage while Plourde was absent, then slip something inside, though neither could identify what he allegedly gave the dog.
“I saw him put something into her crate and she ate it,” said Terri Meyers, another trainer working near Pixie’s cage.
A veterinarian testified a pink substance found in and around Pixie’s cage appeared to be Benadryl, a human anti-allergy medication, or Acepromazine, an animal tranquilizer.
Both likely would have caused “drowsiness,” though Benadryl would have had a less severe effect on the dog, Patricia Meiser said.
She said an undigested pill found after Pixie vomited appeared to be Protonix, a human drug used to treat acid reflux and heartburn.
That drug likely would have prevented the dog from vomiting, said Meiser, who also shows dogs.
Questioned by Ullum’s attorney, Meiser said AKC rules bar drugging dogs before a show to control their behavior.
Plourde during her testimony said she never gave Pixie Benadryl, though she acknowledged some trainers may feed it to their dogs to try to calm them.
“Some people use it, but I don’t,” said Plourde, adding she didn’t give her dogs any drugs intended for humans.
Judge Ronald Sutter is hearing the case without a jury.