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Health Department Pet Death Investigation Inconclusive

March 2, 2015

Further steps recommended to property owner

TACOMA, Wash. – After an initial investigation, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has not been able to determine with certainty what killed a renter’s pet cat and bird in a Lakewood home Saturday. A strong odor remains in the house, and the Health Department has recommended that the owner contact an industrial hygienist to investigate the situation further.

“Everything we’ve seen so far suggests the problem is limited to this residence. And while initial reports were that a carpet-cleaning chemical or an insecticide were to blame, we’ve not been able to confirm that based on available information,” said John Sherman, Environmental Health assistant division director.

“We are providing available information to the homeowner and recommending that he hire an industrial hygienist to investigate the situation further,” Sherman continued. “Until that occurs — and until the renter’s health and safety can be assured — we recommend that the house not be inhabited.”

The resident told firefighters he had returned to his house in the 8600 block of Moreland Avenue SW just before 11 a.m. Saturday and found his cat and bird dead. He also said he smelled a strange odor, according to West Pierce Fire & Rescue. Several other groups — including Joint Base Lewis-McChord hazardous material teams, a support team from Camp Murray and the state Department of Ecology — also joined in the investigation.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to safeguard and enhance the health of the communities of Pierce County. As part of its mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. Learn more at

Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text),

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