Friday, May 12, 2017

Oregon: Michael Lynch, 76, accused of poisoning neighbor’s dogs with deadly ricin-like toxin

OREGON -- A Northeast Portland man is facing several animal abuse charges, accused of poisoning his neighbor’s dogs with a ricin-like toxin.

Richard Schmidtke said his two dogs survived - but barely.

Michael Lynch, 76, made his first appearance Thursday morning on charges of first-degree attempted aggravated animal abuse, two counts of first-degree attempted animal abuse, second-degree animal abuse and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Lynch told Fox 12 by phone Thursday afternoon he was innocent.

But investigators said in court records that Lynch was frustrated over Schmidtke’s barking dogs and called animal control a number of times.

When Animal Control officers failed to find Schmidtke's dogs in violation of the noise ordinance, records show Lynch warned them he would “handle it on his own.”

Schmidtke said he came home one day in March 2016 to a “vile” message on his answering machine.

“[Lynch] said that he was not going to tolerate this and that I would lose these dogs and he would see to it,” Schmidtke said. 

"I was having a cup of coffee on my patio and I saw him throw poisoned meat into my yard four different times.”

Schmidtke said his dogs were vomiting, unable to move and seriously ill.

In court records, the prosecuting district attorney described reports from veterinarians who tested the dogs’ stomach contents and the pieces of meat and wrote they “found a principal component of castor oil and ricinine and [the veterinarian] explains that castor oil acts as a laxative but can be poisonous in large amounts and ingestion of ricinine can cause death and her report also notes that there may be ricin which can kill adult humans in very small quantities.”

Court records also show that when deputies arrived to serve a search warrant at Lynch’s home, Lynch approached them, admitted he was armed and “reached for his waistband.”

Deputies recovered a gun that had been concealed in his waistband but noted Lynch did not have a concealed weapons permit.

Once inside his home, investigators wrote that they found:
  • castor seeds, from which ricin can be derived
  • wrapped meat in a green liquid
  • a jar marked “botulism poison”
  • lists of poisons
  • calendars noting “use slingshot to shoot meat over bushes,” the dates the dogs were barking and the dates Lynch “threw meat over the bushes.”


“I think the man is [mentally] sick,” Schmidtke said. “That’s my guess.”

Schmidtke is now filing a civil suit against his neighbor as well, seeking $400,000 in damages.

Lynch bailed out of jail and is back home pending his court case.

He told Fox 12 by phone "I didn't do anything to his dogs," and when asked about the ricin-like toxin found in the dog's stomach, he claimed, "I don't know nothing about that."


(KPTV -May 11, 2017)