The poisoning deaths of two Chihuahuas belonging to a former Playboy Playmate from Scottsdale and a Chicago Bears safety has prompted one East Valley family to call for donations to the county’s animal cruelty investigations unit.
The dogs belonged to Jennifer Walcott, Playboy’s Miss August 2001, and her boyfriend, Adam Archuleta, a 1996 graduate of Chandler High School who played football for Arizona State University before turning pro.
The couple lives in Scottsdale, but the dogs were poisoned with strychnine the day after Christmas while staying with Archuleta’s mother in Chandler.
“There were meatballs with green pellets sprinkled on them lying in the backyard near the dog bowls,” said the mother, Vange Archuleta.
She said the dogs, Ace and Ren, were about 11 years old when they died after the tainted meatballs were thrown into her backyard.
Vange Archuleta said she cared for the dogs whenever her son and his girlfriend left town. She said she found the dogs dead on Dec. 26 after being away from home for about three hours.
She said her son’s Italian greyhound, Pierre, was with the Chihuahuas at the time of the attack but did not eat the meatballs.
Vange Archuleta said the dogs were taken to Arizona Animal Clinic, and tissue samples tested positive for strychnine. She said she never received a complaint about barking dogs and did not know who might have a motive to kill the animals.
Chandler police detective David Ramer said officers pursued several leads in the case but couldn’t identify any suspects. He said the case is currently suspended.
Ramer said animal cruelty is a class one misdemeanor that can result in jail time.
Vange Archuleta said the family is asking concerned residents to make donations to the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office to devote to the animal cruelty investigation unit and its no-kill animal shelter.
The sheriff’s Web site says the shelter provides a home for animals while their owners’ court cases are pending.
Donations can be made by calling (602) 876-1212.