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Champion racing dog mysteriously killed by dangerous chemical

WILLMAR - Sheila Quinn rushed her Jack Russell Terrier, Leinie, to the veterinarian one evening in October after he started uncontrollably shaking. She knew something was wrong, but couldn't have predicted just how grave the outcome would be.

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Sheila Quinn, of Willmar, is shown in this undated photo with Leinie, her Jack Russell terrier who died in October. There was no way to save Leinie after he somehow ingested methyl parathion. Submitted photo.

WILLMAR - Sheila Quinn rushed her Jack Russell Terrier, Leinie, to the veterinarian one evening in October after he started uncontrollably shaking. She knew something was wrong, but couldn't have predicted just how grave the outcome would be.

It was clear to Quinn and her veterinarian, Alex Iden, that Leinie had ingested some kind of chemical. After doing everything they could, Leinie died only a few hours later.

"Nothing (Iden) would have done could have saved him," Quinn said. "It's just something that never should have happened. It's senseless."

A toxicology report revealed the cause of Leinie's death: a substance called Methyl Parathion, banned in many countries and highly restricted in the U.S.

The strange thing about Leinie's death is he was never near a place that should have had the substance.

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Quinn remained in Willmar the entire day he died, stopping only at few places in town and at her parents' house.

She found nothing after checking her parents' yard for any traces of the chemical.

She talked to local farmers. None of them used the chemical.

"We'll never know where it came from," Quinn said. "It's just kind of baffling that he got into it."

Quinn reported her situation to law enforcement. It is unlikely, however, that the cause of this incident will ever be determined.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, residential use of Methyl Parathion is prohibited. The chemical can only be used with an agricultural permit on certain crops.

Methyl Parathion is not only dangerous to animals, but is listed by the EPA as acutely toxic to humans.

According to the EPA, exposure may occur through inhalation, ingestion or skin absorption. The chemical affects the nervous system and disrupts chemicals in the brain, causing symptoms like headache, dizziness, muscle twitching, vomiting and blurred vision.

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Methyl Parathion can lead to respiratory failure and death in cases involving higher exposure.

"There was no drug we could have given him to calm him down or stop the effects," Iden said.

While Quinn can't bring Leinie back, she said she will always have memories of him being a great companion and racing dog.

Leinie traveled across the county, winning countless racing championships. He even finished second in finals for the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge in 2013.

"He's the best thing that's ever happened to me, besides my son," Quinn said. "I just never imagined he'd be gone soon."

Quinn now has made it her mission to educate people about Methyl Parathion and its dangerous effects.

According to the EPA, Methyl Parathion is a brown liquid that smells like rotten eggs and turns milky white when mixed with water.

Anyone who finds the chemical can bring it to their household waste facilities..

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"I want people to know if they have anything containing Methyl Parathion, get rid of it," Quinn said.

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By Nicole Hovatter, Forum News Service

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Leinie, a Jack Russell terrier who belonged to Sheila Quinn, died of methyl parathion poisoning in October. Quinn has not been able to determine where he came in contact with the deadly pesticide and wants people to know about the dangers it poses. Submitted photo.

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