Family speaks out after neighbor confesses to poisoning family's dog - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau, MO

Family speaks out after neighbor confesses to poisoning family's dog

Family speaks out after neighbor confesses to poisoning family's dog
By: Holly Brantley

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - What if one of your neighbors confessed to poisoning your family pet? Even more alarming -- he's also your mailman!

People in one Cape Girardeau neighborhood can't believe the strange turn of events since our story aired in November.  You may remember the story of Lola, a German Shepard, killed after eating BBQ ribs laced with antifreeze.

Police say 58-year-old Ralph Ziegler of Ashland Hills Drive admitted to planting the food that killed the Hodges family dog.  As it turns out, people in the Ashland Hills neighborhood say Ziegler is also the mail carrier.

According to Mindy Hodges, after the story aired on Heartland News a neighbor came forward.

"They told me they also received a note like the one we got saying 'keep your barker quiet,'" said Hodges. "Only in their case, the note was signed by Mr. Ziegler."

Mindy says she and her husband gave police the information and soon learned Ziegler confessed to poisoning their 10-year-old German Shepard.

"We just don't know what to think," said Hodges. "It bothers me he comes here to deliver our mail.  I feel more violated than I did when I thought it was a stranger."

Police say Ziegler faces animal abuse charges.  According to police, Ziegler confessed, telling them he and his wife are light sleepers, and were upset because Lola was always barking."

Heartland News went to Ziegler's home for comment, but no one answered the door.

"He's got the wrong dog anyway," said Mindy. "Lola was hardly allowed outside for any length of time and she was no barker.  She was a great dog.  She made us feel safe.  We miss her."

"I don't go to bed until midnight," said Scott Roth.  Roth lives next door to the Hodges.  "I have three small children.  We would've noticed.  It makes you feel like you live in a strange neighborhood, not an established one like this."

Roth said Ziegler also carries his mail.

'It's strange.  My kids are in the yard when he carries the mail and it makes me feel a little uncomfortable," said Roth.

Mindy says the boys really miss Lola.  She says she's had no contact with Ziegler.

Meanwhile, the news magazine "Inside Edition" also plans to cover the story this week. 

As for Ziegler he will appear in court later this month.  He could face up  to a year in jail or a fine of up to $1000.

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