Sheboygan’s ‘bone mystery’ on dog-walking trails might be harmful

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SHEBOYGAN – Bones are being left on common dog-walking routes along the lakeshore and riverfront, which the Pet Friendly Task Force is asking the “bone mystery.”

Michelle Warner, who’s on the Pet Friendly Task Force, first began noticing the bones when she moved to Sheboygan in November 2019.  

“So originally, I’d see them between the North Beach and North Point, along that walkway,” Warner said. “It was very random. I assumed, you realize, they were just form of occasionally scattered within the grass, and I assumed it was wild animals that were just leaving them. After which fast forward to last summer. It became really predictable.” 

Warner began finding them within the dirt underneath light poles which can be along the river walk’s northside and underneath the exercise path register front of the Sheboygan Yacht Club lawn on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Broughton Drive.  

A bone underneath a light pole on the northside of the Sheboygan river walk.

She first found the bones sporadically, but last fall, she began finding them every other week. Because the spring, Warner has seen them three or 4 times per week, if no more.  

The bones are sometimes wrapped in bread but are sometimes either chicken bones or what Warner calls “vertebrae bones.” 

A bone covered in bread that Michelle Warner found.

“I do not know what they really are, but form of the round ones with a hole in the center that perhaps you’d see with marrow inside. That might be probably the most common,” Warner said.  

Chicken bone ingestion may cause choking and gastrointestinal tearing, in keeping with the American Kennel Club.  

Warner said her dog gets sick even from the larger bones. 

A large bone that Michelle Warner found on a common dog-walking path in Sheboygan.

“It’s something that ought to NOT cause panic for dog walkers/owners, however it is something that we might prefer to keep watch over to be sure that everyone’s pets are secure, as ingesting chicken bones could be a hazard to their health,” Alderperson Betty Ackley, who can also be on the Pet Friendly Task Force, said in an email. 

The neighborhood police officer who attends the Pet Friendly Task Force received no calls from community members regarding updates on the bone mystery situation in July. 

Warner said she hopes whoever is leaving the bones doesn’t have malicious intentions. 

“It at all times scares me,” Warner said. “I come from larger cities where there have been dog poisonings prior to now. So, I do not think that that is the intention, however it’s just my background and experience. So, it’s scary to me. I decide to imagine that any individual appears like they’re leaving a treat out, after which I pick it up daily so perhaps they feel prefer it’s being received well. That’s what I decide to imagine, but I don’t know.” 

She said the motivation continues to be unknown.  

Warner said she thought she began to notice a pattern around full moons and latest moons last fall, which made her suspect the bones might be a part of a ritual. But after the duty force reached out to different communities and he or she began noticing the bones more regularly, and sometimes wrapped it bread, that became a less likely possibility.  

“If any individual thinks that they are doing a great thing, I’d just ask that they respect the incontrovertible fact that some dogs do get really sick off of those bones, they will choke on them,” Warner said. “They’re really a danger, each to dogs or to wild animals. So just to contemplate that that it could be doing more harm than good.” 

If you might have more information regarding the bone mystery, you may contact the mayor’s office.  

More: Sheboygan’s latest state-of-the-art animal shelter opens to the general public Friday. Here’s what to know in regards to the facility.

Contact Alex Garner at 224-374-2332 or agarner@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @alexx_garner.