Three people died after eating poisoned dog meat in Kratie province on Sunday, and another died on Monday after the same dog meat was served at a funeral for one of the deceased, officials said.
The dog in question died mysteriously in Snuol district’s Snuol commune last week and the owner planned to bury it over the weekend, but then his neighbor, 76-year-old Chea Rath, offered to buy it for a barbecue, according to commune police chief Thai Lithon.
“The owner of the dog did not know the dog had been poisoned. He wanted to bury it, but Chea Rath wanted to buy it to cook for eating. He did not want to throw it away,” Mr. Lithon said.
Chea Rath then proceeded to use the animal to cook a number of dishes, he said, and invited his friends and neighbors to share in the spoils.
“There were many people who ate that food on Sunday, but only three people died because the others were strong,” he said, naming the deceased as Chea Rath; his daughter-in-law, Proeng Saron, 35; and neighbor, Bin Naykeng, 37.
On Monday morning, dozens of people turned up to Chea Rath’s home for his funeral, where the deceased man’s children, not knowing what had killed their father, grilled the leftover dog meat and fed it to the mourners, according to district governor Kong Kimny.
“Twenty-six villagers who ate the dog meat on his funeral day are getting treatment at the district referral hospital, while another who was seriously ill was sent to the provincial referral hospital,” Mr. Kimny said.
“We sent our officials to investigate whether they were poisoned by dog or alcohol…but according to their preliminary conclusion, it was caused by the dog meat.”
Contacted last night, commune chief Van Doeun said a fourth person had died in the hospital, but did not identify the victim.