ANIMAL lovers believe their pets are being targeted maliciously following a spate of deaths in Sheffield.
Residents in Stannington are now being urged to keep an eye on their cats and dogs and avoid a popular park.
It is thought about four dogs have died in mysterious circumstances in just weeks, while another became ill after eating biscuits thrown over the garden wall of its owner and a cat living nearby was doused with cleaning fluid.
The issue has been highlighted on Facebook, with residents warning fellow villagers to avoid walking their dogs in Stannington Park, which has been linked to the deaths of pets. Notices have also been put up near the park and in local shop windows.
Barry and Ruth Frost lost their 12-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Levi about a month ago. The couple regularly used Stannington Park to walk the family pet.
They noticed something was wrong when his behaviour changed, then he began shivering. A vet failed to find an obvious problem, but kept him in for observations.
The next morning, Mrs Frost received a phone call to say her dog had died.
Mrs Wilson, 74, said: “Since it happened I’ve heard of four or five dogs having the same symptoms and dying suddenly and nobody seems to know what it is causing it. I know people are scared to take their dogs into Stannington Park.”
Sarah Clayton, 23, began alerting people in Stannington when she discovered biscuits thrown over her garden wall, which she claims led her terrier Sam to fall ill.
She said: “My dog ate one and was sick for two days. It does seem someone has it in for the animals in our area.”
Mother-of-three Joanne Dawson lost cats Willow and Tink-Tink in the space of 24 hours last year.
She believes her pets were the victim of a deliberate ploy, having shown symptoms of poisoning before their deaths.
She said: “It beggars belief someone could be doing this maliciously.”
David Hargate, of Sheffield City Council, said: “I am not aware of these incidents or of any connection to Stannington Park, but if anyone has information about how these problems are being caused, I ask them to pass this on and we will investigate.”