PARMA, Ohio -- A warning for pet owners in Parma -- Several residents say their dogs are suddenly becoming sick, and believe they are being poisoned.
"She started, you know, playing with something over there, sniffing it and then she picked it up and I thought it was a nut from the tree," explained dog owner Matthew Slatton.
Slatton says around 10:00 a.m. Thursday, he took his four-year-old Beagle, Judy out to relieve herself, in the backyard of his home on Kenneth Avenue in Parma. He says he found what looked like chocolate bars scattered around his yard.
"I picked it up, I thought it was chocolate, I sniffed it and it didn't smell like chocolate, I kind of realized then, it wasn't chocolate, I knew it was like something bad," Slatton said.
Matthew said he believes someone tossed laxatives into his yard. After calling police, he contacted his next door neighbors.
"This one here was sick, he didn't look right last night and this morning, he had diarrhea and we were concerned about him," said his neighbor, Jill Udell, while holding her Pomeranian mix, Cocoa.
Udell says four of her dogs have been sick in recent weeks and until now, she couldn't figure out why.
"Normally, if a dog's got worms or Parvo, anything like that, it's a condition that starts with vomiting or diarrhea, but they progress rapidly, these ones were just random cases of diarrhea or vomiting in the morning and then they would be fine later in the day," she said.
Jill posted an alert on the neighborhood's Facebook page and said she heard from other neighbors whose dogs had been sick too.
"My neighbor the next corner down, she said her dogs have had gastrointestinal problems recently and she's wondering if that's the case, there's some other people that commented, saying that their dogs have had stomach issues over the last few weeks," she said.
Fortunately, Matt stopped his dog Judy before she swallowed the substance.
"I just love her to death and I can't imagine life without her," Slatton said.