Fears for safety are growing after dogs were poisoned and a knife was discovered on the doorstep of a home in an upmarket village.
Three dogs were left fighting for their lives after eating meat baited with a drug that is normally used by vets to put large animals to sleep.
In the first case, on October 27, a Burmese mountain dog and her 12 week old puppy were poisoned by meat thought to have been planted in the garden of a home in Hudnall Lane, Little Gaddesden.
Police were called in again last Thursday (November 12) when a knife was discovered on the doorstep of the same home.
Just days earlier on November 6, four year old lurcher Belle ate some poisoned meat while being walked on farmland off Hudnall Corner.
Belle’s owner Simon Hunn, who believes the meat may have been picked up by a bird from the previous victim’s garden and dropped in the field, said: “We noticed she was having trouble standing. She was staggering all over the place and her pupils were completely dilated.
“The vet put her on a drip and induced vomiting.
“He said there was something like a 60 per cent chance she would survive the night.”
Thankfully all three dogs survived the trauma and are back at home with their families.
But the ordeal has sparked fears that crooks, for unknown reasons at this stage, may be deliberately targeting pet dogs.
Mr Hunn said around a year ago, another family dog belonging to a neighbour, died when it was poisoned.
“About a year ago across the fields from us there is a couple there whose dog was posioned and killed a year ago,” he said.
“Whether this is related it is impossible to say but there are now three incidents of poisoning all in a rural community.”
He added:“It’s pretty shabby behaviour if people are poisoning dogs or doping dogs for the hell if it.”
Police say they are investigating all avenues into how the dogs came to be poisoned and are warning pet owners to be vigilant and to report anyone acting suspiciously.
PC Mark Procter said: “It is thought the dogs had eaten meat poisoned with Pentobarbital, which is the drug vets use to euthanize large animals.
“Understandably this is extremely upsetting for the owners and distressing for the dogs and I would appeal to anyone who has any information about who may be responsible to please contact police.
“I would also like to ask people to be vigilant and report anyone acting suspiciously or any vehicles seen in the area in suspicious circumstances.
“I would also ask dog owners to be mindful in case any meat may have been thrown into their garden and to look out for anything whilst out and about and discard anything you may be unsure of.
“Should you suspect poisoning, please contact a vet immediately.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Herts Police on 101, quoting crime reference number D2/15/804.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or through their online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.