Four dogs have now died due to poisoned meatballs sprinkled around a cross-country trail in France.
Three dogs died within a span of 15 minutes after eating the meatballs last Sunday, per The Times.
On Tuesday, a fourth dog ate them on the trail and later died, according to France 3.
A string of poisonings has rocked the southern French town of Vauvert after three dogs were poisoned at a cross-country race last Sunday, and two other dogs were poisoned days later.
According to the New York Times, as dog owners and their pets arrived at the scene of a cani-cross race — a cross-country race where runners or cyclists are attached to their dogs — tragedy struck in the early morning. As the dogs and their owners prepared for the race, three dogs started convulsing and vomiting and died within 15 minutes.
Over 50 poisoned meatballs were littered around the race site, almost instantly killing the dogs, according to the report. The site was closed off and the annual race was immediately canceled.
"They were just suffocating with all the foam and everything," Federation of Canine Sports and Leisure veterinarian Bérengère Poletti, who organized the event, told the Times. "I don't know who did this, what are the reasons, but it's just horrible."
By Tuesday, other dog owners walked the trail with their dogs, ignoring signs to stay away, according to France 3. Two more dogs were poisoned, and another died, bringing the total number of dogs dead from the poisoned meatballs to four.
On Thursday, police sent DNA from the deceased dogs to a lab in Lyon to determine which poison was used, and began to review security footage from around the town.
They believe that the culprit used gloves to mix in the poison to mask fingerprints. The culprit faces a potential of five years in prison as well as a 75,000 Euro fine, according to France 3.
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