WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Dog owners are on alert after there have been at least three mysterious canine deaths in Washington Heights.
The incidents were reported in connection to a stretch of Cabrini Boulevard in Washington Heights.
Eyewitness News spoke with one owner Tuesday who lost his four-legged friend.
"Very playful, very joyful, she played all over the place," Ralph Edwards said. "Very happy dog. Not aggressive at all. She loves everyone. If you start petting her she would just lie down on her stomach."
His 7-month-old Rottweiler Cali was his first dog. But he says two weeks ago the joyful dog wasn't herself.
"I noticed that she was being a little lethargic, and then what really made me worry was she didn't eat," Edwards said. "And when I put food down she tears it up. And then I saw blood."
Then came vomiting and countless trips to the vet - she saw three veterinarians in two days.
"It was painful especially when you don't know what it is," he said. "Sometimes you blame yourself. Did I give her the wrong food?"
Within days, Edwards had to make the painful decision to put Cali down.
He says his vet suspected Cali ate rat poison.
Along Cabrini Boulevard where Edwards used to walk Cali, dog owners say flyers were recently posted claiming several other dogs had gotten sick or died with rat poison being the likely culprit.
"They've put up posters and signs and there's been a really nice communication amongst our neighbors and our community alone," dog owner Melissa Starrs said.
Up and down the block there are rat holes and garbage bags torn open. Dog owners are now on high alert.
"Hearing it more now that there's been multiple dogs getting sick, that's not very common," Starrs said. "So this has definitely been a rising concern for sure."
"The poison is tasty," said Dr. Javier Ramos at Riverside Veterinary Clinic. "That's why the mouse will eat it. And so the animal will go, it will eat it, because it tastes good."
Ramos says if your pet ate poison there will be bleeding from the mouth and diarrhea with blood. If left untreated within three to four days it can be fatal.
He offered advice if you suspect your pet ate poison.
"You have hydrogen peroxide in your house, you give that quickly, the animal will vomit, that will be good," Ramos said. "If the pet keeps bleeding then you gotta quickly go to the veterinarian."
Edwards said he doesn't think it was something malicious, but he thinks people need to be careful.
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