Three dogs are dead after eating poisonous meatballs that were strewn around the site of a dog-racing competition.
France 23 reported that at least five dogs fell ill after eating poisoned meatballs during a “dog competition,” and three of them had died.
The site is now closed to the public.
In one case, a resident walked his dogs despite prohibition signs at the location, investigators said, according to France 23.
The New York Times reported that the incident occurred at a “canine cross-country race in southern France,” and police are investigating. About 50 poisonous meatballs were scattered throughout the location of the race, The Times reported.
"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."
Some dogs died within 15 minutes of arriving at the location, according to The Times.
According to CNN, during the event, “dogs are harnessed to an athlete in a form of cross-country running.”
The meatballs had “black pellets” inside of them, which are being studied, CNN reported.
CNN reported that police are investigating for a potential charge of animal cruelty and quoted the president of the Federation of Canine Sports and Hobbies, Yvon Lasbleiz, as saying, “This weekend a particularly odious act struck our sport.”
No motive or suspect were released. The three dogs who died were named Oslo, Palma and Opale, according to CNN. It’s not clear what type of poison was in the meatballs.
The animals suffered a “sudden illness,” according to CNN.
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