TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) -- Animal advocates are warning dog owners to be on the lookout for someone who could be trying to poison their pets.
Rumors were circulating Tuesday morning that more than a dozen dogs had ingested rat poison and died.
13 News learned it's not that many - but still a concern.
"I just can't understand for the life of me why people would do that to animals. It's just wrong."
Carmen Dominguez's three dogs ate rat poison by accident about a month ago. Two of them were pit bull puppies, the other a beagle mix. She said a neighbor saw someone in a white van throw something over her fence.
"Missy, Baby Girl and Mikey ate whatever they threw over the fence," Dominguez said. "They started getting sick, being sluggish. They tried to save Mikey, Mikey didn't make it."
The other pit bull puppy and the beagle are doing fine, she says. Missy, the pit bull, has been on medications to clot her blood.
Potwin Pet Clinic posted a cautionary sign, saying that 15 dogs had died of ingesting rat poison. Dr. Claudia Terry said she heard through the grapevine that area veterinarians had seen 21 poisoning cases.
"We haven't seen any here, we hope not to see any here. We don't know a lot, but we felt it important to warn our clients."
Terry said it's not uncommon for her clinic to see rat poisoning cases in the springtime. She said when the snow melts, pet owners don't know what may have been buried underneath. Also, more mice and rats come out during the springtime and people buy more poison.
Topeka Animal Control Supervisor Linda Halford said she has not been able to verify anywhere near that number of cases.
She received a long chain email that had originated from a neighborhood watch in late February that warned of 15 dogs dead. She called around to verify any clinics treating dogs for rat poison and only verified the Animal Care Center of 21st and California - where Dominguez took her three dogs. Halford said she would have received phone calls from vets or animal owners if 15 dogs really had been poisoned.
Dr. Conner told 13 News the same thing, that he had only treated three dogs, and hasn't heard of any other clinic that had. 13 News called other area clinics and their doctors said they hadn't.
"It's possible the information, when it was getting passed from person-to-person, got changed a little bit, maybe some of it wasn't quite accurate," Halford said. "But it's still a good idea for people to be aware of things."
"It doesn't make any difference whether it's 3 or 21, we would've still put up the flier," Dr. Terry said.
Carmen agrees and said she hopes that what happened to her pets doesn't happen to anyone else's.
She said she has since installed cameras all around her home in the 2300 block of Madeline because of the incident. She also believes whoever threw the poison into her yard may have wanted to steal the pit bulls. Her son has two adult pit bulls that are seen in the yard as well.
"I used to feel safe, now I'm always on-guard."
Dr. Conner said if a pet owner suspects a pet has ingested poison, get to the vet immediately, because the pet is more likely to survive if it is treated early.
If you think someone tried to give poison to your pet deliberately, call the police and alert Topeka Animal Control.