By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — Residents in one Denver neighborhood are on high alert after a woman’s dog died after ingesting rat poison. Sarah Pasket was out of the country when she learned her dog, Bill, had died.

(credit: Sarah Pasket)

Three weeks ago, Pasket noticed her dog acting strange after spending time in her backyard near 37th and Bryant Street in the Highlands.

(credit: CBS)

“He came running down the stairs normally, then all of a sudden he just stood there. He got kind of stiff,” explained Pasket. “He also wouldn’t eat.” She says her American Bulldog mix was fine the next day.

Last week, Bill fell ill again. Her boyfriend, who was watching the dog, told her he displayed the previous symptoms and was being oddly clingy. He took the dog to the veterinarian where they gave Bill an X-ray.

Sarah Pasket (credit: CBS)

“They saw there was fluid on his stomach. When they investigated more, they found out it was blood,” said Pasket. The vet also performed a blood test.

A few hours after arriving to the vet, Bill was gone. The doctor is certain he died from rat poisoning. Pasket and her boyfriend were devastated.

After Bill died, Pasket posted on a neighborhood forum asking if anyone’s pet recently had symptoms of poisoning.

“A few other people in the neighborhood have said their dogs have been having accidents or throwing up,” said Pasket. Other members on the forum posted that they’ve noticed dead squirrels in their backyards, but none reported using rat poisoning around their homes.

Pasket scoured her yard looking for answers, but didn’t find any dead critters that other animals could’ve dragged in.

(credit: CBS)

“I didn’t spot any rats, mice, squirrels or unknown dog toys. I haven’t found anything that’s suspicious,” said Pasket.

She considered her dog could’ve eaten the entire animal, but that wasn’t typical of his behavior. She fears that someone may have poisoned Bill intentionally.

(credit: Sarah Pasket)

The City of Denver hasn’t received any reports of poisoning in the area recently, but neighbors still have their suspicions.

“I just heard people’s dogs are being poisoned in their yards because of retaliation or people who just don’t like dogs,” said neighbor Daniel Salas. He says he usually checks the yard before letting his small dogs outside.

When he heard that Bill had ingested rat poison, Salas wasn’t surprised. He says he saw an exterminator down the street a few weeks ago.

(credit: CBS)

“These are big yards. Next door, there’s nobody living there, but there’s rodents. That’s making me freaked out about letting my dogs out now. I’m next door,” said Salas.

Whether it was intentional or not, they hope pet owners will watch out for what they won’t see coming.

“It was out of our control,” said Pasket.

Using rat poison in Denver is not illegal, but Pasket hopes some might consider other deterrents after hearing her story. The City says she did the right thing by filing a report with the city regard her dog’s death. This allows them to keep track of incidents so they can better investigate what’s happening.

Tori Mason

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