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Ottawa police investigating pills found inside bread scattered in east Ottawa neighbourhood

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Ottawa police are investigating after pills were found inside pieces of bread scattered about an east Ottawa neighbourhood.

A neighbour in the Rolling Meadow Crescent area reported it to police Monday afternoon. A "large number" of pieces of bread had been scattered around a grassy area at the north of the loop on Rolling Meadow where people often walk their dogs. The exact location of the grassy area was not specified. 

"Inside the pieces of bread were pills that are believed to contain a poisonous substance that is harmful to dogs," police said in a news release Monday evening.

Police spoke to witnesses at the scene and gathered evidence while City of Ottawa crews cleaned up the area.

"The Ottawa Police Service asks all members of the public to be vigilant and report any similar incidents to police. This matter is currently under investigation," police said.

Lori Hough told CTV News Ottawa she and her husband Nick Morin noticed the pills late Sunday, when out walking their dog Wendell.

"I just assumed it was for the birds," she said. "The rain must have made them all melt out of the bread because they were compacted."

Her husband said there was around 150 to 200 pills scattered across the whole area.

"It's very scary," said Morin, "and it's very dangerous for the kids, animals and of course the dogs."

Hough said she immediately contacted authorities.

Orléans South-Navan Coun. Catherine Kitts said she hopes this is an isolated incident.

"We are asking residents to stay vigilant and certainly report if they do see any suspicious activity," she said.

"Getting here, I was very taken aback with the pills being mixed with the bread. It obviously seems very deliberate," Kitts added. "The police did come and they are treating it as a crime scene. You know, myself, I'm a dog owner, a dog lover and I think it's very unsettling. Certainly my dog would not hesitate to eat a piece of bread if she saw it on a walk."

Hough said Wendell had developed acute organ injuries not long ago and she and others in the neighbourhood whose dogs became ill believe this could have been happening for months.

"Everyone has dogs in this neighborhood. And like, what kind of person could do such damage?" said Hough.

Samantha Estwick with the Innes Road Animal Hospital says the effects of poisoning can be quick and there are signs.

"Excessive drooling, panting, lethargy. It can range from vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain," she said. "If it's very severe, we put them on IV fluids, generally for the day, to flush out their kidneys and liver."

--With files from CTV News Ottawa's Tyler Fleming

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