The most recent victim was Joe, a Jack Russell Terrier puppy who died on Sunday after ingesting rat poison while out walking with his owner Miriam Henn, Cologne daily Express reported on Monday.
“The animal died of internal bleeding – a long and gruesome death,” veterinarian Gero Wunderlich told the paper.
Joe's death is one in series of furry tragedies, his owner Henn reported. She has found several dead rabbits in the area, and a Rottweiler also died of rat poison just a few days ago. Other dogs managed to survive after severe reactions to the poison, she said.
Now families with young children in the neighbourhood are nervous about letting them play outside. One woman reported being extra strict about her children's hand washings when they come in from the playground, calling the unknown suspect in the poisonings “absolutely irresponsible.”
One neighbour tried to call police after spotting a middle-aged man depositing things throughout a park, the paper reported, but he fled the scene before he was identified.
Police from the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have asked witnesses to report any relevant leads.