At least six dogs have died or become sick in the Long Pond neighborhood during the past several weeks, perhaps from poisoning, according to the animal control officer and some of the owners.
The illnesses apparently started in mid-June and continued as recently as July 4.
Symptoms among the sick dogs included vomiting, being wobbly on their paws, being lethargic, having trouble breathing and having uncontrolled bowel movements and excessive thirst. The dogs did not share all the symptoms.
Along with poisoning, some people theorize wild berries made the canines sick. Maybe someone spilled antifreeze, or the dogs were walking on a fertilized lawn and then licking their paws clean. Others speculate the dogs ate fragments of fireworks or an animal carcass. Or the heavy rains slopped up toxins in the pond.
The illnesses were on Alden Street, Bridget Avenue and Elm Street. All the homes are close to Long Pond. The pond stretches along Tyngsboro, Dracut and Pelham. Dracut and Pelham police report no similar illnesses.
Blood tests are pending on a couple of the dogs. Others were cremated or treated before their owners realized other dogs in the neighborhood were dying.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also is investigating allegations of poisonings, said Peter Gollub, director of law enforcement.