Police have been notified after horrified residents found marshmallows stuffed with rat poisoning, screws and ball bearings in a Leeds park.
Bosses at Leeds animal charity Take My Paw have issued a warning to local residents after the shocking find in Nethermoor Park, Guiseley.
Zoe Webb, of the charity, said two dog owners brought her photographs of the potentially deadly sweets which she fears could harm children or animals.
She said: “If the owner can’t get an animal to the vets quickly it can be a slow and painful death.
“It is not the first time we have had reports of this happening, only bread was used before. We aren’t trying to scare people, we are just very aware that it is dangerous to both our pets and children and want to raise awareness of the awful damage the sweets can do.
“Really all we want is for people to be vigilant.”
Zoe published the photos on the Take My Paw Facebook site, which has since attracted attention from across the country - including TV star Jennifer Saunders, who shared it on her wall and wished them luck in finding the culprit.
Zoe said someone also contacted her to say a similar discovery had recently been made in Otley Chevin.
Vet Vanessa Wood, of White Cross Vets in Guiseley, said: “It’s appalling to think that someone would go to such lengths to maliciously harm a pet.
“Any metal object can cause major trauma for any animal. The screw could potentially perforate the lining of the animal’s stomach and could be fatal.
“Most rat poisonings can be treated and metal objects are identifiable on X-ray so if pets are showing any signs or symptoms immediate action can save lives.”
Vanessa said symptoms include unwillingness to eat, vomiting, blood in stool or bruising on the body.
A spokesman for the RSCPA said: “Deliberately attempting to poison animals in this way is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act. If anyone believes their pet may have been poisoned or eaten a poisonous substance they should take them straight to a vet, ideally with a sample of the potentially poisonous substance.
A police spokeswoman said: “Police were made aware of posts on a social media website about marshmallows laced with a substance at Guiseley Cricket Club. An officer attended the area and made a search but nothing was found. Posters have been put up with the permission of the cricket club to raise awareness.
“Anyone who sees anything suspicious or of concern is urged to call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”