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Is someone trying to poison pets in Scranton?

A homeowner believes someone tried to poison neighborhood dogs after finding suspicious sandwiches.

SCRANTON, Pa. — A woman from Scranton says someone may have tried to poison her dogs using a peanut butter sandwich.

If police find the suspect, that person could face criminal charges.

"My dogs slept in that day, thankfully. It was very lucky for me that they did," Ellen Nowakowski said.

Nowakowski went into her fenced-in backyard along Oram Street in Scranton Sunday with her morning cup of coffee, and she spotted bits of bread on the ground. It was a peanut butter sandwich with something bright green inside. A substance she recognized as rat poison.

"Just the color, the green, just, you knew. And then when I looked further in the yard, I found more," she said.

Nowakowski then looked across the alley and found pieces of another peanut butter sandwich in her neighbor's yard.

"And they have little dogs. They probably wouldn't have survived the amount that was in there. Mine, it would have hurt them; I don't know if it was enough to kill them," she added.

Nowakowski's rescue dogs Zoe and Ruthie are fine, but she is limiting their time outside now. Nowakowski called the police, and Scranton Animal Control Officer Katie Gallone got involved.

"We're going to continue to investigate along with the Scranton Police and try to figure out who did it and if there are any charges needed," Gallone told Newswatch 16.

Gallone said the person responsible could face summary or misdemeanor charges depending on whether officers can prove they meant to harm the dogs.

Officers also recognized the green substance in the sandwich as a specific brand of rodent poison.

Gallone said they're looking to see if this may have happened to any other dog owners.

"It's very good to be aware of your surroundings, and it's very good to be aware of where your dog runs. Take a look around from time to time to make sure nothing is unusual," she said.

Meanwhile, Ellen Nowakowski's put up signs in her west Scranton neighborhood asking for help in tracking down a suspect.

"My animals are my life. I would do anything for them; they're my kids; I love them. They count on me. I'm the only one who can protect them. As we say, we're their voice. I'm their voice right now. I will fight for them," Nowakowski said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Scranton Police.

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