Lethbridge police are warning of a possible poisoner after two small dogs died.

Toxicology tests have confirmed that the dogs, miniature schnauzers, died of strychnine poisoning.

The dogs became ill and started convulsing shortly after returning from a walk. They were dead before the owner reached the vet.

Police received a report of a similar case of illness in the same area a few days later, although those two dogs, larger animals, have recovered.

“This is extremely concerning to us,” said Kristen Harding, executive director of Lethbridge police in a statement on Monday. “Notwithstanding the devastating loss for the owner of these two beloved dogs, if someone is deliberately putting out poisoned food there is the potential that a child could come into contact with it and be harmed.”

The first incident happened on May 25 at about 3:10 p.m. MT. The owner took the two small dogs for a walk from 13 Avenue to 17 Avenue North, between St. Andrews Road and St. Basil Road, returning home on along the 1200 block of 13 Avenue North.

The larger dogs that got ill on May 30 lived along the 700 block of 12 Street North. Police investigated but there was no definitive evidence to conclude the dogs were poisoned.

Lethbridge police warn parents to make sure small children don’t pick up and eat any strange items. Dogs should be kept on leash and owners should watch out for strange items in their backyards, police said in a release.