There are fears a new canine 'serial killer' could be on the loose after a dog died and at least 12 others were poisoned in the same small town, writes John Bett.

Pet owners have been placed on high alert after Lisa Moore lost her dog Daisy, a German Shepherd cross.

The six-month-old dog was sick for weeks and had trouble breathing after visiting a park in Cranbrook, Devon.

But she now believes the incident was more sinister after the owners of a dozen other dogs have fallen ill in the same park.

Devon and Cornwall Police have been notified and Lisa is keen to warn others in the area that a dog killer could be on the loose and poisoning them.

She said: "We were looking after her for two and a half months and we thought she was getting better.

"It's devastating, and other residents in our area are worried about their dogs.

"We're trying to raise money for a toxicology report, we didn't want it done initially but we need to find out what happened to Daisy.

"We don't want to scare anyone, we just want to make people aware of what's going on. It's better to be safe that sorry.

"Most people around here are very concerned."

Lisa posted a warning on a Facebook group urging others not to walk their dogs in Cranbrook Country Park until it has been fully investigated.

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She added: "We have spoken to police and the council and we believe this is malicious. They are investigating.

"I just want to warn other people not to use Cranbrook Country Park until it has been investigated and find out what's causing this.

"The vets were baffled and they believe it must have been malicious.

"I have now been contacted by 12 other dog owners and we are compiling a spreadsheet of when it's happening and where and the symptoms."

East Devon District Council said: "We were contacted yesterday by the owner of the dog that died. One of our officers attended the site this morning to look for possible causes but was unable to see anything that could explain the dogs illness.

"We would urge dog owners to keep a close eye on their dogs when out and about and to keep monitoring their dogs at home for any signs of illness or unusual behaviour such as being quieter than usual, oversleeping and not eating.

"We have no information to indicate malicious intent at present and will continue to monitor the situation."

Devon and Cornwall Police have been approached for comment.