Distressed families in Glynn have been forced to put their beloved dogs down after they were poisoned with what is believed to be weedkiller.
Three family pets died after ingesting sausages filled a highly toxic substance, which is suspected to be the herbicide paraquat.
The lethal doses caused the animals to suffer in agony, and as there is no antidote, their devastated owners had no choice but to have the animals put to sleep.
Residents in the village have spoken of their fears that this could happen again; or even worse, that it could happen to a child next time.
Speaking to the Larne Times, Jim Jamison told how he was walking his daughter’s four-year-old black Labrador, Molly, near St John’s Church of Ireland when he spotted something in her mouth.
“I saw the sausage in her mouth but I couldn’t stop her from swallowing it,” he said.
“After a few hours, she started throwing up and was then foaming at the mouth.
“We took her to the vet and were told it was bad news; there was nothing they could do for her apart from make her comfortable.”
As a result of the poison, Molly suffered breathing difficulties and was put on a drip for 18 hours.
“We were told the poison had affected her lungs and liver and burned the lining out of her stomach,” Jim added.
“She had to be put down; my daughter Paula and her family have been left heartbroken.
“Molly was a family pet which I bought Paula for her 40th birthday.
“No words can describe how we are feeling about what has happened.
“This was a despicably cruel act that has caused great trauma to Pauline and her family. How could anyone stoop so low?”
Two other dogs also suffered the same fate as Molly after ingesting poisoned sausages – one ate the poison close to the river and other in a field near the Church of Ireland.
Ciaran Rainey, who treated Molly and one of the other poisoned dogs at Clare Vets Clinic in Ballyclare, issued a warning to dog owners.
“From the symptoms these dogs displayed, we suspect the substance they ingested was paraquat,” the vet said.
“A sample has been sent off to America for testing, but we might not get the results back for a few weeks.
“In the meantime, I would advise anyone out walking their dog in this area to keep the animal on a lead and try not to let them eat anything off the ground.
“Once this substance has been taken into the body, there is nothing that can be done to save the animal. It is a horrible way to die.”
It is understood that the incidents have been reported to police.
However, a police spokeswoman told the Times it was not in the PSNI’s remit to investigate these matters.
Instead, the responsibility will fall to the Animal Welfare officer, based in Ballymena.