Pets could be at risk as piles of potentially poisoned breadcrumbs coated in an unidentified liquid appear around Masterton.
Dog owner Vanessa Firmston said she first noticed piles of the bread on High St in “really weird” locations.
“I noticed it first down High St and onto South Rd,” she said.
“There were piles of them in the park, in between each tree, and blobs of them by lampposts and on top of water meters.”
Firmston said that although the link was not definite, she had noticed some new piles of bread outside her home shortly after her dog had vomited.
“On Wednesday night, my dog barked once, and one hour later, he kept wanting to go outside.
“Between 8pm and midnight, he threw up about four times.
“Then I found two new piles outside my house.”
Firmston handed some of the breadcrumbs in to the police.
Although they were not yet confirmed to have poison on them, Firmston said that if they were plain bread, the birds would have eaten them.
“It’s really weird. In the places they were left, the birds would have eaten them, but they sat there for days.
“They were homemade ones, not store-bought ones.”
Witnesses said they had seen a man putting piles of bread outside houses and along roadsides. They described him as being in his mid-twenties, tall and skinny, European, and riding a pushbike.
One person said she saw the man putting bread next to her car.
“Last week, while waiting in the hospital car park, I saw a skinny guy bend over near my right front tyre,” she said.
“I went to investigate and saw a pile of breadcrumbs.
“He disappeared very quickly. I searched the area near the car park, but no luck.
“I thought maybe he was hoping my car would run over the birds consuming them.”
Wairarapa Police response manager Jennifer Hansen said police were aware of the incidents and were investigating.
“I can confirm that Wairarapa Police have had several reports of a male dropping breadcrumbs in a number of locations around Masterton from concerned members of the public,” Hansen said.
“It is not yet clear whether the breadcrumbs do, in fact, contain poison. However, a sample has been collected by police, and the matter remains under investigation.
“The council is also aware.
“We ask that anyone with any information regarding this please come forward to speak with police, and please report any suspicious activity.”
A spokesperson for Masterton District Council said pet owners should be careful and report any breadcrumb piles they find.
“Pet owners should be on the lookout for piles that don’t look right and keep pets away – removing them if this can be done safely.
“Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the police.”
Piles of the breadcrumbs had been reported in an increasing number of areas, including Renall St, Solway, and the Chanel College area.