SPOKANE, Wash. -

Regional animal protection officers are investigating an animal cruelty case involving poison meatballs in northwest Spokane.

A pit bull puppy named Charlie got very sick and needed surgery. Before it was all over, Charlie's master found a poison meatball in their backyard at Wellesley and I St.

Charlie is expected to survive, but only after $1,500 worth of emergency surgery.

The red nose pit bull gave his owners a terrible scare.

“Apparently on Thursday, the dog had eaten a foreign object and started vomiting on Friday. And when they returned to their home on Friday, they found a strange substance in their yard,” said SCRAPS’ Nicole Montano.

Charlie's master found uncooked ground beef laced with white granules. The dog's vet found Charlie's blood was saturated with phosphorus.

“We have collected the evidence, the meatball that was found in the yard, and we will be sending that to WSU for some forensic testing to determine if we are dealing with some type of poisoning,” Montano said.

Charlie's vet found his intestines had shut down and were dying. Charlie needed surgery to get them running.

Ringo, the pup across the street, suffered mysterious seizures on New Year’s Day. Now pet owners worry someone may trying to knock off the neighborhood dogs even though they have not been the target of barking complaints.

“Any action to poison a dog is animal cruelty. That is the felony we are currently investigating. If you are having an issue with a dog in your neighborhood, please call us. We respond to all complaints, whether they're neglect or nuisance in nature and we'll resolve that, Montano said.

Charlie's master has now warned other dog owners in this neighborhood about what's happened. Animal control investigators are hoping someone knows who tried to cut Charlie’s life short.

“If there's someone who witnesses any suspicious activity, someone wandering around in the middle of the night, we would love to know a description of that person, the date, and time that they saw them and what their actions were,” Montano said.

The high levels of phosphorus in Charlie’s blood could be explained by the fact that the active ingredient in gopher poisons is zinc phosphide.

If you live in this area, and your dog starts throwing up with something that smells like garlic, you need to get your animal to the vet right away.