WEST BEND -- A beloved family pet died suddenly over the weekend, and the pit bull's owners believe he was killed due to his breed.
"For me, he wasn't just a dog, he was my best friend," Jonathan Farewell said.
It's never easy losing a pet. Six-year-old Ruger was more like a family member.
"He was just so scared and in so much pain, that I made the choice to put him down. He died in my arms at the vet," Farewell said.
The pit bull died Sunday, July 30th after becoming terribly ill. It all started after he spent a short time outside in the backyard with the other family dogs.
"I got him out in the living room and he fell over and he started to violently seize," Farewell said.
They rushed him to the emergency vet but he couldn't be helped.
""It's nothing that anyone or any animal should have to go through," Nicole Farewell said.
After Ruger's death, the family started looking for answers, and found some disturbing clues in the dog's vomit.
"This didn't even have time to digest and in that, there were pills," Nicole Farewell said.
The family noticed unfamiliar food -- and pills. They believe their beloved dog was purposely killed because of his breed.
"We knew people didn't like (pit bulls), but we didn't know they didn't like them this much," Nicole Farewell said.
This wasn't the first time the family has had suspicions. In February, Ruger became ill and they were told he may have ingested rat poison. A mysterious bottle was found in their backyard.
"Not too far in from that fence," Nicole Farewell said.
The latest incident prompted the family to file a police report -- seeking answers.
"I can't let this go and I'm going to find out who did this and I'm going to stop it from happening," Jonathan Farewell said.
West Bend police said they're investigating, but they wouldn't say much beyond that.
A necropsy will be performed, and should be complete in the coming weeks.
CLICK HERE if you'd like to donate to a Go Fund Me page set up in Ruger's honor.