Crime For Members

Who's trying to injure dogs in Malmö with metal-spiked dough balls?

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Who's trying to injure dogs in Malmö with metal-spiked dough balls?
One of the dough balls found in 2023 with a piece of sharp metal baked into the middle. Over 160 reports of food which appears to be designed to injure dogs have been made since November 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

For over three years, Malmö's canine population has been terrorised by an unknown perpetrator – or perpetrators – placing mysterious glass or metal-filled dough balls in parks across the city. What do we know so far and how has it affected dog owners?


When did this start?

The first reports of food spiked with sharp objects which appear to be designed to injure dogs are from November 2020 – sausages filled with staples and broken glass.

At some point, the perpetrator – or perpetrators – switched from spiked meat to spiked dough balls, which have been found at regular intervals since, referred to colloquially as hundbullar ("dog buns"). There was a nine-month break until January this year, and the most recent batch of dough balls was reported on March 13th.

According to local newspaper Sydsvenskan, which has an entire article series and podcast related to the spiked dough balls, Spårhundarna, there have been over 160 cases of what they describe as "dangerous dog food" reported in the city since November 2020.

Are there any suspects?

There has been one arrest, a 73-year-old woman who was spotted putting something on the ground in Ögårdsparken in eastern Malmö. She was taken in for questioning in December 2023 after police found what was initially described as "dough and bits of glass" in her bag.

There were some bits of broken porcelain and glass in the area where was arrested, but nothing that looked like the dough balls found elsewhere.

They also searched her home and found nothing which indicated any links to a previous crime.

In March 2024, police closed the investigation against her, saying that they found no evidence that a crime had been committed.


In an interview with local radio P4 Malmöhus, police press spokesperson Nils Norling said that police suspect that there are several different people behind the various types of spiked food.

This is mainly due to the fact that they've found different types of food in different areas – spiked meat in western Malmö, which stopped in 2022, alongside the spiked dough balls which have been found elsewhere. 

Despite this, they think that the dough balls have all been left by the same suspect.

In December last year, Sydsvenskan's team identified a second individual, another woman, who they suspected to be behind the spiked food. When they confronted her, she denied it, but no dough balls were found for nine months after this until January 2024, after which six reports came in over the course of 20 days. All six of those included dough balls with cut up pieces of metal inside.

The second suspect has not been charged with any offence. 


Have any dogs been injured?

A number of dogs have been injured, with some needing emergency surgery to remove the bits of metal or glass in their stomachs. There don't appear to have been any deaths so far.

How has it affected dog owners?

Understandably, dog owners in the city are worried about their pets. In Sydsvenskan's podcast, they interviewed a number of people out with their dogs, with some saying they were worried every time their dog went to sniff something on the ground.

Welsh terrier Bruno had emergency surgery in 2022 after eating two dough balls containing sharp bits of metal which were in Pildammsparken, and his owners bought him a muzzle after that.

"It was a bit scary walking in Pildammsparken in the beginning," his owner Frida Lee Frei told Sydsvenskan. "But we've tried living life as usual and are trying to relax."

The Local's Nordic Editor, Richard Orange, who lives in Malmö and owns a dog, said that the mystery has been a hot topic among other dog owners over the past few years.

"When I've been out and about with my dog, quite often I've ended up talking to people who seem genuinely frightened for their dog's health, warning us to stay away from certain areas where balls have been found," he said. "There's also a lot of discussion in the dog parks about who it might be and whether the real suspect has been caught."


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