EDMOND, Okla. – Officials say a pond at a dog park in Edmond is temporarily closed after inspectors discovered a small amount of blue-green algae in the water.
On Thursday, city leaders announced that the Edmond Dog Park pond would be closed due to concerns about the blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are “primitive,” photosynthetic organisms that can feed off the sun to make their own energy and release oxygen and possibly toxins in the process, said David G. Schmale III, a professor at Virginia Tech.
Some species produce potent toxins that can sicken or even kill people, pets and wildlife, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Blue-green algae and other HABs can produce different types of poisons, some that affect the liver, others the brain.
“We decided to be proactive and cautious to ensure the safety of our local dogs and their owners,” said Parks & Recreation Director Craig Dishman. “The risk is very low right now and no illnesses have been reported, but we encourage anyone that has concerns about their dog’s health to consult their veterinarian.”
Employees with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation were called out to the scene and found a small amount of blue-green algae in the pond. City leaders say they decided to close the pond until the weather becomes less favorable for the growth of blue-green algae.
Staff members will monitor the pond and determine an appropriate time to reopen it after the hot, dry weather pattern changes.
The closure comes just days after families in the southeastern part of the United States warned about the dangers associated with the bacteria.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, three dogs died after frolicking in a pond, while another died after a swim in Lake Allatoona, Georgia. Investigators say all of the dogs likely died from liver failure brought on by ingesting water contaminated with toxic blue-green algae.