Wakefield Council warns dog walkers after dangerous algae detected at park lake

Wakefield Council has advised dog walkers to keep their pets out of the water at Pugneys Country Park after ‘dangerous’ algae was detected.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 1:32 pm

Green algae can cause rashes and irritation in humans, and can be toxic if ingested by animals, even in small quantities.

The lake was closed off in 2019 due to high levels of bacteria.

High levels of bacteria were also found in the water during routine testing in 2018.

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Pugneys Country Park

Julie Russell, service director for arts, culture and leisure at Wakefield Council, said: “At this time of year, due to weather conditions, algae, which is naturally present in a number of water areas in our district, including at Pugneys Country Park, blooms and becomes more visible.

“As a precautionary measure we have put up signs at Pugneys Country Park, in addition to those advising people to always stay out of the water for general safety reasons, urging owners to keep their dogs away from the water at this time.

“Algae is extremely dangerous to dogs so we are encouraging owners to keep their pets safe and on a leash until the algae has dispersed – as advised by the Government’s national guidance for management of water bodies.

“We expect the algae to disperse naturally over the coming days and weeks and will continue to monitor the lake water.”

In 2019, the British Veterinary Association issued a warning to dog walkers about the algae.

The group warned that symptoms of exposure can appear within a few minutes or hours, depending on the type of toxin.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures and blood in faeces.

If left untreated, it can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal.