Dog walkers warned to 'stay clear' of pond after claims of dog deaths
- Credit: Ian Burt
Dog walkers are being advised to stay clear of a village pond following claims pets have become ill after coming into contact with it.
South Wootton Parish Council has placed a warning notice to dog walkers to keep away from the pond on The Green after social media posts claimed dogs have died after visits to the duck pond.
The notice, which was put up on Tuesday, March 9, said: "The parish council has been aware of rumours that, following recent walks on The Green, two dogs have unfortunately died.
"Investigations have been launched but until such time as results are known, dog walkers are advised to stay clear of the pond on The Green."
On Wednesday, a spokesperson at the parish council said they have asked environmental health teams at West Norfolk Council to take water samples.
They added that no-one has contacted them about their pets becoming ill and that the matter was picked up from a post on Facebook.
They said: "It is something we are aware of and taking precautionary measures.
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"We saw posts on Facebook and we are reacting to that.
"Whether the pond has blue-green algae [we don't know], we can only wait for results of tests."
A dog walker, who asked not to be named, warned people about it on Facebook after she said she spoke with others whose dogs had become ill.
The post suggests four people were affected.
The dog walker added: "The duck pond common is such a popular place for people to walk their dogs, I just didn't want anyone else's dogs to get poorly or die."
When contacted, Medivet South Wootton said it had not received any reports.
Christopher Hobbes, who works at Wootton Fish Bar across the pond, said he had heard that people were saying their dogs had been ill, with one in relation to a greyhound, but was not aware of anyone he knew affected by it.
He said he walks his dog there all the time but will be staying away until he knows more.
He added: "The area was flooded badly last month, I have not seen it as bad in 15 years."
A WNC spokesperson said they advised the parish council that it needed to contact the Environment Agency, which "may be able to sample the water".
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said the parish council has taken a sample of the water to send to them, which will be analysed to check whether blue-green algae, which can be dangerous to dogs, is present and further guidance will be issued.
It added that it collects samples when reports are received of its presence on lakes and other waterbodies.
A statement said: "Once an algal bloom is confirmed, then that information is sent to the landowners and other statutory bodies so that signs can be displayed to warn lake users of the presence of potentially toxic blue-green algae.
"Blue-green algal blooms can cause foaming on shorelines, turn water blue green or greenish brown and may produce musty, earthy or grassy odours."
If you spot blue-green algae you should call the Environment Agency's incident hotline on 0800 807060.
For more information on advice on algae search algal blooms on gov.uk.