DERRY, N.H. — A group of dog owners are pushing for changes at their local dog park after several of their pets fell sick, resulting in one death.
Frustrated dog owners are searching for answers after an unknown issue is causing dogs to get sick at a dog park in Derry, New Hampshire.
"Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a couple of instances of vomiting blood," said Erin Viveiros-Firth, a dog owner. "We didn't know if it was a sickness or a poison or if there were berries growing."
While many dog owners have been taking the necessary precautions before heading to the dog park, such as keeping up to date with their pup's immunizations, de-worming treatments and usign repellant for fleas and ticks, the mysterious illnesses have people asking questions.
For many, visits to the dog park are a daily thing, where pups get to run around freely, play with each other and interact with the outdoors. Now, dog owners are keeping their furry friends at home in a move to keep them safe.
"I've kept my dog home for over a week now," said Viveiros-Forth.
Disease transmission at dog parks, however, is not uncommon. When taking your dog to a dog park you should be aware of the risks for canine distemper, influenza, parvo virus and leptospirosis.
Aside from making sure their shots and other treatments are up to date, one other precaution dog owners can take when using one of these parks is to bring their own water.
Allowing your dog to drink out of a communal bowl could expose them to some disease-causing microorganisms.
Over the weekend, concerned dog park users decided to take matters into their own hands and disinfect the park, first by removing potentially contaminated toys and other objects.
"Because we just don't know where it's coming from, so we're like, 'Get rid of it,'" said Viveiros-Firth. "The town came to pick up the leaves, which was great. They were really responsive."
On Monday, the town pitched in to help after local dog owners mobilized themselves to clean the park.
Dog park users say it's great that the town helped clean up the park, but were critical of the ongoing maintenance of the area, saying that cleaning the dog park doesn't seem to be a priority for the town.
"It would just be really great for this community and the park that we have here if some basic maintenance could be handled on a more regular basis," said Heather Mosher, a dog owner.
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