CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After reports in Wilmington that three dogs died after swimming through blue-green algae in a pond, WBTV wanted to look at ponds in the Charlotte area and see if any of them tested positive.
According to the North Carolina Department of Environment Quality, one neighborhood pond in Mooresville tested positive for the algae. Officials with the Mecklenburg-County Environmental Department also said a pond in Mecklenburg county was positive for the algae.
Water officials warn that coming into contact with the algae is toxic and if it’s ingested by an animal or child, it’s usually lethal.
Rusty Rozzelle is the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program Manager and said deaths caused by the algae are unusual. In his 40 years doing water quality, he said he couldn’t remember a pet’s death in Mecklenburg County. But regardless said pet owners and parents should always be on the lookout for the algae.
The best way to spot it is it’s green color and ‘slimy’ consistency that sits on top of the water. But the algae isn’t always visible in large clumps so Rozzelle said to be careful with any water that sit still like a pond or smaller lake. He said still water and hot temperatures are the perfect breeding ground for the algae.
The Fly Away Geese company, which uses dogs to safely and humanely get rid of geese populations, decided to stop using their dogs near bodies of water because of the blue-green algae risks.
“It’s not worth your pets life to put them in a pond that’s got that stuff in it," said Lydia Ryan of Fly Away Geese.
During the summer months when the algae is most present, the company won’t let their dogs swim and instead keeps the dogs on leashes or uses other methods to get rid of the geese.
Water quality experts advise for other pet owners to do the same and wait to let your dog swim until the weather cools off so the algae is no longer present.
Rozzelle said deeper bodies of water and any water that has movement from a current or fountain are usually less susceptible to this kind of algae.