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Milwaukee Health Department monitors for same type of algae that killed 4 dogs nationally

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Posted at 9:31 PM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 23:26:00-04

MILWAUKEE — There is a new warning after dogs got sick and died in Georgia and North Carolina. Their deaths are believed to be caused by toxic algae. It is the same kind of algae that occurs in the Veterans Park lagoon in Milwaukee.

That is why the Brown family said they were taking extra precautions during their swan boat ride on the lagoon.

"No splashing and, please, do not let Buddy get in the water," said Catherine Harris Brown.

Brown had her daughter keep a tight hold of her dog Buddy because she knows the water can be toxic.

Nick Tomaro, a Milwaukee Health Department environmental health specialist, said they are monitoring the water for blue-green algae. That is the type of algae that killed three dogs in North Carolina and a fourth in Georgia.

"The difficult part of a lagoon like this is water can look like an obvious bloom and it may not be toxic, and then it can look fairly clear and we can have toxin levels that are fairly high," said Tomaro.

This year, the Milwaukee Health Department stopped allowing kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding on the lagoon, so people do not fall in or accidentally splash themselves with the water.

But drinking the water is most dangerous, which is why it warns people not to let their pets in the lagoon.

"It can be a fairly small amount of water that can cause toxic side effects," said Tomaro.

That's why Brown family members said they came prepared for Buddy.

"Here's Buddy's water and we got (our) own water," said Brown. "We love him too much."

The Milwaukee Health Department said the blue-green algae can occur in any kind of water, so it important to pay attention to any posted advisories.