Warning to dog owners after spate of duck deaths in St Albans park lake

Pete Thomson with is dog, Abby

Pete Thomson with is dog, Abby - Credit: Archant

Concerned dog owners have spoken out after an unknown illness killing ducks in a park lake has left their pets unwell.

Verulamium park in St Albans

Verulamium park in St Albans - Credit: Archant

Verulamium Park-goers have been warned about letting their pets go into the lake after numerous dead ducks were spotted in the water over the past two weeks.

St Albans district council is currently carrying out tests on the water to identify the cause of the feathered fatalities.

Meanwhile some dogs have become ill as a result of playing in, or drinking from, the lake.

Pete Thomson, 64, of Cannon Street, St Albans, walks his dog in the park every day and took her to the vet last Wednesday after she became ill.

Verulamium park in St Albans

Verulamium park in St Albans - Credit: Archant


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A week on, his poor pup is still suffering with a stomach virus. He said that he didn’t think it was the lake water until he saw people discussing the issue online at the weekend.

He added: “It’s not the usual upset tummy, she’s been very, very unwell for a week now. She’s only just starting to recover.”

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When Mr Thomson was at the vets he was told they had seen two or three very similar cases, but couldn’t officially link them.

“There’s no way I’m going anywhere near the lake until the council sort out what’s going on,” Mr Thomson said.

Verulamium park in St Albans

Verulamium park in St Albans - Credit: Archant

Another dog owner, Duane Hutchinson, 20, of Jersey Farm, told the Herts Advertiser that he was encouraged to take his two dogs to the vet following a visit to the park.

Duane was walking them on July 16 when he first noticed eight dead ducks in the water.

He said: “We thought it was a bit strange but decided to leave it and we went home.”

After revisiting the park on the Tuesday (July 21), he spotted a further two ducks dead in the water and then alerted St Albans Parks and Green Spaces.

The public noticed posted on Facebook by Inn on the Park

The public noticed posted on Facebook by Inn on the Park - Credit: Archant

He claimed he was told to take his dogs to the vet because they had consumed water from the lake.

Duane added: “It was a very hot day, of course my dogs are going to drink out of the water but what I couldn’t believe was that there were no clear signs telling people that their dogs shouldn’t be in the lake.”

The Inn on the Park, the café situated inside Verulamium, posted a picture on Facebook on Friday of a small notice which had since been put up by the council.

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said they were working closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the RSPCA to rectify the situation.

He added: “We have placed signs around the lake to keep people informed. These also advise dog owners to keep their pets out of the water as a precaution.”

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