A woman is warning visitors to Daventry Country Park of the danger posed by a toxic algae after her pet was fatally poisoned after swimming in the reservoir.
On Friday last week Lisa Humphries took Jade, her German wire-haired pointer to the country park.
She said: “We spent half an hour or so splashing in the water before deciding to carry on round, and after 50 yards or so we came across a tiny notice saying ‘Toxic’.
“We took Jade straight home, washed her thoroughly and called the vet.
“There is no treatment available and one by one her organs shut down until by dawn Sunday morning the vet said there was nothing left to do, she was in shock, and she was put to sleep, we are heart-broken.
“There should be huge notices everywhere warning about this, not just some weatherbeaten A4 piece of paper pinned where maybe half the visitors might see it.”
Although Daventry Country Park is run by Daventry District Council, the reservoir and its water is the responsibility of the Canal and Rivers Trust.
The toxins in the water are produced by blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Normally they pose little problem as their numbers are too small. But with the right conditions numbers of the dangerous type can grow into an ‘bloom’ and levels of toxins increase.
The toxins can kill animals, and in humans they can cause rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed.
Blooms tend to form in still water, like lakes and reservoirs. They can be caused by heavy rain washing nutrients and chemicals into water during warm weather.
Over the past five years both of the town’s reservoirs have suffered from blue-green algae blooms on occasions, usually in the late summer or early autumn.