Part of the McCarren Park in Williamsburg was shut down this week after numerous reports of dog deaths linked to leptospirosis. Officials suspect that the illness may be caused by rat activity in the area.
Leptospirosis can range from mild to very severe in dogs, and can be fatal. One official commented that leptospirosis usually sets in two weeks after exposure, not a few hours. Leptospirosis can contaminate the soil and water for a long time after rodents have been removed. Officials are urging residents to keep their pets from drinking from puddles or eating things off of the ground.
Though the recent skyrocket in dog sickness and deaths in the area is being blamed on rat activity, it is still uncertain. Officials are going to great lengths to sanitize the park and make it less appealing to rodents just in case. Efforts are also being made to make the park safer for dogs, such as improving drainage and installing rodent-resistant garbage cans.
Councilmember Lincoln Restler tweeted, “My heart goes out to people who have lost their beloved pets. Reports indicate dogs played at McCarren Dog Run before becoming sick & dog owners are concerned about leptospirosis.”
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