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Dog-Killing algae hits 3 NYC lakes


Turtle Pond and Harlem Meer in Central Park, Manhattan have been confirmed to have high levels of widespread HABs. Dogs should not come into contact or drink the water due to the high toxin levels that will cause health issues. (Getty Images/iStock)

Be careful where you walk your pup — dog-killing algae has bloomed in our city.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the presence of harmful algal blooms in lakes in three city parks — two in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. A fourth water body in Upper Manhattan has been labeled “suspicious," but DEC won’t know for sure if it’s gotten the toxic growth until more tests are done.

But the potentially canine-killer algae was found in Turtle Pond and Harlem Meer in Central Park, the DEC said, as well as Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae grow out of control, producing toxins that can be harmful to some animals and humans.

Prospect Park’s dog beach remains open, although DEC posted yellow warnings signs alerting the public to the presence of HABs.

DEC staff flagged a pond in Morningside Park on the west side of Harlem as potentially dangerous after spotting a cloud of HAB. A final declaration is pending further tests.

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group developed a map to track the spread of HABs. Nationally, 10 dogs died from exposure to HABs this summer, the group said.

EWG has also noted that reports of the algal blooms has increased sharply in recent years.

Most recently, three dogs died within hours of swimming in a pond near their home in Wilmington, North Carolina. The family noticed symptoms in their pups a mere 15 minutes after they stepped out of the water.

It was only after the dog’s deaths that the Wilmington community learned that the harmful algal blooms were present in the popular pond.