Medina County drains dog park pond over concerns it's making dogs sick

MEDINA, Ohio - A dog park in Medina County could be making its four-legged visitors sick. County officials have drained a pond in the park they’ve identified as the potential source of the illness.

“After talking to some of the people that had their dogs in there, there were some complaints about it and so apparently it got to the people who need to do something about it,” said Michael Merz, a dog owner, and a Medina County resident.

County officials posted a notice at the Carolyn Ludwig Mugrage Park, claiming in spring of 2016, dog owners complained to the county that their dogs had fallen ill with giardiasis, a highly contagious infection caused by the parasite giardia. The county has since drained the pond and will keep it that way until officials get enough feedback from the public to determine if it should ever have water in it again.

“We took our dog to a dog trainer too and he said don’t ever let them go in there,” said Cindy Merz.

Cindy and Michael Merz are dog owners and Medina County residents. The couple is glad the county drained the park.

“The overall perspective of somebody getting sick or their dog, paying a large vet bill, I think it would be wise not to have it in there,” said Michael.

“If it’s a small stagnant pond, then it could certainly be the source of giardia infection,” said Veterinarian, Dr. Kane Henderson.

Henderson said dogs run the risk of receiving many illnesses in places like dog parks. But with a bacterial infection as easily transmitted as giardiasis, Henderson thinks the Medina County pond, should stay empty.

“Even the dogs that have been fully vaccinated under the best recommendations possible, you can still see them pick up some of these contagious things,” Henderson said.

Medina County officials are still taking feedback from the public and are expected to make a determination soon as to whether they’ll keep the pond drained or not.

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