Winnipeg dog owners are crying foul over high E. coli bacteria levels at Kilcona Park's off-leash area, with one group demanding more warning signs in the area.
The Kilcona Park Dog Club says a number of pets have fallen ill with rashes, vomiting and bloody diarrhea after swimming in or drinking water from the park's retention ponds.
Club president Donna Henry says too many dogs were getting sick after going to the park, so members decided to get water quality tests done themselves.
The analysis of pond water samples from ALS Environmental showed E. coli levels at the popular "Dog Launch" were more than 23 times above Health Canada's recommended safe limit for swimmers and more than four times the limit for canoeists, kayakers and paddle boaters.
Donna Turner said her four-year-old German Shepherd, Tazer, developed a red, itchy rash every time he was exposed to water from a retention pond.
As well, Tazer's veterinarian has prescribed antibiotics several times for diarrhea that wouldn't clear up on its own, she said.
The City of Winnipeg has posted two warning signs at the pond in the off-leash area, but Turner wants to see better signage in the area.
"People don't even realize if they're new, or the ones that come daily maybe need the reminders that this water is very, very toxic," Turner said.
A City of Winnipeg spokesperson told CBC News that the Kilcona Park retention pond may currently have higher levels of E. coli due to animal feces.
"It is possible that the higher levels of E. coli that the community group is reporting may have been caused by the large number of geese currently using the pond as part of their annual migration or by dog feces from the adjacent dog park that have not been picked up and disposed of properly Animal feces would be washed into the pond by rainwater," the spokesperson said in an email.
The city says it's reviewing a request for additional signs to be placed around the retention pond at the park.
As for the Kilcona Park Dog Club's water quality tests, the city says it hasn't received a copy of the results yet.