Toxic lake kills dog

Posted 5/15/19

A Mother’s Day excursion to Anderson Lake proved fatal for one four-legged member of a Jefferson County family.

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Toxic lake kills dog

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A Mother’s Day excursion to Anderson Lake proved fatal for one four-legged member of a Jefferson County family.

Clue, an Australian Kelpie dog, had only been a member of the Moore family for the past month, after their previous dog had died at the age of 10.

Mike Moore credited his 20-year-old daughter, Yunue, with prodding him to go to Yakima last month to look for rescue dog they could bring home, and Clue was “full of energy.”

Moore, his wife and his daughter visited Anderson Lake State Park, south of Port Townsend, before noon on May 12.

Although the boat ramp was cordoned off, and there were signs warning against swimming or fishing, there were no warnings nor fenced or taped-off areas on the trails, he said.

“We were walking along the path,” Moore said. “The dog stayed on the leash, and never left our sight. Unfortunately, she sort of fell into where the lake intersects with the trail. She was belly-deep in the water before my daughter got her out.”

Clue was removed from the water within seconds, and had not drunk any of the water, but passersby soon informed the Moores that two dogs had previously died due to toxic algae blooms in Anderson Lake, so the family decided to get their pet to medical care immediately.

“By the time we got back to the car, she was trembling and having trouble walking and breathing,” said Moore, who took Clue to Silverdale after Poulsbo’ surgical veterinarians proved too busy to take her. “When we got there, she couldn’t even walk, and she collapsed on the operating room table.”

Only three hours after Clue had been exposed to the waters of Anderson Lake, she’d gone into a coma and was on artificial respiration.

“The vet told me I could put her on life support, which would run between $4,000 to $5,000, but even if she came out of the coma, I was told that what came back wouldn’t be our dog. So by 2:30 that afternoon, I was signing the papers to put her to sleep.”

Because Yunue had retrieved Clue from the water, and had been holding the dog as her dad sought out a vet, the Moore family received a further scare that evening, when Yunue reported a severe headache and nausea after she’d tried to eat.

Fortunately, a trip to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle seemed to confirm that Yunue was merely suffering from stress, but the family remains on watch for the next week, since the same cyanobacteria that felled Clue could hit Yunue as late as the following week.

In the meantime, Moore wants to know why there were no signs or restrictive fencing or tape on the trails at the state park.

“There should have been something to at least say, ‘This bacteria could kill you or your dog,’” Moore said.

Although the Washington State Parks website has an alert noting that Anderson Lake is “closed to all water-based activities,” the notice dates back to June 5, 2018.

According to the Jefferson County Public Health website, Anderson Lake was last observed May 6, and the lake has been closed since then.

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