'I thought he was going to die' - Pet owners say dogs getting sick after visiting Nesconset park
Multiple pet owners are concerned that a Suffolk County dog park could be a possible breeding ground for disease after their pets got sick shortly after playing there.
The dog run at Charles Toner Park in Nesconset is a popular place for people to let their pets get exercise and make new friends.
However, some residents say their dogs are coming home from the park with illnesses like kennel cough and stomach bugs. This is leading to pricey vet bills.
Amanda Ackerly says she was terrified when her 10-month-old Australian shepherd named Yeti developed a severe case of kennel cough. She says the puppy got sick shortly after visiting the Nesconset Dog Park about two weeks ago, and it took about seven days before he felt better.
“I thought he was going to die, honestly. It was that bad,” Ackerly says. “I really was worried about him. I was worried he was developing pneumonia. It almost seemed like he couldn't breathe at all. She really got lethargic.”
Paul Baron says his dog developed her own case of kennel cough about two months ago and needed antibiotics. He's convinced she caught the illness at the park, but he still comes back.
“I absolutely think it's a high possibility it happened here because this is the only time she really associates with other dogs,” he says.
A dog park is a great place for exercise and socialization for your pet, but it does entail some risk. Veterinarian Michel Selmer has a few tips for staying safe at the dog park.
He says to make sure your pet is vaccinated and to be ready to leave if any other dogs look sick.
Watch out for shared water bowls, puddles or other hazards, which could transmit disease.
“Keep your dog away from any poop you see or feces in the dog park. Puddles are obviously going to be a risk because another dog or a wild animal could urinate and it could be in the stagnant water,” Selmer says.
Charles Toner Park is operated and maintained by the Town of Smithtown. A town spokesperson says they have no record of illnesses stemming from the dog run, though they are looking into the situation.
Some other dog owners told News 12 their pets have never gotten sick after visiting.