Friday, September 23, 2016

High bacteria levels force temporary closure of Lake Metroparks' Canine Meadows' dog-swimming pond

Lake Metroparks has temporarily closing the agency’s 1.84-acre Farmpark dog park swimming hole in Kirtland in an effort to eliminate the risk of exposure to excessively high  water-borne bacteria levels.

Following routine bacterial testing at the Farmparks’ “Canine Meadows Dog Park,” located on Chardon Road (Route 6) and adjacent to the Lake Metroparks Farmpark, it was determined that e. coli bacteria levels were at dangerously high levels.

Acceptable levels for such bacterial testing is 500 colony forming units (CFU) while the most recent testing by the private pond management firm hired by Lake Metroparks showed a level of around 1,300 colony forming units.

Consequently, says Lake Metroparks’ executive director Paul Palaygi, the fenced –in area that encompasses the pond area will remain closed until “bacteria levels drop back to safe levels.”

“We believe this was an appropriate measure,” Palaygi said. “Really, this is not a bad thing; I’m a dog owner, too, and I would be surprised if any dog owner would object to what we have done.”

Also, this section is also closed during the winter when the pond has a layer of thin ice that would pose a risk to any dog or person attempting to walk on the surface, Palaygi said.

Palaygi  said that the pond’s high bacteria levels probably came about due to a multitude of inter-connected issues. Continued high temperatures and a lingering drought likely hardened the ground. When the recent heavy rains arrived several days ago the resulting run-off flushed bacteria-growing medium into the pond.

However, Palaygi did say that just the fenced-in area containing the pond – which is up to 12-feet deep – will be closed. Remaining open are the Canine Meadows Dog Park’s fenced-in 2.57-acre large dog area and the park’s 1.84-acre small dog area.

General Lake Metroparks rules for the agency’s Canine Meadows Dog Park are:

  • Users of the dog park do so at their own risk.
  • Parents/legal guardians assume all risk for their children. It is recommended that children younger than 12 stay outside of the fenced areas for their own protection.
  • Dog owners are responsible for any injury or damage caused by their dog, per state law.
  • All Lake Metroparks rules apply and must be observed.
  • Each dog must display current license and rabies tags on its collar per state law.
  • No dogs larger than 35 pounds are permitted in the small dog area.
  • Dogs in heat are not allowed.
  • Sick or injured dogs are not permitted in the dog park, nor a dog that has been declared dangerous or vicious per state law.
  • Dogs that have been designated as dangerous or vicious per state law may NOT enter the park. A handler shall immediately leash and remove a dog that becomes aggressive. Criminal penalties apply for bringing a dangerous or vicious dog into this park.
  • Dogs must be closely supervised and within sight and voice control of their handler at all times.
  • All dog handlers must be at least 18 years old or supervised by an adult. No more than three dogs per handler.
  • Dog bites to other dogs or people shall be reported immediately to the Lake Metroparks Rangers at 440-354-3434. Handlers must provide their dog’s name, license number and veterinarian’s name to a ranger upon request.
  • Dogs are to be brought to the park on leashes and released inside the designated off-leash area, and put under the control of own leash again as they exit the off-leash area. Retractable leashes are not recommended.
  • Muzzles, spike or prong collars are NOT permitted on dogs in the park.
  • Dog waste must be picked up immediately by the handler and placed in the trash cans. Handlers who fail to do so may be cited for littering.
  • Animals other than dogs are NOT permitted.
  • People food and dog treats of any kind are NOT permitted ─ food and treats can trigger fights between dogs.
  • Glass containers, bicycles, strollers or children’s toys are NOT permitted.
  • Fishing and swimming by humans is NOT permitted.
  • Due to the nature of the facility, pets are not permitted into Lake Metroparks Farmpark.
By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


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