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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County’s popular dog training facility is closed after half a dozen dogs died after visiting the training grounds.
At the edge of the Legay Wildlife Conservation Training Area. The doors closed on Wednesday across the dirt road entrance. A Utah Division of Wildlife Resources branded sign opposite the gate indicates this area is closed. “because it may be contaminated”
According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, which owns and manages the area, six dogs in the same group have died recently, and the Utah Division of Water Quality found toxic bacteria growing on the edge of one of the ponds.
Grady Southwick, who frequently takes Piper his Labrador Retriever to the training grounds. They said they visited their son, friend and dog on May 1. Piper was the first dog in the group to jump into the water.
He is currently training a 2-year-old puppy to become an AKC senior hunter as they prepare for a duck hunt this fall.
Everything seemed fine until they returned home shortly after.
“Later that afternoon, around 4pm, she started moaning, moaning, like — you could tell something was wrong,” Southwick recalls. ate. She went out and vomited a few times.”
Piper’s condition continued to deteriorate throughout the night, he said. She started having seizures.
They took the vet to the vet as an emergency. But the vet couldn’t figure out what was going on.
Piper was sick for three more days. And he said she could not hold back fluids and refused to eat. His wife was by Piper’s side all the time.
“We thought we were going to lose her at some point,” Southwick said.
Since none of the other dogs in his group were sick, Southwick didn’t know what to think.
Then this week He learned that Piper wasn’t the only dog sick after visiting the Lee Kay Wildlife Conservation Training Ground.
“Six dogs got sick, died and I thought, wait, we were there two weeks before them, something was wrong,” he said.
Department of Wildlife Resources spokeswoman Faith Heaton Jolley described a trainer who camped at the training area for eight days, with 13 dogs reporting seeing some of them eating salt-like layers on the grass by a pool on May 17.
He called the dogs back, she said, and put them in the kennel. Later in the day the dog began to vomit and have diarrhea.
“He took a dog to the vet at midnight that same day. and then around 6:30 the next morning Unfortunately, the decision was made to kill that dog,” Jolley said. “And a few days later, five other dogs, unfortunately, were either killed by a veterinarian or died of cardiac arrest. And they thought it was likely kidney and liver failure.”
The incident was reported to the Wildlife Resources Division on May 20.
She said one of the six dogs that died was undergoing an autopsy to check for the disease. in hopes that they can determine the exact cause of death
Meanwhile, DWR shut down the entire area and a team from the Utah Division of Water Quality went out to the pool and took water samples. They noticed bacterial growth at the water’s edge, which can be dangerous for dogs.
“They said there was some growth that they thought contained some cyanobacterium components on the grass that grew along the water’s edge,” Jolley said. Consuming this type of cyanobacterial mat And sometimes the mats contain deadly levels of toxins that target the liver or nervous system of dogs.”
Jolley said they are still awaiting test results to confirm how the dogs died.
Two retriever club events were held the weekend before and after the May 17 incident. Clubs involved in the events told KSL-TV that hundreds of dogs attended the event. and no other incidents were reported.
Jolley said a major national event should be held at the Lee Kay Wildlife Area this weekend. but the work was cancelled.
The agency isn’t sure how long the closure will last. Or what would the elimination of potentially harmful bacteria look like?
Southwick said it took Piper about a week and a half to recover her strength and energy.
She felt back to normal, and Southwick felt lucky that she survived.
“We love her,” he said. “She is a wonderful little dog. And she is part of our family.”