Spate of dog illness sparks park scare

Letham Glen was home to a dog show in September this year.
Letham Glen was home to a dog show in September this year.

A SPATE of illness among dogs has sparked an e.coli outbreak scare at a Leven park.

Fife Council confirmed it is carrying out an investigation at Letham Glen in the interests of public safety.

The Mail understands 10 dogs have fallen ill with acute sickness and/or diarrhoea, five of them confirmed as e.coli cases.

Councillor Ally Hunter commented: “I’m naturally concerned. It’s something that’s potentially very serious but we have to have a measured response and clarification on exactly whether there’s an e.coli or other public health issue, which requires neccessary precautions to be put in place.

“The Glen is one of the jewels in Leven’s crown and people use the park much more frequently than the public probably realise.”

One scared mum from Leven, whose dog fell ill last week, is refusing to let her four year-old visit the park.

She said: “Viewforth Nursery take the kids to the Glen and I’ve told them my son is not going because of this, but they said they won’t not go unless environmental health says otherwise.

“I can understand it’s hearsay, but the only thing these dogs have in common is that they all walk Letham Glen.”

She added: “The vet told me e.coli can be passed from pets to humans.

“If it’s easy enough to get it from an animal, it’s easy enough to get it the same way the animal did.”

Leven dog owner Caroline Mitchell said she had heard of the deaths of two dogs in recent weeks.

Her one-year-old rottweiler contracted sickness and diarrhoea almost two months ago.

“He didn’t eat for five days after the first bout and lost a lot of weight,” she said.

“He’s a show dog, which meant we lost out on competitions, and, as you can imagine, the vets’ bills are piling up.

“Apparently, e.coli is synonymous with outbreaks of torrential rain over large periods of time.

“The dogs don’t even have to drink from the burn. Mine would lick the sodden grass at the bandstand and what worries me is the fact nursery children regularly go foraging up there.”

Caroline added: “Seemingly, it’s not something the council can just go in and clean up. All they can do is warn people until such time as the ground dries up.”

Fife Council’s protective services confirmed it had been made aware of, and was looking into, the allegations.

Lead officer Lisa McCann commented the incidents may be related to recent flooding in the area.

She added: “Officers visited Letham Glen on Thursday but no obvious visible contamination of the water course was found. We are liaising with other council services and partner organisations to investigate this matter.

“In relation to any outdoor activities, we would recommend that members of the public take routine hygiene precautions, such as frequent hand washing.”