One dog dies, two recovered from potentially toxic algae in Columbia River

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September 14, 2021 6:52 p.m.

Posted: September 14, 2021 6:52 PM

Updated September 14, 2021 6:57 PM

TRI-CITIES, Washington – Benton-Franklin Health District has confirmed a dog died of potentially toxic algae in the Columbia River over the weekend.

The Benton-Franklin Health District opened an investigation Monday after receiving multiple reports of dogs sick after swimming along the Columbia River.

RELATED: Dog Reported Dead, Suspected Potentially Toxic Algae Near Richland Parks

Rick Dawson of the Benton-Franklin Health District told KAPP-KVEW that reports from families and veterinarians were consistent, which prompted the investigation.

“It encourages an investigation and leads to the posting of these yellow warning labels pretty much immediately,” said Dawson.

The yellow warning signs alert the community that the water is unsafe for people and pets.

First, investigators reported that three dogs died over the weekend after swimming near Howard Amon Park, Leslie Groves Park, and the Ringold area. On Tuesday, Dawson announced to KAPP-KVEW that two of the dogs have recovered from their illnesses.

Update: After further investigation, the Benton-Franklin Health District informs me that one dog has died and two others have recovered. They are still waiting for the results of the water samples they took yesterday. @KAPPKVEW

– Neil Fischer (@NeilFischerTV) September 14, 2021

Erin Dickey’s parent dog Charlie died after playing in the Columbia River near Ringold over the weekend.

“Everyone in our family was very much in love with this dog,” said Dickey. “To have something so sudden and shocking and just something that we had no control over and couldn’t do anything about it just felt really awful.”

This is Charlie, she died over the weekend after playing in the Columbia River. The Benton-Franklin Health District examines the water for potentially toxic algae after she dies. @KAPPKVEW

– Neil Fischer (@NeilFischerTV) September 15, 2021

Dickey says Charlie got very sick after sticking her head in the water.

“In less than a minute she had these convulsions, it looked like she was having seizures,” said Dickey.

Dickey told KAPP-KVEW they took Charlie to the vet quickly, but it was too late.

The Benton-Franklin Health District recommends that people and pets keep out of the water where the yellow warning signs are posted.

RELATED: WA Dept. of Health warns of toxic algae in the Spokane area

“If you wanted to swim in the water, we’d be concerned now in and around the banks of the Columbia River,” said Dawson.

The Benton-Franklin Health District is waiting for the results of water samples to confirm the toxic algae.