SCOTTISH Conservative & Unionist Councillor for Cowdenbeath, Darren Watt, is issuing a warning to dog owners about the risks and dangers of blue-green algae in open water after it emerged a beloved pet dog sadly passed away just days after playing in a pond at the town’s Community Woodland.

Councillor Watt said: “Following concerns raised from the owner that the dog had been playing and drinking in a particular body of water, I alerted the relevant officers at Fife Council and asked for this to be looked into at the earliest opportunity. Thankfully they responded very quickly and an investigating officer later met with the dog owner and myself on site.

“Although no formal testing was carried out, upon visual inspection the officer did indeed suspect blue-green algae may be present. Informative signs have now been put up around the gateways advising of the risks and dangers.”

This incident comes just weeks after Central Fife Times reported that blue-green algae had been spotted in the water at Lochore Meadows Country Park.

Blue-green algae are minute organisms which occur naturally in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and in the sea.

They tend to clump together to form large masses or scums and often appear after periods of prolonged hot weather in waters which have been polluted by agricultural, domestic or industrial discharges.

Some of the algae release poisons into the water and the toxins can cause death to animals either through drinking contaminated water or swallowing quantities of the scum.

Dog owner, Denise Dair, was devastated when her Chocolate Lab died aged nine and while she is not totally sure that there was green algae there that could have caused it she said that it is better to keep animals away from these sort of features.

“He was a big active dog and when I let him off the lead he just raced away into the pond which I had actually forgotten about,” said Denise.

“From that day on he certainly did not have the energy he had before and he got weaker and weaker. It is certainly better to ensure that your dog stays out of these sort of water features.”

Councillor Watt concluded: “As much fun as dogs have in the water, especially on hot days, I would advise people not to allow their animals to enter any body of water such as burns, ponds and lochs. It’s simply not worth the risk as it’s clear the consequences can prove to be fatal.”

He added: “As a dog owner myself, I was truly saddened to hear of this tragic passing. “I know first-hand how much part of the family they are and to lose a dog in such circumstances must be heartbreaking.”