City of Austin investigating after dog dies swimming in 'Barking Springs'

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 16:00:46-04

A dog died after swimming in “Barking Springs" near the Barton Springs Pool in Austin on Sunday.

The animal's cause of death is unknown at this time but may be related to toxic algae exposure, according to the city's Watershed Protection Department. The city has taken samples for testing after observing "a few isolated mats of algae near rocks in this area."

"Given the very hot temperatures and drought conditions, harmful algae could easily be present in any creek, lake or pond at this time," said the release. "Harmful algae is more likely along shorelines and in pockets of warm, still water."

Harmful algae may be present in any natural water body at any time, according to the city.

"Earlier this summer, the City of Austin detected toxins in algae samples at all monitoring locations on Lady Bird Lake and at Emma Long Metropolitan Park on Lake Austin," said the statement. "No toxins have been detected in water samples."

The ingestion of algae toxins is harmful to dogs, who are exposed to the algae by "drinking the water, eating the algae or licking it off their fur," said the Watershed Protection Department.

Anyone facing unexplained illness after swimming can call the Texas Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

"It is always a good idea for both people and pets to rinse off after going for a swim," said the city.