PARKER, Colo. — A community park in Parker is closed out of an abundance of caution after four dogs suddenly died shortly after visiting it.
Newlin Meadows Dog Park, located near Chambers Rd. and Newlin Gulch Blvd. in Parker, is currently being investigated after the dogs passed away in the last two weeks.
The Newlin Meadows HOA shut the park down and started looking into the situation after the incidents were reported in late May.
Denver7 spoke with dog owners in the area who said they're heartbroken for the families who are mourning the loss of their furry best friends.
"I've met a couple of those dogs," said neighbor Randy Hendrix, who lives near the park. "I feel bad for them. I really do, you're losing a family member."
Hendrix is a dog owner himself. He said this is making him nervous about taking his dog out.
"You don't know if it's a natural toxin or if it's somebody who's disgruntled, you know, going after dogs."
Dr. Alex Robb, the medical director at Good Heart Animal Health Center in Cherry Creek in Denver said ever since this news, his office has seen an increase in calls from people asking about park safety.
"In this case, we still don't know what the underlying problem is. I think based on the fact we had a number of dogs with similar symptoms, we worry about the toxicity in that situation."
He said when people take their pets out for a walk, they should avoid contaminated water, mushrooms, and fungal organisms because he said they tend to be the most common causes for situations where dogs can become ill.
"It's scary. We have lots of patients and clients that visit dog parks all the time and you never ever wanna see that happen, certainty we're worried about it," added Dr. Robb, who suggested bringing your own supplies to dog parks. "Water dishes, own sources of treats, you wanna avoid anything that looks contaminated like communal water bowls and things like that can be sources of infectious diseases."
Douglas County officials said they are working closely with the HOA to determine what happened.
Wendy Manitta Holmes, the director of communications and public affairs for Douglas County provided the following statement:
“We acknowledge and share in the grief felt by pet parents for the loss of their beloved dogs, as we continue to work with the Newlin Gulch HOA to determine if there is a naturally occurring substance in the park or if the dogs had been exposed to a man-made, synthetic toxin that was ingested there. In the absence of veterinary test results, there is no way to conclusively determine cause of death. We applaud the HOA for their continued diligence and for proactively closing the park until further notice.”
The HOA did not return a request for comment but said the park will remain closed until it's safe to reopen it.