A chocolate Labrador named Josie died last week after visiting Lake Chabot and ingesting water that her owner says was full of toxic algae.
Josie's owner says she has been living through an "awful nightmare." Katie Stone passed out fliers on Monday at the Castro Valley lake warning others about the drought-caused algae problem throughout the East Bay Regional Park District system, hoping to prevent other doggie deaths.
Josie drank the lake water last week, went home and began seizing after dinner, Stone said. Stone took her water-loving Labrador to the vet, where her 5-year-old pet died later that day. The vet said the death was caused by toxic algae.
"The only thing that makes us feel better is to try to stop this from happening again," Stone said said.
Josie is one of three dogs who have died after drinking Lake Chabot water since December, the park district confirmed Monday.
Park district spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said the drought is causing lake water to be warmer and more stagnant, which is creating an unprecedented bloom of toxic algae that is especially deadly to dogs' nervous systems and livers.
The park district has had signs up at Lake Chabot to warn dog owners of the problem for awhile, but it's now in the process of adding signage that is bigger and bolder. Stone said she was unaware of the danger and didn't notice the signs.
"I would have never put [Josie] in harm's way," Stone said.
Last summer, the drought stoked algae blooms in Oakland's Lake Temescal and parts of Lake Chabot.