Dog deaths at Tacoma's Garfield Park spark a warning

Children play at Tacoma's Garfield Park. (Metro Parks Tacoma photo)

TACOMA, Wash. - At least three dogs have died after frequenting a Tacoma park, and now the city is investigating reports that their deaths may have been caused by a communicable disease.

Michael Thompson of Metro Parks Tacoma says the three dogs were all known to spend time at Garfield Park in Tacoma's Old Town and may have died of a bacterial disease called Leptospirosis.

Park visitors are now being warned not to bring their pets to the park, Thompson said.

Signs posted at the park say Leptospirosis is usually spread through the urine of infected animals. The bacteria live in water and soil, and are commonly transmitted via contaminated water, such as puddles.

The disease also can be spread to humans through contact with infected animals or contaminated water or soil, so city officials are also recommending that people avoid puddles and wash thoroughly after coming into contact with the soil at Garfield Park.

Anyone with information to share about the outbreak or the dogs' deaths is urged to contact Metro Parks Tacoma at 253-305-1030.

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