There is a silent killer lurking in the United States, hiding just below the surface of the Illinois River, and it’s killing our furry friends. It’s called microcystin, a toxin that is released by blue-green algae when it blooms in warm bodies of water. What this poisonous substance does to dogs is just heartbreaking. Take, for example, the story of sweet Abby, Izzy, and Harpo, two little terriers and a poodle mix in Wilmington, North Carolina. Their loving owners thought that taking them to play in a pond would be a treat for the sweet pups. But 15 minutes after swimming and playing in the water, which was tainted with blue-green algae, all three dogs suffered from violent seizures and tragically passed away. Since then, their owners have committed their lives to spotting these algae blooms, erecting warning signs, and educating other dog owners. But doesn’t that sound like a job for an environmental agency?
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done nothing to warn the public of the presence of microcystin in the Illinois River, beyond one quiet press release on their low-traffic government website. Who checks a government website before taking their dogs swimming? The Illinois EPA must enact a more comprehensive and accessible plan, including mapping where these algae blooms are located, constructing signs and fencing to keep people and pets away from it, and widely releasing life-saving information. Sign the petition to demand that the Illinois EPA create an extensive, understandable, and effective plan to protect people and their pets from this poison in the Illinois River!