WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn (WABC) -- New York City's health department is now investigating what killed a number of dogs after their owners took them to a popular park in Brooklyn.
The problems were reported after the dogs' owners took them to a dog run at different times at McCarren Park in Williamsburg.
Soon after they all suffered from the same symptoms before dying.
"In a matter of days between Friday and Tuesday, we've lost three dogs in our community," said dog trainer Dakarrie Garcia.
One of those dogs was Oreo, a 2.5-year-old French bulldog who was perfectly healthy but got sick very fast.
It was devastating for his owner.
"He started throwing up Saturday morning and we put him down Tuesday afternoon at 5:05 p.m.," his owner said. "I was a freshman at University of UConn just this past semester and I had to withdraw from the semester because I just couldn't go back."
Oreo and two other dogs nearby died from a bacterial disease called leptospirosis, which can be transmitted via rodents.
"For it to be living in the winter is a very serious thing and we need to start looking deeper into this, I think the city of New York needs to take responsibility and eradicate these rats -- it's disgusting, if you look around the park, there's rat holes everywhere around the dog park," Garcia said.
They've complained, but residents say the city isn't addressing the problem.
However, veterinarians are working to get the word out.
There is a vaccine for leptospirosis, but it isn't 100% effective against all strains of the disease and protection only lasts about a year.
The city says they usually get about 15 cases a year throughout all of NYC, but residents say three dogs died in their neighborhood park in less than a week.
The NYC health department released the following statement:
"We are working with NYC Parks to inspect for rat activity in the park. Dog owners who are concerned should consult their veterinarian about vaccination and seek vet care early if their dog is ill. We urge veterinarians who receive positive results of leptospirosis to report it to the Health Department as required by the NYC Health Code."
They urged owners not to let their pets drink from puddles or other sources of water that could be contaminated with animal urine.
Click here to learn more about canine leptospirosis.
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