The big neighborhood news this week has been Jamaica Pond falling into the grip of a toxic bloom of blue-green algae. Some residents, though aware the Pond is closed, say they didn't realize the seriousness of the danger.
Though officials say the toxin is not known to be absorbed through the skin, the blue-green algae is potentially deadly when ingested.
Signage posted in multiple languages around the pond cautions residents to refrain from contact with the contaminated water, and advises pet owners to keep dogs a safe distance from the shore.
Residents should refrain from entering the pond as contact to humans can result in eye irritation, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death, according to an advisory from the Boston Public Health Commission.
Despite the signage, some pond-goers were unaware that the algae constituted a significant hazard to their pet.
One resident, who asked her name not be used, said she had read of the contamination in the news, but was surprised to learn of its damaging properties.
She said she would be "exercising extreme caution" while walking her dog Bella at Jamaica Pond.
James Parker, 48, of Brookline, had his dog Sonny, a street dog rescued from India, on a leash. Parker said he saw the signs, but didn't pay them much attention.
Parker was shocked to learn the algae was potentially lethal, and said the signs should be more conspicuous.
"There should be a big red flag in the middle of the path," said Parker.
Jamaica Pond remains closed to swimming, boating, and fishing, and the Boston Public Health Commission continues to advise residents keeps their pets from drinking or stepping in the contaminated water.
For more information on the blue-green algal bloom, please take a look at the Public Health Commission's website.
Check back to Jamaica Plain News for more updates on Jamaica Pond's closure.