Speculation on dog deaths by blue-green algae has pet owners questioning whether a dip in Lake Lanier is safe for their companions, but officials say it poses no threat.
Three dogs died from the algae poisoning in Wilmington, North Carolina, while another died after a swim in Lake Allatoona.
With only 60 miles between Allatoona and Lake Lanier, people would rather be safe than sorry to put their four-legged friends in the water, but there is no indication Lake Lanier is harmful in anyway, Dale Caldwell, headwaters director at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper said.
"I think we put ourselves in more danger driving to the lake than we do swimming in the lake," Caldwell said.
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper put efforts toward testing Lake Lanier once a week for bacteria and once a month for algae, but the organization cannot test for the presence of blue-green algae, Caldwell said. In fact, the algae technically is not an algae, but rather a bacteria, he said.
"Our tests wouldn't detect this type of bacteria," Caldwell said. "We are in the position to test it, we do have the capabilities and means to do it if we feel like there is a need, but we haven't felt like we needed to do that."
If the Riverkeepers felt they needed to test for the bacteria, they would send the samples to a lab with the equipment needed to read for the micro-bacteria, but a lack of a physical appearance has not thrown any red flags at the non-profit.
"With blue-green algae there's that physical presence that you can just see and if we ever saw that in Lake Lanier, which we have not, we would be the first to go test and confirm what it is," Caldwell said.