Warning to keep dogs out of stagnant 'vinegar pond' in city park

Are social media rumours true? are dogs in danger if they enter the vinegar pond in Moushold Heath. 

Owners have been told to keep their pets out of a pond in Mousehold Heath due to fears the stagnant water may contain rat urine. - Credit: Submitted

Dog owners have been told to keep their four-legged friends out of a putrid pool of water at a well-loved beauty spot.

The lake-like 'vinegar pond' - as it is locally known - sits in Mousehold Heath.

The Vinegar Pond gets its name from the occasional red algae bloom which turns the water a similar colour to vinegar.  

But people have been warned to keep their children and dogs well clear.

Owner Sarah Wright with Fred at her Tom and Toto doggie daycare centre, White House Farm. Picture: D

Owner Sarah Wright with Fred at her Tom and Toto doggie daycare centre, White House Farm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2022

Sarah Wright, who is the owner of Tom and Toto, which is a dog walking service and luxury doggy day care based at White House Farm, said she would not recommend dog owners using the pond.  

She explained: “We have heard of people throwing broken bottles in the pond.  

“When one of our dogs was out with their owner they did get a cut paw from going in.” 

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But Sarah said pooches should generally stay out of the pond because stagnant water is not ideal for dogs.  

Gary Champion, city councillor for Sewell Ward.

Gary Champion, city councillor for Sewell Ward. - Credit: Gary Champion

Much in agreement was councillor Gary Champion, who represents the Sewell ward which neighbours the heath.

He said: “I would say bathing in stagnant water is not to be recommended for people or dogs.

“Furthermore, I would suggest that during spring and summer dogs are discouraged, as we have far less tadpoles this year than in most years.  

“It is important that Mousehold Heath is an inclusive area and as many dog owners will testify to, keeping a dog out of water can be difficult and they appreciate the cool, albeit, smelly relief from the heat.” 

But he has seen no evidence of dogs being taken ill after being in the murky water.  

Kevin Murphy, founder of Norfolk Wildlife Rescue.

Kevin Murphy, founder of Norfolk Wildlife Rescue. - Credit: Archant

Kevin Murphy, the founder of Norfolk Wildlife, wants people to keep their dogs out for habitat reasons.  

He said: “Dogs disturb the wildlife in and around the pond such as basking lizards and breeding frogs.  

“Dogs could also be at risk due to the rat urine in the water, not to mention birds and small mammals using the vinegar pond as a watering hole could be frightened off.”