Police dog swims through toxic blue-green algae to nab fugitive, Washington cops say

When a man fleeing deputies waded into a lake, a Washington sheriff’s K9 named Heiko dove right in after him, Kitsap County sheriff’s officials wrote on Facebook.

But Kitsap Lake had been closed since July 24, first for an e. coli problem and then for toxic blue-green algae, which can be fatal to dogs, the post says.

Heiko nonetheless caught the man, who had fled deputies patrolling a boat ramp at the lake at 11 a.m. Monday because he had warrants out for his arrest, sheriff’s officials wrote.

A sheriff’s deputy rowed out to retrieve Heiko, the suspect and other deputies from the lake, the Facebook post says, with photos of Heiko in the boat. The suspect’s name was not released by authorities.

Heiko is recovering well at home, officials wrote Tuesday in an update to the original post.

Firefighters had decontaminated Heiko and deputies immediately took him to a veterinarian to be monitored, the post says.

Seasonal toxic blooms of blue-green algae have been reported across the United States, and several dogs have died from being exposed to the algae in recent weeks.

Even a small amount of water containing cyanobacteria from blue-green algae can be fatal to dogs, Pet Poison Hotline reports.

Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, seizures, disorientation, excessive saliva or mucus and difficulty breathing, according to the site. There is no antidote.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.