SPRINGFIELD TWP., Pa. - David Bretz walks his Swiss Mountain Dog, Zepplin, outside in the yard — a new spot for play time since he says he can no longer go to the nearby Peppermint Park.
"I have not been to that park since my first dog was diagnosed with lymphoma in December," Bretz said.
Zepplin had two siblings, Prudence and Dimples, who both died this year from the same cancer.
"We literally lost two dogs within 30 days of each other," Bretz said.
As Bretz mourns the loss of his furry family members — he says he's dealing with more than just heartbreak.
The Springfield man says he knows exactly how his dogs got sick — an herbicide known as 2-4D sprayed by a farmer at Peppermint Park.
"Exposure to that is closely correlated with lymphoma cancer," Bretz said.
Bretz says he's been doing his research. He says when the township opened Peppermint Park back in 2015 it was created with a dual use policy — allowing it to be farmed for hay through a hay-lease agreement.
Bretz says the township would make a Facebook post and hang a sign at the park warning people the farmer was going to spray and to stay off the property for a few days.
Bretz says he heeded the warning, but it wasn't enough.
"It is simply an incompatible use and it is inappropriate to use herbicides in a public setting like that," he said.
Bretz says he's found other neighbors who have recently lost their dogs to cancer.
They've met a few times — and plan to to go before the township's board of supervisors Tuesday night— hoping to find strength in numbers to make a change before another animal or even human gets sick.
"How is this going play out in the next couple years for us humans?" asked Bretz.
The farmer who farms at Peppermint Park didn't want to comment but says the township supervisors tell him they are looking into the issue.
Allentown, PA 18102
- Lehigh Valley 69 News