Southeastern PA

Springfield Twp. residents say chemical in park to blame for dog deaths

Peppermint Park also used for growing hay.

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. - It was a packed house at the Springfield Township Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night as residents made passionate pleas for the board to stop allowing the use of herbicides at Peppermint Park.

“We lost both of our dogs over the course of two months, both from soft tissue cancers,” said a resident during the public comment period.

“We had to put our 13-year-old black lab, Max, to sleep because he was diagnosed with cancer,” said another resident.

Neighbor after neighbor spoke out about health concerns for themselves and their pets. Many told the board their dogs had recently died of cancer, citing the park as the common denominator.

“I find it highly suspicious,” said resident David Bretz.

Bretz lives a quarter of a mile away from Peppermint Park and lost two of his dogs within a month of one another, both passed from lymphoma.

At the meeting, he begged the board to terminate the dual use policy which allows the land to be used as both a public park and a farm. Bretz says the township has a leasing agreement with a hay farmer who sprays the herbicide 2,4-D, the chemical he and others believe killed their pets.

“We want to terminate the hay lease at Peppermint Park immediately,” said Bretz.

Neighbors say a small sign is posted when the the farmer is going to spray, telling people the park will be closed for a few days and that the township will also post a notice on Facebook. But they say the warnings are not sufficient and often times people enter the park through different spots, missing the placard.

“This chemical poses a threat to the environment, the health of animals and the health of humans,” said a resident during the public comment period of the meeting.

“I implore you tonight to seriously consider all that is being said, none of this is made up, we are not exaggerating and yes this is really happening in our township,” said another resident.

The board says it is still gathering information and will discuss the issue at the next meeting on April 10 when all members are present.

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