Dead dog found in Prospect Park’s ‘Lake of Death’

Dead dog found in Prospect Park’s ‘Lake of Death’
The Brooklyn Paper / Stephen Brown

The lake at Prospect Park once again gave up its dead yesterday — yet another grisly discovery to bolster fears that the man-made oasis has become a watery graveyard.

Parks officials confirmed that a small dog was found early on April 22 during a routine cleaning of the lake and its environs.

At first, it was believed that the poor pooch was Thompy, a dog-napped Boerum Hill Cocker Spaniel who disappeared on April 14, but parks officials diffused the rumor, claiming the remains were so badly decomposed that they must have been in the water for weeks.

The carcass was in such bad shape that the maintenance worker who found it had to scoop it from the water with a crate, explained Prospect Park spokesman Eugene Patron.

“At first [the maintenance worker] wasn’t sure if it was a dog or a possum — it was that badly decomposed,” said Patron.

Parks officials surmise that the remains may have been of a dog that went missing last winter and fell through the ice.

But park lover Ed Bahlman, who makes daily pilgrimages to the lake, disputed the “ice dog” theory, claiming the area where the dead animal was found doesn’t freeze over in the winter.

The carcass — which he saw in the lake on Tuesday morning, two days before the Parks Department did — was found near a thatch of reeds that someone had torched a few weeks earlier.

“[The dog] was soaked, but it wasn’t that badly decomposed,” Bahlman said. “There was no dog there on Friday, so it could have been killed and thrown in there the day before it was found.”

No one will ever know for certain how the dog died. The Parks Department never conducted a necropsy, even though they had previously promised to run tests on any dead animal found by the lake.

Patron said that no tests were done because of the dog’s advanced state of decay. It was also a domesticated animal and not part of the park’s wildlife.

“We said we’d run tests on animals that normally live in the lake,” said Patron. “This was someone’s pet.”

This wasn’t the first time that death had come to sit by the 60-acre lake.

Late last month, John Boy, one of the lake’s beloved swans, died — and parks officials said that she was the victim of swan-on-swan violence. Weeks before John Boy’s demise, park-goers found severed chicken heads, animal guts and the decomposed remains of fish, turtles and opossums.

The lake’s death toll grew so large so fast that area wildlife activists pushed the city to check the waters for toxins — but tests conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection and an independent team from Brooklyn College cleared the lake itself of any wrongdoing.

It’s just that dead animals pop up in the lake from time to time, Patron explained.

“It’s not necessarily uncommon to find animals that live in the park and naturally expire — rodents, mice, raccoons — in the lake,” Patron said. “Dogs are a bit less common, but they do get lost and possibly fall through the ice.”

Dead animals and entrails aren’t the only things that have been dumped into the lake. During a recent outing, WPIX reporter Greg Mocker found a television bobbing in the water — and got so frustrated that he removed it himself for a funny video report.

Mocker’s antics followed a scathing editorial in The Brooklyn Paper which condemned the Parks Department’s slow response to the three weeks of animal dumping and arson around the lakefront.

“If murder, blood, arson and death was stalking Central Park, it would be an international outrage,” the editorial stated. “But in Prospect Park? Nothing.”