Friday, July 11, 2008

Loss of Lab Inspires Owner to Take Action Against Pesticides

Jeffrey Siegel tried to protect the health of his dog, Tucker, by not using pesticides, but other neighbors chose to spray their lawns.

Now Jeffrey is getting active to protect the health of people and pets in the neighborhood.

"We lost our five year old lab named Tucker this year to bladder cancer, a rare cancer in dogs that has been linked to pesticides.

We don't spray and we never have sprayed.

Many neighbors in our area do (Possibly sort of akin to second hand smoke?).

We were surprised to find no cancer background in Tucker's line - he came from a serious breeder with long records of lineage.

We were on our boat when Tucker was diagnosed and died in surgery. Later, it was determined that his suspected spleen cancer was actually aggressive and advanced bladder cancer.

In the following months, we tried to figure out what caused the cancer. Through our amateur research, we realized that there seemed to be a high rate of cancer in our little town, Castine, Maine. In May, we attended a funeral of a 53 year old friend who died of breast cancer.

We live in a tiny coastal Maine town where everyone knows everyone. As we started showing people the number of pets and people who have died in the last few years, we found others who had been asking the same questions. A committee was formed and we were shocked by the number of people and pets who are sick here. There were too many.

We live in an affluent place. The concentration of cancer is in the village of Castine - basically a large hill of historic homes that leads to ocean frontage. At the top of this hill is a very-well-cared-for golf course. Of course, you won't find weeds anywhere on the golf course. And, of course, everything runs downhill.

We approached our Selectmen, who didn't know that our own town sprays its public lawns - directly outside the elementary school and where the kids play at recess. We got the town to enact a ban on pesticide use by the town itself - for the public places.

Maine is one of 8 states that would allow us to ban all pesticide use within the entire town.

Our group is in its early stage. We're trying to get the state health department to look at our data. If you can believe it, there are people who oppose this.

Thank you for your web site. We have a very large number of pets in our town who are out and about all the time. Your site will help educate our neighbors about some of the things they never really thought about, hopefully making it a safer place. Tucker would have liked that."

To read more about Jeff and Tucker and see pictures and videos, please visit Jeff's website at

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