Dear Editor,

The spraying of chemical pesticides across our region to control mosquitoes, gypsy moths and a growing list of other "pests" poses risks to the environment and to public health. As spraying programs continue to escalate, pet owners should monitor their animals closely for signs of pesticide poisoning.

Pesticide residues from aerial and truck-mounted sprayers drift into communities outside of spray zones and settle on both paved and unpaved surfaces. Dogs and cats can be sickened from licking their paws after walking on paved roads or grassy surfaces, or eating pesticide-tainted grass in their own backyards.

Symptoms include drooling, lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle tremors, vomiting and, in extreme cases, hair loss. Half of all pet poisonings involve pesticides.

Juliet Perrin