What is grass rust and is it dangerous? - Hartlepool council confirm it is the reason behind stained pet fur

Hartlepool dog walkers were concerned after orange stains were left on pets’ paws after walking on grass at the Town Moor in Hartlepool but the council has now confirmed the reason why.

Monday, 16th September 2019, 5:00 pm
Angel's paws were left orange after walking in grass in Hartlepool

Other dog owners had also started to notice the strange substance on the grass which was clearly visible in some areas.

Barry Hodge, 35, Angel’s owner who is from the Headland, spoke to the Mail about the incident at the time. He said: “I was quite worried as I didn't know what this was or if it was harmful to Angel.

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Angel's paws were left orange after walking on the grass. Photo: Barry Hodge

“Once I got home, I tried to wash and dry them, but the orange colour was still on her fur.

“Obviously quite a lot of people use the Town Moor to walk their dogs and I'm pretty sure a lot more will have the same problem.”

After finding out about the issues, members of Hartlepool Borough Council visited the site on Thursday, September 12. The council has since confirmed that the orange substance is as they suspected, grass rust.

But, what is grass rust?

Some of the grass rust is visible in areas. Photo: Barry Hodge

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “It would appear that this substance is grass rust, a naturally-occurring fungus which can develop at this time of year.

“Often, affected turf will appear orange or yellow from a distance.”

Grass rust, also known as lawn rust, is actually a common issue, especially where there is a lot of moisture present and where the grass is growing slowly.

It usually occurs at the end of summer as autumn arrives.

Angel had to be washed after her walk. Photo: Barry Hodge

Is grass rust dangerous?

Thankfully not.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesperson said: “This substance can easily transfer to shoes or pet fur, but is not harmful to humans or animals.”

The rust can also spread in the air and via water, equipment, and other turf.

Grass rust fungus does not usually require fungicide treatment.

As summer comes to an end, the grass growth is likely to improve and the rust should fade away in the autumn.