Fulton couple works hard to protect family from backyard danger

Local News

FULTON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) It’s a mistake among many: as seasons change and temperatures drop, many think ticks go away. But the threat doesn’t necessarily die off just because it’s colder, and places, where our children play, could be a breeding ground for something dangerous and potentially deadly.

Luna is Chad Towle’s pride and joy. A family pet he and Ciarra Furguson consider their fourth child, and they’ll do whatever they can to protect them. Though they never thought the danger would be lurking right outside their home.

“Probably once every other week I’ll find one or two,” said Chad. He’s talking about finding ticks on Luna.

Chad never noticed a tick on his body until this year. He found two, each one leaving a scar. “That one took forever to heal, I honestly thought that was gonna be a big problem,” he said, pointing to a scar.

Chad is lucky. A similar bite on a family member turned into Lyme disease.

“Completely changed him,” said Chad. “We used to have outings, get-togethers and he’d be out all the time. Now he just seems kinda lethargic, doesn’t wanna hang out as much.”

Now Chad limits where his 12 and 10-year-old kids play on their 16 acres of land. “They don’t wanna play on the swing set or hang out here, they want to go into the dense woods,” he said.

But that’s a breeding ground. SUNY ESF Assistant Professor Brian Leydet warns the adult ticks are out. “They’ll wait for you to pass by and grab onto you and feed on you,” said Leydet.

They’re also hard to spot. Some are only the size of a poppy seed! Which is why Chad checks Luna almost every night.

“Check under the neck, collar,” he said, doing a full workup.

While Chad can wear socks and shoes, his baby girl can’t, and she’s outside a lot. “Constantly and she does it without a leash,” said Chad.

Whatever latches on outside, could fall off inside the house and end up on little Sammy, their new three-month-old.

“The biggest concern is definitely the Lyme disease,” said Chad.

“It’s hard to control them out in the environment but you can control them from getting on you and biting you,” said Leydet.

The best thing to do is tuck your socks into your pants, be mindful of where your kids play, and check for ticks whenever you come inside.

“You’re tick-free,” said Chad, doing a tick check on Luna. That’s the way he and Ciarra want their entire family to stay.

For more local news follow Nicole Sommavilla on Twitter/NeSommavilla.

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