The section of High Park known as Dog Hill has been cordoned off by police after two dogs died and a number of others fell ill from ingesting what appears to be liquid antifreeze. The incident comes four years after a series of dog poisonings in Withrow Park caused by pesticide-laced wieners. That crime was never solved, and the whole thing now has a certain Unabomber-esque intrigue to it. Toronto may have a Canikiller on its hands, striking without warning, then lying in wait for years before mounting another sneak attack. And if so, here is an appeal to the perpetrator: please feel free to forward your wacked-out, manifesto-ish screed of complaints and demands to the Toronto Life offices. City State will publish it in full, not because your cause is righteous—it’s heinous—but because we’re all curious.
Ever since the Withrow poisonings, Toronto’s dogs-versus-people debate has been a heated one. The Dog Hill poisonings have now made it one of the defining civic issues of our time. Toronto is a city for people, but is it a city for dogs? Does our embrace of diversity extend to four-legged creatures? Tensions constantly run high. Earlier this spring I witnessed a scene at Withrow’s dog run, which is located in a tiny valley flanked by two steep hills. A few kids on mountain bikes were having fun weaving through the trees, zipping down into the dog pit and climbing back up the other side. The dogs were distracted by the action and their owners were clearly upset. Eventually the cyclists were silently but sternly shooed away by the dog people’s sense of entitlement, but since Withrow’s off-leash area isn’t fenced in, my sympathies were with the cyclists. Imagine: off-leash children harassing dogs! I am one of those people whose love of dogs has been tempered by parenthood. After a couple of frightening encounters between unleashed, panting slobberers and my infant son, I favour enforcement of leash laws, mandatory obedience training and fenced-in dog runs.
Obviously I don’t favour dog poisoning. Nevertheless, the Dog Hill incident threatens to push the issue into the realm of the absurd. The story in the Toronto Star said the cops were considering an increased presence at Dog Hill. Police protection for pets? Here’s hoping they can track down the Canikiller fast, because between the shootings, the stabbings and the handing out of infractions to rogue TTC drivers, the cops have lots of more urgent priorities to deal with.
• 2 dogs die from poisoning [Toronto Star]