TORONTO, JUNE 24/2008 – The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is offering a $1,000 reward for information resulting in the conviction of those responsible for placing poison in the High Park off leash dog area, “dog hill”, in Toronto’s west end, according to HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan.

Up to 6 dogs who all visited the High Park off-leash dog area have fallen ill; two of them have died, the other four have responded well enough to treatment that they have returned to their homes. According to reports, the police first believed that the dogs became ill after drinking water from a hydrant that had been deliberately contaminated. However, reportedly, now they believe that whole wheat bread that had been soaked in antifreeze was scattered within the off-leash area by a disgruntled gardner who was trying to poison raccoons.

The Humane Society of Canada is not only concerned with this case of poisoning, but also with the incident in February where pets were poisoned by rat poison in Etobicoke’s Delma Park.

“No circumstance warrants brutally killing either wildlife or pets with poison,” says Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director. “Leaving poison for wildlife is not only dangerous for the intended victims, but also for unintended potential victims including young children and pets,” states an angry O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan, whose family shares their home with dogs and cats, wants to remind people that for everyone’s sake they need to keep their pets under strict supervision at all times. “Our four legged friends depend on us for their well being and regrettably, that includes protecting them from those who would do them harm,” he said.

Any owner who suspects their pet has been poisoned should contact their veterinarian immediately. Symptoms include: staggering movements, vomiting, excessive drinking and urination, sudden improvement followed by a relapse a day or two later, depression, weakness, dehydration, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, rapid breathing, seizures, and sensitivity to touch on the abdomen and kidney failure.

“Cruelty to animals is a criminal offence,” says O’Sullivan. “Recent changes to the Canadian Criminal Code mean that offenders face maximum penalties of up to 5 years in prison for indictable offences and for summary convictions - fines of up to $10,000 and up to eighteen months in jail. In addition to the criminal record and fines, the person convicted can also be prohibited from owning, having the custody or control of or residing in the same premises as an animal or a bird for any period that the court considers appropriate but, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, for a minimum of five years. Damages may be awarded by the court to the person or organization that had to pay for the care of the animal as a result of the offence.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police No. 11 Division at 416-808-1100, Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 or The Humane Society of Canada at 416-368-0405.

Anyone who would like to donate to The Humane Society of Canada’s Victims of Cruelty Reward Program to help solve crimes against animals and nature can contact the organization at 1-800-641-5463 or through their website at www.humanesociety.com

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

The only organization of its kind, seven days a week, The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works across the street, across Canada and around the world helping people, animals and the environment.

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our educational campaigns that protect animals and the environment please make a donation here. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty and violence, we don’t give up. Ever.