TORONTO, FEB 06/2004 – 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 Withrow Park off leash dog area in Toronto’s east end, according to HSC Executive Director, Michael O’Sullivan.


Last weekend, up to 15 dogs who all visited the Withrow Park off-leash dog area fell ill; one of them, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named T-bone has died. All other dogs have responded to treatment, and are expected to recover fully. The substance has been determined to be an organocarbamate, a highly toxic insecticide which is used in agricultural processes. The blue crystals were found laced in food left in the park. Several children tobogganing at that park have also become ill, and health officials are trying to determine if these incidents are related. None of the children became seriously ill, and most have recovered fully.

The animal charity also had high praise for the efforts taken by officials to date: “We want to commend the quick and decisive action taken by the police, city and environmental agencies in protecting public safety and alerting residents to the dangers posed by these incidents,” said 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.

“Cruelty to animals is a criminal offence,” says O’Sullivan. “Offenders face maximum penalties which include fines of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police No. 55 Division at 416-808-5500, 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

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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.]

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