A group of concerned Beachers did the right thing when they fetched animal services to take in a dog that was found tied up outside of the LCBO at Victoria Park and Danforth two weeks ago.
Jackie Gaudaur was one of several citizens who noticed the short-haired female canine had been tied up for over half-an-hour early evening on Jan. 12. She said the dog was barking, shivering and looked like she had been abandoned in the cold weather.
“She seemed in distress, she was barking pitifully, she was shaking from the cold,” said Gaudaur. “I took off my coat and put it on the ground beside her, I didn’t want to get too close because I didn’t know her, but she immediately calmed down and sat on my coat.”
With the help of some other people who had gathered, Gaudaur said “We persuaded her into the back of my car where she was wrapped in blankets and eventually given food and water.”
She ultimately drove the dog to her house and waited for Toronto Animal Services to arrive and take the dog to the shelter.
Gaudaur said she was worried the dog, who she said was “very sweet and compliant”, had been neglected. She was considering filing a complaint with the SPCA.
But Toronto Animal Services, who took in the dog under the bylaw that says dogs cannot be left unattended on public property, said that when the dog and her owner were reunited later that evening, it was clear the owner did not intend to leave the dog outside for the lengthy period, and so the dog was allowed to go home with her owner.
“The fact that the dog was left tied up, that’s probably an isolated incident – there was something that occurred. This was not an intentional act,” said Mary Lou Leiher, a program manager with Toronto Animal Services.
“People do have accidents and incidents with their pets here and there.”
Leiher said she could not give out specific information about the owner’s situation.
She noted that the dog “is a senior dog, a well-cared for dog, there was nothing wrong with her health, and the owner had had the dog for quite a number of years. We would never want to remove a dog like that from a good home.”
The dog owner wasn’t charged under the bylaw, she said, noting that an incident like this is more of a teachable moment – or a warning.
“It is better not to leave your dog tied out – that’s why we have the bylaw,” Leiher said.
“If you need to run and do an errand, you want to go shopping, stop and have coffee, leave your dog at home. Even in good weather it’s better not to do that, it’s out in public, anything can happen. The dog can be hurt, the dog can be stolen, the dog could bite someone.”
Not all dogs are able to tolerate the cold weather, she said.
“Often that depends on their breed,” she said. “A dog that has a fixed coat like a husky is bred to tolerate cold weather, whereas other dogs they won’t tolerate that cold weather at all.”
Leiher said Gaudaur “absolutely did the right thing” by calling animal services to take care of the dog.
“The fact that she called us and got in contact with us is really good,” said Leiher. “Especially when somebody has an accident with their animal, it does leave the animal in a situation where they’re unsupervised, and therefore they’re unsafe.
“The appropriate thing happened, the dog came in to the shelter system and we were able to return her to her owner who has had her for many years. All’s well that ends well.”
[This post has been modified to remove a file photo not related to the dog mentioned in the story. -ed.]