By ALAN SHACKLETON
Along with the pain of having his pelvis broken in three places, Tedd Dillon is also feeling anger over the circumstances that led to an unleashed dog knocking him off his bike while he was riding on the Martin Goodman Trail in the Beach recently.
Dillon, 69, is also feeling disgust for the owners of the dog who let their pet run free by the trail and then left the area and did not stay to help him after the collision.
“The dog is just being a dog. It’s the owners who are responsible for this,” said Dillon in a phone interview with Beach Metro News.
“There used to be a sense of community here,” he said. “The idea that I would be jettisoned off the bike, and the owners just walked away is certainly not neighbourly.”
Dillon said he never actually saw the owners of the dog himself, but has been told by others about them.
“I didn’t see them. The dog hit me and then I was on the ground in awful pain.”
The incident took place at approximately 3:45 p.m. on the trail just west of the Kew Gardens Tennis Club courts on Friday, Oct. 15.
Appeals in the community have been made for the owners of the dog to come forward, and police are looking into the incident to see if they can identify the owners as well. So far, that has not happened. The dog owners, reportedly a man and a woman in their 30s or 40s, were roller blading along the trail and the dog was running behind them.
“How can you claim to be a responsible dog owner when you are 100 feet ahead of them?” wondered Dillon.
As for them not stopping to help or even acknowledge their responsibility, he said “they’re cowards.”
Dillon has been on his back since the incident as doctors are not allowing him to move. He was first in Michael Garron Hospital but has since been moved to a convalescent facility while waiting possible surgery. He will then have to go Bridgepoint for further recovery once doctors decide whether surgery and the placing of pins in his pelvis will be necessary.
“I’ll be on my back for six weeks. I have three severe fractures in my pelvis,” said Dillon. “They (doctors) will assess how they are healing and then decide whether there will have to be surgical intervention. I’m hoping that’s not the case. Putting surgical pins in my pelvis is not what I want.”
Dillon is not sure what the long-term future holds. Much depends on the healing process and whether surgery is needed.
“The best case scenario I guess is that I only have to sell my skis.”
A Beach resident who grew up in the community, Dillon said he has been cycling for years but has never seen the situation with unleashed dogs near the Martin Goodman Trail and the Boardwalk as bad as it is now.
“I’ve been riding there for 50 years and grew up in the Beach and I’m very familiar with the paths there,” he said.
Since news of his injury, Dillon said he has heard from many seniors who are afraid to walk in the Beach because of the number of unleashed dogs. “Seniors in the area are fearful of the unleashed dogs.”
As a cyclist he said he felt safer riding on Danforth Avenue that along the Beach due to the dogs.
He said he remembers seeing a blur of the dog coming towards him before the animal ran into the front wheel of his bike.
“The dog was running full speed, looking at a squirrel, and ran right into the bike.”
Dillon said he was in the process of slowing down as he saw the dog come towards him.
“The dog collided with me and ran into the front wheel. It knocked the wheel askew and hit with such force that it catapulted me off the bike and I crashed onto the pavement…It was 60 to 70 pound dog at full speed and I smashed onto the ground like a pile of hamburger,” he said.
Dillon is angry because he feels the solution to the dangers caused by unleashed dogs to cyclists, walkers, roller bladers and others is to have the City of Toronto enforce its leash laws and that is simply not happening.
“Enforce the bylaw for the good of everybody,” he said.
There are areas for dogs in the Beach to run off-leash and there’s absolutely no need for owners to let their pets off-leash near the bike path or Boardwalk, he said.
“Leash the dogs where they should be leashed,” said Dillon.
Along with his long recovery, Dillon is also worried about the impact his injuries will have on his career. He is an artisan who is self-employed in a number of creative areas including working as an actor.
He said he was having a great 2021 up until his injury. He has roles in three upcoming Christmas movies to be released soon, including playing the parts of Santa and a grandfather. For contractual reasons, he cannot speak more about those movies until they are released. He had just finished filming one of them in early October.
“This has completely knocked me off. I was having one of my best years ever,” said Dillon.
He’s hoping his injuries don’t mean the end of his career and permanently impact his mobility. As for his future prognosis, he said he has no choice now but to deal with it.
Dillon’s sister Joan Weed has started a GoFundMe page to help him with some of the many costs he will be facing on his long journey to recovery. It can be accessed at https://www.gofundme.com/f/dnr6wp-help-tedd-get-on-the-move-again?member=14800197&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2Binvitesupporters%2Bspider1c