May 7, 2014 7:30 pm

Dog park at High Park has owners on alert over cut fences

‎The beloved dog park at High Park is being scarred by vandals who are cutting fences in the area. The sharp edges from the cut fencing have been left exposed and dog owners fear for their dogs’ safety.

Cristina Savoia was out with her pooch over the weekend. Sadly, her dog was nicked very close to his eye.

“He turned around and when he turned back to look at me he squinted and I noticed there was blood coming out of his eye,” Savoia said.

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High Park staff say the vandalism began in November 2013, stopped, then started up again in the Spring.

Park officials have started repair on some of the fencing, but the damage is extensive and comes at a cost of $9,500. High Park staff have filed a police report, but so far no arrests have been made. Police, both in uniform and plain clothes will be patrolling the Park to ensure no more vandalism is committed.

Dog walker Bernard Sanders had been walking his dogs in High Park for years. “I know one girl … her German Sheppard got a cut wire fence right through her pad. It went up and she had to pull it out very carefully and it was bleeding real bad. The poor dog had to be off its feet for about 8 weeks or so,” Bernard told Global News.

Sarah Doucette is the City Councillor for the area. In a statement to Global News she wrote: “Vandalism in the High Park Dog Off-Leash area is a serious problem. Sadly fences have been cut and gates continue to be damaged by vandals. As soon as our office becomes aware of any vandalism we immediately pass it along to the Parks Supervisor for High Park. The councillor’s office and Parks staff have also brought this matter to the attention of the police but unfortunately at this time the vandals have not been caught. We recommend dog owners continue to remain vigilant for the safety of their pets and please contact Toronto Police Services, parks staff and our office if they witness fences or gates being damaged”.

In August 2011, the City began a project to help protect the natural environment in the park by fencing off some areas where the natural wildlife is susceptible to erosion. As a result, a group known as the Doggy Liberation Front allegedly started cutting down portions of the fencing as a sign of protest to allow the dogs to roam freely. It is not known if this group is behind this recent spate of vandalism, but an investigation is underway. In the meantime High Park staff are working hard to repair the fences in hopes that no other dogs get injured.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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