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‘Severely malnourished:’ Dog found dead wrapped in garbage bag

A logo at the Toronto Police Services headquarters, in Toronto, on Friday, August 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Toronto police say a “severely emaciated and malnourished” dog was found dead and wrapped in a garbage bag in the city’s east end.

The dog was found just off of a walking trail in the Morningside Avenue and Danzig Street area on Feb. 24 and officers have launched an animal cruelty investigation, police said.

A citizen walking their own dog saw the garbage bag and thought it was suspicious and opened it, police told Global News. The concerned citizen then called police.

“The dog was found severely emaciated and malnourished,” police said.

Investigators said the dog is believed to be an American Bulldog mix. The dog is light brown in colour with white markings on its head and snout.

The age of the dog is unknown. Police said the dog is full grown in terms of height but that it is “difficult to tell the exact age due to the level of malnourishment.”

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Police said they issued a public appeal hoping that if anyone recognizes the description of the dog, and may be able to help find the owners, they come forward.

There are no suspects identified yet, police said, adding that animal services is also involved in the investigation.

“It’s a criminal matter now because obviously of neglect and abuse on this dog and the way it was found,” Const. Laura McCann said.

Camille Labchuk, an animal rights lawyer and the executive director of advocacy organization Animal Justice, said the case is “heartbreaking.”

“Emaciation, malnourishment — those both sound like issues related to neglect,” Labchuk told Global News.

“Of course, there could be a medical issue there. So without knowing more, without doing an autopsy, it’s difficult to pre-judge. But this sounds like it could be a classic neglect case. And neglect is an offense that’s punishable under the Criminal Code and also be prosecuted under provincial animal cruelty laws in Ontario.”

Labchuk said a person could face jail time and also be handed a fine.

“I think the courts and law enforcement do take crimes against animals like this very, very seriously, especially when a dog is involved,” Labchuk said.

“Dogs are beloved by society.”

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