Suspicious piles of food left in Calgary park were poisonous: police

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Suspicious piles of food left in Calgary park were poisonous: police
WATCH: Calgary police say suspicious piles of food, left out in the city’s northwest, have tested positive for poison. As Gil Tucker reports, officials say the poison may have been left out to control rabbits, perceived by some as pests – Aug 22, 2019

Editor’s note: On Jan. 30, 2020, Calgary police said they have identified the person believed to be responsible for leaving the food piles in parks. It’s believed the person is suffering from mental health and, after consultation with the Crown, police said no charges will be laid. Police said with the help of Alberta Health Services, the person will be connected with the proper mental health supports.

Suspicious piles of food left in a park in northeast Calgary earlier this month were poisonous, police announced Thursday.

The food was found in a greenspace near Evanston Square Northwest on Thursday, Aug. 15.

The next two days, police received more calls complaining about suspicious substances in the same area.

In a Thursday news conference, Const. Dennis Smithson said the substances were deemed to be poisonous after being tested by the Calgary Fire Department’s hazmat team.

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“The first one was a mix of birdseed, breadcrumbs and household solvents and lubricants – things that are easily purchased,” Smithson said. “The next one we found the following day had too much rain in it — we couldn’t get analysis of it. The third one was pizza crusts and leftover foods with peroxides and more solvents and such.”

READ MORE: Police investigate suspicious piles of food being left out in northwest Calgary

In a news release, CPS explained that investigators are working to determine the “intention of the incidents.”

“CPS would like to remind citizens to call pest control professionals if they have a pest issue,” the release stated.

Smithson stressed that leaving the poisonous substances unattended in a public park with a play structure nearby posed a serious safety risk to animals and small children.

“Nobody wants to get their kid sick from playing in something that they find in the trees.”

Poisoning an animal is a criminal code offence. Smithson said the person responsible could face up to $10,000 in fines and upwards of five years in jail.

“At this time we haven’t had any reports that the poisons that we found have harmed any animals,” he said.

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Police are urging community members to report any suspicious behaviour they observe, and pet owners to be cautious when walking their animals.

Anyone who has information about the incidents is asked to call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or to contact Crime Stoppers.

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