Along Toronto’s waterfront in the heart of the Beaches neighbourhood on a sunny October day, families walk with strollers along the boardwalk, cyclists ride down the Martin Goodman Trail, and dog walkers stroll with their four-legged friends, enjoying the peaceful nature of their surroundings.
But what happened along here last Friday afternoon has some very upset.
Christine Duranleau was out for an afternoon walk with her husband and Cleo, her Bernese mountain dog/Labrador mix, when she witnessed an off-leash dog about the size of hers running just before 4 p.m.
“All of a sudden, this dog comes running and it was pretty crazy. The dog was actually running fast and obviously not on a leash and the next thing you knew, this man was on the ground,” said Duranleau.
She said she saw the dog and its owners as they rollerbladed off, wondering how they could not have see the crash.
“They kind of were facing us for a few seconds and then I saw them leave. I felt so bad because I should have asked someone that was on a bike to see if they could catch these people, but it was too late and obviously, I was too worried about the person that was on the ground.”
Duranleau says while another good Samaritan called 911, she stayed with the man who could not move, until paramedics arrived.
He also asked her to take a photograph of him lying on the pavement.
“He didn’t really specify, ‘Oh, it’s for insurance purposes,’ but he just asked to do it and I did and I sent it to his brother”, she explained.
In an interview contained in the Beach Metro Community News, the cyclist’s sister told the outlet her 69-year-old brother is in hospital with a broken pelvis and is expected to be there for a month.
The unidentified woman also put up posters in the area close to where the collision with the unleashed dog occurred. The posters contained a description of a reddish spaniel/setter breed that fled the scene, and the couple on rollerblades.
The pamphlet, which resembles a Toronto police news release, said the investigation is ongoing and asked anyone with information to contact 55 Division or Crime Stoppers anonymously.
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Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson confirmed to Global News that a report was taken, but said the incident is not considered a criminal matter.
Ken Milligan was riding his bicycle along the Martin Goodman Trail on Tuesday and said he feels terrible for the man who was injured.
“It’s so heartless and yet that sort of thing is becoming more and more common in our city,” Milligan said, explaining that in May 2019, he was also confronted by an off-leash dog while he was riding his bike on the trail.
“I learned a lesson when I got knocked. You’ve got to watch all the time,” he continued, saying that he was lucky that he was unhurt.
A City of Toronto bylaw stipulates that dogs must always be kept on a leash unless they are in designated off-leash areas.
Rick Price, who walks his Rottweiler along the waterfront, was surprised by news of an incident involving the cyclist and an unleashed dog.
“It’s important cause dogs run, they chase stuff, they can injure people. That’s why he’s on a leash all the time,” said Price.