Ward 13 councillor Sarah Doucette hopes someone knows something about vandalism occurring at the off-leash dog area in High Park.
For more than six months vandals have been cutting holes in the area’s exterior fence. The vandalism has mostly been occurring around Dog Hill, although other areas have been affected as well.
“Our concern is fixing these fences, because they’re dangerous to dogs and wildlife as well,” Doucette said. “What upsets me is we’re spending thousands of dollars fixing these fences.”
Doucette said the motive for the vandalism is unknown, but it may be connected to a decision last summer to put fencing around sensitive oak trees located in the off-leash area because the soil around the roots was being eroded.
The Parkdale-High Park rep said in order to compensate for the lost space from the tree fencing, city staff cleared an area in the north west of Dog Hill that was previously occupied by shrubs.
But that doesn’t seem to have appeased the vandals.
“They’re upset because it looks as if they don’t have so much space, because we’ve given them different space,” Doucette said.
However, she pointed out that this is merely speculation.
“I’m not going to blame anyone because I don’t know who it is,” Doucette said. “It might be someone trying to get the dog owners into trouble.”
Dog walker Paul Wehrle, the High Park Resource Group’s K9 Liaison, said he’s concerned about the safety of his dog because the sharp wires are often left exposed.
“I find it pretty frustrating that people keep doing this, no matter what their motivations are,” Wehrle said. “Especially the last time the fences were cut, they were left in a way that was pretty dangerous, with jagged edges.”
So far the police do not have any suspects and the option of a surveillance camera was deemed too expensive.
“I’ve met with the police, they have no leads right now,” Doucette said. “We don’t even know what time of day or night this is happening.”
The vandalism has been brazen at times.
“Apparently sometimes there’s wire cutters just left hanging on a fence,” the councillor said.
Doucette encourages anyone to contact her office at 416-392-4072 with any information. They can also contact Toronto Police Service’s 11 Division at 416-808-1100.
“For seven months we haven’t been able to stop the people who are doing this,” Doucette said. “Someone’s got to know something, that’s my feeling.”
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