Toronto police are warning dog owners in the east end about a potentially harmful substance that may have been left in a park, poisoning several dogs.
In a release, police said they responded to several reports on Saturday about dogs possibly being poisoned in Joel Weeks Parkette at 10 Thompson Street, near Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue.
"As a result of the investigation police are concerned that an undetermined poison may have been left within the park area and has the potential to harm children and small animals," the release said.
It's unclear how the poison was delivered to the dogs, or whether someone is leaving a harmful substance to intentionally harm the animals.
The public safety alert was issued after reports that one dog had died and one had fallen ill, Const. Victor Kwong told CBC Toronto.
Kwong said city parks workers had found meat scattered around the park two weeks ago, but they only came forward after hearing about the sick dogs. The meat was not tested for poison.
"Right now we have no evidence to link it ... we have nothing to point to what exactly it is," he said.
Local resident Robert Poizner believes his dog Honey was a victim of the poisonings.
Poizner took the small, 16-pound pug/Chihuahua/Jack Russel mix to Joel Weeks Parkette almost every day, as it is just 100 meters from his business, Cannonball Coffee and Bar.
Honey became sick on Friday Aug. 16 and by Monday, just before a scheduled vet appointment, she died.
"I cherished her," Poizner told CBC Toronto.
"She was the very light of my life."
Poizner suspected Honey may have died of something other than natural causes after a customer came into his bar and told him about two other dogs who died of possible poisonings.
He contacted police at 55 Division and told his story.
'Everybody's watching out for each other'
Ben Marchal walks his dog Andy in the parkette almost every day. He said the rumours of the poisonings are swirling around the dog community.
"People are kind of freaked out, everybody's worried about it," he said while out walking his dog on Monday.
The tight-knit group of dog people are keeping up with the news on social media and sending out daily updates.
"Everybody's watching out for each other," Marchal said.
Poizner said he's frustrated the police alert didn't go out sooner.
"The story was moving around for a week before I heard about it and during that time any number of other people are going through that park," he said.
For now, Poizner is still grieving the loss of his dog. He described Honey as "a non-prescription antidepressant" and a "24-hour therapist."
He found her three years ago among garbage in a pet carrier beside a Don Valley Parkway guardrail.
As a single, 55-year-old man, Poizner said Honey was a "blessing" in his life. The two quickly became best friends and relied on each other for companionship.
"I figured she probably had ten years left, and not to be silly or maudlin, but I kind of felt we were going to grow old together."