Neighbours save dog left to freeze outside on Liberty Village balcony
By Alanna Kelly
04 March 2016

A dog is seen peering out a glass balcony in Liberty Village. Photo via Facebook from RL Das

Temperatures were frigid in Toronto on Wednesday, dropping to -14 C, but feeling closer to -20. Most people locked themselves inside to avoid the extreme cold, but one Toronto pooch was stuck outside on the 16th floor of a Liberty Village condominium.

And the neighbours were pissed.

One Facebook user jumped on the Liberty Village Residents Association Facebook page to share a picture and express their outrage.

The dog is howling away in the cold

“There is a dog on the balcony at 51 East Liberty building, 16 floor (south west corner unit) it’s medium size white in color,” said a man named RL Das. “The dog is howling away in the cold gnawing at the doors without any coat or blanket, no body seems to be home.”

Das also wrote that he did not have very much experience with animal services and said the dog had been outside howling for 45 minutes.

“What kind of disgusting people live there, they deserve the dog to be taken away. Any suggestions,” he wrote.

The post accumulated over 175 comments, many of which were trying to find a way to help the dog.

“I would notify the concierge but also contact Toronto animal services. The concierge doesn’t have the right to enter a unit without permission. Poor pup!” said Jill Grace on the Facebook page.

And another person even offered to take the dog, who is named Duck, off the owners’ hands.

“I’m in the area too if someone needs me to do something. How stupid are his owners! I’ll take the dog off of your hands, idiot!!”

One person suggested calling 311 and to not even bother waiting for concierge.

After a couple minutes of people not getting any answers, they seemed to turn on the owner of the dog.

“Lets lock the owners out on their own balcony. I’ll bet they wouldn’t last 15 minutes. How are these idiots allowed to own pets???” said Mark Petierre.

There were even suggested to go knock down the door to rescue the dog.

About an hour later, around 6 p.m., people from the Facebook group said they were able to flag down a police officer who was able to get the dog inside.

Duck is now inside safe with his owner, who according to Jacob Smith is very appreciative of the support from all the people who helped.

Smith posted this comment on the Facebook page:

Todd Hofley posted on the page saying that at the next condo best practices committee meeting he will be discussing options to make sure that the frustrating delay that happened yesterday won’t happen again.

“I will bring forward a potential template for pet owners that stipulates if there is reasonable belief that their pet is in immediate and life threatening danger because of getting outside, that the condominium corporation has the right to enter the unit and bring the animal inside,” Hofley said on Facebook.

Animals left on condo balconies ‘grey area’ for Toronto police
By Alanna Kelly
25 July 2016

A Toronto resident contacted police after she said a dog was left outside on a balcony in 30 degree heat for hours. Photograph by Shannon Hunter

When it comes to animals being left on condominium balconies and how police can act, it is very much a grey area according to Toronto Police.

30-degree heat on a City Place balcony

On Monday, police were notified that a dog had been left outside in the 30-degree heat on a City Place balcony for three hours.

Resident Shannon Hunter told CityNews that she came home from work to her condo in the Spadina Avenue and Fort York Boulevard area around 3 p.m. to hear a dog barking next door.

The dog, which Hunter described as being “skin and bones,” was allegedly left alone on the balcony with nothing but an empty vodka bottle and car tires.

the smell of dog urine was immensely strong

Hunter said the smell of dog urine was immensely strong, as if the dog had been outside all day.

“There is nothing out there for [it], the door is closed and there is an empty vodka bottle and glass,” she said. “[It] is literally trying to squeeze through the tiny section between the balconies so he can come over here.”

Hunter said she was able to slip water over the balcony to the pooch and that she went to neighbour’s door multiple times to see if anyone was home. When no one answered she went down to the concierge to see if someone could contact the dog’s owners. Hunter said she then called the police.

“I want the dog removed, it is 37 degrees outside it is just as bad as putting a dog in a car,” she said.

Toronto Police Const. Craig Brister said that when it comes to dogs being left in vehicles and dogs being left on balconies they are two different situations.

“I can walk up to a car and look at the dog and go ‘ya, that dog is in distress.’ I smash the window, get my way into the car and get the dog out,” said Brister. “Things change a little bit when you are dealing with somebody’s house.”

Brister said that there is a higher threshold for police to enter someone’s apartment.

“Sometimes we have a hard enough time articulating grounds to go in and check on people,” he said. “Unless we can articulate an urgent need for us to go into the house or enter an apartment, it is difficult for us to do it.”

Brister said each situation is handled case-by-case and there is no hard rule as to what police will do. Unless the dog is visibly in distress it is difficult because they have to “form grounds to act.”

With Toronto condominiums there is a grey area

With Toronto condominiums there is a grey area, he explains, because sometimes condo security won’t allow access to the units without police being there or they may refuse access all together.

According to Hunter, the owners eventually came home and opened the balcony door to let the dog inside.

This isn’t the first time police have been called after a dog was spotted alone on a condo balcony.

Residents living in Liberty Village rallied together after they saw a Facebook image of a dog stuck on a balcony in frigid –14 C weather and worked together to get the dog brought back inside.

A petition was circulated by Toronto woman Nicole Simone calling for the city to step up and protect vulnerable pets.

“A residential balcony is not a yard,” Simone wrote.

“It is dangerous to dogs, residents, and the public. Dogs in [that] situation can face extreme weather conditions, violate noise bylaws, expel excrement on the public, and risk falling to their death. It therefore poses health and safety hazards for the citizens of Toronto.”

Under the criminal code (445.1), anyone “who willfully causes or, being the owner, willfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird commits an offence. The offence is punishable through a fine or imprisonment.

If the owner or person having custody willfully neglects or fails to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for an animal is also liable under the criminal code in section 446.

Brister said that a site-specific ruling may help.

“How you treat your animal, where you put it, when you are out is a grey area,” he said. “It is still your responsibility.”

But Brister said that people being involved in the community is a good thing because that is how things change.

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