Dogs are allegedly being left for dead in growing frequency at a Toronto-area park.
There has been a three-fold increase in the abandonment of pets in Scarborough’s Rouge National Urban Park, a Parks Canada spokesperson confirmed to Now Toronto.
Staff at Rouge National Urban Park are urging the public to surrender unwanted pets through humane channels and not release them into the park or natural areas.
On Nov. 10, the remains of a small-medium sized dog was found along with a mat, food and other items.
The dog is believed to have been abandoned there and died after starving and exposure to freezing temperatures.
In another incident in mid-November, Parks Canada received reports of a husky that was abandoned and on the loose on Woodland Trail.
It allegedly stayed in the area for about one month before traveling outside of park boundaries.
The dog was finally captured by Team Chelsea, a search group for lost pets, on Dec. 21. Members could not find a report for a missing husky, and said that likely indicates it was an intentional release.
In addition to domestic dogs, park staff say they are seeing cats, rabbits, reptiles and other exotic wildlife released within park boundaries both on land and in waterways.
Parks Canada emphasizes that pets and domestic animals that previously relied on owners to care for them and provide food and shelter are not equipped to survive in the wild.
If you can no longer care for a pet, please surrender the animal to a local shelter or wildlife sanctuary where it can receive the care it needs and a better chance of finding a forever home.
Abandoned pets discovered at Rouge Park can be reported to park officials by calling 416-264-2020.