By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – As the Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry SPCA investigates the death of a dog found in the St. Lawrence River, the reward for suspect information rises by the day.
The small animal described in the police report as a young, black labrador was located by local man, Paul Coleman, at Lock 15, in the city’s east end by the baseball diamonds, covered in gruesome wounds around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday (May 26).
Cornwall Community Police Service Const. Daniel Cloutier, the force’s media rep, said after turning the case over to the SD&G SPCA, the carcass was transported out-of-town for a necropsy.
The results can take up to seven days to arrive.
“It’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen,” said Coleman.
He has described the dog, which he estimates was roughly a year old, as floating in the water with stab wounds, broken legs, missing tail, and half its scalp peeled back.
“Someone did this,” said Coleman. “I can’t see it being from the river, because of the injuries. A lot of the fur was still intact.”
OSPCA inspector Brad Dewar, the investigative branch’s communication officer, was unable to confirm the breed or age since “some of the animal was already beginning to decompose.”
“The dog had been in the river for awhile and the injuries may have happened after its death. But until it’s determined, it’s not a criminal matter,” said Cloutier.
For dog owner Gillian Oxley-Harper, the savage brutality of the injuries reported in local media was heartbreaking and cause for action.
She offered a $500 reward on Facebook Thursday (May 28) for information that will lead to an arrest and conviction in the case. The post was quickly shared over 400 times and led to the establishment of a group called “Cornwall’s Lock 15 Pup.”
By Tuesday (June 2), the reward offer ballooned to over $4,300.
“I couldn’t sleep thinking anyone could be so cruel after reading the man’s description of how he found that poor dog,” said Oxley-Harper.
“I’ve had more Facebook activity in a few days than the last two years. But no ‘promise pledges’ are being collected until we hear back from the SPCA.”
Cornwall’s Michelle Cardinal also posted a reward offer inspired by the seemingly cold-blooded nature of the incident on her social media group dedicated to the advocacy of animal rights.
Dewar encourages anyone with information to come forward, especially if it’s about the dog’s owner, whose identity remains a mystery.
“It’s not something anyone ever wants to hear happen in their community, but we still don’t have details on what caused the death, that’s what the report will show,” said Dewar.
Call the SPCA’s 24-hour toll-free call centre at 310-SPCA (7722).