OSCPA launches investigation after video of dog walker surfaces on Instagram
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017 9:22AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 21, 2017 4:36PM EDT
The OSPCA is investigating after a video surfaced on Instagram showing a dog walker who appears to be forcing a leashed dog to walk on its hind legs while multiple other unleashed dogs walk beside him.
Aleksander Kupisz, who shot the video and posted it to the social media site, said the incident occurred on the afternoon of March 16 near Christie Pits Park.
Kupisz said when he first saw the dog being held up by his collar, he didn’t really know what was happening.
"I became very disturbed by this and I took out my phone. I started to record. The individual then crossed the street, continued to have the dog up on its hind legs, dragging it basically... I became quite concerned and I confronted the individual," Kupisz said.
"There is no need to use that type of a force... This is not a training technique, this is blatant abuse."
In an interview with NewsTalk 1010, the dog walker in the video, Austin St. Jacques, admitted that the dog was walking on its hind legs for about half a block but defended his actions, saying there are “varying techniques on how to walk a dog properly.”
“The dog was by no means being dragged,” he told the radio station.
He said that Kupisz’s conduct towards him “has ended up being harassment.”
“If you can see his behaviour in the video, it’s in no way congruent to creating a safer situation or offering someone advice or to convince someone of their way of thinking,” St. Jacques told NewsTalk 1010.
In an email sent to CP24 Tuesday, Melissa Kosowan, a spokesperson for the OSCPA, confirmed the organization is investigating the incident.
“We are currently investigating and are following up accordingly on the information we have received. We urge anyone who witnessed this incident to call 310-SPCA,” she wrote.
St. Jacques said that he is “moving towards” acquiring the proper licensing and insurance as a dog walker and plans to contact “various dog walkers and trainers in the city to get the best advice” on training and dog handling going forward.