September 25, 2012
Dog found hanging in owner’s yard
By Terry Davidson, QMI Agency
TORONTO -- It is an image painfully burned into the minds of Bob and Roseanne Heurkens: their five-year-old miniature schnauzer, Heidi, hanging dead in the backyard.
Bob left their home in Orono -- 88 kilometres east of Toronto -- at 4 p.m. on Sept. 17 to pick Roseanne up from work.
As always, he left Heidi tethered to a four-metre leash attached to a clothesline. Their young Jack Russell terrier, Badger, was secured by a separate leash close by.
An hour later, Bob and Roseanne returned, rounded the corner into their backyard and found Heidi deliberately hanged -- strangled in her own dog collar.
Ontario SPCA investigator Debby Houghton, with the Humane Society of Durham Region, determined someone had used Heidi's run line and a metal chain attached to the back deck to hang Heidi off the ground. Her hind legs barely touched the ground.
"That's a sight you never want to have to look at," said Bob, a retired firefighter who recalled frantically cutting Heidi down and trying to revive her while the unharmed Badger ran around them.
"Heidi was left hanging here with just her back feet touching the ground, and when she got too fatigued for that, she just fell over ... and she choked to death."
There are no "concrete leads" in this grim case, Houghton said.
"We're hoping that with (media) exposure ... maybe someone will come forward to help us with this investigation," added Houghton, who planned to speak with the Heurkens' neighbours about the incident. "Obviously it's quite disturbing, both the way the dog was found, as well as the intent that was involved."
Neither the Heurkens nor Houghton could say if the killing of Heidi was the random act of a sadistic predator or carried out by someone harbouring a grudge of some kind towards the Heurkens. Both Bob and Roseanne insist they are on good terms with others in the neighbourhood.
"It's unfathomable to think it could be someone local who could do this," said Bob, who moved to Orono after he and Roseanne were married five years ago.
"There are no dog murderers in Orono," said one shocked neighbour who didn't want to be named. "There is just nobody around here who would do such a thing."