London, Ont. police say no evidence Pride gerbil deaths linked to anti-LGBT poisoning

Police have shot down accusations that homophobic hate was behind two animal deaths at an Ontario Pride festival.

After two gerbils died and a goat got sick at a pop-up petting zoo during this year’s Pride festivities in London, Ont., event attendees jumped to the conclusion that the animals were poisoned as part of an anti-LGBT hate crime. 

The claim was based on one email sent to Little Hobby Hill Farm owner Bethany Tout expressing disappointment that the petting zoo decided to support Pride festivities. 

“Pride has no relation to a petting zoo and there is no reason to conjoin these … Please consider your events and what you support,” the anonymous complainant wrote. 

Tout shared the email with CBC News, which then published a news report implying that the animals were poisoned in an anti-LGBT hate murder plot. 

“I’m really hoping that it’s not true that someone did this. I really hate to think that someone would do this intentionally,” Tout told CBC. 

The claims prompted a full investigation by the London Police Service, autopsies and toxicology reports, to determine if the animals were intentionally killed. 

On Tuesday, the London Police Service contradicted the claims circulated by CBC News:  there was no evidence that the animals were intentionally poisoned. 

“While we can confirm two animals have died, at this time the cause of death does not appear to be as a result of intentional poisoning and is still under investigation,” London police Sgt. Sandasha Bough told the London Free Press. 

“The initial misinformation appears to have been posted and shared via social media, and not from the owner of the involved animals.”

CBC’s article has since been updated to reflect the new information.

In a statement published on the petting zoo’s Facebook page, Little Hobby Hill Farm said that it had reached out to event organizers to ask if there was pesticide or rodenticide present at the Oakridge park where the Pride event took place.

True North reached out to the City of London’s park management office with similar inquiries but received no response. 

“We did not/ nor do not intend on speculating that this is a hate crime and we still want to desperately believe that someone would not want to intentionally hurt our animals,” wrote Little Hobby Hill Farm. 

“Today the police have released a statement that they do not believe this was an “intentional poisoning.”

Social media posts by supporters circulated soliciting donations to Little Hobby Hill Farm and spreading the claim that the deaths were hate-related. 

Story imported via RSS from True North News
RSS Article Source:

True North is a Canadian digital media platform that seeks to provide Canadians with fair, accurate, truthful and fact-based news reports, analysis, investigative reports, podcasts, interviews and documentaries. Support alternative news and investigative reporting by supporting True North News at :

Leave a Reply