Keys, wallet, lipstick, bear spray: Are Toronto women packing?
After a series of sexual attacks in the city & a vicious murder in Cabbagetown, many Toronto women are re-thinking their habits.
They're taking the TTC more often, letting friends & family know where they'll be & when & hailing a cab if they feel uneasy walking alone.
Some are taking the more extreme step of arming themselves. Their weapon of choice: bear repellent.
Bear attack deterrent spray & it's cousin, dog attack deterrent are available at outdoor hobby shops, some big box stores & online.
Federal rules say Canadian retailers are supposed to keep track of the name & address of anyone who buys the spray & how much they're taking home.
But at a Toronto Canadian Tire, Newstalk 1010 reporter Siobhan Morris was able to buy a 225g canister of bear repellent & a 22g container of dog repellent without filling out any paper work.
The Canadian Tire clerk gladly unlocked the glass display case where the sprays were kept, laughed & asked "who are you going to spray that on?". There were no questions at the checkout, only a note on the receipt warning that the sprays are considered a controlled pesticide.
The bear repellent label explicitly says it isn't to be used on human beings.
But Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella says a woman who uses a bear or dog spray to fight off an attacker wouldn't be in trouble with the law so long as she was defending herself.
A woman could be charged with possession of a prohibited weapon if she used Mace instead of bear spray though. It's illegal to carry pepper spray in Canada.
Vella understands that Torontonians feel concerned, but he thinks it's sad that people feel the need to carry weapons. He says he doesn't want people to overreact.
(with files from James Moore)