Allan Einstoss and his 165-pound English mastiff, Cupcake.
Credits: Dave Abel/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO - A Jewish man says he's contemplating legal action, claiming to have been arrested for bringing his dog to an Islamic group's anti-Israel demonstration on Saturday. But police say he actually was arrested for fighting.
Allan Einstoss, 47, was handcuffed and detained by police during a controversial Al-Quds Day rally at Queen's Park.
Al-Quds Day is a yearly international event created in 1979 by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini to mark the end of Ramadan and to call for the destruction of Israel and the creation a Palestinian state.
Several other groups, including the hard-line Jewish Defence League, also attended the rally to counter the Al-Quds message, which they say spreads anti-Semitism.
Einstoss, who has no group affiliation but went to oppose the Al-Quds' doctrine, said he'd spent over an hour "mingling" among members of the crowd with Cupcake, his 165-pound English mastiff.
Cupcake, a trained therapy dog that will begin visiting patients at a local hospital this fall, was on a leash during the rally, and wore an Israeli flag around its neck.
Some devout Muslims consider dogs to be unclean and make efforts to avoid them.
Einstoss said after two young Muslim women asked about Cupcake, he was told by a male Al-Quds demonstrator he was "not allowed to go near our women" with the dog.
Einstoss said that after exclaiming his right to go where he pleased, he walked away with Cupcake, but was "punched in the chest" by another demonstrator.
Einstoss shoved back, and within seconds was grabbed by several officers, he said.
He claimed that while in custody, one officer called him "insensitive" for attending an Islamic rally with a dog.
Einstoss said his assailant wasn't even questioned by police.
The officer allegedly threatened Einstoss with charges of incitement to riot and assault. After around 30 minutes, Einstoss was let go after agreeing to leave Queen's Park.
Toronto police spokesman Victor Kwong said that while officers at the rally first noticed Einstoss because of his "large" dog, his arrest was because of the subsequent scuffle.
"Officers took notice of (Einstoss) because they did see an extremely large dog with an Israeli flag around its neck," Kwong said.
He added that Einstoss was the only person arrested at the rally and refused to discuss specifics about the incident.
If he pursues legal action, Einstoss said he'll seek a public inquiry into his arrest instead of money.