This is the first time I've ever heard of this happening in Nova Scotia.
Today, the judge in Brindi's case turned Brindi over to the HRM - the news stories didn't say who in the HRM she is being turned over to - but we'd assume it's the Animal Control department - and have her assessed as to whether she is a good candidate for being adopted out to a new home.
Before today it was understood that the only options available were the return of Brindi to her owner or her death - so this is a precedent setting case in Nova Scotia with the 3rd option of forfeiture of ownership - and adoption to a new owner.
There are bylaws across North America where this is possible - but there is no bylaw in Nova Scotia or courts where this has happened before, and I think that is amazingly wonderful - because it has been acknowleged that the problem from the beginning - as it is in a lot of cases - was the owner and not the dog.
The problem was the inability of the owner to keep the public safe from a dog who has a very common and treatable issue, and her inability to keep her dog safe from having access to dogs to express that instinct.
In another home - Brindi would be able to be safe, and trained, and live a wonderful life. From the beginning animal advocates have been trying to have this outcome facilitated - and now it may finally happen thanks to Judge Flora Buchan - and hopefully because of this precedent - if a case likes this comes along again - it won't take 4 years for this ending to happen again.
Unfortunately - the judge gave until August 21st for the assessment and appeals to happen - and at that time Brindi still may be killed if she doesn't pass the assessment - but at this point - she has passed so many assessments - it'd have to be Adolph Hitler himself assessing her to make her fail one.
A question I do have - and one that may throw a cog in the wheel - is the fact that Brindi had previously been declared dangerous - and whether the HRM is willing to adopt out a dog with that designation - liability wise - they might refuse to do that - even with the judge's ruling.
It all depends on how much the lawyers want to see Brindi dead. I really hope they don't have pure vengeance on their mind. If they do, then this will not have a good outcome - but if they do have a heart - then they will follow the judge's wishes and find a new home for her.
If one can be found by August 21st that is.
ps - I would also like to say that I'm glad that a judge made this decision and not someone within Animal Control or an Animal Control Officer - I think that decisions like this need to be made by someone completely neutral and outside the HRM's system - it should be made by someone from the Justice Department - so if cases like this happen again (and I hope that they do) - I hope that the cases are decided in the same way.
Here are a couple news stories from today:
Court orders Brindi to be adopted
A Dartmouth Court Judge has ruled that Brindi the dog be allowed to live as long as the city can find the animal a new home, and not with former owner Franchesca Rogier.
The Judge ordered that the East Chezzetcook woman forfeit ownership of the nine-year-old mixed breed and that HRM take sole responsibility for its adoption or fostering.
"We were seeking to have the dog put down, but really this is the best of both worlds," said Crown Attourney Katherine Salsman.
"It allows us to evaluated and make sure that that is the right decision."
The decision also allows HRM to destroy the dog if a suitable home cannot before before Aug. 21, 2012.
Salsman said there will now be an evaluation of the dog's adoptability. Dog trainer Susan Jordan said the dog is a good candidate for being adopted.
"This dog certainly has behavioural concerns. They need modification training. But the dog is trainable," Jordan told News 95.7 outside the courtroom.
Rogier did not attend today court proceeding. She was ordered to pay a $200 fine for each of the HRM bylaw infractions against her.
She was found guilty of owning a dog that attacks, owning a dog that runs at large, and failing to comply with a muzzle order.
"I think the perfect solution would have been to return the dog to her with all the rules still in place and additional training to occur.
I think that would have been her ultimate goal, that the dog be returned. Her greatest wish would be that the dog not be put down," said Jordan.
There have been at least three instances when Brindi attacked other dogs dating back to when she was first seized by HRM in 2008.
She has been in HRM's custody since 2010.
Rogier has 25 business days to appeal the decision.
Brindi the dog turned over to HRM - Former owner Rogier fined $600
The courtroom saga of Brindi the dog may soon be over.
A provincial court judge Tuesday fined owner Francesca Rogier $600 and ordered ownership of the dog transferred to the Halifax Regional Municipality in the latest chapter of a protracted battle over the dog’s fate.
However, Judge Flora Buchan stopped short of ordering the dog destroyed. Buchan said Brindi should be treated like any other dog by the municipality and should be trained and adopted out if possible.
However, the possibility exists that the animal could be euthanized, but that will only happen if an assessment shows her behaviour can’t be changed and she isn’t adopted.
Brindi was seized from Rogier in September 2010 after the dog attacked another canine.
Rogier was found guilty earlier this spring of allowing a dog to run at large, failing to comply with an order to muzzle Brindi and owning a dog that attacks an animal.
It was the second time nine-year-old Brindi had been seized by animal control. She was previously picked up in 2008 after attacking another dog and was ordered euthanized.
However, Rogier successfully appealed and the dog was ordered to be returned to her with conditions that included keeping the dog muzzled in public, building a fence in her backyard and having the dog trained.
The second incident happened only two months after Rogier got the dog back. While there was no evidence Brindi is beyond redemption, “sadly” that is not the case with her owner, Buchan said.
“I would describe Ms. Rogier as an irresponsible pet owner who has known since she (adopted) Brindi that she has control issues,” the judge said, while also calling her “unrepentant.”
In ordering Brindi’s ownership transferred to the municipality, Buchan said the dog “cannot safely be returned to Ms. Rogier.”
Rogier did not appear in court. Instead, she called dog trainer Susan Jordan shortly before her sentencing was due to start and asked her to appear on her behalf.
Jordan, who has worked with Brindi and Rogier, said she thinks Rogier didn’t show because she expected the emotions of the day to be too much for her.
“I think ... it was going to take more of a toll than she was prepared (to handle),” Jordan said.
“To come out after that and try to be coherent and deal with the repercussions ... would be a little more than she could handle.” She said she was pleased the court didn’t opt to immediately euthanize Brindi.
“I’ve trained and worked with the dog,” Jordan said. “This dog certainly has behavioural concerns. (It) needs modification training, but the dog is trainable.”
She said she has seen seen dogs with similar issues throughout the municipality. Jordan said she last assessed Brindi two weeks ago and in all aspects, except territorial concerns, “this is a highly adoptable dog.”
An effort to contact Rogier through Jordan was unsuccessful. While the the city sought an order to have Brindi destroyed, Katherine Salsman, the municipality’s lawyer, said the judge’s decision “is the best of both worlds.”
“It allows us to evaluate and ensure (if adoption) is the right decision to be made, ... but it still gives us the option to put the dog down if public safety reasons do require it.”
The order doesn’t take effect until Aug. 21 to allow time for an appeal.