So I sent my letter to the head of the committee (Jody Carr - firstname.lastname@example.org) and the MLA who put the Bill forward (Kelly Lamrock - email@example.com)in the legislature about the Restricted Dogs Act in New Brunswick. I got an email back this morning from "the Honourable Jody Carr" - who's the head of the Committee and he said "thank you very much for your letter and submission. As chair of the committee, I will ensure it gets distributed to all members of the
committee. thank you again. Jody"
I thought that was nice. Do you know he was born in 1975? I have socks that are older than him.
Anyway - here's my letter: http://users.eastlink.ca/~joansinden/Bill55_and_Daisy.PDF
Thursday October 14, 2004
the Honourable Kelly Lamrock, MLA
the Honourable Jody Carr, MLA
New Brunswick Legislature
Fredericton, New Brunswick
I am not a resident of New Brunswick but of your neighbouring province Nova Scotia. I felt compelled to write to you and tell you about my dog Daisy who is a stunning and beautiful creature, but who’s tortured past might be repeated over and over if your proposed bill is passed.
Daisy shortly after I got her
My dog Daisy is a formerly chained dog. A formerly ticking time bomb.
Daisy came from a native reservation - Chapel Point - in Cape Breton. She spent the first 3 years of her life chained to a dog house in someone's yard down there. She had 3 litters of puppies in 3 years. Her owner moved away and the owners mother got tired of feeding her so the mother called a rescue to come pick Daisy up and she eventually ended up at my house. She arrived completely emaciated, just after having her last litter of puppies, totally unsocialized, totally and absolutely starved for human attention, not house trained, with no self-confidence and full of fear about absolutely everything - and completely over-aroused about everything. Thank-dog she had a nylon collar on because if it had have been a chain collar it would've been embedded it was so tight on her neck. When I took it off she ran around the house for several minutes. She's still really sensitive when you touch her neck. I had to loosen that collar about six inches in order for it to fit properly. No one had noticed that it was literally choking her.
A dog who is chained for 24 hours a day 7 days a week is bored, depressed, deprived of all her natural instincts and also doesn't have protection from ANYTHING. She has no protection from any dog that wants to have his way with her, she has no protection from kids coming by and throwing rocks or sticks - she can't protect herself and she knows it. So a kid coming by and petting her would probably be the exception rather than the rule in today's world, and would probably be pretty hard to handle for a dog that's chained up. Their territory is so small that after awhile they can't handle having anyone coming into it - for good or for bad - all they know is that they have to try and feel safe at all costs.
Formerly chained dogs are a whole different type of dog that comes into rescue. They're different than stray dogs because their need for human affection is huge. Daisy absolutely had to sleep in the bed with me. She still does. If she could sleep on top of me she would. She follows me everywhere. With all the problems I've had with her - her saving grace has always been her beautiful recall - she always comes whenever I call her. She is always so happy that I'm looking for her.
They also can't stand a lot of arousal. They become overwhelmed really easily. Daisy can't stand things moving past her quickly - whether it's dogs running by her having a chase, or bicycles, or joggers - she just can't handle it and she has to lunge to try and stop it. Sometimes those lunges end in bites which is super dangerous for her since she's a black and tan dog and with all the hysteria going on currently I'm really trying to manage her very carefully. I'm trying to keep her safe. I think they can't handle the arousal because in their former chained lives there was never anything going on. There was the dog house, there was the yard, there was the mud, and there was them. And that was it. 24 hours a day. All the time. That's why they become so bored and depressed, and then angry and vicious over time.
But she also exhibits the most joyous demeanour of any being that you can imagine. When she runs at full speed, or she's coming towards you tossing a toy in her mouth hoping that you'll play with her, or when she's got her head stuck out the car window and the wind's in her ears - her spirit is infectious and you can't help but share in it. And it's because of that that I'm forever grateful to be sharing my life with her.
And almost all formerly chained dogs are exactly like Daisy. They have the same problems and the same exquisite beauties.
To leave a dog chained to a dog-house or in a dog-pen is to squander a sentient beings life because you're searching for an easy answer to a complex question. It is a super lazy way to deal with a problem of dog ownership. If you have to put your dog outside and the area isn't fenced then you go outside with the dog. It's as simple as that. A dog is like a 2 year old child and you wouldn't tie your 2 year old child outside. Well actually - people do, and that's when tragedies like dog bites because of no supervision of children and dogs happen.
Legislating dogs to be chained or penned when outside is no answer. That was made blatantly apparent by the husky attacking the child at the native reservation in New Brunswick September 28, 2004.
That dog owner WAS following the rules of the reservation by chaining the dog outside and not letting the dog roam free.
What is interesting is the fact that if that child would've run out into the street and been hit by a car that child's parents would've been held responsible for not supervising the child. But since the child was bit by a dog it's the dog's owners who are held responsible - but where were the child's parents? Why wasn't the child being supervised?
That dog was exactly like that child - neither should have been left outside unsupervised. That's the tragedy. They should both have been inside with their families.
I can tell you that Daisy right now is inside here right next to me within a hands reach so that I can reach out and give her a scratch if I need to. Right where she should be. Daisy is now safe from being chained outside and forgotten about ever again. She will not be discarded. She's a highly valued member of my family who I've made a birth to death committment to.
My point in writing to you about Daisy is that if she was still tied to the dog house on that native reservation in Cape Breton she WOULD be a dangerous dog. Because of the type of owner she had – no supervision, the fact that she was completely abandoned and discarded in that yard with no one to care for her – she WAS a ticking time bomb. Your Restricted Dogs Act will CREATE ticking time bombs, not take them away. I guarantee it. The key to good dogs is good and responsible dog ownership – not chains and muzzles. Please look at all the Daisy’s in people’s back yards as you drive through your constituencies and think about what I’m saying in this letter.
Unfortunately there's still thousands of chained and penned dogs out there and wandering equally unsupervised small children who are all horrible incidents just waiting to happen.
There's also several governments thinking about legislating acts that would make it the law that when a dog is outside that it MUST be chained or penned! We want the lives of our dogs to become better - not worse! There's also governments who are putting legislation forward that is LIMITING the amount of time that dogs can be chainend outside to 1 hour a day (Texas and Kansas are 2 States that I know for sure) - now that's good news!
"Lawrence Kansas Commissioners put limit on how long animals can be chained"
Tethering ban gets approval - Big Spring Texas
The culture change of chaining dogs has to start somewhere - maybe it can start with you.
Daisy has her own page on my website as well at http://www.geocities.com/joan_sinden/daisy.html with more pictures if you want to check it out!
Thank-you for taking the time to read my letter!
Halifax, Nova Scotia