Friday, June 30, 2006

Another Dog Owner Wins to Keep his "pit bull" type dog

Mike Burke in Winnipeg has won the court battle to keep his dog that the City of Winnipeg had deemed a pit bull and demanded removed from the city. They had been keeping it kenneled pending the outcome of the trial and if Mr Burke had lost the trial he'd been on the hook for court costs and the kennel costs too. So the victory was especially sweet.

Before I post the article that explains the story I do have to say though - WHY does he have a prong collar on the dog he professes to love so much? I just have to insert that editorial comment. I could go on for paragraphs ad nauseum about just that one thing. Did he say - "YES, I get my dog back - come here Baby - give me a kiss, let me put your old prong collar on - I've been saving it for you! Let's go home Sugar - we've got a lot of making up and belly rubs to do." Does something in there not quite add up?

Anyway, here's the article...

Dog's Best Friend
Man convinces court his pooch no pit bull


He's an underdog who has shown that you can fight city hall.

Mike Burke has come out on top in a fight with the municipal animal services agency, convincing a court that Burnsey -- his three-year-old male canine -- is not a pit bull, a breed banned in Winnipeg.

The victory in bylaw court Friday means the North End resident's pet can remain with his family, including his two young daughters.

Had Burke lost, he would have had to ship Burnsey out of the city.

"It turned out in our favour, which is cool," the 27-year-old Burke told the Sun yesterday, adding he was stunned when a justice of the peace ruled in his favour on the bylaw challenge -- after he argued his case without a lawyer.

"I built my own case and I won. I'm proud of that, too."

The animal services agency had insisted Burnsey was a pit bull, or a close relative to the breed that has not been allowed in Winnipeg since the late 1980s.

Burke insisted Burnsey is a Rottweiler-boxer cross, and has the word of veterinarians to support that stand.

Two of those experts testified on his behalf before justice of the peace Norman Sundstrom, while the city countered with its own veterinarian.


"As many credentials that their vet has, it didn't matter," Burke said. "I also had the owner of my dog's mother and father show up with pictures of both of them."

Animal services chief operator Tim Dack, whose Logan Avenue pound had confiscated Burnsey, downplayed the defeat.

"That's fine. The process worked as it's supposed to," Dack said. "Mr. Burke had an opportunity to present his evidence and position in court. We have no hard feelings one way or the other."

Dack said the case doesn't set a precedent and it won't weaken his agency's clampdown on pit bull terriers.

However, a Rottweiler expert suggested Burke's victory should shake public confidence in the pit-bull prohibition.

"They should back off," said Richard Pinder of House of Rotts, a Rottweiler rescue shelter near Selkirk. "They need better guidelines for making these judgment calls."

While Burke's charge of harbouring a pit bull was dismissed, he did plead guilty to a separate infraction of allowing his dog to run loose and was reprimanded.

Burke said the city's argument wrongly focused on his pet's appearance.

"It's big-headed and well-muscled -- that's what they kept going on about," Burke said. "The judge cut the Crown off right in the middle of their closing argument, and said, 'So I can bring a cat in here with a big head, and a vet can tell me it's a pit bull?'

"And I had to stop and look at him like, 'Is this over? It's done? I can keep my dog?' I didn't even have to make my closing arguments."

If Burke had lost the case, Dack said, the city would have sought a court order to have his dog removed from city limits. The pet would not have been killed, Dack said.

1 comment:

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