Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In a fit of funk

Sorry to the one or two people who read this blog - I've been in a bit of a funk the last few days and haven't been posting anything, even though I've had what I would normally consider interesting stuff to post. I'd sit in front of the computer and be overcome with the feeling of - "what's the point? The world is falling apart, nobody cares anyway, it's all just so much wasted energy". And it probably is. Canada is falling apart politically, India has had a horrible terrorist incident, financially things are going to hell in Canada and internationally - a couple days ago there was the worst crash in the Markets since the early 1980's.

A couple week's ago I came upon an interesting new charity idea - it was called "Fundables" - and it was about a dog named Diesel who's family couldn't pay their mortgage and might lose their home down in the United States - and if they did, they'd probably have to give up their dog. So a lady had started a fund to try and pay the family's mortgage so they could keep their dog. I thought that was a good idea - keep the dog with the family - so I kicked in some money. And they have raised enough money to keep the family together. But what kind of a world are we living in where we have to think up these kinds of fundraisers?

I also subscribe to "google alerts", and one of them is for the term "pit bull" - and everyday I get emails about new city's that are enacting breed specific legislation - it really is creeping in everywhere down in the States. It's quite unbelievable. And some of the news stories that talk about it are quite unbelieveable in their double speak. I read one a few days ago that talked about bsl being passed in Columbia Basin, Washington - and it was all because a child had been mauled by a pit bull type dog - so they decided to regulate pit bulls, rottweillers, and presa canarios. Their town has never had any actual problems with presa canarios, and actually has had quite a few problems with german shepherds - but council members own some german shepherd dogs - so they aren't going to add german shepherds to the list because of that - and it says that in the newspaper article - it really is a piece of work. I'll paste the article at the end of this poste. But that's how pathetic bsl is becoming.

And it seems to me that the organizations we've entrusted to fight bad legislation and bsl just aren't doing their job - I also got an email in the last couple days saying that "The Banned Aid Coalition must raise $100,000.00 within two weeks in order to pay for the outstanding costs to date and to finalize our application to the Supreme Court of Canada - the future of dog ownership, if not all property ownership, is what's at stake"

So in other words - we need to give Clayton Ruby another $100,000 to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to try and launch an appeal when he has lost at absolutely every point in the fight so far. Actually I think it's that we're $100,000 in debt to him and he won't spend another second on the case until we pay him some more money on him - I mean he's not losing this case for free, now is he. I'd say what we need to do is get rid of him and try a new lawyer and a new tactic - obviously the ones that have been tried with Ontario hasn't worked up until now - because the case was lost. Some new tactic is needed. But of course that is just my own very myopic and jaded view. I am also one of those foolish people who happens to believe that pit bulls are like every other kind of dog and deserves to have the same kind of and quality of life as any other dog - which includes off leash sniff and pass parks, multi-dog homes, and tons of socialization. Oh my, isn't that just awful.

So that could bring me to Ingrid Newkirk - who was on CBC News "The Hour" last night - 16 minutes of blather. I of course taped the whole thing - but I put about 3 minutes of it on You Tube for us all to throw up over - her views on "pet ownership". Her double speak is wonderful. She talks about how they gleefully euthanize anything that comes her way - but she especially loves to kill dogs who have been chained out their whole lives - which of course are dogs that I also especially love - not to kill, but to BRING INTO my own home. So of course I am also pretty in a funky about this interview as well - here it is -

On another weird, gross note - I was looking at a Walmart flyer on the weekend, and I found this ad - for $175 you can buy this fake dog. To adopt a dog from the Dartmouth Metro SPCA it only costs $150 - this fake dog costs $25 more! There is something here that doesn't computer. To save a life costs less than to buy a stuffed animal.

Another puppy mill has been raided with over 100 animals found in horrible conditions - this time outside of Toronto - "The OSPCA rescued the small-breed canines, ranging from puppies to elderly dogs, from a home in Meaford, Ont., near Owen Sound on Monday night. The rescue was one of the largest ever made by OSPCA. The organization said it was tipped off by a concerned citizen. The names of the homeowners have not been released and charges are pending in the ongoing investigation - the only good news in the article said that - if convicted, the accused could face up to two years in prison, a $60,000 fine and lifetime ban from pet ownership.

And on the note of legislation - I was reading the hansard about bill 186 - and there's some new interesting stuff that's come online - there's a couple of really interesting things that Diane Whalen said when she was asking to have bill 186 passed - she was talking about how the bill didn't really adequately talk about the problem of pet stores -

"Mr. Speaker, there's nothing in this bill that's speaking to pet stores and that's an issue that has been raised in HRM in the last number of years. A couple of times there has been some attention around the pet stores and the conditions of the animals that are in the store. One in particular that I read a resolution about here in the House had attracted the attention of quite a few people in HRM. They had gone and actually protested outside one of the stores because the animals were not being walked at all. You had little puppies in there for three and four months waiting to find a home and they weren't being moved from the cages that they were in, scarcely ever taken out and walked. In fact one person bought one little puppy that was at the heart of that story that was in the press and found that the legs and hips and so on were not well-developed, that they actually had some medical problems as a result of being so small and being left in one cage for that many weeks, in fact months. So this causes a lot of damage and suffering to the animal and it doesn't socialize the animal and it's not the right condition in which to be selling puppies to become someone's pet. We believe that there should be something further in this Act or in another Act that would address the conditions in which animals are kept for sale.

Mr. Speaker, again there's no mention of puppy mills in this bill. Just for the benefit of the House I have done some research on puppy mills and it's not something we used to hear of in the past. In fact, most of these sorts of operations where people were just breeding animals purely for profit and not taking good care of them - most of them had been centred in the U.S. In 1995, Agriculture Canada began regulating puppy imports from the United States and precisely because of the fact that so many of these animals were sick, had diseases, and were unwell because of the close contact and unhygienic conditions in which they were being kept. So in 1995, Agriculture Canada nationally began to regulate imports from the U.S. and this caused an increase in demand in Canada and led to puppy mills and an increase in the number of puppy mills here in our own country.

We have had cases right here in Nova Scotia that are before the courts even now about conditions that are really inhumane, they are cruel and they are unacceptable in our province. I know that the people who live in my riding and in all of the ridings in this province speak up when they hear of this. It affects them very deeply and they would like to see stronger penalties, I can't stress that enough.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, I often wonder why we deal with this particular Act under the Department of Agriculture, really it should be a justice issue. I think there's an argument to be made that it be treated as a justice issue because people feel this is not something about your property - this is something about what is just and what is right. So it's something that we should really be looking at. What's happening, as I say, with these puppy mills is that animals are kept in inhumane conditions. In fact, in the Ontario SPCA, they describe these puppy mills to be a breeding operation in which dogs are repeatedly bred for financial gain and are kept in substandard conditions.

That's very important, Mr. Speaker, it's the substandard conditions that we are looking at. It's even where the female dogs are being bred with no care or concern for their health, bred twice a year and just put down when they can no longer have litters of puppies. That's inhumane and the little puppies are not being kept in proper conditions. So we're not talking here about ethical breeders and about the many dog lovers in this province that take good care of their animals and, as I say, register them with the appropriate bodies and really value them and care for them properly. This is not who we're talking about. We're talking about people who are simply breeding animals for financial gain with no care or concern for their health.

We heard just recently about people buying a puppy over the Internet through the Kijiji site and, in fact, when they had received the animal, within a day that puppy died because it had a disease that it had received, you know, prior to being sold. So there's no control over the health and care and condition of those animals and we believe that there has to be some further reference to that, as I said, either in this bill or perhaps in a companion bill that might come along. It's very important as a province that we take this opportunity with the new bill before us to consider whether or not we want to have these conditions going unmentioned in the legislation that we have as a province because other provinces have taken steps, Mr. Speaker, to directly identify these."

So that's all pretty interesting, eh? At least Diana Whalen has been watching the news - what she's talking about at the beginning was when a bunch of us got together a couple of years ago and protested outside of a Pet's Unlimited Store in Bayer's Lake - I can't remember at the moment the name of a local singer who had bought a beagle who he named "Chance" who had been at the store for like 4 months because he couldn't stand to watch it there any longer - and he was outraged that the poor thing could hardly walk, so he contacted Netta Armitage from Animal Rescue Coalitions and we put up a nice stink right before Christmas to try and tell a few people that it wasn't a good idea to get your animals at Pets Unlimited because of blah. blah. blah. - shit - my mood is coming through again. You can figure out the rest of the story. It`s pretty predictable. But obviously, we did not get Pet`s Unlimited shut down.

Anothere paragraph I liked was this one -

At the same time both agencies, the Department of Agriculture and the SPCA, each one will now be required to have a chief inspector and under that chief inspector, one would hope, an army of other inspectors; I'm sure it will just be a few other inspectors, but we need to make sure that they have a good number of staff to cover the complaints that arise under them. It's very clear that we need that. The question around the chief inspector is really whether or not the powers that person has are going to be extensive enough. "

So does that mean that the NS SPCA is going to have more than one chief inspector and one investigator? That they're actually going to have more than a few? That would be pretty sweet now, wouldn't it.

On a happy note - intrepid Seaview and Long Lake lab owner Marc B showed up on Eastlink television last week talking about pet safety - I taped it and put it on You Tube - it's below, but he was smart enough to ask for it on dvd and put it on Facebook if you actually want to see it in a nice format instead of through my grainy digital camera.

And talking about animal abuse - forget about cropping your dog's ears or docking their tail - try just getting their hair cut when they don't like having it done. That to them is horrible abuse then. Jackie and Buttercup hate having their hair cut - and Jackie especially hates having his nails cut, maybe it's because when he came back from Cape Breton after the Celtic Pets fiasco his nails were completely curled over and embedded in his pads, so he's very sensitive, maybe. My previous dog Teddy had to be medicated and muzzled for his whole groom - it was awful and he was traumatized for a couple days after he time he got his hair cut.
At least after a hair cut they can seem to be placated by a bully stick.

Here's the stupid article about Moses Lake Washington regulating any kind of dog - except for ones that are owned by City Council members -

Moses Lake declares hazardous dogs

Candice Boutilier/Columbia Basin Herald Veronica Medina holds her 6-year-old son Alex after giving testimony to the Moses Lake City Council Tuesday night. Her son was mauled by a pit bull in September.

By Candice Boutilier
City regulates pit bulls, rottweilers and presa canarios

MOSES LAKE - With a 5-2 vote, the Moses Lake City Council declared pit bulls, rottweilers and presa canarios hazardous dogs Tuesday night.

Council began discussing the issue after a young boy was severely attacked by a pit bull at his family's Moses Lake home in early September.

It took six people to stop a pit bull from mauling 6-year-old Alex Medina. His injuries included head wounds where his skull was exposed. The boy is now recovering at home after several reconstructive surgeries.

The dog was euthanized and owner Tausha R. Klein, 34, Moses Lake, was cited for having a dog at large, no dog license and for keeping a vicious dog. The dog allegedly pushed its way into a closed fence were the boy was playing and attacked him unprovoked.

Since the incident, council held several meetings and a study session to research the issue of whether to ban or place requirements on owning pit bull type dogs.

Councilmembers Richard Pearce, Bill Ecret, Ron Covey, James Liebrecht and Dick Deane all voted to declare pit bulls, rottweilers and presa canarios as hazardous dogs. Councilmembers Brent Reese and Jon Lane voted against the ordinance due to it declaring specific breeds as hazardous.

The council, who voted in favor of the ordinance at the first reading, removed akitas and chows from the list because law enforcement has not had an issue with those types of dogs causing trouble.

When asked if presa canarios caused trouble, Covey said they hadn't but added it to the list because he said it appears to be closely related to the pit bull. Several people in the audience disagreed with the statement advising the presa canarios are a type of bull mastiff, not a pit bull.

The council added the additional dogs after reviewing the Merritt Clifton report on the number of dog maimings and deaths caused by dogs from 1982 to 2006 indicating pit bulls, rottweilers and presa canarios are involved in a high number of attacks.

The report indicates German Shepherds were involved in more incidents than the presa canarios but it was not added to the ordinance.

A hazardous dog is any dog known to be a pit bull breed, rottweiler or presa canario, according to the ordinance. The definition also includes any dog who regularly snarls, growls, snaps or attacks a human or domestic animal in a public place unprovoked.

To own a hazardous dog, the pet owner must be at least 18 years old, obtain a $250,000 insurance policy on the dog in case it attacks someone, spay or neuter it and install a microchip, according to a city document. The dog owner must also keep the animal in a type of kennel that is enclosed on the sides, top and bottom when it is left unattended. If attended, the dog can be allowed in a fenced enclosure with signs stating there is a hazardous dog on the premise.

It costs $150 to register a hazardous dog or any unaltered dog in the city.

Covey said the money from the dog license fees might go toward animal control related costs but he did not have a definite answer.

Hazardous dog owners have until Jan. 1 to register their dogs with the city and become in compliance with the ownership requirements.

Mauling victim
Alex Medina's mother, Veronica, came to the meeting as the lone citizen in favor of passing the ordinance.

Her eyes welled with tears as she was attempting to speak. She said she hoped no one endures the pain her son experienced from the mauling.

She held up a poster of a photo timeline for everyone to see. The first picture was a school photo of Alex. The following photos were of him strapped to a gurney, his body bloodied from the attack and his face cringing in pain. The timeline concludes with images of his scars.

Council asked Veronica about the progress of her son. Alex was waiting outside the council chambers before she brought him inside so they could see his recovery.

Bearing several noticeable scars on his head, he smiled when he told the council he is 6 years old and attends Lakeview Elementary. The Medinas left the meeting so the boy could go to bed.

Council continued to take more public testimony on the issue.

Public comments
The Grant County chapter of the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights Vice President Carol Dawson said pet ownership is a constitutional right. She said there must be a balance between the people's right to own pets on their property and government regulation to protect citizens.

Dawson said she plans to hold a forum to educate pet owners on how to care for their animals to prevent them from becoming dangerous. Meeting information was not provided.

Jay Van Ness questioned the council's use of the Merritt Clifton report. He asked why they are using the study as a guideline if they are not adding German Shepherds to the list since they have been involved in far more attacks than some dogs initially considered. He asked if it was not added to the list because someone on the council might own one or if it's because it's a popular pet. Van Ness asked the council to be fair with their decision making process.

Covey said according to the police department, akitas and chows are only aggressive when provoked and haven't been an issue. He said German Shepherds have not caused a problem for law enforcement leading to the animals being restricted from the ordinance. Covey advised presa canarios are not a problem but added them to the list anyway.

Alissa Starkweather shared several alternative ideas for the council to consider.

"Most people can't afford their own insurance," she said.

Raising the licensing fee and requiring a $250,000 insurance policy on a hazardous dog is unrealistic and unaffordable for many people, she said.

Starkweather said she worried many people would hide and confine their animals to avoid breaking the new law. Confinement leads to aggression, she said.

She suggested requiring all dog owners to put their dogs through obedience school and take a temperance test. If they are not labeled aggressive, they should not be required to have the insurance requirement, she said. If it is aggressive, the dog owner should take the steps to correct the animal's behavior to avoid the required insurance. If the behavior is not corrected, then they should be required to have insurance, she said.

"A lot of us can't afford insurance," Starkweather said. "We would if we could. So please try to help us."

Pit bulls are not for everyone and all dogs must be treated as a member of a family to ensure they are not dangerous, she said.

Danielle Alvarado lives in the county but works in the city. She brings her rottweiler to work often and asked if she would still be able to do so.

Covey said yes. He said it most likely wouldn't be a problem because the dog resides outside the city and someone would have to complain about the animal first.

Rich Archer said he was concerned about calling certain breeds hazardous because more dogs can be added. He asked where the additions would stop.

He questioned if he could sue the city if he is attacked by a dog that is not on the list because the city failed to protect him.

Nancy Banks said he hoped council would not regulate specific breeds. She said the city must focus on enforcing the current laws they have rather than making more laws for law-abiding citizens to adhere to.

Linda Nyberg said she was concerned if certain breeds have more regulations, dog owners would chose different animals to turn aggressive.

"You can take any breed and make it bad," she said.

The council discussed the ordinance further and responded to citizen concerns.

Liebrecht provided information concerning how many pounds of pressure certain animals can apply to a human during an attack and how many pounds of pressure it would take to kill or maim someone. He considered not labeling specific breeds in the ordinance but suggested regulating animals capable of exerting enough pressure to maim or kill someone.

"I need to protect you as a citizen with some kind of law," he said.

Liebrecht said the dog owners must be held liable for any injuries caused to another person.

He asked the audience if the victim should be liable for paying for their medical bills if attacked by someone's dog.

The audience did not respond.

He said the ordinance could help the victim gain victory in a court preceding.

Lane said he didn't think targeting a breed would work toward their goal of public safety.

Pearce said banning breeds does not solve the public safety problem but regulating certain breeds will. He said several cities who have a similar ordinance advised of positive results.

Reese said he did not think specific breeds should be targeted and thought the $150 requirement to register a hazardous or unaltered animal was too much. Otherwise he would vote for the ordinance, he said.

Covey said the citizens asked the council not to ban breeds so they didn't. He said citizens claimed the city should make the dog owner accountable for the dog's action. He said the ordinance allows this.

"We're asking you to be responsible," he said.

He said citizens can expect harsher enforcement with the new laws as well as existing laws related to animal control.


  1. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Keep the faith :). I enjoy reading your blog, don't always agree with your viewpoint, but adore your passion. The big picture is always a horror, but someone may read your blog who decides to save a life, instead of a stuffed toy's :). The little steps make the difference in the end.

  2. Anonymous9:24 PM

    I also enjoy reading your blog.
    Life`s too short for funks.
    Just ask your dogs.
    No fretting about the past,no worries about the future,just today.
    Don`t waste it with a funk.

    One of the lucky ones who knows the end date.

  3. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Missed you Joan. Thanks for everything you do.

  4. Anonymous9:27 AM

    hey, lots of people read the blog. and it is only pointless when it becomes pointless to YOU. i have trouble believing you think that in your heart. what if there were NO voice for the animals. someone must speak for them no matter how small the voice.

  5. Well, I for one, love reading your blog. Not only do I share your passion but find your blog extremely informative.

    Keep up the great work - everyone hits a bump in the road once in a while! :)

  6. Anonymous11:57 AM

    Joan hang tuff! Keep a sense of humour. Mine is " Cheer up things could get worse. So I cheered up and sure enough things got worse.But we keep trying. If you haven't already read it I recommend " The Pit Bull Placebo" The Media,Myths and Politics of Canine Agression by Karen Delise.RG

  7. Anonymous12:00 PM

    You do amazing work Joan - everyone seems to be in a bit of funk now - me included. Christmas vacation is coming and it will get better - keep the faith! "Woof"


  8. A. Pibble12:20 PM

    Love your blog
    About those Pit Bull alerts
    We all know they`re crap and all about bringing in visitors but if you want to do something about them...hold the Media accountable.

    Even if you just respond to 1 article/week.
    That will help.
    Post a link to that K. Delise book or ask which Canine Expert identified the dog or ask what the circumstances were leading up to the bite/attack.
    Please don`t let the alerts get you down but do us a favor


    They`ve become like the Paparazzi of dogs.

    On our behalf please start asking who,what,where,when,why.

    Thanks for caring.

    And remember what happens in the U.S. doesn`t stay in the U.S.
    We need Canadians to help us.

  9. Anonymous4:03 PM

    Change never comes but for the people like you

  10. Anonymous5:22 PM

    Do you know if Ontario is just filing an application to be heard at the SCC or have they been granted leave to be heard or am I just confused about all of this.
    Do they need leave to be heard?

    I was reading the SCC website and came across this.
    Does it apply in this case?

    I do think it is very important for this to be overturned for many reasons but those numbers don`t look promising if that applies to this case.

    Also do you know if the SCC has to hear evidence or would they just be reviewing whether or not the law is constitutional?

    That`s worrisome if that`s all they`re going to do.

    Of course there are more Judges hearing it, 7-9 according to their site so that would help if they all don`t agree.

    There seems to be a serious lack of info out there about this case.
    Everyone I have spoken to hasn`t got a clue what I`m talking about until I say Pit Bull and then they they say they thought that was settled ages ago.

    Hopefully the Media will cover this at that level.

    I see the SCC just refused to hear the Autism case which has been dragging on for years and I didn`t even know it had gone that high until I read about the refusal.

    Anyway I hope they get heard and I will donate because I think it is important.
    I`m hoping the Lawyer has some cards up his sleeve that he has to keep to himself which is very understandable.

  11. Anonymous9:43 PM

    [quote]I am also one of those foolish people who happens to believe that pit bulls are like every other kind of dog and deserves to have the same kind of and quality of life as any other dog - which includes off leash sniff and pass parks, multi-dog homes, and tons of socialization.[/quote]

    Couldn`t agree more.
    If I hadn`t had one BEFORE I "learned" all about them and the do`s(sic?) and the don`ts,I would probably have been too scared to adopt one.

    Holy hell.
    The people who have them can`t agree.
    I didn`t know I "needed" a break stick.I never heard of a break stick.
    When the play got a little out of hand I yelled "knock it off" and if the "demon" dog didn`t let go I marched right over and opened his massive jaws and gave him "that look" that said "NEXT time I yell knock it off Mister,don`t make me come over here again and risk life and limb"
    Then the 4 lb cat marched over and also gave him the "I`m warning you" look.

    I don`t know if some of them realize how foolish this all sounds.
    They spend so much time discussing these dogs that I don`t know when they find time to play with them.

    They`re just normal dogs but they`re different...huh?

    Yes there may be individual dogs in ALL Breeds that may be dog aggressive no matter how much they`re socialized.
    They just don`t happen to like other dogs...so what????

    I had a dog once that hated almost everything that moved.
    I didn`t take him to 6 million trainers.
    I didn`t do what was "best" for him or the Breed.
    I just let him live for 22 years being a grump.
    A much loved grump.

    If I ever get another Pit Bull or mix, hopefully I can forget EVERYTHING I have "learned" about them.
    Life is so much easier and so much more fun when you look at them and just see a dog.

  12. Anonymous11:27 AM

    It might have been a good idea as far as the Ontario Court case to have had one of those Thermometer indicators for donations along the way.
    An indication of where things stood at each level of the Challenge.That way if you made a donation for the first case,you could then wait and make a donation at the 2nd level and now you could make a donation at the 3rd level.
    Sometimes when people have a visual it helps.
    It also might have helped show people who haven`t donated, that the money for this isn`t falling off trees and the only way to make it happen was to donate a few bucks if they could afford it.

    Many people I`ve spoken to didn`t realize the Ontario case was even being funded by donations.

  13. Is it a secret?12:14 PM

    Has anyone anywhere in Canada,U.S. or any other Country seen anything in any Media Source about the Challenge of Ontario`s Ban going to the Supreme Court of Canada?

    How on earth do they expect the Public to get behind this (ie donate) if no one knows about it?

  14. Anonymous12:59 PM

    For those wondering what`s going on with the Ontario Ban...
    No leave to appeal has been filed yet with the Supreme Court of Canada.
    The deadline for filing the leave to appeal is Dec 23/08 according to the SCC
    The SCC is very prompt at responding to questions.
    They did a search of their case management system and responded within minutes.

  15. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Read on Facebook that the Ontario Lawyer is asking for an extension.
    They need to raise $50,000.

    Friends in the U.S. have said they`re not donating anymore because they don`t know if they`re paying down debt from the earlier cases or contributing to the final case.
    That`s not good.

  16. I gave $50 myself on Friday - I'll bet Cathy Prothro almost shit herself when she saw that donation come through!


  17. Anonymous2:15 PM

    If my family and our friends donated on the basis of how this has been handled zilch would have been donated.
    We have donated for the dogs.
    But a lot of people(especially from other Countries) are NOT donating because of the secrecy.
    Don`t know any other word for it than that.
    Maybe people in their group know more and that`s ok if they`re the ONLY people expected to donate but if they expect the Public to donate they better start informing the Public.

  18. Beer Drinkers2:31 PM

    Re Ontario`s Legal Fight
    If you`re in the loop (or on the fringe) can you tell us what`s going on?

    The FBI is more forthcoming with information.
    They never update.
    It`s enough to make us drink.....more.
    Buy more Beer....Donate?

  19. To Mr or Mrs Beer Drinker - on January 7, 2009 - a missive has come through from the DLCC desperately asking for more money - they are $67,000 short of their fundraising goal - meaning that Clayton Ruby won't follow through with the appeal unless he gets $67,000 worth of blood money that he's owed in arrears to continue representing the case - so if they don't raise that much money in the next several days the whole Supreme Court whatever will all be for nought.