Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fun in the snow

We're having a little snowstorm here tonight, so the dogs decided they'd rather be out in the back yard rolling in freshly fallen snow than inside lolling on the living room floor for a couple minutes tonight.
Buttercup has been feeling pretty good lately - her back legs are working pretty good after having gone through 2 surgeries on her back left leg last year - I'm pretty amazed actually at how well she's walking currently - so she's been up for some back yard romps lately.

She's been doing quite a bit of toy playing in the back yard - I'd bet that buried in the snow in the back yard right now there's probably about 20 stuffed animals back there - she's very good at taking her toys outside, but very bad at bringing them back in! Luckily you can buy big bags of stuffed animals for $1.50 a bag at Frenchy's - and when a layer of snow melts to reveal some toys I'll take them in and put them in the washing machine.

This is Daisy with a toy freshly absconded from Buttercup, so she's pretty happy about that - I was not wanting to use the flash - so of course all my pictures came out blurry. A $2,500 camera and I still can't get a clear picture. Oh well....

Buttercup digging down to the permafrost for what? Only Dog knows.
Charlie patiently waiting for Daisy to swing back to the section of the yard that he's in so their wrestling can resume.
Here's a couple shots from Thursday's beauty parlour session - this is a long shot of Jack and his stylist Jenny - they've got an entourage watching the beauty emerging moment by moment.
This is a shot of the after effects - I think Jack was pretty much strutting. He likes it when he looks good - who wouldn't, when you've spent a good chunk of your life looking very very bad.
This is Rocky, a 2 year old brown newfoundland dog. I've never met a brown newfoundland dog before - has anyone else heard of one? He was quite beautiful - he was in for a self-wash because I guess he had quite a big shit patch - probably his shit patch was as big as all of Jackie (Jackie gets shit patches too) - he's about 150 pounds his owner said. Could it be because Rocky lives outside? I know I've met other outside dogs who've had red on the outside of their hair - bleached from the sun, but I've never met a dog who's hair has been a completely different colour from being outside. Maybe there is a type of newfoundland that comes in brown. he was nice looking though.

Crown attorney ponders Benoit-Bailey sentence

Crown attorney ponders Benoit-Bailey sentence Will Puppies R Us duo be banned from owning animals?
by Jeanne Whitehead/Digby Courier

The Nova Scotia SPCA wants the courts to impose a long-term ban on animal ownership in the Gail Benoit-Dana Bailey case.
Crown Attorney Rosalind Michie requested that Benoit and Bailey be prohibited from owning animals when the Puppies R Us duo was found guilty of animal cruelty Jan. 29. The charges stemmed from the October 2007 seizure of sick malnourished pups from their property.

Because Benoit and Bailey’s lawyer, Michael Power was not present in court at the time of the verdict, Judge Batiot said he could not consider imposing the ban at that time.

Crown Attorney Rosalind Michie told the Courier she will be consulting with the SPCA in considering the range of sentence that is appropriate for the pair. They could be fined, they could be prohibited from owning animals—or the sentence could be a combination of the two.

Michie said after the 2007 seizure, Benoit and Bailey were charged with animal cruelty under both the provincial act and federal act, but because the charges were essentially the same, the guilty verdict and sentencing relate only to the provincial act.

This means Benoit and Bailey could be prevented from owning animals in Nova Scotia, but should they decide to move to another province, the ban would not apply.

The couple was also charged Jan. 5 under the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act and the federal Criminal Code. Those charges stem from Benoit’s 2008 sale of pups that died of parvovirus within days, or hours, or leaving her hands.

Friday, January 30, 2009

There is so much going on!

There are just a ton of dog friendly - and dog events coming up, I had to make one of my semi-regular posts about it.

Next week of course is Francesca Rogier's arraignment date for her charges brought very quickly after having quashed the euthanization order for her dog Brindi - it happens Tuesday morning at 9am in Dartmouth at 277 Pleasant Street, courtroom #4. She is wanting people to come to the court who support her. Since this is just an arraignment and not an actual trial date - it would seem that her fight is far from over on Tuesday, which is too bad for everyone.

The Chewed Slipper Bed and Breakfast for Dogs out in Lower Sackville is working very hard to bring single dogs and their owners together! They are regularly having these things called "small dog socials" out at their dog day care in the evenings and they sound like a lot of fun! The latest one is scheduled for Tuesday February 3rd at from 6:30-9:30 and they're hosted by Pug Pals of the HRM

Friday February 13th Three Dog Bakery is holding a "Black Bone Event" over at their store in Dartmouth Crossing from 6pm to 9pm - Your pups will whine and dine on yappetizers and doggie “wine” (Barkundy anyone?) all evening long - here is the link to the obligatory Facebook event listing! The Facebook listing for the event is highlighted at the beginning of this paragraph.\

On February 14th at the 3 Dog Bakery if you take your dog with you into the store you can can pre-book a spot with their caricature artist and get a 5-minute caricature of your furry valentine. Cost is $12. They have limited spots so call 902.405.3364 or e-mail to reserve your spot.

The GPAC Pet Expo is February 15th this year - this is about the 5th one that they've had and I've been to every one of them and they are always a ton of fun. They are dog friendly and chock a block with dogs and humans. It is testament to the fact that local dog owners love their dogs and love supporting local dog businesses and causes. It is a yearly event that is not to be missed. I'll be there manning a table giving out information to willing dog owners ready to receive it about responsible dog ownership, puppy mills, chained dogs, bsl, and other topics that me and some other people think are important to Nova Scotians right now. There's a facebook group for the event set up, and the Greyhound Pets of Atlantic Canada also have a page on their website devoted to the event.

Halifax Kennel Club is having their next dog show out at the Exhibition Park February 14 and 15th - their website doesn't say if there's a breed specialty at this show - so maybe they'llhave a good selection of all the breeds our breeders have locally which will be super. This is the place to go to so that you can look at the purebreed dog fancy and fall in love with a breed and choose a dog that will fit your life and your lifestyle and find a breeder that will be the "parents" of your next canine life companion. Now THAT is a great way to get a dog!

Temple Grandin is coming to Nova Scotia in February! I'm still trying to find out more about this - but she's going to be speaking twice - the first time she's speaking is to a closed audience - at the Atlantic Poultry Conference - and no one from outside is going to be allowed to listen in, unfortunately - but if you're part of the poultry industry - you're definitely lucky!

However, she's also going to be speaking at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College on February 18 at 10:00 AM in the Alumni Theatre and this is open to the public. What I DON'T know is - how big is this theatre, do we have to get tickets in advance or is it first come, first serve - or what the protocol is.

Temple Grandin if you don't know is the lady who wrote the books "Animals in Translation" and "Thinking in Pictures" and is famous for developing methods of humane slaughter for the meat industry. She's also said some pretty controversial things about dogs in general and pit bulls in particular, which I've personally found pretty interesting (and disagree with).

Looking ahead to April - the Hope for Wildlife Foundation is having a fundraiser - so keep your eyes open for when that date is coming closer!

Puppy sellers convicted of animal cruelty

Wow, we find out today in the Chronicle Herald that Gail Benoit actually THREW A PUPPY at SPCA investigator Nancy Noel in October 2007 when they were at her house investigating complaints of animal cruelty and ended up seizing 10 puppies that were malnourished and full of parasites. THREW A PUPPY at someone.

When was the last time that you THREW A LIVE ANIMAL - or A BABY at another person? That shows how much care and consideration that she had for the animals she had in her care. Wow, that just blew me away when I read that today. Shit.

I have also updated my Gail Benoit page so that there are links to the updated You Tube videos and news articles that have come out in very near past - so it's currently up to date with their goings-on.

The next court date for the couple with their current animal cruelty charges is February 16, 2009 - thank you to "Frank Chase" for keeping such good track of all the court dates and the Facebook group Stopping Puppy Mills and People like Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey for their tireless work - hopefully some of the puppies that have died haven't completely died in vain because of the work they've done

SPCA special constable Nancy Noel, seen with her colleague Roger Joyce outside Digby provincial court on Thursday, says Gail Benoit threw a puppy at her, stepped on her foot and shoulder-checked her in 2007.

Puppy sellers convicted of animal crueltyDigby County woman tells judge 'decision is ludicrous'
By BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau

DIGBY — A Digby County puppy seller convicted of animal cruelty and assault Thursday launched into a tirade against the judge who handed down the decision.

"I find you guilty," Judge Jean-Louis Batiot said to Gail Benoit, 39, as she stood beside her husband, Dana Bailey.

Mr. Bailey, 46, was also convicted of animal cruelty in Digby provincial court Thursday.

"I think that your decision is . . . ludicrous," Ms. Benoit shot back at the judge before denouncing her treatment.

Judge Batiot told her to take it up with her lawyer, raising his voice to be heard.

The lawyer for the couple, Michael Power of Bridgewater, was unable to attend court because of poor weather.

Ms. Benoit and Mr. Bailey were tried last year on charges of animal cruelty stemming from the seizure of 10 puppies from their Roxville home in October 2007.

Ms. Benoit was also charged with assaulting SPCA investigator Nancy Noel while the dogs were being taken during the execution of a search warrant. Ms. Benoit was convicted on that charge Thursday.

Outside court, Ms. Noel, an SPCA special constable, said she was at the couple’s home in 2007 when Ms. Benoit suddenly chucked a puppy at her.

"She threw the puppy at me, then she stepped on my foot and shoulder-checked me," Ms. Noel said.

The couple operates a business, Puppies R’ Us, that is listed on a government website as a partnership involved in the retail sale and delivery of puppies.

The address of the couple’s blue bungalow is the same address given for the puppy company.

Some people have complained to the SPCA about puppies they have purchased from Ms. Benoit. Some of the young dogs died soon after.

Judge Batiot did not read his written decision publicly Thursday but made sure the couple received a copy.

They are expected to be sentenced March 26.

As Judge Batiot announced his decision, Ms. Benoit seemed to have a hard time accepting her fate.

"This is going to be all over the Internet," she said, interrupting the judge.

Ms. Benoit also brought a couple of letter-sized sheets of paper and waved them toward the judge.

"This has got to stop," she said, reading "wanted . . . dead or alive" from one of the pieces of paper that appeared to be a mock wanted poster of Ms. Benoit.

When the judge told her to talk to her lawyer about it, she turned on her heel and left with her husband.

"Pay no mind to ’em. . . . Keep going. Keep going," Mr. Bailey said as his wife continued to spout off.

"Everybody beware. The SPCA are corrupt," she warned courtroom observers.

"Yeah, they’re crooks," added Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Bailey also indicated he was not interested in returning to court.

"There will be no sentence date," he said loud enough to be heard in the public gallery as they left in a huff.

Roger Joyce, another SPCA investigator in court Thursday, said his organization will push to ban the couple from owning or keeping animals.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey Found Guilty on all counts

So today was conviction day for Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey down in Digby - and they were found guilty on all counts - 4 counts of animal cruelty, and 1 count of assault for Gail Benoit when she assaulted SPCA Special Constable Nancy Noel - charges stemming from a raid carried out in October 2007

It is a great day for all the puppies that - because they ended up in the care of the Benoit's - they died. Hopefully now the Benoit's will be handed a ban on owning animals for any use - personal pets, or animals related to their business. That would be the best case scenario. Hopefully the courts have learned not to let convicted animal abusers not to have personal pets - and with this couple, especially not to own unaltered animals - because if they do - you know they will breed those animals and then sell the progeny. They shouldn't be able to have access to any species other than humans. At least humans can fight back when they're abused.

Gail Benoit has said very openly that she'll never stop selling puppies - so it'll take a court order and constant supervision to make her stop - that's the only way the cycle will stop. People may say that someone else will just take up the mantle - but I think there are very few people who would do it with quite so little regard for the actual puppies health, and for the customers she is selling to.

She is obviously such a hard worker, driving to parking lots all over the province, shilling her defective wares - it just amazes me that she is so willing to carry on selling something that is so hard to sell, and takes so much work. She should really be selling things like cell phones or mirrored glass doors - I think she'd make so much more money.

Now we have more cruelty charges to look forward to as well - stemming from the 27 puppies she bought from Chapman kennels last summer. That will be great to watch move through the court system. And it's guaranteed there'll be a lot of people watching - and more and more people everyday will be learning what a puppy broker is - and that there's much better and safer and healthier ways to buy companion animals - and that is super. Michael Vick is the best thing that ever happened to pit bulls - maybe Gail Benoit is the best thing that ever happened to puppy brokers and puppy mills. You can't buy this kind of education and advertising.

Below is tonight's CTV news, and below that is the Digby Courier's news break from this morning - (oh and the whine you're hearing in the background? That's Buttercup - she is feeling ignored because I'm looking at the television and not at her!)

Benoit, Bailey guilty of animal cruelty, assault
Digby County puppy brokers to be sentenced Mar. 26
by Jeanne Whitehead

Digby County puppy brokers Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey were found guilty, today, Jan. 29, on two counts of animal cruelty stemming from the October 2007 seizure of 10 puppies from their Roxville property.
Gail Benoit was also found guilty of assaulting SPCA special constable Nancy Noel at the time of the seizure.

Dangerous road conditions prevented Benoit and Bailey’s lawyer, Mike Powers, from attending court and Judge Jean Louis Batiot advised that sentencing will take place March 26.

The 2007 seizure of 10 sick and malnourished puppies by Nova Scotia SPCA chief investigator Roger Joyce and special constable Nancy Noel followed complaints filed with the SPCA.

Both Noel and Joyce were present for Judge Batiot’s verdict and say they hope Benoit and Bailey will be prohibited from owning animals. Such an injunction could conceivably come prior to the March 26 sentencing date.

Joyce says he makes frequent checks on people who are prohibited from owning animals.

In addition to the charges from the 2007 seizure, Benoit and Bailey face animal cruelty charges filed three weeks ago—relating to their 2008 sale of puppies infected with the deadly parvovirus.

Gail Benoit addressed Judge Batiot after he read the verdict. “This has got to stop,” she said. “My family is terrified and people have threatened to burn my house down.”

“The SPCA is corrupt,” she said, as she left the courtroom.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Responsible dog ownership and why dog parks are so important

I was doing some reading yesterday, and came upon a really interesting article at - it was all about whether or not some breeds of dog are inherently aggressive - ie pitbulls, and also why it's SO important to sociallize your dog - no matter what the breed, and also the fact that statistics prove that most dog on dog attacks occur because of poor socialization skills - and they happen along the property lines of the dog's own property - and Good Pooch gives a good reason for it.

I thought I'd paste some of the article here because it's so timely for some of the stuff going on here in the HRM currently - and also because I like to talk about off leash dog parks and the fact that ALL breeds of dog should be able to use them - not just the non-bully type breeds. Of which the owner of this website also concurs with. After reading this article I don't know how anybody wouldn't also concur.

Here's a snippet of the article -

This is from "everything you wanted to know about pit bulls -

Are 'Pit Bulls' Naturally Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?

The short answer, "No."

"There is no scientific proof that genetics cause a breed of dog to be aggressive, vicious or dangerous." - testimony from Standing Committee on amendments to the Dog Owners Liability Act. 2005

"Variability in behaviour has a wider range within a breed than between breeds. Within the discipline of psychobiology and animal behaviour there is no data from empirically supported studies, published in refereed scientific literature, to support the idea that one breed of dog is `vicious.'

The adult behaviour of a domestic dog is determined overwhelmingly by its experiential history, environmental management and training." - Dr. Mary Lee Nitschke, Ph.D.

It is more common than not to hear 'pit bulls' referred to as "dog-aggressive". In fact, they aren't. Some may become fearful around other dogs due to a lack of proper socialization. But this happens with all breeds of dogs, not just 'pit bulls'. Unfortunately, this lack of socialization is frequently encouraged by those who fancy themselves 'pit bull' experts.

Citing the breed's history as a dog fighter, some people believe there is some kind of magic "dog fighting" gene or brain chemistry that is passed along from sire and dam to puppy. The truth is, there is no such thing. (Read the article from Dr. Gary Goeree, DVM, regarding the theory that 'pit bulls' have some kind of unique brain chemistry.)

So why are so many 'pit bulls' involved in attacks on other dogs? Well, the answer is, they aren't necessarily involved more often than any other breed. For instance, Rottweilers are probably involved in just as many attacks on other dogs, yet they were not bred for dog fighting. They were bred to herd cattle and work as guardians. If put to the test, most people would have to honestly answer that it is not 'pit bulls' involved in most of the dog biting incidents in their communities. Some, maybe. But just as many Labradors, Goldens, Dalmations, Jack Russells, Poodles, etc. also stand accused of biting other dogs.

Bites to other dogs are not unique to 'pit bulls', even though it is only 'pit bulls' who were originally bred for dog fighting.

To better understand the situation, we must look at statistical data about dogs who bite other dogs. In the real world, virtually every breed of dog has been attributed with bites to other dogs. Yet, only a handful of breeds, including 'pit bulls', were bred for fighting. If the reason a tiny percentage of 'pit bulls' bite other dogs is in their genes, why is only such a small percentage of them involved in biting incidents? (Wouldn't MOST of them be aggressive towards other dogs, if the breed is, in fact, genetically programmed to attack other dogs?) And why are breeds that were not bred for fighting involved in MORE dog-on-dog biting incidents than 'pit bulls'?

The answer is, aggression towards other dogs is a learned behaviour. As Cyndi Frendo of K9 Concepts aptly put it, "Aggression is a behaviour, not a temperament."

Believing the myth that 'pit bulls' are naturally aggressive towards other dogs, all-too-many people restrict their 'pit bulls' from normal, positive, social interactions with other dogs. Here's an example of how it all starts:

The proud owner of a little, 9-week-old 'pit bull' puppy was out walking her new family member when she came across another person walking her dog. The other dog owner understandably stopped to meet the tiny puppy. She asked if it was okay if her dog "met" the woman's puppy, and the woman agreed. The older dog got up and walked the few feet to sniff the puppy, at which point the puppy's owner pulled up on its leash so she was essentially hanging the poor little thing, with just its two hind legs on the ground.

The owner of the adult dog asked the woman to "Please let you puppy's leash go.", at which point the puppy's owner did nothing.

Seeing the poor puppy strangling at the end of the leash, the other dog owner thought it best to move on.

This is indicative of the anxious responses many dog owners exhibit when meeting other dogs. By pulling tight on leashes and collars, or worse (as in the case of the puppy's owner), these kinds of inexperienced dog owners are actually creating a negative association with meeting strange dogs. How would you feel if every time you met someone new, someone yanked a collar around your neck; harshly pulled you away; and ultimately never allowed you to interact with strangers? You wouldn't exactly be nice and relaxed around strangers, huh?

Same goes for dogs.

"It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true." - Bertrand Russell

Some self-proclaimed 'pit bull experts' actually counsel owners to inadequately socialize their 'pit bulls' in a misguided attempt to "protect" them from dog fights. While we understand the concern about "adding fuel to the fire" of 'pit bull' haters, we find the idea of inadequately socializing 'pit bulls' to simply add to the problem, rather than solve anything.

Think back to the accounts you've heard or read of 'pit bulls' seriously attacking other dogs. How many of those cases involved dogs at off-leash parks? A few...maybe. But the overwhelming majority of the dog attacks we've researched (involving 'pit bulls' and other dog breeds) take place on or directly adjacent to the attacking dog's owner's property.

More often than not, a dog-on-dog attack occurs when someone walks his/her dog past another dog's yard, and that dog runs out and attacks the passing dog.

It is clear that these are NOT well-socialized dogs that are regularly in the presence of other dogs, especially unrestrained. It is also obvious that these are not responsibly-owned dogs, since truly responsible dog owners ensure their dogs are properly socialized and they don't leave them unsupervised outside the home. (A properly socialized dog simply doesn't feel threatened by any dog that is not actually threatening it...'pit bull' or no.)

Quite the contrary to being "inherently aggressive towards other dogs", dog park regulars are typically happy to see 'pit bulls' in dog parks because they are often extremely playful and well-mannered dogs. (Especially given that they must be the types of 'pit bull' owners knowledgeable enough to dismiss the all too common counsel to avoid dog parks.) 'Pit bulls' that frequent dog parks are some of the best dogs around!

While walking through an off-leash dog park in Toronto, the following conversation was overheard:

Man: "My dog (a GSD) was attacked by a Jack Russell Terrier the other day."
Woman 1: "Oh, I know. This one (pointing to the older of two Vizslas), has been attacked twice by small dogs. As a matter of fact, the only dogs I've had problems with are those small dogs."

Woman 2: "Gee...not 'pit bulls'?" (asked sarcastically)

woman 1 rolls her eyes)

Woman 1: "I know. All this talk about 'pit bulls' in the news and I've never had a problem with a single one. There are a few I run into at this park and they're great!"

Man: "Me neither. I've never had a problem with a 'pit bull' being aggressive towards my dog. The ones I've met at dog parks and in my neighbourhood have all been great! It's those small dogs that are likely to attack."

Woman 2: "Same here. I LOVE to see 'pit bulls' at dog parks because they always play so well with my dog! I've never had a problem."

People who "get" the concept of proper socialization understand how vital off-leash interaction is. Sure, it could happen at private dog clubs. It could be accomplished through a large, vibrant group of dog owners. But it is most easily and affordably accomplished via readily accessible public dog parks.

("When the studies are done, we'll find that cities with ample access to off-leash areas for proper socialization and training will be the cities with the lowest incidence of dog bites." Calgary, Alberta proves our theory to be correct.)

But...proper socialization does require owners who are knowledgeable and committed enough to provide for those positive socialization experiences with strangers on a regular basis.

Thousands of responsible 'pit bull' owners have not only properly socialized their companion dogs, but many of them are even certified Therapy Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and Assistance Dogs.

'Pit bulls' in these roles will frequently come in contact with other dogs, and obviously must not be aggressive towards them in any way. This is more proof that aggression towards other dogs is a behaviour that can either be learned, un-learned, or never acquired in the first place.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The beauty of a healthy puppy

It seems that all we ever hear about in rescue, and in the news are stories about puppies that have died or are near death and we have to spend thousands of dollars on in order to nurse back to health because of the greed of puppy brokers or pet stores.
But there are actually puppies out there who are healthy, beautiful, small and perfect that not only do not come from puppy brokers or pet stores - they also have come from rescue
These are photos of Maximo - a puppy that is part of a litter that came over from Newfoundland a few days ago - a breed called "Newfoundland Crackies" that are really a mixed breed of terriers that are sort of like benji dogs that don't end up too big, but are just shaggy medium size dogs.
But these photos prove that healthy puppies do come into rescue - you just have to be patient, and when they arrive - accept them the moment you get the call.
I suppose though that it all depends on the owner of the puppies parents too - because people like Gail Benoit troll for these puppies - and this puppy's parents owner has to be cognizant of the fact that there's people like her - because puppy brokers live for litters like this - "oops litters" that they can make $1,000 off or so.

But luckily this family did the right thing and handed them over to rescue - and hopefully got the parent's spayed and neutered - and now we have some puppies that will all be spayed and neutered - and some happy people with some lovely puppies who are healthy and happy.

These puppies look exactly like the photos that we see from the puppy brokers - but they are SO different - they'll have long happy lives with responsible owners. Isn't that great?

This is Maximus's new sister, Pickle

And this is his new sister, Ursa - they're so beautiful I had to include a photos of them too.

Here is a slideshow of some of the photos I took today - Maximus is a beautiful puppy

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lost Dog that is now at the Dartmouth SPCA

The person who adopted the famous Zeus the dog was in Dartmouth this week - and while he was here he came across a group of young people who had found the dog in these photos -
I'll let him tell the story instead of me - I was in Dartmouth on Wednesday and was approched by a couple of teenagers that were upset and didn't know what they were going to do with a dog that they found tied up outside a church in downtown Halifax. They were a little cryptic in how they came across this dog but were clearly upset as they didnt know what to do with him as they were staying at a shelter and couldnt take the dog there. To make a long story short I ended up taking him and he stayed at the hotel with me that night. Beautiful animal and if Zeus didn't have the issues with other dogs that he does I'd probably would have taken him with me.
However here is what I noted about the dog,it was clear that he was well cared for,well fed, clean, neutered and a brand new collar and leash, walks very well on the leash as well. I took him to the SPCA hoping there was someone looking for him. I did note that the guy was high strung, very high energy and cried alot through the night which I hoped was due to missing his family.

So this guy is currently at the Dartmouth shelter in the back - if anyone recognizes this dog - or if you know anyone who's lost their dog - they should call the shelter - because that's where this beautiful orange dog is. Zeus's Dad really is a great guy, isn't he?

He's actually still with animal control - this is his photo on the impounded pets page at the HRM's animal control page - he's dog # 13836 - so Contact Animal Services at 490-4000 or 1 (800) 835-6428 (Toll free Nova Scotia Only) to make arrangements to pick up your pet. Thank-you to commenter #1 for making me go look at the impounded pets page.

Jacques Video

This is Jacques video - who I talked about yesterday - he's been at the Dartmouth shelter for 5 months, probably because he's a high energy dog who likes to show the people who have taken him out of his cage that he's really strong and ready to go, go, go - but the secret about him is that he is also really ready to learn and has a bomb proof sit, has beautiful eye contact, and really loves treats.

He is just dying to be introduced to a tug toy, or an agility ring - and he could really go far. He has a beautiful body, a great spirit, and doesn't seem to have any issues at all except for the fact that he's a puller - and that is so easily fixed it's silly.

He's at the Dartmouth SPCA - hopefully not for much longer - if you're on a flyball or agility or rally-o list in Nova Scotia - if you could send this post to that list, it would be sincerely appreciated, for Jacques sake! The link to his information is at the Dartmouth SPCA's website at

So here's a short video -

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tour of Dartmouth SPCA Shelter

So today me and a couple people has the luck to go on a tour of the Dartmouth SPCA - they've been doing some renovations over there - and the place is looking absolutely fabulous, I've got to say - the physical changes they've made to the building are going to make a lot of difference to their infection control standards for the cats especially - they've got new separate cat rooms that aren't just separated by curtains for sick and healthy cats, sick and healthy animals don't go through the same hallways, they're going to have a meet and greet area for people coming into meet dogs they're thinking about adopting before they take them out for dogs, they've put a new coat of paint out in the reception area, they've got all new flooring in the reception and kitchen area - there's just a ton of great stuff going on - and almost all of it has been donated.

While we were there there was even a lady who came to donate several hundred dollars from her work group - she works at Aliant and they do 50/50 draws and they donate the 50 part to local charities and she won the chance to choose where to donate it to - and she chose to donate it to the Dartmouth shelter - which was awesome! Her donation will pay for so much at the shelter level - everyone was so excited when she dropped it off.

We also went around and looked at the types of things that the shelter looked like they needed on a regular basis. They don't need food - Royal Canin donates all the food they require - but what they do need is washing soap for high efficiency washers -
that kind of soap is expensive, and that's the only kind they can use, because that's the kind of washing machines that they have. So they need that donated - and probably bounce would be helpful too. Towels and blankets are also easy to donate. If you have gentle leaders or harnesses - those are good.

They've also renovated their kitchen area which I'm sure will make life easier for their staff. They removed all the bins on one side that had food and treats so the area's a lot more streamlined and easier to move through, and this area also gives us ideas of things to donate. I see things like Q-tips, whiskas milk, dish soap, printer paper, alcohol, hand moisturizer, single use gloves, office supplies like scotch tape, masking tape, staples, markers, pens.

And talking about the food and stuff - I didn't take any pictures of the room - but they have totally organized a room just for stuff like that now - they obviously either have a staff member of a volunteer who is totally into organization - because they have new shelving, and everything looks really organized and you'd almost think the back area is a pet store and not the disorganized shelter that the SPCA has been in past years. In past years the excuse always was they were too busy "looking after the animals" to do things about the physical space - but I'd bet that the way things are looking now must be having a positive effect on the animals because of the boost in morale on the staff.

One thing they also need are large vari-kennels - so if you're feeling philanthropic - they need large and extra large vari-kennels at the moment.

Another thing the shelter needs is foster families. If you have space in your home for more animals - dogs and cats - but you don't want a long term committment - you should apply to the shelter so you can help the shelter save the dogs a lot of mental anguish. Today we saw 3 or 4 dogs who were just so unhappy about being in cages - and it would be so unnecessary if there were adequate foster homes. It doesn't take any longer to find perfect forever homes when you have the wonderful resrouces of Petfinder - but it's SO much better for the dogs who can't handle the shelter environment.

Dog walkers too - if you're in the area and you can walk a dog or two - in the morning or around 5pm - walk a dog. It'll make a difference.

Some of the dogs we met today were so beautiful too -

First off though - I have to talk about the 3 rats - if there's any rat lover out there, of whom I am one. I used to have rats, so I love rats. They have 3 rats at the moment, and they're beautiful and friendly, and lovely. And of course they've got to go together because rats can't live by themself. And I think they're offering an awesome deal on them.

We met Lou - who in her cage is looking awful - so sad and timid - but we saw her outside being walked, and she was transformed, looking happy and hopeful - she's been at the shelter since November - which is way too long - she's such a beautiful collie mix - she really needs to either be adopted or get into a foster home.

Jacques is such a beautiful dog, isn't he? I also took some video of him which I put in a separate post - he's been at the shelter for 5 months! It's probably because he's really young and he pulls like crazy because he's just so happy to be out - but Sean had him doing perfect sits and was laying down - and he wanted to please like there was no tomorrow. He is going to make someone such a great dog - and 5 months is way too long to be at the shelter - he needs a home now.

Puppies! This is one of the puppies there - they'll be available for adoption next week - so keep your eyes open if you're looking for a puppy.

This is the new revamped reception area - I think it's looking great

I put these photos and others in a photo album on my Picasa site - I've got a slide show below.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Benoits & Their Foils have been busy this week

So the Benoit's and the people who are trying to get them to choose a new career have been busy this week. There are a couple of new parody videos, the Benoit's posted nasty messages on Kijiji about the people who are at the helm of the organization who have made it their mission to educate the public about the true business that the "Puppies r Us" is actually all about, and Gail Benoit even initiated email contact with me - and didn't tell me who she was - in a bid to try and get information in her wish to sue the Chapman's kennel up in New Brunswick. I have to say one thing though - she is very friendly when she's trying to stay anonymous and extract information that she needs! haha!

Things are ramping up for next week - on January 29th Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey are due back in court to hear whether or not they're going to be found guilty or innocent on their current charges of animal cruelty stemming from puppies that were seized from their house a couple years ago. This doesn't include the 4 cruelty charges they were just recently charged with regarding the puppies this past summer that they sold to Esther Smith and one other lady - the Chapman kennel puppies.

So on to the videos and photos.

For some unknown reason - the aforementioned are finding it necessary to actually advertise their business - independent of their hand drawn facimiles of puppies that have come from vicarious circumstances and have a nefarious future.
It's truly weird why - little more than a week before she's due to appear before a court and hopefully be convicted of animal cruelty and face a prohibition of owning or selling animals - she's advertising her business on Kijiji.
On the same day - she decided it was a good day to do some public harassing of individuals who've been spending their free time trying to educate the public about places that are not the best place to buy your companion animals.
They have been pretty dedicated - going to the trial last November, and writing up what the testimony was - doing up parody videos, giving solace to unhappy customers of the Benoit's and Bailey's - going to pet stores all across Nova Scotia and documenting conditions of the puppies that are in the pet stores and reporting them back to the NS SPCA for their follow-up.
So they've really become a great activist organization - a real grass roots group that cares about the Mom's and Dad's of the puppies that are being sold almost dead - are trying to effect change in the only way they know - and I personally think they're making a difference - one person at a time. I think it's fabulous.

And judging by the way the defendents have lashed out - I think they're having some effect on them. They're obviously feeling a bit uncomfortable.

The way I look at it is - Gail Benoit must be an excellent sales person - if she can sell an almost dead dog for $900 in a parking lot to someone who has just about figured out who she is - imagine how much money she could make selling a product that people actually want. Imagine if she used those selling sells for good instead of evil. Somebody just has to convince her of that - it's so much easier to be good in this world instead of bad - you get a much easier ride in life when you're good. The only problem is there are a distinct minority of people who enjoy being evil - but I'm sure that she's not one of those people, right?

This week it turns out she also intitiated contact with me. On the 19th I was emailed by someone - an email address "" asking if I had any information about the Chapman's - the kennel up in New Brunswick that the Benoit's have gotten into the biggest trouble about. They bought 27 puppies from them this past summer - and it seems that all but 5 of them died either before the Benoit's could sell them, or just after they were sold, so it was a very bad business transaction.

The Chapman's are now out of business - but not before they sold off all their breeding stock, and what they couldn't sell - they killed 175 of their remaining animals all in one go. Now THAT is animal brutality at it's finest.

So Gail contacted me without telling me who she was - and I am so used to being contacted by people asking me questions - about Halifax, about dog stuff, about dogs in Halifax, about legislation, about dog politics - and I answer 99% of the emails I get - that it didn't even occur to me to not answer this person's email - so I did, and then today I thought to myself "who is this person that is sending me these emails" - so I asked the head of the "Stop puppy mills and people like Gail Benoit" Facebook group if they recognized the email address and he immediately emailed me back saying that was Gail Benoit who was emailing me! So she was emailing me - being all friendly - trying to get information that she needed so she could successfully sue the Chapmans! I was being used for my superior research skills! haha!

When I looked back it turned out she had also left a comment on my blog post about Chapman Kennels killing the 175 dogs - so that small memory of approving that comment may have been in my brain somewhere, I recognized the email address from that, to my detriment.

So once I found that out I emailed her back and said that I could not answer any more questions for her and I wished her luck. That's funny, eh? I am actually quite amazed that she's never harassed me or told me to fuck off - because she's made the lives of the other people advocating against her quite uncomfortable, but for some reason she's left me alone, and for that I'm grateful. Maybe it's because I've never said anything about her that's personal - I just want her to stop selling dying puppies - although in one email I read she did say "I will sell dogs untill the c o w s come home..c u all in the broker now and forever.... :)" - which isn't too inspiring.

Here's some of the video's that they've done lately

Gail Benoit is too sexy

Gail Benoit is heartless

Great Find at Sear's Outlet store today

Jack is a voracious eater. When he was at his previous home - the animal abuser Alice MacIsaac - mother of animal abuser Zonda MacIsaac - he had to compete with 40 other dogs for his food - so one of the lingering effects of living there is that he's quite food aggressive, and when he gets his food he tries to get it down his gullet as quickly as possible so he can go visit the other dogs and try to steal their food.

I had seen those "break fast" bowls at Bark & Fitz - but they were like $40 or $50 and I was like - I just CAN'T bring myself to pay $50 for a dog bowl. I got to thinking about it - what would work as a bowl that's similar to that that would work, and what I came up with was devilled eggs bowls - which is what is in the middle of the above photo - and they've worked quite well - but it's a bit small. But they only cost $.99 at Value Village - which is a fabulous price.

Today I was at the Sear's Outlet store in the West End Mall and in the back of the store they've got kitchen type stuff and miscellaneous other things - and they had these bowls there - and they were only $9.99 each! Awesome! So I bought 2 of them - one for breakfast, one for supper. And now Jackie will have a bit of a challenge to beat Daisy and Charlie for time spent eating their meals.

So if you've been looking for a food bowl to keep your dog from getting bloat and gulping down their food - they still have about 5 or 6 of them left. $9.99 is a fabulous price - MUCH better than $40-$50 - that's for sure!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HILARIOUS stuff in the current Frank Magazine

I saw this photo in the current Frank magazine when we were out buying groceries tonight so I had to buy the issue. There's also a great one of Mike Duffy that's not to be missed, but I think you'll have to buy your own in order to see it - but this one is pretty fan-damn good.

HRM Regional Council is diabolical in her hatred of dogs

So did anyone else watch HRM Regional Council last night on television? I wish I hadn't. They talked about 2 things related to dogs. Putting the definition of kennels back into the A300 bylaw, and the topic of dog registrations.

The idea of putting the definition of kennels was talked about for about 10 seconds -- if you looked sideways you would have missed it. It was on the agenda, and it was the result of a staff report that was asked for back in July because a constituent of Councilor Barkhouse is a breeder, and under the now defunct bylaw D100 breeders only had to pay a $100 fee - and they could have as many dogs as they wanted as long as they registered their kennel. Under A300 - there is no definition of kennel - so they have to register EVERY ONE of their dogs - and if you're a breeder - guess what? None of your dogs are probably going to be spayed or neutered, and the cost of that type of dog is $50 bucks a dog! So that is a big chunk of change for a hobby breeder. So CKC types should be plenty pissed off with that - and rightfully so.

And guess why they don't want to have a definition of kennels in A300? It's because A300 is HRM wide - they want the definition of kennels to be ONLY in the land use bylaws - because there's TWENTY-ONE of them - and there's some areas of the HRM that our city officials and bureaucrats don't think that certain dog businesses and in home occupations are APPROPRIATE - ie the infamous Janet Chernin and her three year hell-on-earth trial to make her in-home doggy day care legal - while out in Hammonds Plains Wendy Gillespie gets her in-home doggy day care made legal in a year - and out in Seaforth - Camp Dog gets legalized simply by applying for a licence!!!!!!!

Should you be enraged by the unevenness of your ability to get dog services depending on which area of the HRM you live in simply because the City's employees don't think you should have access to those services in your section of the city? HELL YEAH!

And that's what went on last night at HRM City Council.

The Staff report about the Kennel Situation is here -

The 21 different land use bylaws are here if you want to have a look at them -

Only SEVENTEEN of the 21 land use bylaws have definitions of kennels in them - the other 4 land use bylaws would not allow any in home occupations that involve dogs, and they would NOT allow any hobby breeders, or kennels or anything to do with animals. Do you think that's fair? Do you live in the areas of Dartmouth, Downtown Dartmouth, Halifax Mainland, or Halifax Peninsula? You are shit out of luck if you want to be a small time entrepeneur in this city.

As to the registration of dogs - that went from the ridiculous to the sublime last night with the Councilors not able to figure out one good reason why dog owners should register their dogs with the City - and the person responsible for writing the fantabulous A300 bylaw - Sargeant MacNeil - couldn't think of a reason either when asked what was the difference if a dog owner bought a $2 name tag for their dog instead of paying $15 for a tag from the city - and Animal Control caught the dog and repatrioted it back to his home fammily. MacNeil said there'd be no difference because the $2 name tag had the same information on it that the City tag would.

I emailed my Councilor Steve Adams - because he was the one asking the question - but he didn't get the answer in time, because they were so LOATHE to talk about dogs that they'd already moved on to the next agenda item. But there's a big reason (supposedly) why City tags are so much better than home made tags - and it's called - has anybody figured it out yet?...... drum roll.... anybody?..... What do they call it in other cities?...... It's called a ...... FREE RIDE HOME...... That's why we pay to register our dogs! And yet no one could think of that fringe benefit last night at city council. What a bunch of maroons. Really.

Another fact that they couldn't seem to let sink in was the fact that the report that Sargeant MacNeil was presenting - and he also said it at the Council meeting was the fact that in December - they were able to send more dogs back to their original homes rather than putting them in the shelter - which is the #1 aim of any responsible Animal Control authority. Jeez. Here's the report from the licencing strategy -

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not masters of their domain

Not masters of their domain

Woman buys Internet names of puppy mill suspects
Tue. Jan 20 - 7:10 AM

A Halifax woman has seized the Internet domain names of a Digby County couple facing animal cruelty charges to prevent people from buying their puppies.

Joan Sinden, who lives in Spryfield, last week bought and, which link to a site on her server with information about the activities of the husband-and-wife team with a controversial history of selling allegedly unhealthy dogs.

"I just want to educate people," Ms. Sinden, a self-described animal activist dedicated to stopping puppy mills and brokers, said in an interview Monday. "I thought someone should do it and I already had most of the information together already."

The Nova Scotia SPCA this month laid eight charges against Dana Bailey, 46, and his wife, Gail Ruth Benoit, 39, of Roxville for allegedly selling four dogs that died hours after their new owners received them last summer.

Mr. Bailey and Ms. Benoit each face four animal cruelty charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and four under the provincial Animal Cruelty Prevention Act. Autopsies showed the dogs died of parvovirus, a highly contagious canine illness often fatal in young dogs.

The couple are due in Digby provincial court on Jan. 29 on other charges stemming from the SPCA seizing several seriously ill puppies that were for sale.

Ms. Sinden said she hasn’t had any personal contact with Ms. Benoit and Mr. Bailey and doesn’t know anyone who has bought animals from them; she just wants to persuade the couple to earn a living another way.

"I have owned dogs that came from puppy mills and I have seen the effects of it," Ms. Sinden said. "I see the fact that their teeth are rotten and they have no hair and that they’ve had a really shitty life and I don’t think it’s right for animals to have to live like that.

"While they’re alive, they should have a certain quality of life, just like humans have a certain quality of life. I don’t think that animals are any different than us."

Her website links to information about parvovirus and news clips of the couple on YouTube, including a hip hop-style montage.

Mr. Bailey said he isn’t responsible for the deaths of any dogs and doesn’t plan to check out Ms. Sinden’s website.

"There are so many websites out there now, another one ain’t gonna hurt one bit," he said. "I’m not one bit concerned."

Mr. Bailey said he and Ms. Benoit, who declined to comment for this story, are still selling dogs and have no plans to stop.

"We’ve got proof of what the dogs died from but we’re not bringing it out until after the SPCA goes through with some more so-called charges — and then we’re going to show what the dogs died from," Mr. Bailey said.

"I have video of what the dogs died from."

David Tidswell, 21, of Halifax, said he recently found an ad of Ms. Benoit’s on the classified website offering a purebred chihuahua for $300. He said he was selling his computer at the same time and struck a deal to make a trade.

They met at an Esso gas station parking lot in Bridgetown on Jan. 3 at about 10 p.m. After getting the dog home, Mr. Tidswell said, he did some research on the Internet and learned about Ms. Benoit’s alleged selling practices. A few days later, the dog became ill and died, he said.

Monday, January 19, 2009

By request - some happiness!

In a comment posted I think someone thinks the blog is getting a bit heavy, so I've uploaded a little video I took a couple days ago - it's Jack reacting to me asking if he wants a piece of one of his favourite things - a "piece of cheese" - at some point every night he goes to the door of the kitchen and starts huffing - and that means it's time to have a piece of cheese. At some point in his life someone gave him pieces of processed cheese - and he decided it was an essential part of his diet. And he really likes it. And I am not a person who likes to deny anybody anything - so I generally tend to comply about 1 piece a day. I'm here for a good time. So I decided to film it a couple days ago. I love Jack's bunny hopping anticipatory running into the kitchen that he does whenever he thinks he's going to get something - it makes me wish I had a long hallway.

Enjoy - it's only about 1 minute and a half.

Brindi faces new charges

Brindi faces new charges from HRM's Animal Control -

1. Owning a dog that runs at large
2. Owning a dog that attacked another dog
3. Owning a dog that failed to comply with a muzzle order

Has to appear before a judge on February 5th in Dartmouth

I think this is excellent news for Brindi and Francesca - this is the day in court that she should have gotten 6 months ago. This is the day in court that all the people have gotten on the bylaw infraction sheet that Francesca has posted at her post "See this chart to compare Brindi's chart to others"

Maybe this is Animal Control Services finally doing the right thing - giving Francesca her day in court - this is the best case scenario - now she will go to court on February 5th - plead guilty to owning a dog that runs at large - have the other 2 charges withdrawn, pay a fine of $222 - and take Brindi home later that day.

If that's the case - then Brindi wouldn't even be considered a dangerous dog after that point - because she hasn't been found guilty of having a dog that attacked another dog.

Tonight's news piece -

Why can't we all just - get along?

In the words of the inestimable Rodney King, I think the quote is really appropriate for what's going on in the dog community right now. I am still in the throes of the flu so my brain may be not working quite right - actually I'm pretty sure I'm not at the top of my game today intellectually wise - but I'm willing to take a kick at the can despite about 1/4 of my brain thinking it wants to exit my head through left nostril.

Who is the bad guy in the story of Brindi and the HRM's Animal Control department? I think we can agree that it's the Animal Control department because they never should have issued a muzzle order in the first place - they should have simply fined Francesca - they acted way too aggressively with her.

But because the bylaw is so horrible and the AC Officers have so much power - they issued the muzzle order - and then at their next opportunity - they seized Brindi. And that's when things start to go to shit regarding who's good and who's bad. Animal Control is still bad because they are heavy handed dog killers - but Francesca's weight in gold goes down because she allowed Brindi to act in a way that gets Animal Control called.

But at the same time - no dog is perfect, Brindi acted in a way that tons of dogs act everyday at Point Pleasant Park - so what's the big deal? Francesca just had extremely bad luck - it's no reason for HRM to kill her dog and for her to become known as Nova Scotia's worst dog owner, is it?

So she stops her life for 6 months - completely focuses on saving Brindi's life, gets the best dog and bylaw lawyer (obviously) in the city - thank-dog she dropped that other one - and now 6 months later, her case is won on a couple points of law. It's not won because Brindi isn't dangerous, it's not won because AC should have fined her instead of seizing Brindi, it's not won because the law was meted out unfairly - it was won because under the Municipal government Act a lowly Animal Control officer shouldn't be able to kill a living thing based on the facct that he as a "reason to believe" that an animal is fierce and dangerous, and the fact that Francesca was not given due process to appeal to get her property back once it was seized.

And now we are 3 days later, and Francesca still does not have her property (Brindi) - back. What is up? Why? What is so important to the City that they don't want to give Brindi back to her? How many times do I have to say that Brindi isn't dangerous? She's reactive, but she's not dangerous. So what's the problem?

Another thing to think about is - what is the best home for Brindi? A lot of people want Brindi to be rehomed. But is that really the best thing for Brindi, and realistically - is there a home out there for her. She was at Celtic Pets for 2 long years waiting for a home before Francesca adopted her, and she is now probably 3 years older than that - 25 pounds heavier, with all this publicity of her bad habits and her need of rehabilitation and her dangerous dog designation - who's going to want to adopt a dog like that? Francesca may be the only person on this earth who actually would want her. And she actually DOES want her. With so many dogs dying in shelters everyday - give that home that would potentially rehome Brindi to another needy dog and let Francesca have Brindi to live out her days where she knows where she is and who her owner is. So this is something else we have to think of when we're thinking about what to do with this case

Think of yourself in Francesca's shoes. What would you do at this point? It is a condundrum. If you were working in HRM Legal right now, what would you be thinking? And then from those two things try and figure out what's the RIGHT thing to do. For the dogs - AND for the city. And then write out a new bylaw and submit it to City Hall - care of Peter Kelly and he will file it in his special "File 13" - toute suite.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buttercup is employee of the month!

I make liver and sell some of it to keep my own dogs with a sufficient supply of it, and this weekend I've been cooking some of it. I have had the flu since the middle of the week - and normally my father lives with me, but since I've been sick my Dad has high-tailed it back to his house so he doesn't come down with the flu cooties - usually when he's around, for some reason dogs aren't allowed on the table! But today since he wasn't around Buttercup got to sit in her spot to supervise what was going on. She knows she's not allowed to touch the liver on the cutting board or the dehydrator and is allowed to eat any pieces that fall off the cutting board.

This is a shot where everybody else is. Jackie stakes out below - he barks all the way through the cutting process - to keep everybody away, and to constantly remind me that he wants a piece. Daisy and Charlie just patiently wait until I throw them their requisite tithes. They are such good dogs.

I hope you will indulge me in another slideshow of the big dogs wrestling. They are so cute when they do it - I love it when Daisy's legs are sticking straight up in the air - and I never realized Charlie's mouth was so big - I think if he tried he could fit Daisy's whole head in his mouth. Maybe someday. I hope I get it on film when it happens -