Monday, January 19, 2009

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.


  1. Anonymous4:42 PM

    That`s what this lady has for that dog.
    Someone commented a couple of posts ago and I`m paraphrasing...Why don`t you just let them have the dog and get another one.

    Those are the 2 extremes of dog ownership.

    I`m sure this lady did not just have ~$12,000 sitting around.
    None of us are perfect.
    ANY of our dogs could have gotten loose and went after a dog.


    That`s what makes this lady a good dog owner.She didn`t turn her back on this dog.She fought the system to keep her dog alive.

    I would kill for my dog.
    She has shown a lot of restraint in this situation.

    Keep reading the headline of this post people unless you`re PERFECT.

    I haven`t met a perfect person yet but there`s always a 1st time.

    No wonder we have Wars.

  2. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Your right any one of us could have found ourselves with a loose dog. But FR did it 4 times and all 4 times another dog got attacked. I don't believe that her dog is dangerous but I do believe that the dog is dangerous in her hands.

    If this was a one time account there would no question of her innocence. If not for her poor irresponsible ownership Brindi would be living a better life right now!!

    If she really cared for Brindi she would be approaching HRM and having them rehome her to an owner who is experienced with reactive dogs. She has not spent any money as they city has to pay her bills.

    Fran Save your dog ask the city to rehome her.

  3. Amen to that, Joan. Well said even with a quarter of your brain gone AWOL!

    With all that blame, and I am right and you are wrong, and egos and self-righteousness, is anyone thinking what the best is for a dog stuck in a run for six months?

    To get out of there, ASAP. Where to? Home! Because, in my opinion, Brindi needs two things: an owner who is committed to her, offers her social inclusion by making her part of her life - walking with her, playing with her, sharing nutritious food and a warm place to rest. And Francesca can offer that and did so in the past. Cause if Brindi would be released to another home, what are the chances that her new people have the time, and love, and bond to do that and Brindi might be stuck in a fenced yard all day. And that's not living, but existing and no dog deserves that.

    The second thing Brindi needs is security so that she does not need to attack. And until she has that, she needs to be managed in a way that keeps other dogs in her community safe, because that is rightly so their need and their owners have to fulfill that. Every dog should be able to go for walks without being attacked.

    In the past, that did not happen. But I can't believe that after such a fight for Brindi that led to the court ruling and as a side-effect to squashing a shitty bylaw, Francesca would not act on that.

  4. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Well said Joan!
    Something for all of us to think about regardless of our opinions...

  5. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Isnt the point of all this discussion about what is best for everyone? EVERYONE!

    I think we can all agree there is fault or error on both sides here...but two wrongs don't make a right...or do they?

    Can't we learn from this that we ALL need to be responsible for our dogs and perhaps their issues. That the laws are flawed.

    I wish Francesca would better acknowelge that Brindi has issues and that she needs to seriously address them if Brindi is returned to her.

    I know she has admitted that Brindi escaped in her care. That is not the same as saying LOOK my dog has issues and I apologize for the situation I put my dog, my community, the dog Brindi attacked in,etc. That she would willingly participate in a program to rehabilitate Brindi and to teach herself how to handle Brindi in a responsible way. That she would accept probation of this situation. Also that she would prepare a responsible environment for Brindi to be housed.

    Wouldnt it be great if HRM admitted that maybe A300 is flawed and that it could be improved. That HRM realized that maybe they should be dialoguing with the people who work and volunteer in this area everyday, the rescue community, the trainers, veterinariansetc.

    If we could have these things I think we could have the happiest outcome ever in this story.

    We also could have one of the best bylaws in North America for communities living with animals. We could be at the forefront! WOW!

    All it takes is a willingness for change and to admit they need help.

    I bet that would go a long way in easing the pain all, especially Brindi, are feeling in this situation.

    These two wrongs - could make it right with a willingness listen and change.

  6. I guess you're selective about which comments you post, but that's you're prerogative. I'm only trying to inject some logic into this frenzy.
    I'd like to see Brindi cared for better at the "shelter." What can we do about that?

  7. What do you mean, Jeff - I won't publish comments that are an overt personal attack upon me for no good reason - why should I? Are you referring to your comment from a few days ago? The comment where you were saying things like "Joan, while your blog seems to be quite popular in your region, and you make no bones about being unapologetic, you do seem to waver around in your opinions and viewpoints. To turn your wrath on Francesca now would be really unfortunate and callous." and "Joan, while your blog seems to be quite popular in your region, and you make no bones about being unapologetic, you do seem to waver around in your opinions and viewpoints. To turn your wrath on Francesca now would be really unfortunate and callous. " Tell me how comments like that move the dog politics cause movement forward. I don't think it does - it just makes the assholes coming here feel better - and guess what, I am the owner of this blog - and I like to control what bullshit goes where.

  8. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Hey Joan, how about some more pics of Buttercup ? jm

  9. Just for the record. Brinid IS being cared for at the Metro SPCA, and trust me that I can tell the difference. I volunteered for four years at shelters and met many, many shelter dogs.

    When I assessed her, about a month ago, she was in good shape mentally and emotionally and physically a few pounds overweight like many dogs are. She was also polite and attentive and did not jump up or was pushy for food - although food motivated which is a good thing.

    I expected Brindi to be in bad shape after a 6 months incarceration, but she wasn't - when I saw her. So for folks from away, stop your biases - you don't have all the facts.