Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brindi's case far from over

It was just on CTV news at 6pm (sorry, I didn't tape it) - that in court today Francesca Rogier pleaded not guilty to her charges of owning a dog that runs at large, owning a dog that attacked another dog, and owning a dog that failed to comply with a muzzle order (and if you think about that one - how can a dog put it's own muzzle on?)

The case has been put over for 3 weeks. Which as far as the court system goes - is excellent - usually from arraignment to trial is anywhere from 3 to 6 months - so 3 weeks is exceptional. Hopefully it will only be 3 weeks until the trial - for Brindi's sake anyway.

I personally really do not understand why Francesca did not just plead guilty, take the fines and go home with Brindi. The euthanization order was quashed by Judge Beveridge - to me that means that the city cannot kill Brindi - even if they say they want to because they consider her a dangerous dog - they cannot kill her. Judge Beveridge saved her life.

I have noted before the listings of bylaw infractions that list out other people who've been charged with the same charges as Francesca - and how everyone but one went home with either their charges withdrawn or simple fines, or found innocent - either at their arraignment or trial - why IS Francesca being dealt with so differently? Or is every dog owner so reprehensible to the bureaucrats at City Hall?

What WOULD have happened had Francesca just plead guilty? Why wouldn't she have been able to pay the fine and taken Brindi home? That's a question I'd like to ask the City's legal council. What would have happened.

Here's an article from the Chronicle Herald -

Brindi's owner pleads not guilty to animal bylaw charges

By STEVE BRUCE Court Reporter
Tue. Feb 3 - 6:09 PM

An East Chezzetcook dog owner pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of violating Halifax Regional Municipality's animal control bylaw.

But Francesca Rogier wants a judge to throw out the charges before she goes to trial in Dartmouth provincial court.
Lawyer Blair Mitchell will argue Feb. 24 that the charges, laid last month after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court quashed a municipal order to have Brindi the dog euthanized, are an abuse of the legal process and violate his client's constitutional rights.

Ms. Rogier is charged with being the owner of a dog that was running at large, owning a dog that attacked another animal, and failing to comply with a muzzling order.

The charges stem from an incident last July when animal control officers, acting on a complaint from another pet owner, seized Brindi and ordered her euthanized.

At the time of the complaint, Brindi was under a muzzle order.

Ms. Rogier has said Brindi got away from her while she was holding the muzzle.

A Supreme Court judge ruled Jan. 16 that the bylaw that authorized the killing of Brindi exceeded the power of the municipality.

Justice Duncan Beveridge also said Ms. Rogier was never given a chance to oppose the decision to seize and destroy her dog.

Ms. Rogier's elation over the decision didn't last long, however, as she learned later that day that the municipality wasn't going to release Brindi and instead would be pressing charges.

The charges were filed Jan. 19, one day before the six-month limitation period would have expired, Mr. Mitchell said.

Municipal lawyer Randolph Kinghorne, who appeared on behalf of the prosecutor Tuesday, told Judge Bill MacDonald the municipality still wants to have the dog euthanized.

Brindi, a five-year-old mixed breed, has been kept at the SPCA shelter since she was seized last July.Ms. Rogier has been allowed to visit Brindi just once, on Jan. 17, when they spent about 25 minutes together in freezing temperatures in an outdoor pen.

She said Brindi was overweight, dirty and, at first, confused until she recognized her and began licking her face.

“I'm really concerned about her health and I really would like to be able to see her regularly,” Ms. Rogier said Tuesday.

“Ideally, I would like her to be released until these charges are dealt with. We asked for that, and they declined.”

Ms. Rogier filed notice Jan. 23 in Supreme Court that she intends to sue the municipality and three of its employees.

“It surprises me to be, at this point in a different year, still trying to fight for my dog,” Ms. Rogier said.

“We got a victory in the Supreme Court and yet I don't have my dog.

“I'm going to continue until I get her out. I'm not going to allow this dog to be killed, if there's anything I can possibly, humanly do about it.”


  1. If I lived in HRM another question I should like to ask is why the city is liberally spending so many of its administrative and legal resources .... resources that are funded by taxpayer dollars .... on this issue.
    Is this an example of the fiscal restraint they keep preaching about?

  2. Anonymous9:53 PM

    If she plead guilty to the muzzle infraction, Brindi would be deemed a dangerous dog and then euthenized would she not?

  3. Stuart10:07 PM

    The only reason to plead guilty would have been if HRM would agree to return the dog. Guilty pleas are always a give and take affair. Obviously Francesca would have pleaded guilty if it would have brought Brindi home.
    You are correct, though it may seem funny, that a dog cannot put its own muzzle on and therefore the law is defective. Yes, it can be challenged on that ground. A dog cannot obey or not obey a muzzle order.
    Even more disturbing is that HRM has asked the judge for an order to euthanize the dog. This is where the legal fight gets going. They will have to prove with admissable evidence that she should be killed.
    Likewise, Francesca will be able to present evidence to the contrary.
    Although the next appearance is in 3 weeks, that will only be a trial setting conference.

    A reasonable person would expect that HRM would settle this dispute. Everything can be settled.
    This will not be resolved for many months and to keep Brindi locked up and deprived of exercise and POSITIVE human contact amounts to animal cruelty.

    To expend further taxpayer funds to prosecute this case at trial is ridiculous and if I were a NS resident I would be holding a sign in front of whatever you call your City Hall demanding that this charade be ended.