Wednesday, March 31, 2010

WOW - SPCA wins compensation in 'landmark case'

Now this is a story from out in British Columbia that has big echoes for us here in Nova Scotia - it really shows that we do not exist in a vacuum, and the issues that we're facing in the humane community locally really are happening elsewhere - so maybe when we're looking for answers to our problems - we really don't have to reinvent the wheel everytime, and it might be a good idea to look elsewhere to see if anyone else has innovative answers to problems that we're having here - because obviously we're just like everyone else.

SPCA wins compensation in 'landmark case'

A B.C. animal breeder whose cats and dogs were seized from her ranch must pay the SPCA $34,000 to cover the cost of caring for her critters if she wants them back, says a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

A lawyer for the SPCA said the decision released Monday appears to be the first time in Canada a judge has developed a detailed formula for calculating such costs, which could influence future cases across the country.

A June 2009 complaint to the SPCA led to the seizure of 26 Great Danes and several cats from Carol Haughton's ranch in Knutsford, south of Kamloops, after inspectors found the animals in poor conditions while she was out of town.

Haughton, who also faces animal cruelty charges, fixed up her property and made improvements which were inspected by a veterinarian. Testifying as an expert witness, the veterinarian called it "the Taj Mahal" of dog and cat kennels.

Earlier this year, the court ruled that Haughton could have the animals back, but the SPCA has only returned a handful of dogs. The agency has demanded tens of thousands of dollars to cover its costs before handing over the rest of the animals.

Has one week to pay

The SPCA initially gave Haughton a bill of $46,000, but later recalculated that total to almost $37,000.

Haughton challenged the fees in B.C. Supreme Court, arguing the SPCA kept the animals for too long and should shoulder most of the costs.

She already paid $3,600 in August 2009, and her lawyer suggested she pay just $250 more.

Justice Hope Hyslop settled on fees of $34,000, and gave Haughton until April 5 to come up with the money. If she doesn't, the SPCA can adopt the animals out.

Neither Haughton nor her lawyer could be reached for comment.

Ruling applauded

Chris Rhone, the SPCA's lawyer in the case, applauded the ruling for offering a detailed breakdown of the costs to the SPCA.

"I believe it's probably the first case in Canada that's spoken about the reasonableness of the daily cost of care," Rhone said in an interview.

"I think it's a landmark case for the daily rates charged by the society."

The SPCA presented evidence to justify its calculations, saying it cost $10 a day to care for each cat and $15 for every dog.

For example, the $10 rate for cats includes $1 for food, $1 for operating expenses, $6 for staff time and $1.50 for loss of revenue.

The $34,000 total includes about $17,000 for dogs, $11,500 for cats, $4,500 for veterinarian costs and $1,000 to pay for staff.

The court judgement from this week

Haughton's original court judgement

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Feedback from Yesterday's Homeward Bound Open House

First off - I'm going to open up with a question that I don't have the answer for - if Homeward Bound City Pound is only taking in animals provided to them by HRM and Animal Control, and the Dartmouth SPCA is the shelter for the provincial Nova Scotia SPCA - who is now sheltering the animals for the homeless and abandoned animals of the HRM and Nova Scotia? It appears to me as if those animals have been completely left in the lurch. The only organizations doing anything about those animals now are private rescues. Who receive no funding from anyone but private donations and fundraising - which is as it always was - but really - those animals have no one. It is now glaringly obvious.

Today Hope Swinamer gave an interview to Cyril on Breakfast Television and I've typed out some of it because she says some good stuff - he starts out by saying something that a lot of people think - that we have a lot of "stray dogs" - which is exactly what Homeward Bound WON'T be dealing with - so Hope HAD to correct that right off -

CYRIL - "We really do have a need for it, there's a lot of strays out there."

"Hope - Well I think too that people need to understand the difference between the City Pound, and a shelter - and we are definitely the City Pound - we're here for HRM and Animal Control, and so it's what they pick up. Animals that have been reported, and they'll be brought here - and our job is pretty simple, we have 4 things and it's to give them tender loving care, and 2 is to give them veterinary care if they need it, and 3 is to get them back with their owners if it's at all possible within the 72 hours and 4 and most important is our adoption program and we're really excited about that - so we want to get a good waiting list of people that are looking for dogs and want to adopt them out - an animal in need."

Cyril - "Alright - well I know you're going to do a great job, Hope - and congratulations on this great facility."

So who WILL be dealing with stray dogs now in the HRM? That is an interesting question.

Some of the comments today on the Chronicle Herald's article were pretty interesting too if you wanted to check them out as well.

What I don't get is that Hope Swinamer is coming into this project with such a humungously amazing reputation - and that's what the comments on the Chronicle Herald article echo - why is she willing to let all of that vapourize with the associations that she is obviously becoming entangled with - and such a risky project. It's mind boggling. But there are obviously much bigger brains at work here than mine - so I'm sure that everything will work out as fate has intended.

If you wanted to look at some more of the Pound - there's some video on Breakfast Television's Facebook site as well

I uploaded some of Breakfast Television's coverage to You Tube, so that's what you'll see below -

Tour/Open House of new Homeward Bound City Pound

Yesterday was the Open House and tour of the new Homeward Bound City Pound that is opening April 1st - taking over sheltering services for the HRM's Animal Control Department from the long suffering Nova Scotia SPCA who had previously had the contract for the last 10 or so years. They have completely renovated a previous location of the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic so that they can use it to house the animals - dogs, cats, rabbits, and amphibians - brought in through Animal Control through seizures and other types of calls.
It was a very interesting morning. There were lots of media there, quite a few City Councillors, the new staff for the Pound, and some familiar faces I recognized from times past - which I'll get to a little bit later.

First off - I'll go through what I was given on the tour through the facility -
The first 2 photos are part of the "adoption" area at the front of the building - the photo with the xpens with Sue Uteck, Municipal Councillor being interviewed is a dog adoption/play room, and the other room is a cat adoption room - rooms that will be used so that cats and dogs can be viewed for adoption when people come in - people from the public who are interested in adopting animals from the pound. There are several ways that Homeward Bound is hoping to send out animals - through adopting animals directly to the public, through pre-approval (to the public), and through liaising with local rescues - breed specific, as well as with other local rescues. They will have their own website for adopting animals at
This picture is of the outside exercise area at the back of the shelter - and also where all the animals will be brought inside - there is a separate gated off entrance from the exercise area.
This is where information about all the dogs will be kept - there are 16 kennels for dogs - although the manager I was talking to didn't expect that they'd be at capacity at any one time - each kennel has a guillotine door to the kennel behind it so that each kennel can combine to be double sized - ie 16 kennels could become 8 kennels and/or the dog in each kennel can be moved from one kennel to the one in behind it without having to actually touch the dog - which was something that did strike me. The whole dog area is set up so that there doesn't have to be really any interaction between humans and dogs - the dog food bowls are on a turnaround thingee at the front of the kennel so that you fill the bowls, turn them around and the dog can eat from them - no opening the door, no nothing. Pretty ingenious. To clean the kennels you just have to spray them down while the dog is in the other side - and the floors are tilted in a way so that everything washes down into the grates in the floor. Easy peasy.

There's going to be 6 staff and 2 managers to take care of these 16 kennels for dogs and 8 kennels for cats - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - so they're going to need to be pretty much self-cleaning I'd say - especially if you think about the idea that last year they say that Animal Services took in about 850 animals - that works out to about 2.3 animals a day, every day - that's a lot of animals to take in, assess, vet, neuter, spay, adopt out, look for the owners, temperament test, euthanize, deal with, feed, water, etc., etc., - and everyday - there's more of them and new ones coming in every day.

Here are the dog kennels - and this is what I mean about the food bowls sliding around from front to back of the dog's doors. Everything in the dog area seemed nice and easy to clean - really super - very efficient, well designed - and small. For a city the size of 300,000 + people - it scared me.
Now this little guy was there yesterday - the lady who had him had the name "Wyndenfog kennels" on the back of her coat - does this mean that she's the owner of the fabulous kennel somewhere out there in the country that's going to be taking the "long term dangerous dogs" that were going to be getting to run in the woods and have a wonderful life while they were waiting for their court cases to be settled? I have no idea, but it was interesting to wonder why a kennel owner would be there with their name emblazoned on the back of their coat, wasn't it?

And if you notice something else about this photo, you'll also see - what do you see? CARPET. What is something that you should never see around animals? CARPET. And it's all through the front of the building and in the cat's area.
There are cages for 8 cats and 5 isolation cages for cats - and it's all carpeted. It'll be interesting to see what the staff think of that in a few months. I know the first thing I saw when I was looking at the house I'm living in now was the dusty rose carpet on the floor - and I said - do you think there's hardwood floor under this? But I digress.

So on to the intake and disposition of animals in the care of Homeward Bound City Pound. Yesterday when I was talking to one of the managers of Homeward Boundh - Diana Forrestall - she was still saying that they want to change the way people think about pounds - like Hope said in a previous article "its vision is to change the way people think about the 'city pound' by providing exceptional animal care and a service that the citizens of HRM will admire and respect." That is going to be a tall order.

Diana said that they want to work with local rescues to adopt out animals that come in through them and are suitable for being adopted out - all animals will first be spayed, neutered, vetted and microchipped by them so that they've covered all those costs first - and I guess, then they'll offer them to local rescues to be placed - which is really interesting.

Looking at a list that I have of local rescues - there really aren't that many that Homeward Bound can call on - less than five, not including the NS SPCA - and they are always full as it is - so I'm not sure how much help they'll be able to offer. The only rescue that I personally can will be able to help Homeward Bound IS the NS SPCA - so I really hope that they will allow the SPCA to help.

Which brings me to my next item - yesterday I received a mailing from Nathan Winograd - mine, and alot of people's hero - and it was about the date April 1st - which is also the date the Homeward Bound opens ironically. April 1st 1994 was the date that San Francisco became a "no kill" city - when the San Francisco Animal Services and San Francisco SPCA began to work together so that no treatable animal died in that city after that date. And amazing things started to happen. It was called "No Kill Day - A celebration of Compassion" - and it helped to start a revolution. I think it's so amazingly fortuitous that Homeward Bound are starting their contract on April 1st - and saying they want to work with local rescues - the NS SPCA is completely open and waiting to work with Homeward Bound - and here we have the story of the San Francisco SPCA and Animal Control from 1994 that started a revolution in the No Kill History.

Wouldn't it be amazing if our 2 organizations worked together like San Francisco did?

I know that it's asking a lot - especially after I came across this sign yesterday on the desk at the open house - thanking the contractors and volunteers for the Homeward Bound City Pound (and when was the last time a money making business had/needed volunteers). You read through the list of contractors, and it all sounds great. Fabulous. And it wasn't actually until I got home last night that I noticed the names of the volunteers -

And a lot of you who read the blog may not recognize the names of volunteers on this list - but a lot of you will, and right now you are saying to yourself - HOLY SHIT! HOLEEE SHITTTTT! What in the H-E-Double Hockey sticks is going on HERE!!!!!! Has the world turned upside down? Really - is there NO ETHICS LEFT IN THIS WORLD AT ALL?

And I have to say to you dear readers, that truly, I think there is none.

Here are a couple articles about yesterday's open house -

I notice that today's Chronicle herald article has opened up to comments if you want to go check them out -

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Seminar from Silvia Jay!

If you're interested in relating more mindfully with your canine life companion - you should set aside May 1st now - dog behaviour expert Silvia Jay is putting on a new seminar about stress and what it can have to do with aggression in our dogs - it's a not to be missed day where we're going to learn tons of new stuff from a dog trainer who is also a gifted speaker. I can't wait!

The location still has to be worked out - but the date is definitely May 1st - the cost is going to be $60 - and you can pre-pay this time to confirm your seat - email to get details on where to mail your cheques to and you can find out more about how Silvia trains on her website at - if you're into totally positive training that makes a whole lot of sense, you won't be disappointed!

If you want to check out how a seminar she put on last year went - you can read about it in a blog post here -

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And now for something completely different

One time when me and the dogs were up walking in the woods we came across this - a star nosed mole - it was already dead, and Buttercup had a good time rolling on it - but none of us felt the need to have a seance over it - maybe that's because none of us are drinkers. Thank dog for that I guess. If Buttercup or Jack took up drinking - I think we'd all be in big trouble.

US man 'tried to revive dead opossum' in Pennsylvania

The opossum is generally about the size of a pet cat
Pennsylvania police have charged a man with public drunkenness after reports that he tried to resuscitate a long-dead opossum on a highway.

State police said several witnesses had seen Donald Wolfe, 55, tending to the roadkill about 65 miles (105 km) north-east of the city of Pittsburgh.

One reported seeing Mr Wolfe kneel before the animal and gesturing as though he were conducting a seance.

Another reported seeing him give mouth to mouth resuscitation to the carcass.

State police Trooper Jamie Levier said the animal had been dead a while, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The opossum, colloquially known as a possum, is about the size of a domestic cat.

Such animals are known to feign death when threatened, giving rise to the phrase "playing possum".

Friday, March 26, 2010

NS Veterinary Medical Assocation Bans Tail Docking & Ear Cropping

So this week the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association banned their members from doing "cosmetic procedures" like docking the tails of dogs and cropping their ears. It'll come into effect in October of this year.

It's funny that they banned those 2 things. I don't really understand it. I guess they're still going to do things like debarking, declawing cats - removing declaws on dogs and stuff like that. The purebred dog community says that they're doing it to cow tow to the animal rights community - but I'd say if they were doing that then they should go all the way and also ban the practice of artificially inseminating dogs and cats - now THAT would REALLY cause an uproar in the purebred dog community - because it seems like that's how almost all conception takes place now with purebred dogs. It's too much hassle for purebred dogs to actually mate naturally anymore - too "messy" - so artificial insemination is the way to go all the time - although I think most breeders actually do it themselves, and don't include vets at all. But to ban that by vets - now THAT would really be something the animal rightists could really get behind, I'd imagine.

Daisy is a perfect example of things like tail docking shouldn't be banned by veterinarians - because her tail isn't docked - it's AMPUTATED. It very obviously was not done by a veterinarian - it was done by someone who just happened to be nearby whenever her mother gave birth.
It's got a big tuft of hair that every so often I cut off so that she looks like a proper rottweiller for a little while.

I think about it like men and circumcisions - they don't really have a choice in it - it's done when they're a few days old, and now it's not even done for religious reasons - and I think a lot of jewish people don't even get it done. But it's the choice of the parents - its part of their culture, what they want for their children - what their beliefs are - how they were brought up themselves - how their own bodies look and they want their children to look.

And it's none of my business as to whether or not your child has a - flap over the end of his penis. My personal preference doesn't come into play - why should it have any sway over your dog?

On the other side of that - we can't force a veterinarian to perform a procedure he doesn't want to do - but I don't think the Veterinary Association should be banning their members from being able to do the procedures either. That is wrong - and I think the members should be standing up. That sucks too. I hope the members are speaking up. Especially if they want to continue making money.

Because I don't want any more tails like Daisy walking around Nova Scotia. I've gotten used to Daisy's - but I'm sure she'd rather hers be unique to her.

First is a story from CBC - and then below is a video from CTV about the story -

N.S veterinarians ban tail docking

Veterinarians in Nova Scotia will no longer cut the tails and ears of dogs for cosmetic reasons, prompting an outcry from some breeders.

Tail docking is popular for certain breeds like Doberman pinschers. (CBC)The Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association is forbidding its members from doing surgeries that alter an animal's appearance solely for cosmetic purposes.

Veterinarians say docking a Doberman pinscher's tail, for example, is unnecessary and cruel.

"In my opinion, Dobermans and Great Danes look great with their ears down and their long tails, so there's no reason to mutilate them by causing them to meet an arbitrary breed characteristic that has been around for so long that we can't remember why it's been around in the first place," said Dr. Frank Woodbury, a veterinarian in Halifax.

Mary Spinelli, a Doberman breeder in Dartmouth, disputes any suggestion that ear cropping and tail docking is cruel, and therefore can't see any need for the new rules.

"There was no impetus from anybody in the dog community to say, 'Please, consider this procedure,'" she said.

"These procedures have been performed for the better part of 100 years. They're not new, they're not revolutionary and, by and large, they're not cruel. They're done in proper conditions."

Spinelli said a Doberman's tail is removed when the animal is about two days old, while the ears are cropped at eight weeks.

She finds it hypocritical that the veterinary association is still allowing the declawing of cats.

"They have no qualms whatsoever about declawing cats, which is a far more invasive procedure done when the cat is significantly older," she said.

The new rules go into effect on April 1, though they won't be enforced until October. Similar bans on cosmetic surgeries are already in place in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Spinelli, a registered breeder with the Canadian Kennel Club, won't crop the tails of her dogs herself. She said the procedure should only be done under safe and clean conditions, like with veterinarians.

Another Doberman owner, Lendra Barker, fears that some owners will do whatever it takes to get their dogs to conform to a certain look.

"The people who own these dogs want them performed and without a vet to be permitted to perform these procedures, where is it going to go? Some people that aren't reputable may end up doing it themselves without the benefit of anesthesia or sanitary conditions," said Barker, a past-president of the Doberman Pinscher Club of Canada.

Non-veterinarians who attempt the surgeries on their own could be charged under Nova Scotia's Animal Protection Act.

OT: Following up with more Jeff de la Rosa

So I need to make another post about Jeff de la Rosa. I'm not one of those people who believes that if you keep things quiet that people like this will go away, so whenever he is harassing me - I'm going to make blog posts about it, because I think that's the only way I'm going to make him go away.

I'm a different breed of person than you're used to, Jeff. I am going to do the opposite of whatever you want me to do.

I received these 2 emails last night - in the first one he's obviously trying to show me that he knows exactly where I live. What a big whoop. Big deal. And the title of the email? "Process server". A "process server" is a person who serves legal documents - like as if he's imminently going to sue me. A person can only be sued - successfully - if they've done something wrong. I haven't done anything wrong - and in fact - I am the person being wronged - so - the title of the email is very disingenuous.

In the 2nd email - he is definitely threatening me. It sounds like he is threatening me that he is going to give out my personal information to people who will steal my identity. And I suppose if that happens - everybody in my internet world will now know who did it, won't they Jeff? I have always been very careful with my personal internet information.

I have also been very careful with my passwords, used computer programs like norton and things like that - so if somebody has hacked into my computer and stolen my personal information - I can only assume it's one person - the person who's been harassing me for the last year - because he has always purported himself to be very computer savvy, that's for sure.

As for my personal information on this blog - there are hundreds of photos of my dogs, other people's dogs - but the closest that you've seen of my family is my father's feet - because sometimes it's impossible to crop those out of the photo. And photos of other humans are only on the blog when they want to be here - well, except for Jeff I guess. But I'm making an exception for him.

Needless to say, I did not email him back within 15 minutes. One of his good friends - Francesca Rogier, left a comment on this blog a few days ago that is interesting - she said "Do you realize that intimidation is a crime?"

She knows the law a lot bettetr than me, at least that's what she's been telling me over and over for the last 20 or so months - and I'm assuming that she means the law in Canada. Maybe she could tell that to Jeff.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Lost" Pug In Eastern Passage - help bring Jersey Home!

There has been a lost pug in the Eastern Passage area since March 17th - if you've noticed a new little fawn pug in your neighbourhood - and it doesn't need to have been the Eastern Passage area - ask around and have a look at him - it doesn't hurt to ask - there's nothing worse than losing your pet and not knowing where he is - let's try to bring Jersey home!

Contact information is on the photo with this post.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ticks are out already!

I was giving my cat his nightly man-handling session - which he calls affection, and which somebody else might call "avoid the cat's claws at all costs" - I noticed a tell-tale lump on his neck, and I thought to myself - it's impossible that there would be ticks out this early in the year?

And sure enough - he had a tick on him! And this picture was what was left of him by the time I very badly pulled him out.

I can't believe that there are ticks out this early - so beware - and be aware that they are out there now.

I have a page on my website with information about ticks - if you find them on your dog and you feel so inclined - there's a place you can mail them to, because the Museum of Natural History is keeping track of them and watching to see if lyme disease is making inroads inside the city. Currently it has only been found so far in Bedford. Yuck.

These 2 dogs are just so cute. Doesn't it look like they're having a conversation? Buttercup seems to be thinking about something Jack has just said to her. She's taking a long second, as if to respond.
And now she's responding back to him - "as if I would ever consider forming an aliance with the boy dogs just so I could get better access to the liver bucket"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do you see what I see?

I walk by this little broken piece of sidewalk many times every day, and I always think the same thing - that is the exact outline of a dog's paw!
Isn't is funny how things in nature (or construction) can mimic other things that occur naturally? I think things like this are neat.

Puppy abusers (Gail Benoit & Dana Bailey) lose appeal

I must say - when it comes to Dana Bailey, and Gail Benoit - the Chronicle Herald does not hold anything back! They always have very lively titles to their articles on this subject, that's for sure! haha!

Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey have lost their appeal in their latest conviction of animal abuse and assault - from 2007 when they had puppies in their care with bloated out bellies and when SPCA officers came to their house to inspect - and ultimately seize the puppies - Dana Bailey THREW the puppies at the SPCA officers and assaulted Nancy Noel.

Since this wasn't Gail Benoit's first conviction on assault - she had to service something like 3 weeks in jail - which did not go down very well with her partner, Dana Bailey - which led to much hijinx in the courtroom. If you wanted to have a very colourful reality series - someone should start filming that family - they would make a ton of money.

Their next trial starts with a pre-trial hearing in March - on charges stemming from the whole Chapman Kennels debacle a couple summers ago - does everyone remember that? When they bought something like 27 puppies and only 5 of them survived. You can read about their long and storied career at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Awesome article from New Brunswick Beacon

There's a really good article in the New Brunswick Beacon - the newspaper for the St. Thomas University's School for Journalism - about the need for graphic photos in Journalism - and they talk about the photo of the dog who froze to death on the end of the chain in Cape Breton, and whether or not it should have been put on the front page of the Cape Breton Post.

It's neat, because the managing editor of the Cape Breton Post said it was an easy decision to run the photo because - "the photo raised awareness of animal cruelty. Without the image, readers might not have understood the extent to which the dog was abused."

I think it's amazing that an Editor of a newspaper would say that - that they'd care enough about animal cruelty to run a photo on the front page of their newspaper - and that's super - that they'd be willing to face the scorn of their readers.

Especially since the NS SPCA then came out and said that it appeared the dog HAD NOT been abused. But really - we all know he was. How else can a dog FREEZE TO DEATH OUTSIDE if he hadn't been left there to die?

Anyway - it's a great article. Here it is -

Pictures in the news: Telling a story with graphic images

By Jody Nabuurs on Mar 17, 2010 and filed under Features, This Week's Edition.

On a chilly February morning, thousands of Cape Bretoners bent down to peel the Saturday newspaper off their icy front steps. Frigid temperatures sent them sprinting back inside for warmth. Very few –maybe none – expected to face the most graphic image they’d ever seen on the front page of their newspaper: a dead dog sprawled out on snowy ground. Its thin frozen corpse was being displayed for the entire island. No blanket or hot cup of cocoa could keep the chills from resurfacing.

“As a dog owner and animal lover, it was a disturbing thing to see first thing in the morning,” said Corrine Brewer.

The following Saturday morning, millions turned on their TVs for Olympic highlights. Without warning, many would witness an Olympian luger hurl from his speeding vehicle and fly into a steel pole.

There's often good reason for running graphic images//Google image
Footage of the man’s death aired on TV stations across the country for several hours.

While graphic images in the media can be disturbing to readers and viewers, many news organizations say there’s often good reason for it.

“And your good reason might be (that) your story can’t be told without it,” said Julie Clow, senior producer at CBC in Fredericton.

“If you need to explain that (a hockey fight) is more brutal than ordinary, so that your viewer doesn’t come back to you and say, ‘People fight on the ice all the time,’ then maybe you do put (the footage) on.”

Fred Jackson, managing editor of the Cape Breton Post, agreed with Clow. He said running the photo of the deceased dog was an easy decision.

The dog was reportedly guarding a woodlot for more than three years. Neighbours complained several times to the SPCA that the owners neglected to feed the dog. The dog’s chain, they said, was often tangled in bushes and around trees, keeping him from his doghouse.

Jackson said neighbours wrote letters to the editor to complain about the dog’s owners and the SPCA’s reluctance to act on their complaints.

“It’s a story behind a story,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the photo raised awareness of animal cruelty. Without the image, readers might not have understood the extent to which the dog was abused.

Cathy Carnahan, part-time journalism instructor at St. Thomas University and former newspaper reporter, photographer and editor, said she has run graphic images, knowing they would upset readers.

She ran a story of a puppy living at a puppy mill.

“The reason I (ran it) was because in this particular case it wasn’t about sensationalism. It’s about showing how horrific … and how painful it must have been for that little dog and why it’s so important for people to spay their cats and dogs and why it’s important to properly care for animals, and this kind of abuse is totally unacceptable,” she said.


A lot to consider

Clow said before CBC decides to run graphic footage, they always consider the implications.

“The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘What good am I doing by putting this on and what bad am I doing by putting this on? Who is going to suffer as a result? Does the viewer need to see this to understand the story?’ That’s the biggest single question you have to ask yourself all the time,” she said.

“You have to think about everything on a case-by-case basis and think about what kind of damage it’s going to do, if any.”

If viewers can understand the story without seeing graphic images, Clow said the images aren’t necessary.

“If the viewer will understand that a brutal hockey fight happened as a result of seeing everything leading up to that fight and then seeing him laying on the ice, which is something we see with some frequency, then that’s all you need to put there.”

In January 2008, seven Bathurst high school students and one teacher were killed when their van collided with a transport truck after a late-night basketball game. Clow said CBC always considers the victims and their families when airing follow-up stories on the crash.

“We question ourselves every time we put a story on about the Bathurst van crash here. We ask ourselves every time we put that footage on, ‘What harm are we doing to the people of Bathurst when they see that wrecked van again and again?’ You have to ask yourself, ‘Is it worth it? Is there something else we can use that will work just as well and won’t cause as much harm?’”

Clow said CBC journalists, editors, and producers consult their guide book regularly when making tough decisions, but she said the decision to air graphic images comes down to good taste.

She said she always considers how a graphic image would affect her personally, and she always considers the impact the footage will have on sensitive groups, such as children.

Clow said proximity is always taken into consideration. An image of a dead New Brunswicker wouldn’t make it to air, but an image of a dead Iraqi might. Viewers would be more sensitive to an image of a dead New Brunswicker than an image of a dead person in a foreign country.

“It is the case that a bombing in Iraq today, I’d put that in my newscast and there might be a dead body in it.”

Before Clow airs graphic footage, she consults her colleagues.

“You have to have that conversation. I put it out there. If I’m feeling any question in the newsroom, the great thing about being in a newsroom is you’re not alone. So you put it out there. It comes to all sorts of different conclusions in the end. You often have a bit of a throw down about it.”


When it serves no purpose

Though he admitted it was an easy decision to run the photo of the dead dog, Jackson said he won’t run graphic photos if they serve no purpose.

“Several years ago there was a man who fell down a construction site and we had the pictures of the body and it wasn’t covered. We didn’t run that,” he said.

“You have to have taste. We are a community.”

Clow said CBC has also refused to air images because viewers didn’t need to see them to understand the story.

“I was working in Washington when Saddam Hussein was hanged and we made a decision not to put that on television because there’s nothing gained from that,” she said.

“You don’t want to censor anything, obviously, but there’s some things that don’t do any good, and you’re only putting them on for some reason that isn’t the most honourable one, necessarily, so you have to stay away from those.”

Clow said CBC will air some graphic images if it’s justified. Before they can show footage of planes crashing into the twin towers, they must take their case to an ethics board, who then approves or denies the request.

“(The footage) can’t be used casually. There has to be thought. For example, the Fifth Estate used it in a documentary a few weeks ago about the safety of airports, and that’s obviously connected. Tonight if there’s a story about terrorists, I can’t just slap that on TV.”

In 1986, a Miramichi man, Allan Legere, killed a shopkeeper and his wife in Black River Bridge, N.B.. Carnahan’s editor asked her to take photos of the shopkeeper’s blood-stained front door. Carnahan thought it was inappropriate and served no purpose.

“It was just horrific what they went through…I thought they had been through enough grief. What was it going to do to show a picture of the door with blood splattered on it?”

Carnahan said her editor put sensationalism ahead of good journalism.

Carnahan, a young reporter at the time, went to the home and took a photo from across the street in her parked car.

“I knew better as a photographer that it was not going to be a great photo and I don’t think that my editor was really happy about it, but at the same time, I think we all as photojournalists or reporters, whether you’re writing a story or taking a picture, there’s always trying to find that balance between doing the job and showing respect,” she said.

“I always think that that’s a very fine line sometimes between doing a good job, being a good photojournalist, and also sensationalism. I think that we have to be very conscious and very aware of what we do take pictures of and the message that we’re trying to send.”


Audience reaction

When Corrine Brewer stumbled upon the photo of the dead dog in the Cape Breton Post, she was horrified. She feared that children would see the photo and never forget it.

Carnahan said that’s the point.

“People look at it and say, ‘Oh I don’t want to look at it because it upsets me,’ but this is the society that we all live in. We all have the responsibility … of education and making our children aware of the consequences of getting pets and not caring for them more. We have a responsibility to be kind to animals and sometimes that responsibility isn’t taken seriously enough.”

While some agree with Brewer, more see Carnahan’s point. On the commentary section of the Cape Breton Post, one commentator wrote: “Was it really necessary to show the photo of the dead dog? The story was disgusting and shocking enough without having that image burned into my brain.”

Many replied. One wrote: “If the more sensitive amoung (sic) us would like to not see dead dogs on the front page of the paper, then make them go away, not by haranguing the paper, but by holding your local authorities to the standards that they claim to have.” Another wrote: “The reason The Cape Breton Post put the picture on the front cover was to inform readers how SICK some people really are. It got your attention didn’t it!!”

Jackson said the comments prove that the paper was justified in running the photo.

Kristin Williams, executive director of Nova Scotia SPCA, said she has mixed feelings about photos of abused animals in the news.

“There are two schools of thought…with respect to cruelty. One of them is that with showing graphic pictures, you can be more convincing about the crimes that do take place involving animals. Another school of thought is that it does much to isolate and remove your supporters from supporting,” she said.

“I’ve even had donors say to me, ‘I know what it is you do but just don’t show me. I really just want to hear the happy stories,’ and I can appreciate that…but it begs the question, though, ‘Is there a time and a place?’ and perhaps there is. When you want to bring some attention to something, the more vivid you are, the more attention that you garner, but at the same time it has the counter-effect with your supporters.”

Though she said she understands Jackson’s reasoning for running the photo, Williams wonders if the story could have gotten as much attention without the image of the deceased dog.

“Would a story with the dog healthy, happy, and alive gotten as much attention? Possibly. Because I do think that if people saw the animal in the prime of its life, would they have had the same reaction? Very likely.”

Clow said CBC often gets feedback from unhappy viewers.

“A little while ago we showed a picture of a dead coyote and we got … mail about that. They said it’s not appropriate to show during supper. I don’t necessarily regret my decision to put it on, and I would defend it to them, but I’ll gladly have a conversation about it.”

Clow said the advantage that TV has over print is they can warn viewers, who can then decide if they want to look at the image.

“We often put … ‘What you’re about to see is disturbing, what you’re about to see is not suitable for children,’ or ‘What you’re about to see is not suitable for someone who is sensitive to violence.’”

Every newsroom makes its own decisions

Clow said that there is no universal policy that news organizations follow when deciding to run or air an image. Every newsroom follows its own logic and each reaches its own conclusions based on those logistics.

“Different journalists and different editors have different feelings about everything.”

Some Local Models with a lot of Passion

I had an email on the weekend from a lady named Drakainawho is leading a group of local models who have started an initiative to educate people about what is really on the "fur" linings of the coats and hats that you buy at Walmart and other large and small stores in Canada - they're probably made out of cat and dog fur, because it's cheaper for China to put real fur than to manufacture synthetic fur - and it's perfectly legal to import dog and cat fur into Canada - unlike most other countries in the civilized world.

They're calling their media push "We'd rather go naked than wear dog and cat fur" - and if it sounds familiar it should - they got permission from PETA to change it around to suit their campaign.

I think it's an awesome idea - no matter what your political belief's are about fur and meat eating in general - fur that comes out of China is a no-brainer - the way it's harvested is universally known as being horrific. And according to the statistics that Drakaina has provided - 85% of the fur provided on the planet comes from China. That's amazing.
Fur also comes in cute ways too - I took these photos a couple years ago at the Halifax Exhibition park - you see these cute cat thingees everywhere just begging to be bought, people goo gaa over them - but they seem to be so obviously made out of what they're shaped out of.

Drakaina has gotten some great local press - Halifax News Net did an article about her story last month - and she's also built a blog to support her cause.

Last year Liberal MP Anita Neville tabled a Private Members Bill that would ban cat and dog fur products in Canada - Bill C-439. It's nice to see at least one federal MP that cares about animals, isn't it?

Happy St. Patrick's day!

A couple week's ago I posted about this dog, Sante - the dog who has more clothes than me - and one of the pictures her aunt sent me was this one - so I had to post it again seeing as how today is St. Patrick's Day - and she's all dressed up here for St. Patrick's day and she looks so beautiful!
And this of course is Buttercup - I took this picture at least 5 years ago - and she still looks this beautiful - holding her St. Patrick's lamb, and she looks like a little lamb too!

This year I thought I'd also post a very cute poem but a poet named "Mary Howitt" - and it's called Buttercups and Daisies" - isn't that neat! haha!

Buttercups and Daisies -
Oh the pretty flowers,
Coming ere the springtime
To tell of sunny hours.
While the trees are leafless,
While the fields are bare,
Buttercups and daisies
Spring up here and there.
Ere the snowdrop peepeth,
Ere the croscus bold,
Ere the early primrose
Opes its paly gold,
Somewhere on a sunny bank
Buttercups are bright;
Somewhere 'mong the frozen grass
Peeps the daisy white.
Little hardy flowers
Like to children poor,
Playing in their sturdy health
By their mother's door:
Purple with the north wind,
Yet alert and bold;
Fearing not and caring not,
Though they be a-cold.
What to them is weather!
What are stormy showers!
Buttercups and daisies
Are these human flowers!
He who gave them hardship
And a life of care,
Gave them likewise hardy strength,
And patient hearts, to bear.
Welcome yellow buttercups,
Welcome daisies white,
Ye are in my spirit
Visioned, a delight!
Coming ere the springtime
Of sunny hours to tell-
Speaking to our hearts of Him
Who doeth all things well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What a JOKE!

I don't know if this was written as pure bait, but I'll take it and run with it.

Today there was an editoria in the Chronicle Herald:

Da-dum & dumber idea; and a dog’s life in HRM

Sat. Mar 13 - 4:54 AM

UNFORTUNATELY, in HRM, one story has been dragging on far too long: the sad saga of Brindi, the six-year-old dog that has spent most of the last two years living in an SPCA shelter.

This week, a judge delayed proceedings until April 16 after Brindi’s owner, Francesca Rogier, asked for time to have a behavioural assessment done on her dog before its fate and Ms. Rogier’s sentence are decided. In February, Ms. Rogier was found guilty of violating Halifax Regional Municipality’s animal control bylaw on three charges, including owning a dog that attacked another animal.

This case has been debated in the media and on online sites since Brindi was seized by HRM’s Animal Services in the summer of 2008. We have received a lot of email, most of it coming from other parts of Canada and the U.S., generated by the online interest. In the past few weeks, we have received about a dozen locally written letters and published six of them, most pleading for Brindi’s return to her owner.

In an effort to save the dog from a possible euthanasia order, several Nova Scotian animal experts are advocating to have Brindi adopted by a suitable owner who can provide the dog with a good home and proper socialization skills.

Ms. Rogier has said she would appeal any decision that would not see Brindi eventually returned to her and she has accused HRM of conducting an "unfair" and "abusive" process.

I have no doubt Ms. Rogier loves her dog, but I do not believe the municipality has some sort of vendetta against her or Brindi, as has been suggested in many emails sent to our office.

Perhaps it is time to stop fighting for a principle and for everyone to concentrate on what is best for Brindi. If there is to be a way out of this mess for everyone — the HRM, Ms. Rogier, and especially Brindi — surely it is time to try to negotiate a happy ending to this story before it is too late.

Bev Dauphinee is editor of the Opinions pages for The Chronicle Herald.

You can only GUESS the reaction that Francesca Rogier has had to this Editor's opinion. She has been VERY busy today. One thing she's done is write a letter to all the Municipal Councillors in the HRM, and since I know my own Councillor pretty well - he forwarded me the copy he received. Isn't it nice when you're tuned in like that? Here it is:

March 13, 2010

To the HRM council, the Chronicle-Herald, and the local media of Halifax:

We have learned that community writer Pat Lee of the Chronicle-Herald (March 10, "Advocates Offer Option for Brindi" ), is personally connected to the "advocates" in question. This group includes members of the SPCA, and though it is a matter before the courts, it has been relentlessly campaigning for nearly a year for this dog to be "re-homed", i.e., taken away from the person who saved her from the needle in 2008.

Pat Lee's facebook friends include the following, all of whom are associated with or belong to this "advocacy" group:

Joan Sinden, blogger
Annette-Netta Armitage
Heather Morrison
Janet Chernin, who has been prosecuted by the city for running an illegal dog care facility
Kat Horne, VP of the Nova Scotia SPCA
LeeAnne Poirier Tibbo, of the dog legislation council, who has circulated false information about Francesca Rogier
Silvia Jay, trainer
among others

These people also belong to a group called ARPO that has been attacking Francesca Rogier for a long time. None of these people know Ms. Rogier personally. Last spring, ARPO published a defamatory and misleading letter about Ms. Rogier in The Coast. Mr. Bob Ottenbrite is also a member of ARPO, and is involved in litigation with Ms. Rogier. Therefore his position cannot be seen as objective. The Herald's web editor, Rick Conrad, is friendly with Joan Sinden. Sinden has been personally attacking Rogier in her blog with a series of libelous remarks. Conrad was also seen at the recent dog expo associating with Gail Gallant, who has been publicly harassing and cyberstalking Francesca Rogier for over a year.

We deplore ARPO and its associates for singling out Ms. Rogier as an "irresponsible owner". We call upon the Herald to exercise a greater amount of professional objectivity and cease giving such people a public forum in which to push their agenda without scrutiny. Has anyone asked, for instance, what ARPO is doing about the numerous owners in this city whose dogs are genuine threats to public safety?

Any 'advocation' for re-homing in this case is inappropriate. Brindi is not a dangerous dog. She should not have been seized. She should be returned as soon as possible to her own home with her loving and responsible owner, where she belongs.


Humane Halifax for Better Animal Control

Wow, that's quite the memo to send to every municipal councillor in the HRM, don't you think? Especially since it doesn't have an individual's name that they can respond back to, a phone number that they can call, or anyone who can take responsibillity for the accusations being levelled.

And what does Janet Chernin's 3 year long battle that she fought - for EVERY OWNER OF AN IN-HOME DOGGY DAY CARE IN THE MUNICIPALITY - that she WON - have to do with Francesca Rogier's case? That is VERY disingenuous and misleading. If anyone is being libelled - it's Janet Chernin - right there.

And I'd really like to know what Humane Halifax has done for "Better Animal Control" since it was formed more than a year ago, but that's besides the point.

The last time I checked even journalists were allowed to have lives outside the 14 hours that they were not working - they are even allowed to have conversations with dog owners at public events - YIKES! And guess what! According to a judge I heard speaking in a courtroom a few months ago - "people are entitled to their various personal opinions", and they are also allowed to have friends, and hang out with who they like. And form associations, have hobbies and spend time pursuing things they want to see happen.

Excuse my french, but give me a fucking break.

Jeff De La Rosa

Last January, Francesca Rogier brought a man by the name of Jeff de la Rosa into my life. He had a dog named Stu who had been impounded in Los Angeles for 4 years and his story was very similar to Francesca's - he felt that Stu had been seized illegally and he had dedicated his life to freeing Stu - and he had been using the internet and the international dog community to try and do that.

For some reason Jeff decided to focus on me and became very abusive towards me,leaving numerous comments to my blog - which I never published because they were personal attacks against me - threatening me personally - even going so far as to create what he called a "parody" blog of this blog - calling it "Me and my big fat mouth" - saying things like - "Joan Sinden will not be allowed to continue to exert her perceived power over anyone, ever again." and "Check your doorstep, your lawsuit should be there any day now. Cretin. Yes, this is proper writing. It's called "style" and is not to be confused with poor English and worse grammar. The difference here, Joanie baby, is that our Joan posts ALL comments with no fascist "moderating" of dissenting opinions."

The man has some issues. In July, 2009 the issue of his dog Stu was finally resolved - he was sent to a sanctuary to be rehabilitated and live out the rest of his life. Los Angeles has good legislation that way - and the right decisions were finally made after almost 5 years, and Jeff lost his fight to have the dog returned to him, and because of some other legal problems - including punching the owner of a rescue called "Barks of Love" in the face - his harassment of me seemed to stop. I figured he had moved on to someone else somewhere else on the internet.

This morning he left 3 new comments on my blog that have compelled me to make this blog post - because I want it written down somewhere publicly about him that he has been harassing me and threatening me.

I've never worried about him before because he's always been in Los Angeles - way on the other side of the continent, but this morning I got some comments frmm that have scared me. And they say -

"Taking a trip. You might want to remove your inaccurate posts. Turns out I can make a complaint in your courts ...even as an American. "

The fact that he says he's "taking a trip" - and that he's threatening he might be coming to Nova Scotia - is to me a deliberate attempt to threaten me I believe.

And I am using this blog post to call him out and say that I will not be threatened by him in silence any longer. I have taken it from him since January, 2009 - and women around North America have taken it from him - probably for many years - but I am not one of those women, sorry Jeff.

If you come here and you approach me or one of my dogs or family, there will be consequences.

I would also like to mention that Jeff is #25 on Francesca Rogier's list of "special people in her life" - 10 spots above Ted Efthymiadis - the trainer who is supposed to be assessing Brindi to judge whether or not Brindi is safe to go out into society, and also who is going to draw up a rehabilitiation program for Brindi and Francesca once Brindi is sent back to Francesca - free of charge, because he feels so strongly that Brindi should go back to her owner.

ps - I chose that photo of Mr. De la Rosa on purpose amongst other photos that I could have chosen. Imagine if you were being held in such a manner as Jeff is holding that dog - with his finger pulling your underarm skin so tightly. His finger is almost impaling that dog in his armpit. That dog in that photo is in PAIN because of the way that Jeff is holding him. When you look at that photo you can clearly see what kind of a dog owner this man is. It's right there in that photo.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pip, a really good border collie

I can't believe that he's gone, really. My friend Tara got pip almost exactly one month before I got Buttercup. Pip came from Cape Breton. He was part of a cruelty case - he had been thrown out of the back of a truck and left for dead - his back left hip was pretty much broken and had just been operated on, it had 3 pins in it and was immobilized so he was on 3 legs. It was one of those immediate fosters - he needed a home that night because he couldn't be in a shelter and he was on his way to Halifax. So Tara took him in. His fur was all matted and brown, he looked gross. He was food aggressive, cranky, dog aggressive, pulled on the leash, was iffy around children, but was such a lover - with beautiful eyes.
And I think he changed Tara's life - she went on to start Border Collie rescue for Nova Scotia, and has saved tons of border collie's lives because of him. And really, Pip was a perfect border collie. He was made for sheep - it's just too bad he lived in the middle of Dartmouth. I think that Tara did find him some sheeep though - so Pip was a happy dog because of her, and he also became healthy because of her. She also worked with all his issues, and did so well that she's now a dog trainer. Isn't it amazing what dogs can do for us because of what we've done for our dogs?
This is Pip with his brother Karma - Karma was another "project" - but somehow, when Pip came along, Karma started to calm down, even out - and within a couple years - I saw Tara and Karma at an SPCA dog jog - and if Karma didn't have such an individual look - I wouldn't have recognized him - his mannerisms were so different. Pip's smooth, calm, soulful personality had rubbed off on Karma and transformed him into a canine good citizen - something I never thought he'd be. I was amazed.
But in 2008 Pip got cancer - it was awful. I remember when it happened. Tara searched everywhere for ways to treat it. He had most of his thyroid removed and they thought they'd caught it all.
In June, 2009 it came back though - and they removed the rest of his thyroid, and they thought that with thyroid replacement therapy he'd be better than he was before - but I guess that didn't happen, and he got worse
It is so unfair that dogs have such short lives - and dogs that have had horrible lives before we've gotten them have even shorter ones. Pip had a great life with Tara - he blossomed under her, and her life was transformed because of him.

Today she let him go with dignity and grace. If only we could all go that way. The rescue world will miss you Pip. There is a group called "Atlantic Canada Rescue" - and the header at the top of the page has paws at the top of the page - those paws are Pip's and Karma's paws - great examples of the cause. Tonight we are all in mourning.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Family calls for regulations after pet dies at kennel

A dog has died at a boarding kennel here in Nova Scotia - in a community not far from Bridgewater. It sounds like it was a tragic, freak accident - a dog was wearing a choke collar, and another dog's foot got caught in the collar - and the dog with the collar on choked to death.

We read about stories like this all the time on the internet about choke collars - dogs have choked to death from these collars, they get stuck in floors, dogs get them caught in other dog's toes at dog parks - it's tragic - but it happens, and that's why we read all the time - never leave these types of collars on your dog unless you're actively using them to train your dog! (And a lot of people would say you should never use a choke collar in the first place because it's a bad way to train a dog anyway)

In an article posted on South Shore now about the story there's a good comment there - it says: "If you take your dog to a boarding kennel check out the facility. There should be a solid barrier between runs so that dogs can't fence fight or get caught in the fence. Look to see where the kennels are and do the people have a clear view of where the dogs are or are the kennels stuck in the back ? If they are stuck in the back is there a survelience system so that they can be monitored ? The publics/customers expectations will change things much faster than any government mandate that they won't have enough man power to enforce or money to charge and pursue."

There's some good stuff in there - and in this photo of a dog kennel you can see that there ISN'T a solid barrier between the dog's runs, the runs do appear to be in the back of a building - so there isn't a clear view for the kennel owner on a constant basis - so these are some things that a prospective customer could check out before they left their dog with the kennel.

It's obviously a very clean, nice place - but maybe not all things have been thought through - and that's where regulations would come in handy.

Regulations like making sure that collars are taken OFF any dogs who go into mixed runs that are not going to monitored constantly. Making sure that there ARE solid barriers between kennel runs - so that freak accidents like this don't happen again.

That makes common sense - and I don't see how any boarding kennel, in home doggy day care, institutional type doggy day care, pet store, grooming salon, breeder, or puppy mill could disagree with having formal regulations in place.

Do you?

For a great article on why choke chains make really lousy training devices for your dog - check out Silvia Jay's blog post on her "Mindful Leadership" blog

Here's the article from South Shore Now - but you should also click on the link to read the comments, and add your own if you like

Family calls for regulations after pet dies at kennel
by Keith Corcoran

This lab, named Boss, died at a South Shore kennel.

COUNTY - An Italy Cross family mourning the loss of a beloved pet is calling for regulations to govern the way kennels in Nova Scotia are operated.

Their dog, named Boss, recently died in the care of a South Shore boarding facility and the family questions the story they were given about the cause of death. Krum Dochev, 20, speaking on behalf of his family, said they've incurred the costs of an autopsy, cremation and the legwork to track down the real story.

"We're not happy with the answers we have received and something that's come as a complete shock to us is that there's absolutely no regulatory body for kennels," Mr. Dochev said in a recent phone interview. "There's the SPCA but they only deal with cruelty and not industry standards, in general."

While they have the time and money to devote to the matter, Mr. Dochev said many others in similar circumstances don't, such as seniors on fixed incomes.

"We've had to mourn for a loved member of the family and play the role of investigators at the same time," he said, adding his point in contacting this newspaper wasn't about a vendetta against the kennel.

The facility operators explained to the family that a boxer's hind leg got caught in Boss' chain leash and the pulling caused Boss to strangle to death.

There were no indications of a struggle between the two 80-pound dogs, Mr. Dochev said and the kennel operators were both less than forthcoming with information and too hasty in its offer to pay for Boss' cremation.

He suggested there were "inconsistencies" with the kennel's story and said he figures Boss' chain got snarled in a fence, causing strangulation thereby making the kennel negligent in the care of the dog.

"I'm not saying that most kennel owners aren't good and honest people but at the same time they're businesses and if there isn't a law telling you, you have to do this, well, it's natural that people are going to cut corners. It's human nature."

Kristin Williams, executive director of Nova Scotia's SPCA, confirms there's no current provincial legislation that specifically addresses kennels through a regulatory system.

"However, the SPCA is mandated through provincial animal welfare legislation to inspect environments where animals are kept, inclusive of kennels," she said. "When we do an inspection, we review the standards of care."

She said there are two active investigations in relation to complaints about kennels but she wouldn't say if one of those was lodged by a Lunenburg County family.

In addition to contacting the SPCA, anyone in similar circumstances could contact police if they felt there was wrongdoing, she indicated.

A lobby for tighter controls would have to come from the public but the SPCA could play a role. Ms Williams supports the idea of provincial or municipal rules governing kennels, pet stores and breeders.

"There's currently no licencing that's mandatory across the province and arguably that would be a good balance and check."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A couple of great posts about dominance in dog training

I read a couple of super articles today about dominance in dog training - one is from a dog trainer that we all know and love - Silvia Jay, and one is from an organization called "Welfare in Dog Training" - which looks like a really interesting website.

The article from them is called "What′s Wrong with Using ‘Dominance’" to Explain the Behaviour of Dogs?" - and it's all about how historically dog behaviour has been explained in terms of dogs wanting to be the leader of the pack and always wanting to be the boss, and that they'd show aggression in order to gain control of whatever situation they were in.

Current science though is debunking those theories and ‘dominance’ is no longer regarded as a useful explanation for the behaviour of dogs - and it's important to get those theories out there - so that we can start to unlearn the flawed logic that has hammered into dog trainers and owners for the last 40 years - especially when "some of the trainers who reach many thousands of dog owners through television also perpetuate these out-dated ideas."

On that note - Silvia Jay has an awesome post on her blog about "Greeting Rules" - and what she thinks are good ideas when her dogs meet new humans and new situations. And she believes that she way she's trained her dogs to be polite dogs in society have nothing to do with dominance.

There's other trainers who believe that dogs should be handled a certain way - with exercise, discipline, and then affection - in that order.

Silvia explains that the way she treats her dogs is "lots of affection, a good amount of exercise and no discipline" - and she gives a very good explanation how she's able to do it that way and have the best trained and well balanced dogs you'd ever meet - anybody would want to have dogs like hers.

The post is a must read - there's a reason why she's the best dog trainer in Nova Scotia.

And here's a heads-up - I'm organizing a new one day seminar for her on May 1st here in Halifax, it's going to be about stress and aggression. The location and specific details still have to be worked out - but if you want to go - you should block out May 1st - because the date is confirmed - it's going to be a ton of fun, and you're going to learn a LOT - just like we always do when we get together with Silvia!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did 250,000 people x 13 days make a difference?

PLEASE NOTE: THIS is the post that Francesca Rogier is alluding to in her post on the Nova Scotia Truth is stranger than fiction blog post "What Makes Joan Sinden so sure?" and then backlinks to on her Free Brindi blog post shere she says "It's really regrettable that people are getting so carried away and emotional." So you can make your own conclusions from this.

So today was day ONE of the worldwide phenonemom known as "Thirteen Days to save Brindi" or what was known locally as sentencing day for Francesca Rogier.

On the weekend there was an article in the paper where Francesca said she was planning to ask for a postponement today from the judge - so that she could have an expert assessment done of Brindi - of, I guess - Brindi's temperament - to show the judge that she's not a killer dog and shouldn't be killed. Although I don't know why she's doing that, because there are already so many anecdotal reports from people that she could have called for character witnesses that would have said the exact same thing today - but ANYWHOO - that's what she said on the weekend that she was planning on doing.

And guess what - she got it. The case was postponed until April 16th - when the court will reconvene to carry on - and Judge Murphy will make her decision at that time.

And I have to ask - did the 250,000 people who read the "My Let's Adopt" blogs, twitter feeds and Facebook pages every day have any effect on the outcome of today's proceedings? What do you think? I would have to say that I think that is a big fat NO.

Francesca would have gotten that anyway. So all the blathering, bad mouthing about the geographical area called Halifax, and Nova Scotia Canada that I personally love - as much as I love my own dogs - and that is A LOT - was done for NOTHING.

And that makes me a little bit angry. And I think it should make a lot of people angry - and I think it should make the people WHO WERE DOING IT - a little bit angry too. I think they should feel a little bit USED. That's my opinion.

They wasted a lot of their own time, got really emotionally invested in the whole thing - and as it turned out - it was for nothing - it really was - the outcome was the same, regardless of what anybody around the world did.

Brindi is not dying, she is still - not living in a cage as you will hear in the below video - but living inside the SPCA shelter - but only until the end of this month.

And that's another thing I want to talk about - because that is going to be SO HEARTBREAKING for the SPCA staff - that they are going to have to give Brindi up at the end of March - regardless of the outcome of the trial - they are now going to have to give her up. They have had her for longer than Francesca had her - and they now have to give her up to Homeward Bound City Pound on March 31st.

And as I mentioned in a previous post - that could be a SERIOUS conflict of interest. And now that it's actually happening - I know that I personally am going to write a couple emails about it, because that concerns me.

I have to mention something about outside the court proceedings today, and something that was said inside as well - one of the "alternatives to euthanasia" - and that is that Francesca offered an alternative of her getting Brindi back and her leaving Halifax and Nova Scotia with her - and this concerns me - as I said in my previous post - how do we know that Brindi is not going to just disappear? Well - this alternative was sideways mentioned in the courtroom today - and I am concerned.

But I also really feel bad for the SPCA staff - they have had to take SO MUCH SHIT from Francesca herself - and they've had to take so much shit from the public about Brindi - and now they have the heartbreak of having to give Brindi away to a corporation that they don't know what kind of conditions she's going to. That is awful. I feel bad for them.

Pat Lee has really outdone herself on her Chronicle Herald article on this subject today. It is a really awesome article - she's got lots of great quotes from several people - it's super well done. And I'd imagine she's going to get a lot of feedback about it. I hope she gets some kind of journalism award for it - it is great - very succinct, to the point, accurate - and truthful. That - along with Jackie Foster's CTV report - gives a pretty clear report of what happened today, I'd say.

At this point - the story has really gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. I don't know how anyone can argue that point. It has become all so unnecessary. The judge has no plans to kill Brindi. It is quite obvious - the only question is whether Francesca is going to be the one to get Brindi back - and the only thing keeping Brindi in a cage at this point is Francesca herself with her stalling techniques.

Another local blog has started about this story - it's at "Dog Lover" blog - people can follow the circus over there.

I can't imagine this story haven't any more climaxes and then anti-climaxes - but I'm sure there will be - however - from here will start the civil suits - that's when the real fun starts.

And I'll tell you - if you're thinking about leaving an asshole, rude comment - don't waste your precious seconds typing it out - because it's not going to be posted - it's not even going to be read by me - when those come through - I read the first couple words - and they get DELETED. I don't even READ them. So when you leave those comments - they don't even give you that pleasure, unfortunately - they don't get posted - and they don't even get read by me. Sorry - so don't bother wasting your time. So heed this warning. Don't waste your time. Move on, please. Go away. I'm done with you all, thank-you. The 1,000 emails that I've got from you in the last year - I'm done with you. I have been writing this blog since 2003 - if you think this is the only topic I've ever written about - you need to click out of this page and go elsewhere.

There's another really good article at "the Guardian" too -

Woman spends savings in lengthy N.S. battle to preserve life of impounded dog

HALIFAX, N.S. - Francesca Rogier says she remains unbowed in her legal battle to preserve the life of a mixed-breed dog that faces euthanasia after it attacked other canines, despite exhausting $30,000 in savings on lawyers and putting her architecture career on hold.

The 50-year-old resident of Eastern Chezzetcook, a rural community on the outskirts of Halifax, won a reprieve for Brindi before a provincial court judge on Tuesday.

Representing herself, Rogier successfully argued for a delay while she arranges for an animal trainer to visit the pound and assess the dog's behaviour before Judge Alanna Murphy decides Brindi's fate.

"For a judge to decide whether a dog is too dangerous to live, they should be able to draw on expert opinion ... someone who is qualified to assess the behaviour of the dog," Rogier said outside court.

Rogier has been convicted of being the owner of a dog that was running at large, owning a dog that attacked another animal and failing to comply with a muzzle order.

Brindi has been impounded for almost two years after she rushed out of the yard and attacked a leashed dog strolling by Rogier's home in July 2008.

This came after a series of written warnings from the City of Halifax following other attacks by Brindi. One of the city's warnings required Brindi be muzzled.

Rogier admits she made "mistakes" but points out she has built a fence, set aside money to hire a trainer and committed to keeping Brindi muzzled. She says she'll pay any fines arising from the incidents.

"I believe those are reasonable alternatives that satisfy the public interest," she said.

She has set aside her plans to apply for landed immigrant status and to seek an architecture licence in Canada to save the dog. Her home renovations are on hold as she pays legal fees.

Rogier said she wants Brindi to be part of her home again.

"It's time and money, but you can't replace a dog. You can't replace a member of the family," Rogier said.

Vaughan Black, a professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, said the case is important because dog owners seldom actually contest the euthanasia of their dogs.

"My sense is there's not a lot of precedents on this simply because given the cost of this, and hiring lawyers, most people ... don't go to court the way Ms. Rogier is doing," he said.

On the other hand, Black - who studies animal law - said it's difficult for the city to give way if it considers an animal to be dangerous under its bylaws.

"There have been cases where cities haven't acted quickly enough and dogs have attacked people and the injured parties have claimed against the city," he said.

"Maybe the city's lawyers are saying, 'You have to pursue these cases vigorously."'

There are other recent cases of Canadians fighting to keep their dogs alive after an attack.

In Hampton, N.B., last month, a judge gave a dog a reprieve and ruled it be muzzled when it's outdoors despite a town order that the animal be euthanized for biting a woman last summer.

Rogier alluded to that case in court Tuesday, noting it shows that dogs can be returned to their owners - even in an instance of an attack on a human.

"I don't think it would be wise for this city to set a precedent to kill a dog for such minor offences," she said.

But a spokeswoman for the city said there are many past incidents when dogs have been put down after exhibiting aggressive behaviour with other dogs.

"It is certainly not unusual for the city to seize dogs that have been involved in an attack on another dog," Shaune MacKinlay said in an email.

She said from January 2007 to March 2010, 31 dogs were euthanized in the city.

"Of those, 13 dogs attacked other dogs, one dog attacked a dog and a person, 14 dogs attacked people," she said.

"In one case, two dogs running at large killed chickens and their owner surrendered them to be euthanized."

Brindi's case has been adjourned until April 16.

Monday, March 8, 2010

One of the funniest things I've ever seen

This video is making its way through Facebook right now - so if you're not on Facebook - this Jimmy Kimmel video is a MUST SEE - it has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever watched. I wish I stayed up late enough to watch his show, I think this video may have turned me on enough that I'm going to start dvr'ing his show every night now - this thing is FUNNY! Enjoy!