Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A few tidbits in today's paper

So I thought I'd talk about a couple articles that were in the Chronicle Herald today and contrast and compare them with each other.

I also want to talk about an email I got from a lovely lady yesterday who's opinions I value.

We have the first article from Gloria McCluskey - long time city councillor and former mayor of Dartmouth - calling for stiffer fines and penalties - a day after an attack at Martinique beach by a large breed dog - which is what I am choosing to call the pit bull type dog.

She is going to introduce a notice of motion at city hall calling for stiffer fines against the owners of dogs that attack people or pets, and wants consideration for a possible ban on aggressive breeds. "There have been bans in other jurisdictions of breeds known to be aggressive", she said. "people who train their dogs to attack or who have experienced aggressive behaviour from the dog should not be out walking that dog in public without proper controls."

Do you know what my answer to that is? It's so simple I am going to BLOW YOUR MIND.

ENFORCE BYLAW A300 as it's currently written. I wonder if Ms. McClusky has read A300 lately.

In that bylaw - there is already clauses for "dangerous dogs" - which covers ANY kind of dog that is bad - whether it's a pit bull, a german shepherd, or a cocker spaniel.

And in there it says -

Section 2(1)(g) Dangerous dog means any dog which:
(i) attacks or demonstrates a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack a human or animal either on public or private property;
(ii) has caused injury to or otherwise endangered the safety of a human or animal;
(iii) threatens any human being or animal;
(iv) is owned or harboured primarily in part for the purpose of dog fighting;
(v) is trained for dog fighting; or
(vi) is a dog for which a muzzle order has been made;

There is a whole section on DOG ATTACKS, and it says -

8 (1) "The owner of any dog that attacks any person or another animal is guilty of an offence under this By-Law."
(2) Where an animal control officer has reason to believe that a dog has attacked a person or another animal, and the owner of the dog has been identified, the Animal Control Officer may do any one of combination of the following enforcement actions:
a) issue the owner a notice to muzzle the dog;
b) issue the owner a notice to microchip the dog;
c) classify the dog as a 'dangerous dog' in the municipal registry or;
d) destroy the dog without permitting the owner to claim it and issue the owner a notice informing that the dog has been destroyed.
(3) When a dog has been classified as a dangerous dog pursuant to clause (c) of subsection (2), the owner shall:
a) keep the dog ...... you can go read the rest of the bylaw at -

Now THIS is where it gets sticky - that is WAY TOO much power for an animal control officer - and I have been part of several groups who have been fighting this section of the bylaw since it was instituted in 2007. But that's for another day - for right now - I'm saying that A300 as it's currently written is sufficient - we don't need to add anything to it like breed specific legislation.

And I don't know why Ms. McClusky doesn't know about the fact that all of these fines are summary offences - like parking tickets - so they can't be increased - unless you increase the amount for a parking ticket - or put dog offences in a new category - they fall under the Police Act. So she's going to fail there as far as I understand it.

I wanted to include 2 other articles that were also in the paper today to contrast the dog attack - there was also a child injured when he was seen throwing rocks at cars from a bridge - a passing motorist shot him with a bow and arrow. Do you think they are going to try and ban bows and arrows now wherever this event occurred? Or try banning rocks on bridges? It's a tough call.
And lastly - a child was tragically mauled by a cougar at a park out in British Columbia - I'd say after this - all wildlife parks should be closed across the world - really, we can't take a chance with our children - there's just too much liability and risk associated with them. What if someone got bitten by a bear or something. Horrible. They might also get scared by a snake.

I also wanted to share sections of an email I got from a lady yesterday about the blog post I wrote about Cathy Martin being pit by the large dog at Martinique beach.

She was upset at the tone of my post.

She said - have NEVER been attacked (I don't mean a simple bite), because anyone who has would NOT be jumping all over the victim... This will solve nothing and in the end will only succeed in getting this breed in serious trouble and possibly others. There are solutions out there if we so called "responsible dog owners" would stop attacking and re-victimizing the victim.

We need to listen to these people and really hear what they are saying about their experience, and their fears, and compassionately acknowledge what they have gone through if we want them to be able to listen and hear what we want to convey.

YES, you are minimizing this woman's experience to suit your own agenda...where is the compassion in that! This will NOT move this issue to more positive ground.

I emailed her back and said -

I do totally respect your emotions and your opinions - and I am very glad that you have emailed me this response. It's only through emails like this that I'll learn anything - and I am willing to learn new things.

You are right when you say that I have never been viciously attacked by a pit bull type dog - I've been bitten badly by dogs - but I have understood why they bit me - and probably a person who isn't a dog owner, or a person who isn't the dog's owners and is just out in public wouldn't understand why the dog is biting them.

I did say in my post that the bite was unacceptable and needed to be dealt with - but banning the breed was not the way to go.

In your email you said there were solutions out there - what do you
think the solutions are?

So she emailed me back and said -

There are solutions to everything if we have the patience, and wisdom to listen, listen and listen. Like you, I know the breed ban is not the way to go. They did that in the UK and now they are in the process of reversing it because it has been proven it does not work. First off both sides need to calm down and stop fueling the fire with their fear. You are right when you say that many people (dog owners included, as just because you own a dog does not mean you are dog wise) may have no idea as to what instigated the attack.

In my opinion if you really want to be heard then you need to NEVER re-attack the victim! Yes, this person may or may not have done something to provoke the attack, but just perhaps they don't know or understand anything about dogs like you say. That's no reason to instantly blame them for the incident especially, when we don't have all the information. When this happens I can tell you, you just automatically put up a huge wall and block out any possibility of actually being heard and being credible. Yes, you did say the bite was "unacceptable" but frankly Joan...that is obvious and not enough. This person needs to be shown some compassion and have her experience validated not dismissed as just "unacceptable." I'm sure this was very traumatic. If she feels that we dog people "get" that then just perhaps she might be able to let down her defenses to really look at what happened and be open to hear what we have to say.

It is my opinion that when these incidents happen we need to have someone experienced, wise and credible to debrief the victim and gain valuable information (not a specific breed advocate, but a dog advocate). I also think that it would be wise to be careful with our language. In our response we should not use the words pitbull or ban at all. I believe that we need to be addressing the whole nature of dog ownership in general and that if we keep to that language refusing to be drawn into the "pitbull ban" debate then we can address all dogs not just a specific breed. However, it seem that advocates of this breed fall into the same trap every time by coming out with their stories of their wonderful, sweet and loving pits that would never harm anything and they try and make a the breed into a saint. This is not helpful, shuts communication down and distracts from the real issue. Again, our response should be yes we have a problem in that the nature of all dog ownership needs to be seriously looked at and reviewed.

Now I don't have all the answers yet, but I know they are out there and that they will be discovered by dedicated dog people like yourself and others. I know we need to educate ourselves and the public. There needs to be greater accountability and support for dog owners. If we can just listen to one another I'm sure we can eventually come up with the answers. First, we need to step back and not fall into the same old trap...wait listen and be still grasshopper.

I emailed her back again and said that she was right - it had never occurred to me that I was in some ways blaming the victim - which is always wrong - and I am compassionate to dogs on so many levels so I should spread that out a little more - and I also told her how smart she was, and thanked her very much. She is obviously a very awesome human being.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When is BSL coming to Nova Scotia?

It's just a matter of time.

Tonight I decided to do some sewing. I figured that was the best use of my time. I've pretty much figured out that fighting against bsl and researching dog bylaws is not a good use of my time, I have spent a significant amount of time outlining dog bylaws in Nova Scotia, sharing my research, and still at the end of the day - it hasn't sunk in one little bit, it's meaningless.

And it's Lloyd Hines who's on 95.7. - the man who said -

"I don't want to be the warden of the Municipality of Guysborough and have to go to the funeral of some kid who was eaten."

You might as well kiss your block headed dogs good-bye now and pre-emptively euthanize them tomorrow.

Something smells Fishy to me -

This sounds like an agenda to me - I think this woman has a pre-conceived notion about pit bull type dogs.

I hope someone in the media follows up this story and actually asks this lady what she thinks about pit bulls as opposed to other kinds of dogs.

Why does she want pit bulls banned? Because one bit her? Or because she thinks they don't deserve to live on the earth?

What if a golden retriever would have bit her? Would she have put up such a fuss? Would that story have made it onto and she would be demanding that golden retrievers be banned? Would she be taken quite so seriously?

Put the word golden retriever everywhere in that article that pit bulls currently are and see what you think. Do it.

I am not minimizing the fact that Ms Martin was bitten by an off-leash dog in a provincial park. That is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with - the dog's OWNER did several things wrong and should be held accountable - but that does not mean that every dog of the breed loosely defined and looking somewhat like a pit bull type dog should have to leave Nova Scotia or die because Ms Martin was bitten this week.

That idea borders on the ridiculous.

The dog's owner who did not protect their dog properly and allowed the altercation to occur - now that is the thing that should be dealt with to Ms Martin's satisfaction - and that is what should happen.

Anything more than that - and we are not living in the province that I call shangr-la - Nova Scotia, Canada.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Feeling fanciful with my photos

I've discovered a couple new programs - one is a google program - "Picnik" - it's attached to Picasa and you can either use the free version which gives you a few utilities, or you can upgrade to the full version for $24.95 a year and get a whole bunch of neat things that you can do with photos.

It's really user friendly and I like it a lot - I've always used programs like "Print shop" - and I've tried Adobe Photo Shop Elements and Corel Draw - meaning I bought the programs and spent all the money on them, and didn't really like them - but I spent the measly $24.95 and love Picnik.
All of these photos were done with Picnik - these pictures were taken yesterday at Prospect Bay - one of my favourite places on earth - except of courese for the last one, which was taken last night on the bed - but yesterday at Prospect Bay leads me to the next computer program that I wanted to talk about - it's a Microsoft FREE program calle "Photosynth" - and you take a bunch of pictures all in one area - and you download a little program from Microsoft - and they'll "synth" the photos together - and give you a final picture which is seriously neat.

I downloaded a bunch of pictures I took yesterday at Prospect Bay - and you can go and look at the final product - here - I think it's pretty neat - although of course since I'm a pretty shitty photographer, the photos are quite shitty.  But such is life.

What you do is you click on the toggle button - and you get a 360 degree view of what I was looking at yesterday - that is the cool thing about "Photosynth".

This is a photo of Bubby in bed last night. He really is the cutest - well, 2nd cutest - dog on the planet. Buttercup continues to be the cutest - but I didn't get any photos of her yesterday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting ready for Hurricane Irene

This was Buttercup during last year`s Hurricane Earl

I was seriously freaked out by Hurricane Katrina - I think a lot of people were who watched it happen from far away.

Watching what happened with people's pets - and the fact that people couldn't take their pets with them when they evacuated, and the horror of the effects of that on the animals - I don't have to let us all relive what happened.

Back in 2005 I wrote a long post about emergency preparedness and pets because of watching what went on in New Orleans - being prepared is being forewarned - so you should check out the post I wrote back then if you're interested in that sort of thing because we're supposed to get a pretty bad storm this coming weekend.

The NS SPCA put out a press release today that I'll post below.

Reading posts that I wrote while Katrina was going on - I hope that disasters like that never happen again. There's no reason why we should. It would be unacceptable as far as I'm concerned.

Here is the SPCA`s press release -



SPCA asking pet caregivers to take precautions and prepare for Hurricane Irene

Nova Scotia (August 26, 2011) – With Nova Scotia likely to feel some of the effects of Hurricane Irene, the Nova Scotia SPCA is alerting pet caregivers to take appropriate precautions. During a storm, it is important to bring pets indoors and to try to keep them calm. Some simple precautions and preparations include:

1. Ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date and that records are handy

2. Keeping a collar with license and identification on your pet

3. Preparing a special kit for your pet that includes a leash, carrying case, food, water, bowls, toys, medications and any special instructions for the care of your pet

4. Put a sign on your door that indicates how many pets live at your residence in the event that you must leave your home

For more information consult the SPCA, Disaster Animal Response Team of Nova Scotia, or the Emergency Management Office (EMO).

Pretty dogs in the backyard

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Annual Rescue Dog Show!

Back in September 2003 - I had just gotten Buttercup a month earlier. I was so happy to finally have a little dog that I could take everywhere with me. I had made a purse to carry her around in, and my friend Tara and I decided that we'd go to the Halifax Kennel Club show out in Exhibition Park - we thought it'd be the perfect thing to take Buttercup to - a DOG SHOW!

(this is the very first photo I ever took of Buttercup - back in August of 2003 - do you think she looks any different compared to now?)

So we got to the front entrance and the lady there took one look at Buttercup and said - "You can't bring her in here! She is not a purebred dog - she is not being shown here. She cannot come in!"

I was horrified. Buttercup was perfect in every way - no different than any other dog that was in the building that day. I knew nothing about the pupurebreed dog fancy at that time and I was determined that at some future point - Buttercup was going to be allowed to go to Kennel Club shows because of my ability to dog politic - somehow.

I now know much better - that is never going to happen - mixed breed dogs are not going to gallavant with purebreed dogs at kennel club shows - what if they had some germs that spread? (that was one reason given to me at the time) - as well - it just made for too much excitement for the dogs being shown - another reason given.

In this regard - our worlds will never meet.

But Atlantic Small Dog Rescue has decided to create a new world - and on Saturday september 3rd at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds in Windsor Nova Scotia - they are going to have the 1st Annual Rescue Dog Show!

There is going to be a "Parade of Rescues" that you'll be able to enter your dog in - there are going to be lots of fun activities - Silvia Jay will be there talking about "Mindful Leadership" - usually her seminars cost about $60-$75 - so you'll be able to hear her speak for the very low admission price of $2 - that alone is worth the drive!

There is also going to be flyball and agility demonstrations as well as a fashion show.

There is also going to be a fashion show - as well as a vendor alley - so bring some money - because you're going to have a chance to spend it.

It's going to be a lot of fun! The day starts at 10am and ends at 3pm - so show some love for your rescue dog - and come to the first annual Rescue Dog Show.

I'm sure that this is just the first year of many years - you can find out more by visiting the Atlantic Small Dog Rescue's website - or by going to their facebook page - you can also email the event coordinator at

Monday, August 22, 2011

Is Bubby a sign of things to come with pet stores not selling puppies anymore?

It is what we've been working towards for years - here in Atlantic Canada - Pet's Unlimited have stopped selling puppies, and throughout Canada, their affiliate chain PJ's Pets - are also going to stop selling puppies as of September 1st.

It is a huge breakthrough and shows that the public does have the power to change long ingraine business practice. It's totally awesome.

I have been saying for years that pet stores selling puppies is a business model that is completely unnecessary - Global Pets have proven that you don't need to sell live animals to be a highly successful pet franchise, and it seems that the Pets Unlimited company has finally realized that the common person on the street has learned that the puppies in pet stores DO come from unhealthy places - the parents of those puppies are suffering, their genetic heritage is very flawed - and it's not a good deal in any sense.

Pet's Unlimited has always says they get their puppies from "reputable breeders - but that is absolute twat. Chapman kennels up in New Brunswick used to supply the company before they shut down - and we all know what that "breeder" was like - and in an article in the Cape Breton post "Nova Scotia SPCA executive director Kristin Williams told the CBC that one of two “mass breeding facilities” under investigation in Nova Scotia is shutting down because it supplied Pets Unlimited with puppies and will lose that business."

Kristin goes on to say something rather troubling, but it's for a different post - Williams differentiates between “mass breeding facilities” and “puppy mills,” but the distinction is somewhat obscure."

So suppliers to Pet's Unlimited are under investigation by the SPCA - that doesn't really sound all that warm and fuzzy to me - and for the rest of of the suppliers - the ones who aren't shutting down - what are they going to do?

Now though - we're living in the age of Kijiji - and the puppymillers can sell their product very easily straight to the public - without needing the clean face of the pet store anymore.

The problem is though - the market is flooded now with cute puppies - and they are all hidden in basements, in barns, at the end of very long roads - tucked way, way away - instead of behind acrylic glass at a pet store - getting one day older every day and a little less cuter as each of those days go on.

I would like to put my dog Bubby out there as a symbol of what we might be seeing in rescue more and more in the future - a very cute, 9 month old dog who is super well socialized to other dogs - and absolutely terrified of humans - because for the first six months of his life - he was at a puppy mill - and never saw any humans.

The puppy mill owner was not successful in selling all the pupppies from Bubby's litter - so the puppies lingered - and as they did, they became more and more damaged - puppies need to have certain socialization.

He didn't have the slick marketing tools of the pet stores, the instant gratification of people going in and going goo-goo-gaa-gaa through the glass - which is what had successfully sold all his puppies for the previous "41 years" - now he's having to hoof it all on his own - and it's proving to be a tough job.

I know this - because I know the name of the "kennel" where Bubby came from, and about a month ago - I saw their ad advertising new puppies on Kijiji - so I answered the ad. And to my horror he wrote back to me and said - " The puppies sell for $800.00 and the buyers must sign a non breeding agreement, I also have a couple of male pups that were born on Nov. 28th. and I am going to sell them for $400.00, without the papers."

So that means that they still have puppies there as old as Bubby - who have had no interactions with humans whatsoever - that they're going to sell to some unsuspecting person - and they think that person isn't going to have a problem?

So we now have all these puppy millers across Canada who sold their product so easily to pet stores - who will now be pushed on to use Kijiji to try and sell their animals.

They no longer have their brokers anymore - their middle men, and things are going to become a lot more difficult.

And it would seem that it's still going to be the puppies - and the humans who buy them - who are going to pay the price unfortunately.

It was back in November 2006 that Advocates for Responsible Pet Ownership held our first protest outside the Pet's Unlimited store in Bayer's lake here in Halifax - and it was a huge success - and even at that time we were blown away by the amount of people who already knew about where puppies in pet stores really came from.

Now ARPO has got some more educating to do - about the evils of Kijiji.

And it's going to be beautiful, perfect little dogs like Bubby who will provide us with the fodder for education.

I had really hoped that I'd get an "easy" dog this time - but I guess we really do have things happen in life for a purpose - and there is a reason why I got Bubby - so that he can be a voice for all the puppies who are going unsold in puppymills everywhere - and what's to be done about them.

And most of all - to beware of them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thundershirts and doggy diapers

I am learning more and more about Bubby's personality and quirks - what he can handle - what he can't, things that he's afraid of and how he reacts to them - it's all very interesting.
I've had him for 2 months now, and I've pretty much settled on what I think his background "story" is - at least one that pleases me and answers the questions that I have - I don't know if his rescuer would agree with me - but it's what I've cobbled together from what she said, and what I've figured out from Kijiji postings that his puppymill operator has made in the last little while -
It seems like Bubby spent the first 6 months of his life at his "breeder" - which I am henceforth going to call a puppymill - because it is very obvious that he has had no human socialization whatsoever - and that's where almost all his problems and quirks are stemming from. He is deathly afraid of humans and gets overstimulated really quickly - and when he passes his threshold - he lunges out will bite, and it's a pretty hard bite.
So he spent his first six months at the puppymill - completely missing every kind of human socialization that he needed to be a normal dog - but luckily he was around other dogs - so his dog/dog skills are awesome.

At 6 months - he was purchased - probably for a cut price - because when I contacted the puppymill he came from a couple weeks ago when he was advertising on kijiji for puppies - the puppies were $800 - but he had some dogs left over still from a breeding last November - and he was selling them for $400. I can only imagine how damaged those dogs are now.

So at 6 months - Bubby was adopted by a family - and they thought they were getting a normal dog - but I guess he only bonded with the wife - and there were also children involved - and any children that Bubby has come into contact since I've had him - he almost immediately attacks - so he probably did the same thing to this family.
Atlantic Small Dog Rescue said the husband told the puppymill "I was told you were selling me a family dog - this isn't a family dog" - and the puppymill offered to take Bubby back and give them another dog - but for some reason they didn't do that - and they instead dumped him at a campground in Truro - and that's how Altantic Small Dog Rescue got involved - and then I adopted him.
So where do the thundershirts and doggy diapers come in?

They are what I bought today - although the doggy diapers are too small - his penis sticks out the top - so they are no usew hatsoever.

But 2 months after I got him - he's still peeing and pooping wherever he feels like. It could be indoors, it could be outdoors - if he wants to go - he'll go. He could be laying next to me on the bed - and he'll stand up - and just start peeing - right next to me. He'll walk right through his poop - it's all typical behaviour for former puppy mill dogs - and I am struggling with it currently.

If you keep track of myy photos - the background of my house has changed in the last couple of months - I have thrown out my couch, all my carpets, I've bought a new bed, every room has a baby gate on it, every dog bed that I had for Charlie and Daisy has been thrown in the garbage - all because Bubby has peed on everything.
I have great hopes for the thundershirt - I'm hoping that it will calm him down in stressful situations around humans - I'm going to try it out tomorrow night -
We are going to dinner at my sister's house and there are going to be 5 humans there - and I have a very dog-intolerant family - so if he tries to bite anyone - there will be shrieking and freaking out and very bad energy in the room - it won't be pleasant.

I hope that it operates as advertised. We've got about 18-20 years ahead of us and the world needs to have a people friendly Bubby - he is too beautiful to keep in private. I hope he and I can figure things out.