Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Judge Flora Buchan spares Brindi's Life

This is the first time I've ever heard of this happening in Nova Scotia.

Today, the judge in Brindi's case turned Brindi over to the HRM - the news stories didn't say who in the HRM she is being turned over to - but we'd assume it's the Animal Control department - and have her assessed as to whether she is a good candidate for being adopted out to a new home.

Before today it was understood that the only options available were the return of Brindi to her owner or her death - so this is a precedent setting case in Nova Scotia with the 3rd option of forfeiture of ownership - and adoption to a new owner.

There are bylaws across North America where this is possible - but there is no bylaw in Nova Scotia or courts where this has happened before, and I think that is amazingly wonderful - because it has been acknowleged that the problem from the beginning - as it is in a lot of cases - was the owner and not the dog.

The problem was the inability of the owner to keep the public safe from a dog who has a very common and treatable issue, and her inability to keep her dog safe from having access to dogs to express that instinct.

In another home - Brindi would be able to be safe, and trained, and live a wonderful life. From the beginning animal advocates have been trying to have this outcome facilitated - and now it may finally happen thanks to Judge Flora Buchan - and hopefully because of this precedent - if a case likes this comes along again - it won't take 4 years for this ending to happen again.

Unfortunately - the judge gave until August 21st for the assessment and appeals to happen - and at that time Brindi still may be killed if she doesn't pass the assessment - but at this point - she has passed so many assessments - it'd have to be Adolph Hitler himself assessing her to make her fail one.

A question I do have - and one that may throw a cog in the wheel - is the fact that Brindi had previously been declared dangerous - and whether the HRM is willing to adopt out a dog with that designation - liability wise - they might refuse to do that - even with the judge's ruling.

It all depends on how much the lawyers want to see Brindi dead. I really hope they don't have pure vengeance on their mind. If they do, then this will not have a good outcome - but if they do have a heart - then they will follow the judge's wishes and find a new home for her.

If one can be found by August 21st that is.

ps - I would also like to say that I'm glad that a judge made this decision and not someone within Animal Control or an Animal Control Officer - I think that decisions like this need to be made by someone completely neutral and outside the HRM's system - it should be made by someone from the Justice Department - so if cases like this happen again (and I hope that they do) - I hope that the cases are decided in the same way.

Here are a couple news stories from today:

Court orders Brindi to be adopted

A Dartmouth Court Judge has ruled that Brindi the dog be allowed to live as long as the city can find the animal a new home, and not with former owner Franchesca Rogier.

The Judge ordered that the East Chezzetcook woman forfeit ownership of the nine-year-old mixed breed and that HRM take sole responsibility for its adoption or fostering.

"We were seeking to have the dog put down, but really this is the best of both worlds," said Crown Attourney Katherine Salsman.

"It allows us to evaluated and make sure that that is the right decision."

The decision also allows HRM to destroy the dog if a suitable home cannot before before Aug. 21, 2012.

Salsman said there will now be an evaluation of the dog's adoptability. Dog trainer Susan Jordan said the dog is a good candidate for being adopted.

"This dog certainly has behavioural concerns. They need modification training. But the dog is trainable," Jordan told News 95.7 outside the courtroom.

Rogier did not attend today court proceeding. She was ordered to pay a $200 fine for each of the HRM bylaw infractions against her.

She was found guilty of owning a dog that attacks, owning a dog that runs at large, and failing to comply with a muzzle order.

"I think the perfect solution would have been to return the dog to her with all the rules still in place and additional training to occur.

I think that would have been her ultimate goal, that the dog be returned. Her greatest wish would be that the dog not be put down," said Jordan.

There have been at least three instances when Brindi attacked other dogs dating back to when she was first seized by HRM in 2008.

She has been in HRM's custody since 2010.

Rogier has 25 business days to appeal the decision.


Brindi the dog turned over to HRM - Former owner Rogier fined $600

The courtroom saga of Brindi the dog may soon be over.

A provincial court judge Tuesday fined owner Francesca Rogier $600 and ordered ownership of the dog transferred to the Halifax Regional Municipality in the latest chapter of a protracted battle over the dog’s fate.

However, Judge Flora Buchan stopped short of ordering the dog destroyed. Buchan said Brindi should be treated like any other dog by the municipality and should be trained and adopted out if possible.

However, the possibility exists that the animal could be euthanized, but that will only happen if an assessment shows her behaviour can’t be changed and she isn’t adopted.

Brindi was seized from Rogier in September 2010 after the dog attacked another canine.

Rogier was found guilty earlier this spring of allowing a dog to run at large, failing to comply with an order to muzzle Brindi and owning a dog that attacks an animal.

It was the second time nine-year-old Brindi had been seized by animal control. She was previously picked up in 2008 after attacking another dog and was ordered euthanized.

However, Rogier successfully appealed and the dog was ordered to be returned to her with conditions that included keeping the dog muzzled in public, building a fence in her backyard and having the dog trained.

The second incident happened only two months after Rogier got the dog back. While there was no evidence Brindi is beyond redemption, “sadly” that is not the case with her owner, Buchan said.

“I would describe Ms. Rogier as an irresponsible pet owner who has known since she (adopted) Brindi that she has control issues,” the judge said, while also calling her “unrepentant.”

In ordering Brindi’s ownership transferred to the municipality, Buchan said the dog “cannot safely be returned to Ms. Rogier.”

Rogier did not appear in court. Instead, she called dog trainer Susan Jordan shortly before her sentencing was due to start and asked her to appear on her behalf.

Jordan, who has worked with Brindi and Rogier, said she thinks Rogier didn’t show because she expected the emotions of the day to be too much for her.

“I think ... it was going to take more of a toll than she was prepared (to handle),” Jordan said.

“To come out after that and try to be coherent and deal with the repercussions ... would be a little more than she could handle.” She said she was pleased the court didn’t opt to immediately euthanize Brindi.

“I’ve trained and worked with the dog,” Jordan said. “This dog certainly has behavioural concerns. (It) needs modification training, but the dog is trainable.”

She said she has seen seen dogs with similar issues throughout the municipality. Jordan said she last assessed Brindi two weeks ago and in all aspects, except territorial concerns, “this is a highly adoptable dog.”

An effort to contact Rogier through Jordan was unsuccessful. While the the city sought an order to have Brindi destroyed, Katherine Salsman, the municipality’s lawyer, said the judge’s decision “is the best of both worlds.”

“It allows us to evaluate and ensure (if adoption) is the right decision to be made, ... but it still gives us the option to put the dog down if public safety reasons do require it.”

The order doesn’t take effect until Aug. 21 to allow time for an appeal.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Brindi lives or dies tomorrow

It's hard to believe that it was August 3rd, 2008 when I wrote my first blog post about Brindi the dog. Most of the posts I've written about her and her owner have been removed because it has been such a contentious story over the years, but the very first post I wrote still exists.

Tomorrow morning at 9am the judge presiding over the latest case involving Brindi and her owner Francesca Rogier is going to announce whether Brindi is going to be killed, or whether Francesca is going to have her dog returned to her.

In May, 2012 Francesca was found guilty on all 3 counts that she had been charged with in relation to an incident that happened in 2010 near her home when Brindi jumped out the window of her car and had an altercation with a dog who was walking by with it's owners on the road.

The result was only a small flesh wound to the dog - but to Brindi it meant another year of living in a cage while her life or death was decided in the courts.

A lot of people will disagree with me, and I have said this before - but I think that Francesca should get Brindi back.

I hope she does. There are altercations that happen every day in the HRM between dogs that are much more serious than anything Brindi has ever done.

Should Brindi die simply because her owner has a flamboyant personality that conflicts with a lot of people she comes into contact with?

That is what this all comes down to. And I don't think she should. She should not have been kept in a cage for the last 4 years because people cannot handle, or do not like Francesca Rogier.

And I hope Francesca can agree with me on that. I hope she doesn't flame me, or make her outrageous claims about me in the past that she has when I say that.

I am making a simple plea for Brindi's life - I know that what I say means tnothing tomorrow morning. But maybe it might make a difference for another time. Because if Brindi dies tomorrow, I hope that her life and her tragedy does not mean nothing. Her death will be the likes of Lennox over in England.

It will be that unjust. It's too bad there is no Victoria Stillwell, no Cesar Millan trumpeting her cause. 100's or people, 1000's of people - have said from the very beginning that Brindi does not need to die because of Francesca's sins. And I hope tomorrow, that comes true.

Tonight, everybody say a prayer for Brindi.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Don't be afraid to adopt a senior pet

I took the below video of Buttercup yesterday - August 18th - she'll be 18 years old. I adopted her August 18th, 2003 - so I'll have had her for 9 years, and when I adopted her in 2003 the vet figured that she was about 9 years old.

I had no hesitation in adopting her because she was so alive, and had such a huge personality and I bonded so closely with her - her advanced age didn't bother me at all. When I did adopt her though - she was very old - she had luxating patella in her back that was very bad, but the longer I had her - the better it became.

Because I had Charlie and Daisy - and various other big dogs through the years - Buttercup got to live a big dog lifestyle - every day, 365 days a year we went somewhere offleash for at least an hour a day - and that kept Buttercup young. It's only been the last couple of years that she's started to slow down.

When people say to me that they their lifestyle is too busy to adopt a dog - I tell them that there's a dog out there in a shelter for everyone - a person who works full time and comes home at night and is tired and just wants to hang out - is the PERFECT home for a senior dog. And you should not be afraid that the dog is going to die in the first six months - Buttercup is the living truth of that - I have had her for a blissful, healthy 9 years.

A senior pet wants nothing more than a place to hang out and receive unconditional love for the time that you're home - and when you're not there - they're more than happy to guard their bed, eat some kongs, and listen to the radio.

The greatest thing is - at 18 years old - Buttercup shows no sign of slowing down - she has no interst anymore in going for one hour off leash walks anymore - but she certainly has the energy to be carried so that everyone else can go for one hour off leash walks - she is very adamant about not being left at home alone! If you've followed this blog, you know that Buttercup has had a very serious job for the last year - and she doesn't take any sick days or vacation - she is here to protect me - and she takes it very seriously, and as far as she's concerned, she's not going anywhere anytime soon.

These little bichon interlopers need to keep their distance. I think she may just out live them. I hope that happens, because I do not know what I'm going to do without her.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

CBRM Animal Control Contract Up for Grabs

Cape Breton Post reported that the animal control contract for Cape Breton Regional Municipality has been received after a tender call - a private company called "Cape Breton Dog Control Services" and the NS SPCA have put in bids and we can pretty much guess who "Cape Breton Dog Control Services" are - the turfed former management and directors that were tossed out by the provincial board of the NS SPCA a couple months ago.

We can also figure out how the animal contract will operate if they get the contract - it will for sure not be a no kill organization - they will not place the animals coming in with any kind of priority in their business plan - they will just be collatoral damage. Based on how they operated the shelter in the past - there is really no way that they'll be able to not kill 50-75% of the animals that come through their doors - they will have no where to put them, they will have no one to adopt them, they will have no way to keep them from getting sick and dying while they're in their facility - so they'll have to be killed.

In a privately run animal control facility - whether animals die or live doesn't matter to the bottom line - there are a lot of animal control facilities down in the States that don't adopt out animals at all - they kill 100% of the animals that come in. Here in Nova Scotia that is completely unnecessary - we already have a system in place that is working really, really well - and it's currently being run by the Nova Scotia SPCA in Cape Breton - and there's no one else who could do what they're doing. What the NS SPCA is doing that nobody else can do - is moving animals that come into the Cape Breton facility OUT of there and into other shelters across the province that have space for them.

It is something that should have happened many, many years ago - but only started happening since the current management structure that is in place at the provincial office and Sandra Flemming have been in control - and it has literally saved 100's and 100's - and it's probably up in the 1000's now - of animals lives. And no other organization can do that - because no one else has the shelter system across the province to move animals around like that.

The Cape Breton SPCA has always been the heaviest shelter in the province for intake - and therefore the highest amount of euthanasias - between 50-75% annually - which is completely unacceptable in a province as small as ours. The NS SPCA in it's current state has turned itself around to the point that it is now at a no kill status - and to have done that is remarkable. And they did that through hard work, belief in principles of good governance - and for a few people - balls the size of the Hulk.

The turnaround made at the Cape Breton shelter, and from what I've read - the relationship they've built with the community - has been amazing. If the municipality doesn't see that and chooses the other bid - it will be a holocaust for the dogs of Cape Breton. It will truly be a shame.

I know that I have always been against SPCA's taking on animal control contracts - but in this case - I don't think that there is any organization that could do what the NS SPCA is doing down there. I hope the Municipality makes the right choice.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fun things going on this weekend

This weekend there's a couple fun and worthwhile things to do - so I thought I'd make a note about them..

Starting Friday June 22nd, 2012 is the 2nd Annual SPCA Animal Wellness Conference being held at the NSCC Waterfront Campus in Dartmouth - last year's event was a ton of fun and we all learned a lot of new things over the 2 days, and this year's schedule looks equally interesting. It is money well spent and we are sure to see lots of old friends and meet new ones too - and it's (hopefully) a great money maker for the very worthy NS SPCA - so it is a very jam-packed 2 day event this weekend!

Saturday from 10-4 is the annual Charity dog wash that's put on by the very good people at Vetcetera Animal Hospital in Bedford - I think it is absolutely amazing that a vet hospital shuts down their clinic for a whole day to fundraise for rescue - but this hospital does it every year.  This year the proceeds are going to the NS SPCA, Bide A Wile, and Pick of the Litter Society - from previous years - you'll be sure to have fun when you go - so it'll be a great day out for both you and your dog, and the money goes to a great cause

This weekend is also the mucho fun weekend away at Liscombe Lodge up in Guyborough county that's called "Dogs Gone Wild" - for $235 you get to spend the whole weekend with your dog having fun at a resort learning great stuff - it is the best deal of the year - and they still have a few spots open.

People can come and do as much or little as they want for the weekend...guests staying at the Lodge are also invited to the Saturday evening dance (see below) with live band benefitting the spca...community members not staying at the resort can come support the spca by paying $10 at the door for access to the dance saturday evening.... you can find out more information by going to Liscombe Lodge's website.

Saturday night the "Dogs Gone Wild" people will be having a big dance and the proceeds will go to the Antigonish SPCA - this poster makes the dance sound like it's going to be a very big to-do - so if you are in the area up there -you should definitely check it out!!

On Sunday June 24th - Atlantic Small Dog Rescue is sponsoring "Helping rescue dogs get adopted through training and behavior modification" with local dog trainer Tristan Flynn at 80 Joe Zatzman Drive in Dartmouth - the cost is $25 and the seminar's description goes as follows:

"This 4 hour seminar will cover a wide range of topics intended to help foster families train and modify behavior in rescue dogs. Through the Association of Pet Dog Trainer new program called C.L.A.S.S (Canine Life and Social Skills), dogs can ea...rn certification proving they are good canine citizens to potential adopters. This seminar will cover the methods used to train for the CLASS certification, but also focus on how to deal with reactive and aggressive dogs in foster. We will discuss resource guarding, dog aggression and and handling issues. The end will feature a 30min Q&A on any topic. This seminar is designed to give everyone the basic tools needed to work with difficult dogs in their care."

It sounds like fun to me!

You can go to their facebook event page to sign up - and if you are an ASDR foster parent the cost is only $20

Free your day up now for a big event being put on - Thurs. July 26th at Brewsters in Bedford at 6pm.

Pick of the Litter Charity is having a live auction in asssocation with the upcoming documentary Wild at Heart - and The auctioneer will be the wonderful local comedian Bill Carr. More details will be coming soon - but set aside that evening if you want to have a good time and raise money for a great local charity!

If you want to donate some new items for the live auction - you can contact Inge Sadler directly

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You ARE allowed to take your dog with you when you go out

There have been a couple very tragic and unsettling stories in the news in the last week or so about dog owners leaving their dogs in their cars when they go shopping - and the dogs dying from heat exhaustion because they've been left unattended for too long.

You'd think everyone would know by now that you just cannot leave any living thing - a baby, an adult, a dog - even a plant - in an unventilated, un air-conditioned car for even 2 minutes on a hot summer day. That sentient being is going to suffer and even die if you do that.

I know that in my 2005 Pontiac Wave that doesn't have air conditioning - on some of the hottest days of the summer - with the windows rolled down as far as I'll allow them so that the dogs can't jump out and the blowers going as fast as they can and the car moving - it was almost too hot for my geriatric dogs last summer - so I would take my Dad's car that had all the bells and whistles - and air conditioning - so that we could ride in style.

But because there has been these horrific stories in the news - there has also been a back-lash. Some people have been suggesting that a dog's place is AT HOME.

And I disagree with that.

It has been my mission for the last 10 years to tell the world that a dog's place is with their owner - if he or she is well socialized, well trained and can handle it.

No dog in his right mind would want to stay at home if he didn't have to - and most of the dog owners that I know would prefer to take their dog with them.

That doesn't mean that any time is spent in the car alone. It means that they shop at stores where they can take their dog with them, they spend their free time doing activities that include their dogs, and the time that they spend with their human friends also includes their dogs and their friends' dogs.

That doesn't mean that they don't go to grocery stores - where dogs can't go - and to restaurants, where dogs can't go - but dogs are not meant to be prisoners in their owner's homes.

In the year 2012 - the spectre of breed specific legislation is weighing heavily everywhere - including here in Nova Scotia - there are a lot of people in this world who don't like dogs and don't want to see them out in public - and will seize upon any excuse to keep them out of public spaces.

It is truly unfortunate that there are assholes who are allowed to own dogs - and leave them to fry in vehicles - but there are also assholes who are allowed to own babies - and also do the same things to them - it's horrifying and equally unacceptable to any species - but it's not a reason for the rest of us to leave our dogs at home.

Please continue to take your dogs' out and keep them in the public eye - the world needs to see well socialized and well trained dogs of all types and breeds - it's the only way that we will change the dog-haters minds - by living our lives by example.

And if you see a dog or baby dying in a car - don't hesitate to smash the window to save their life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I can't believe it's been a year..

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I lost Charlie and Daisy - and a day later brought Bubby home.

So many things have changed in the last year, it's really unbelievable.
I am so lucky that Buttercup is still here with me and usually at least once a day tells me that she has no plans on going anywhere. She is still giving Bubby and Sidney a run for their money and keeping them on their toes - telling them whether or not they're allowed on the bed or couch, whether they can finish her supper (and most times that's a big fat no) - and letting them know when their playing is getting a little bit loud.

Buttercup has got a lot of love to give, but lucky for me - in some things - she's all business. Thank dog for Buttercup. She's made the last year almost bearable.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A couple videos

Below are a couple videos - one from yesterday of Buttercup rolling in the backyard where she's thinking she's 2, not 18 - and one from 5 years when life was so very different. The first video made me think of the video from 5 years ago...

And here's a 3rd one that's all killer, no filler -

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A couple pretty pictures

I was out at Henry's Camera store today to buy a couple things and the guy there changed a couple of the settings on my camera - so hopefully my pictures will be better - until I change the seetings again. I have no idea what I'm doing

At least once everyday Buttercup makes me think her death is going to be happening almost imminently - but then she goes out into the backyard and rolls around for 10 minutes on something in complete bliss - and shows me she's not going anywhere. She is the most spry 18 year old dog in Nova Scotia I'd imagine.

Here she is standing next to her namesake - buttercups which have currently replaced all the dandelions in my back yard
Here is Bubby with his glamour shot
And here is Sidney with his best side on the front.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yarmouth NS Dog mauling nets serious, serious jail time for dog owner

This week the conviction came down for Gary Joseph Woods and victim Noella MacIntosh in the May 2011 mauling in Yarmouth Nova Scotia that left Noella permanently disfigured - and brought Nova Scotia to the brink of province wide bsl.

Mr Woods was sentenced to 90 days of intermittent jail time, to be served on weekends, and one year of probation - and during that time he's not allowed to own any dogs. He was convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

In the Chronicle Herald article it says that since the attack he has become a changed man - I certainly hope that at least he has started locking the doors to his house - because if he had done that - none of this would have happened. He had previously said that because he had his dogs in his house - he didn't need to lock his doors - daring people to come into his house I guess.

Mr Woods let everyone down - he let his dogs down - he did not protect them from doing the damage to humans that they were obviously capable of - whether or not he trained them to do that - and he let Noella MacinTosh down - by leaving his doors unlocked. So he definitely was guilty of a crime.

I have said in previous posts that it doesn't matter that the dogs were pit bulls - there are numerous other breeds of dogs that could do the same damage that Ms MacIntosh received that day - it's just too bad for the pit bull type breed that Mr Wood chose to have that breed in his house - and for Nova Scotia and the ensuing chaos that ensued in the following months.

Looking at the Yarmouth town's website - they have written and passed a HORRIBLE dog bylaw that was passed in November 2011 - go and have a look at it.

The town officials can basically shoot on sight any dog that moves or barks funny. It's such a shame - they had the opportunity to write a dog bylaw for the 21st century and they had an EPIC FAIL. Such a shame. At least it doesn't have bsl in it - thank dog for that.

But I do think that it's fabulous that Mr Woods got 3 months in prison. People who don't take their dog ownership seriously and treat their dogs like ammunition and toys to scare other people - should take note that using a living sentient being for those uses is really not a good idea. The Criminal Code of Canada views a crime as a crime - even if it's being done by a living being that you've abuse enough to harm something.