Friday, October 27, 2017

When is it time to give up your dog to a rescue?

This week a woman by the name of Sarah Roberts was sentenced to a 10 year prohibition on owning animals after she was found to have 2 dogs who were in dire need of having medical care.

The Chronicle Herald article says that one of the dogs - a rottweiller - was actually screaming out in pain when the SPCA special constables were on scene at Ms. Robert's home - and the other dog had a large tumour on his chest that was making it difficult for him to breathe.

What a visual this gives you, doesn't it?  Can you imagine living in a place where these 2 sentient beings are living there with you?  Where these two living beings are breathing the same air and being in such pain - and you are just letting it continue?

This woman was in charge of these 2 animals - they depended on her for their survival and she allowed them to continue to suffer in silence.  All because she didn't feel like she had the money to pay for their veterinary care.

And that brings up the question that we all face at one time or another - can we afford to keep the animals that we live with?

I have a bichon frise who I've had since he was six months old - a rescue from a puppy mill so he has horrible genetics and in the last year I've had both of his knees replaced - it has cost me $8,000 and I'm on a fixed income - I can't afford that - so I remortgaged my home, sold pretty much everything that wasn't tied down and put the rest on a credit card which I'll be paying off for the rest of my life - at the same time one of my other dogs has also been sick which has cost quite a bit of money and added to my financial woes.

But I am willing to spend that money and I"d do it again - what's the alternative? Watching my poor little dog who depends on me lose the ability to walk?  That would be absolutely cruelty.

When you are faced with a medical crisis with your dog there are things that can be done - you can be like me and sell personal possessions you don't need, you could look to family members to see if they'll lend you money, you could have yard sales and sell baked goods, you could do something major and remortgage your house (which I did), you could do what a lot of people do and start a gofundme to raise funds and fundraise for your vet bills, there are also a lot of vets offices that offer financing for vet bills now - so you can do that and pay off the vet bill over time.

And then the last alternative is - giving up your animal(s) to the NS SPCA - if after all of these suggestions your animal still is not receiving the veterinary care they need to live their life healthily - then you are committing cruelty to your animal and something needs to be done - you cannot continue to do that to your animal.

You need to do the right thing and give that animal up so they can have a hope of a good life - not with you, but with someone who will spend the money to get them healthy and then keep them that way.  If you truly love that animal you will do this for them.

Not like Ms. Roberts - because both of those dogs who were sick had to be euthanized - if she would have acted sooner it probably would not have been that outcome.

I hope this conviction will be a wake up call to people who love their dogs, and think they are doing right by them by giving them coconut oil and tumeric and raw food - but they are being eaten alive by mange that could be cured by some simple veterinary intervention - but for some reason these people don't think that a vet can help their dog who doesn't have an inch of clear skin on their body. (this is a true story by the way)

Here is the Chronicle Herald Article:

Woman banned for 10 years from owning animals after two dogs euthanized


One of the dogs — a Rottweiler mix — was screaming in pain, partially paralyzed and unable to get up.

The other, a boxer mix, had cancer — a large mass on its chest severely restricting the dog’s ability to breathe.

That was what Nova Scotia SPCA workers were confronted with at a Chester Basin home last September. Both animals had to be euthanized.

Their owner, Sarah Roberts, is banned from owning animals for the next 10 years, a sentence she received last Friday after pleading guilty to permitting an animal to be in distress, a violation of the Animal Protection Act of Nova Scotia.

“Considering the distress that these animals were in, she failed to provide them with any sort of relief,” said Jo-Anne Landsburg, Nova Scotia SPCA’s chief inspector. “It is our belief that they had been like that for some time. Failing to reach out to anyone would say it was a severe case of neglect.”

What makes this case particularly tragic for Landsburg is how easily it could have been prevented. She urged people who are unable to care for their pets to turn their animals over to the SPCA. The organization is equipped to find treatment for sick animals until they find suitable homes.

“Unfortunately, we see a lot of these cases where animals are sick or injured and sometimes, I’m not sure if it’s applicable to this case, it’s a lack of affordable veterinarian care . . . So they will try to treat it themselves or they simply will not take the animal to the vet. It’s very sad.”

But Landsburg said it’s no excuse.

“You can always reach out to the SPCA. It would be better to surrender your animal than to leave them suffering in pain and distress.”

Roberts was ordered to turn over her other dog, a beagle, to the SPCA. The animal ended up overnighting at Brian Truelove’s kennel business, Oceanmark K-9 Resort in Chester Basin, before being transferred to the Halifax SPCA on Wednesday.

Truelove, who also serves as the animal control officer for the Town of Lunenburg as well as the Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Chester municipalities, said the dog appeared healthy and happy.

But he also said the punishment Roberts received fit the crime.

“If I had a dollar for every dog that I had to take in myself and re-home, I’d be a rich man,” said Truelove.

“The public needs to be better informed that there is the SPCA and animal rescue organizations throughout this province where you can go if you can’t look after your dog. Take it to the SPCA and sign it over to them. Give it a chance.”

In his role as animal control officer, Truelove said, he’s repeatedly dealing with cases where pet owners attempt to abandon their animals by reporting them as stray.

In some cases, he has taken on the responsibility of caring for the animals himself.

“Sometimes you have to do it, because it is a problem of animal neglect in this province. Part of the solution is raising awareness about it.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

What is life like for a tethered dog in Nova Scotia in 2017

What is life like for a tethered dog in Nova Scotia in 2017?  You can judge it one way - this week I shut down my rescue - No Chains All Love - where I rescued dogs who were tethered out 24/7 - Nova Scotia doesn't need a dog rescue that solely focuses on those types of dogs anymore.

When I started the rescue back in 2013 people were hesitant rescue and foster chained dogs - they thought that the dogs would piss everywhere in their house and that they'd be impossible to rehabilitate and become normal house dogs - but I proved over and over and over that dogs who were tethered outside 24/7 were amazing dogs - they were really easy to house train - it was like they knew that outside was where they were supposed to go because that's where they had gone their whole lives.  Other dogs who come into rescue who have pissed inside their whole lives - THOSE dogs are hard to house train - but chained dogs are the opposite.

And the personalities of chained dogs are amazing - when you bring them inside they are so grateful - they have been waiting their whole lives for someone to love and to have someone love them - so really, the biggest problem with them is separation anxiety - they don't ever want to be anywhere but by your side.

At one point I rescuing almost a dog a week - and they were all fabulous dogs - happy, got along with other dogs and completely photogenic.

And then finally - in December 2014 the legislation that many of us had worked so long for - came through - it was illegal to chain a dog outside for any longer than 12 hours a day - and then you had to bring the dog inside for 12 hours.

It doesn't sound great - but it gave the NS SPCA a reason to visit the owner's home if they received a complaint that someone believed the dog was being tied out 24/7 - and then the SPCA could inspect where the dog was living and do a health check - because the new regulations that were passed in December 2014 also gave specific body conditions that weren't allowed anymore - like the dog's coat had to be in good condition and their nails were not allowed to be long.

So now the SPCA could seize dogs - or give the owner conditions that they had to improve the life of the dog - and they have totally stepped and if someone believes that a dog is being tied out longer than 12 hours at a time they will visit the home - and if the dog needs seizing - they will seize the dog.

Are dogs still being tied out 24/7 in Nova Scotia?  Absolutely - but all it takes to make it stop happening for each of those dogs is for someone to be that dog's saviour - and to have a call made to the NS SPCA at 1-888-703-7722 and visit that dog - and hopefully the right thing will happen for that dog.

So after four years and many many rescued dogs - I have shut down my rescue - "No Chains All Love" - it was fun to have and I met a lot of nice people - I couldn't have done it without the volunteers that I had who believed in the cause of freeing chained dogs, and to my vet Westwood Hills - and also to Camp Bow Wow who fostered several dogs for me when I could't find fosters and for whatever reason I couldn't foster the dog myself - they always stepped up for me - they are awesome.

I think that chained dogs are the best dogs - I found that they are blank slates - whatever age they were when they are put out - whether it's 10 weeks or 3 months - that's the mental age they are when you bring them back inside - so if your dog was put out at three momths - when they are rescued at 5 years or whatever - you have a mentally 3 month old dog in a 5 year old's body - they are fascinating to watch.

We are lucky here in Nova Scotia to have this legislation - some say that it should be a lot stricter but I think that it's good enough - it IS getting the dogs off of the chains and that's all you want and need - it is legislation that is enforcable and that is the best kind of legislation.

If we had legislation that banned tethering altogether we would turn everybody who chains their dogs out into law breakers and they would start keeping their dogs in their basements, or just kill their dogs, or build fences around their dogs so no one could see them - there's no end to what people would do - but they'd still tie their dog out - that is a for sure thing.

A last thing - along with the NS SPCA stepping up - other rescues have also stepped up - they now see that chained dogs are awesome dogs and that they aren't any different than the other dogs that they rescue - they aren't going to be difficult to adopt out - like every other dog - they are an individual and should be treated that way.

I hope in some small way I showed that chained dogs are great dogs - they aren't any different than any other dog - they aren't perfect - but our own dogs aren't perfect either - they are just dogs who want to live out their lives feeling like they have some control over their surroundings - and when they are chained out they have none of that.

I am so glad that through the advocacy of the rescue we got legislation passed so that dogs can't be chained out 24/7 anymore and I hope that Nova Scotians will call the NS SPCA when they believe a dog is being tied out longer than 12 hours at a time.

Hopefully people will remember that at one time there was a dog rescue in Nova Scotia that was run by someone who really cared a lot - but in the end she shut it down because things improved enough so that it wasn't needed it anymore - and that's really good - Nova Scotia is a pretty super place to be a dog because of people like her and people like you, and for a little while you should have a warm feeling in your heart thinking about that.

As for what I'm going to do to replace the rescue - I've had a couple posts on this blog about a new venture I've started talking about dog training and what are better ways to train your dog - that is at - I also have my website about dog friendly Halifax that I've had since 2002 called "Charlie loves Halifax"

I'm also starting a new little venture to make and sell dog pack packs - they are for humans and they are made out of dog themed material - I'm also going to make quilts for dogs.  I haven't completed anything yet but I do have the site up - with nothing on it

So that's what I'm planning on doing - as well as blogging here - which I've been doing quite a lot of lately - I seem to have gotten the bug back, which I'm sure is annoying some people, but what can you do.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Coroner's Report from 2016 Montreal Fatal dog mauling is in and it is very sad

A dog named Tina - not the dog from Montreal - just a very nice, good dog - like almost all dogs with blocky heads, wide smiles and little ears

Last week the coroner released their report on the fatal mauling of Christiane Vadnais who was killed by a dog in 2016 in Montreal and it's really no surprise - the dog who killed her wasn't a boxer as the owner had listed him on their dog registration with the city - but he also wasn't a pit bull - he was simply a mixed breed dog - so the hysteria that was caused by the tragic death of Ms. Vadnais is completely unfounded and misplaced - the dogs that the government of Montreal and Quebec are targetting aren't responsible for this person's death - it's all a sham and there is still only one person in Canada since 1983 who has been killed by a pit bull type dog.

What the coroner's report did reveal though is that this dog - who's name was Lucifer - had previous bite incidents, and one of those negative interactions involved a visit to the hospital for the human and a possible fractured arm.  The second incident wasn't as severe and was a bite to the thigh of the person.

The more serious incident was supposed to be followed up by Animal Control but never was - so not only did the dog's owner fail Ms. Vadnais - the city of Montreal also failed her and in some ways are also complicit in her death.

The report also details the very sad life that the dog led - the fact that he was muzzled all of the time because his owner didn't trust that he wouldn't attack whoever he came in contact with, and when he was found by the police who ultimately killed him - he had a muzzle dangling around his neck that was lying loose.  There was also a cage in his backyard where he lived a lot of his life alone and spent many many hours while his owner - a single man was away - so he was unsocialized and lonely - as well there was dog feces and chewed up water bottles everywhere - so when the dog was outside the cage he wasn't properly taken care of.

The report also noted that the fence between Ms. Vadnais and her neighbour was not secure - there were holes in it - the neighbour had said he would get it fixed and Ms. Vadnais had agreed that she'd pay half to have it fixed but no one had gotten around to doing anything about it.

The report details the life of a dog who wasn't taken care of, who had a lot of anxiety, who had previous aggressive negative interactions with humans, and who had access to his neighbour who would not be able to fight back against a dog that was above a certain weight.  It was a disaster waiting to happen.

There were several things that could have prevented it - a fence that was secure - if the dog would have been kept inside the home and not in a cage outside that he could escape from, if the city would have acted on the previous aggressive encounters and seized from the owner - but none of those things happened - and so on June 8, 2016 Ms Vadnais was killed by a dog in Montreal.  It was all so unavoidable.  So tragic.

And the fallout from it has already caused the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of dogs - it has definitely caused the displacement of thousands of dogs.

Canada witnessed the enactment of breed specific legislation in Ontario in 2005 and now we are watching it happen again in Quebec - 61% of the population of Canada lives in those 2 provinces according to a 2011 census so more than half of the country will live under BSL if all of Quebec goes under BSL - for a death that was caused by a mixed breed dog.

At almost the same time - on June 4th, 2016 - so 2 days before Ms Vadnais died - a 4 year old child was killed in Chesterfield Inlet NU. when she approached a neighbour’s chained dog.  No one even noticed.  Where was the outrage over that?  And since then - May 13 2017, in Little Grand Rapids First Nation MB a woman aged 30 - an Unknown Mix (northern dogs) - she was Found dead at a water treatment plant surrounded by 30 dogs.  What newscast was that on?

None.  Because it wasn't reported as a pit bull type dog.  No one cares unless it's a type of dog like that. Which is awful because it doesn't give this 30 year old woman or that 4 year old child any justice - it doesn't give people who are injured by dogs other than pit bull type dogs any kind of justice - and it also unfairly targets bully type dogs who are lovely dogs and perfect pets and tears them away from their families.

Breed neutral laws gives these people justice and keeps good dogs in their homes.  It's the only way to go and I hope some day the people in power will realize this - we have to keep fighting for our good dogs - and we have to not stop until this happens.

You can read the coroners report in english on the Justice for Bullies blog - thank you to them for providing the translation

Monday, October 9, 2017

Leptospirosis outbreak is all through the HRM

Be careful about taking your dog out in public right now - there is a leptospirosis outbreak going on right now - it's been going on for awhile and it probably started at the Mainlands Commons Dog Park in Halifax - probably some dog got it from a raccoon or rat because that's where the virus comes from - from the urine of a raccoon or rat - and then it's spread by the urine or saliva of infected dogs.

The Metro Animal Emergency Clinic in Dartmouth says that the common thread of the dogs that they've seen is the Mainlands Common Dog Park - according to the latest report from CTV news at least 50 dogs have been seen by the Emergency Department - and a quarter of those dogs have died - so this is a very serious thing.

I wrote about this virus back in 2008 when a dog in Cowie Hill died from it - his name was Benson and he was undiagnosed when he died.

Back then we had a problem with raccoons in this neighbourhood - now we don't have so much of a problem with raccoons in this neighbourhood but the problem has migrated over to rats - which also carry the disease - last week one of my dogs caught three rats in my backyard which is worrisome - there's a lot of construction going on down the street from me which I'm sure has dislodged the rats from them living happily in the woods and has moved them into the backyards on the street in my neighbourhood.

There is a vaccination for leptospirosis - but the veterinarians say that the cooler weather will kill the virus - so we just have to wait another month or so and the illness will calm down on it's own.

I'm sure it's going to reappear next spring though - so you may want to vaccinate now and be safe for when the virus pops up again in the spring - be safe and forewarned - since this is a disease that can kill a healthy dog - there's no use in fooling around - if you take your dog out in public - this should be a vaccine that you get just like parvo and distemper and bordatella - why risk a preventable death that is a horrible suffering death as well?

Here is the CTV News piece - and below is the Chronicle Herald piece:
N.S. clinic sees spike in dogs suffering from rare, sometimes fatal infection

Some veterinarians in Nova Scotia are warning dog owners to be on the lookout if their pet is acting strange -- it could be a rare infection.

The bacteria is known as “Lepto” or Leptospirosis, which infects the liver or kidneys and can be fatal for animals if it progresses. Symptoms of Lepto include vomiting, increased drinking, diarrhea and jaundice.

One clinic in Dartmouth told CTV Atlantic it usually sees about 10 cases each summer, but has recently seen 40 to 50. Veterinarians are putting the blame on unseasonably warm weather.

“Get (your pet) checked,” Katie Doucette, whose dog Diesel has been in the hospital for five days with a bout of Lepto, told CTV Atlantic Friday.

“I can't stress it enough. I wish I didn't wait the extra day.”

Diesel’s vet bill is up to about $3,500 so far, Doucette says.

Humans should be careful around their best friends if it looks like their pets might be infected. Lepto is zoonotic, meaning it can spread from animals to humans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans infected with Lepto can experience two phases of symptoms. During the first phase, humans typically experience fever, vomiting and diarrhea and during the second, more severe phase, the patient can experience kidney or liver failure.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Justice system in Nova Scotia says Yorkie and German Shepherd are equals when it comes to a dog fight

So this happened this week - in a small claims court here in Nova Scotia - a judge dismissed the claims of a grieving yorkie owner who watched her dog be torn up by a german shepherd in the hallway outside her apartment because the yorkie dared to bark at the german shepherd before the shepherd bit down and caused the injuries that killed the smaller dog.

It didn't matter that the yorkie was 5 pounds - and the german shepherd was - I don't know how many pounds a german shepherd weighs - but it was WAY more than 5 pounds.  It doesn't matter that when HRM's Animal Control department became involved they have deemed this german shepherd a dangerous dog and he now has to be muzzled in public for the rest of his life.  It doesn't matter that the other resident's of this apartment building are terrified of this dog.

All that mattered to this judge is that this - 5 pound yorkie - barked at the german shepherd - so I guess that the german shepherd was allowed to have this ONE BITE - and the small claims case against his owner was dismissed.

The yorkie's owner - Tammy Nickerson was asking for $2,100 in damages - $1,800 to replace the dog, $100 for suffering and $200 for costs.  When her little dog Twigg was killed she didn't have the funds to deal with the damage that the german shepherd had caused - so she had to sign her over to a vet tech at the clinic she had taken her to and Twigg was ultimately euthanized because of her injuries.  Initially the german shepherd Bella's owner - Ms. Van Norden had agreed to pay the vet bills, but later reneged on that - which is really unfortunate.

I don't know why the Animal Control designation didn't come out more at the Small Claims hearing - or if the judge just didn't seem to take that really into consideration - the fact that Bella is now a dangerous dog - the news articles all state that at the time of the attack that Bella wasn't considered dangerous - "There was no evidence at the hearing that the defendants knew or ought to have known that Bella was vicious, or that their dog had or might have any propensity to attack a person or another dog, let alone Twigg."

But the facts remain that both dogs were on leash, and that both owners - including Bella the german shepherds owner - should have had control of their dogs - and that means that even if both dogs were barking - neither dog should have attacked the other - leashes exist so that dogs don't need to have contact with each other - and if one dog dies and the other one doesn't - the dog who doesn't die must be held accountable.

Animal Control realized this - why a Judge wouldn't realize this is really - quite unbelievable.

This is just one more example of how the Justice system in Nova Scotia is failing the animals of Nova Scotia.

I talked about this last week - for this to come out as well - how much is this happening and we have no idea that it is happening?

When will the Justice System in Nova Scotia come into the 21st century?

Bella's owners need to be held accountable for the actions of their dog.

Luckily for Twigg's owners - the Van Norden's have moved out of the apartment building that they were living in - so the Nickerson's don't have to continue to face them everyday - but they are now living somewhere else in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

I hope that they are muzzling Bella whenever they are outside of the apartment or house that they are living in.  I hope that they are complying with the conditions that Animal Control has set upon them, and not dealing with the situation as cavalarly as the Justice System has dealt with them.

Here is the article that was in the Chronicle Herald: