Saturday, March 20, 2021

Update to Snoopy the dog's story - hopefully 2 of 3

So in early March there was an update to Snoopy the dog's story for those who weren't in the loop and it was a big one - unfortunately it wasn't a big enough one for Snoopy to make it back into his Dad's arms - so I am calling this update two of three - because Snoopy still needs to go home.

If you aren't familiar with Snoopy's story here is a link to my first post about him

What I'm going to do is basically just copy and past what Snoopy's "uncle" has written - the brother of Snoopy's Dad has been posting what has been going on - and that's who I'm talking about - Robert Smaggus - he has really been taking this on for his brother, which I think is fabulous.  I have not met either of these men in person - covid after all - but these men's determination to get this little dog back shows their love for this little dog - I have complete faith - not only because the dog is 10 years old and they were able to keep him alive for 10 years - not easy in today's world - and all the work that they've done henceforth to try and get him back from what has shown us as what is really quite an evil realtor world.

PEOPLE - DO NOT TRUST ANY REALTOR AROUND YOUR HOUSE, YOUR CHILDREN, OR YOUR ANIMALS - this is what this story should teach each and every one of us

So on to the update

On March 11, 2021 Robert Smaggus posted the following to facebook:

Dear Team, Snoopy: Time for the latest updates on this on going saga. 

For those of you following, my brother's dog, Snoopy, was illegally removed from his home by Century 21 Trident Realty agent Sarah Sullivan in May of last year. 

The police were involved, but didn't do anything about it. A complaint was filed with the NSREC, and Sarah was suspended and fined $2,500. 

In Sarah's official statement to the NSREC she stated, 

"On the morning of May 30th Nora Landry arrived to pick up the dog and take him to what I thought was a foster situation, but I was later informed that it was a lovely retired woman. . . " Her statement concludes with, "I am aware that Nora arranged for a home for the dog." 

Nora Landry is an Associate Broker/Sales Representative for Royal LePage Atlantic. The property that Snoopy was stolen from was listed with Royal LePage Atlantic, and Robert Scanlan was the listing agent. Matt Honsberger has been aware of this situation since September. It is documented in email. 

He has taken no action. On the weekend, Mike and I met with lawyer, Blair MacKinnon from Heritage House Law, and the woman that has Snoopy, Susan Hastey. Ms. Hastey cannot recall what rescue she dealt with, or if she signed any paperwork for Snoopy. She conceded that she did not pay for Snoopy and that she received him directly from Nora Landry. 

 Ms. Hastey is not willing to return Snoopy, and Blair MacKinnon has advocated on her behalf. This despite the fact that both know that Snoopy was stolen. What is worse is that Susan Hastey is a councillor (Hastey and Associates). She would be well aware of the damage caused to Mike and Snoopy. He owned the dog for 10 years. 

Marg Bowlen, the broker of record for Century 21 Trident Realty, has reached out. She has made multiple attempts to negotiate with Royal LePage Atlantic for Snoopy’s return. She has been unsuccessful. 

Her brokerage and agent have been vilified in the media while Nora Landry and Royal Lepage Atlantic have remained silent. Think about that when choosing a real estate company. 

This is the same broker that lost his liscence for a year for a series of trust fund moves ( 

 Robert Scanlan was recently fined and suspended for 30 days related to signing a client's signature ( 

 If you Google Hastey and Royal LePage Atlantic, you'll find another potential connection to this stolen dog. What is it going to take for someone to do the right thing and return Snoopy? The initial police investigation didn't go anywhere because of a perceived conflict of interest with the initial officer and Sarah Sullivan. (Do your own research on that.). 

I am now forced to file a complaint with the Nova Scotia Barristers Society against Blair MacKinnon for his involvement in this. I'm going to escalate this matter to the Office of the Police Complaints Commission. 

 A dog is personal property under the law. The NSREC completed an investigation and determined that Snoopy was stolen. 

Perhaps an officer could go retrieve him. Snoopy is living at 338 Amesbury Gate if you care to look. Please share this post widely. Free Snoopy!

So now it's all pretty much out there isn't it? We know that Sarah Sullivan DID steal Snoopy - she has admitted it, she's been punished for it by the Nova Scotia Realtors Association and this isn't the first time she's been punished by the Realtors Association - and she lied to the Realtors Association over this case which makes this even more agregious - we also know that it was Nora Landry who she gave the dog to - which makes me so sad - because Nora was a friend of mine - and I lost her as a friend over this - I can't tell you how sad this makes me.  None of this had to happen.

So now we know that Snoopy is living in a condo complex on the corner of Larry Uteck and Amesbury Gate in Bedford and there's nothing we can do about and nothing Snoopy's owner seemingly can do about it because he and his brother are just too polite.

It has been suggested that a protest should happen outside the condo unit to know how unhappy the dog owners of the HRM are with this lady - with this "Susan Hastey" who currently has possession of Snoopy - who is currently in possession of a stolen dog - why is this happening?  I have no idea - that's why this is post 2 of this.

When will post 3 of 3 be written?  I have no idea - but I hope it's soon!

And please don't accuse me of doxxing this woman - that was done when the Realtors association came out with their decision and all this information was in it - public for all the world to see - I'm just sharing it here - also public for all the world to see :)

In January, 2021 the Chronicle Herald published a story about the case:

‘Where is Snoopy?’: Dartmouth Realtor suspended, fined for taking tenant's dog 

 A Dartmouth Realtor is in the doghouse with her regulatory body for taking a hound named Snoopy from a tenant in a home she was trying to sell. 

 The Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission suspended Sarah Sullivan of Century 21 Trident Realty Ltd. effective Jan. 16 until Feb. 15 for violating the province’s real estate laws. 

Sullivan has also been ordered to pay $2,500 in fines. 

 “The violations resulted from an investigation of a complaint from a member of the public. The complainant, who owned a dog, was a tenant of a property that was listed for sale. Ms. Sullivan viewed the property with a potential buyer,” said the decision from the commission. 

 “At a later date, Ms. Sullivan approached the complainant, and asked if they were interested in selling the dog, which they advised they were not. Ms. Sullivan offered to take the dog while they moved out of the property.” 

 Threatened to use inside info Sullivan took the dog and failed to return it, said the decision. 

 “In response to efforts by the complainant to have the dog returned, Ms. Sullivan inappropriately used or (threatened) to use information she acquired only as a result of her access to the property as a real estate licensee. 

When the matter was investigated, she provided false/misleading information to the investigator on several occasions.” 

 This isn’t the first time she has been in trouble with the regulatory body. “Ms. Sullivan had previously been disciplined in 2014 for providing false information to the commission during the course of an investigation.” 

'Dishonourable' conduct Sullivan’s actions hurt the profession as a whole, said the decision about taking the dog. “This conduct is dishonourable, unprofessional, harmful to the best interests of the public and to the reputation of the industry at large. 

The public must have confidence that when they provide access to their property to members of the profession, that their privacy will be respected and information shall be gathered, used and shared, only for reasons related to the trading in real estate. Further, it is a violation to provide false/misleading information to the commission.” 

 Sullivan, a mother of four, declined to comment when reached Monday by telephone. 

 “I am unfortunately not able to discuss or disclose my side of the story,” she said. 

 Brother still looking for dog 

A Dartmouth man named Robert Smaggus said in an email to The Chronicle Herald that the dog in question, named Snoopy, belonged to his brother. 

 “I have been looking for him since June 4, 2020,” Smaggus wrote. He said he complained about the missing dog to police, but was told it was a civil matter. He also noted in his email that he contacted Patricia Arab, the minister responsible for Service Nova Scotia, but was told she couldn’t intervene in the case. 

 “Where is the accountability?” Smaggus said. “Where is Snoopy?”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

I am shutting down my Gail Benoit website

 I wrote my first blog post here about Gail Benoit in 2007 - so 14 years ago and I started the website shortly afterward.  It always bothered me that when you googled her name nothing bad came up about her so if people were doing their due diligence and trying to find out if she was selling healthy puppies - they didn't have any way to find out because there was nothing out there about her.

I have always loved the internet for certain things and one of those things is that everyone has an equal access to technology if they choose to take advantage of it.  When I had my very first iteration of my first website - it was on Geocities - anyone remember that?  And it was pictures of my dogs Charlie and Leonard playing around Halifax and it was called "Charlie and Leonard like to play" but it had a couple extra pages on it and one of those pages was dedicated to a man named Peter Duffy. Remember him?

He was a columnist at the Chronicle Herald and he hated dogs - and specifically he hated pit bulls - and every time he wrote a column laying out his very dangerous hate for the species I love more than any human - I would put my letter and his column on that page - most of my letters did get published in the paper as well - I have a good result when I write letters which makes me happy :) - but the fabulous thing about the internet - even back at the very beginning is that it was called the "web" is that it is constantly indexed - constantly scrawled - so if anyone ever tried to google Peter Duffy - what happened?

My little page would come up in the search results - and usually it came up in the top 10 results even - so everyone became aware that Peter Duffy hated dogs - and that made me happy.

So I was aware that it was important for there to be a web presence in 2007 for Gail Benoit - she had acknowledged in court under oath that she had sold more than 13,000 puppies and she had no plans to stop - and I had the technology and knowledge to help people make some decisions - and that's what I did.

NOTE HERE - if you do not own the domain name for your name - you should buy it.  Now.  Or someone else might.

So I went out and bought the domain names for her name, her husbands name and her company - at the time - and I set up a website that was a clearinghouse of every news article I could find and every blog post I had ever written - I did not put any kind of extra information there - except for information about parvo in case customers of hers who had landed there late at night searching for answers needed some quick links needed that information - and the Gail Benoit website was born.

At the time it was a static website but I have since moved it to blogger so all it costs me now is the price of a yearly domain name - for the first 10 years it cost me about $120 a year.

But now we've come to 2021 - I'd say that you'd be hard pressed to find a Nova Scotian who has never heard of Gail Benoit - and if you want to know the truth - she is not the problem here in Nova Scotia - she has not been able to buy or sell any companion animal for the last 4 years - she is still not allowed to sell any animal until January 2022.

Since she's had a prohibition on owning or selling any animal a whole industry has opened up in Nova Scotia that is truly much worse than anything she ever did in the 15 years she was in business - and there are other dog brokers operarating in business right now today - Oops Puppies probably being the most well known - but there are others - I consider every importing rescue to be no better and no less than a dog broker - that is for sure.

So because of this I am shutting down my Gail Benoit website - it's almost every day that I see posts like this - people saying that she should be dead, should be in jail  - for what - for existing.

And if anyone tries to point out that she's allowed to stay in a hotel, she's allowed to sit in a restaurant - she's allowed to have a life - that person is attacked and bullied and told they are no better than Gail.

It's ridiculous.

And I'm not willing to be a part of it anymore.

In 2007 it was a good idea.  In 2021 - I'm not willing to be a part of it anymore.  Sorry - I have been bullied, gaslit, told I should kill myself too many times to be part of something that produces the same results.

So the Gail Benoit website is a thing of the past.  

Sunday, March 14, 2021

It's not about the importing - it's about the grift

 I have been trying to think about how to write about what's going on with the news stories recently (and not so recently) with dogs being imported to Atlantic Canada and the problems that are being caused by them.

It's being going on for awhile. For years actually. People have always brought dogs from away - dogs that they've fallen in love with while away on vacation in fabulous locales in places around the world. That's lovely and there's nothing wrong with that - but dogs are coming here at the rate of 100's a month at this point and it seems to have become unmanageable in some people's eyes. 

Literally - all you need to get a dog into Canada is a rabies vaccination and a visual examination by a border offical at the Canadian border certifying that the dog is healthy and bob's your uncle - you are over the border and free and clear.  Those 60 or so dogs you've crammed into your cube van that have been in there in stacked crates for 60 hours on a non-stop journey may all have heartworm, coccidia, and any number of other lovely hosts - but the Canadian border officials - really do NOT care if you've got that rabies certificate.  

And that is the truth.  Otherwise - explain how all these sick dogs seem to end up in Nova Scotia?  I'll wait.  

Anyhoo.  It all started with Hearts of the North - who claim up and down that they are NOT a rescue - (a lot of organizations who places dogs in homes claim that - another group claims that too - Elderdog - who I love and are a super group - also says they are NOT  a rescue)  Hearts of the north was created on April 25, 2015 according to their facebook page - and that's when the flood gates opened up. 

 They started importing bully type dogs from the southern states. 

They absolutely do not care whether or not the dog is healthy or whether it is behaviorally sound - I am just stating facts here - there are enough stories that have come out in the news in the last six years that bear what I am saying in this blog post as fact.  I'm not going to quibble in this blog post - I'm going to lay it out clear as possible.

So Hearts of the North was first - but they certainly were not the last - once people started realizing that money could be made off the backs of rescue dogs - there is now a multi multi million dollar industry around the buying, moving and selling of rescue dogs - and Nova Scotians are being made to suffer for it.  There is now Save a life Canada Animal Rescue, Fetch a Dog Animal Transport, Fly with me rescue, South Paw Conservation Society, Relinquished Souls Animal Rescue - even the NS SPCA has been planning on importing animals from the States - these are just a couple I thought of off the top off my head - I don’t know if they’ve starred yet - they even have a page on their website justifying why they wanted to do it :( -

Importing rescues in Nova Scotia are now the norm - rescuing dogs that are local to Nova Scotia? No one cares about them anymore - that's not sexy - people want dogs that have good back stories - give me a dog that was minutes away from being killed on the kill floor in Texas - give me a dog that refused to fight in a fight ring in Georgia - give me a chihuhua from the mean streets of Mexico.

I am a person who believes that dogs are sentient - they are individucals just like us - that's why I fight so hard against torture tools like shock collars and prong collars and aversive types of dog training - it's why I started a rescue here in Nova Scotia to save chained dogs and worked to change the legislation here so that chaining dogs continuously is now illegal - it's why I worked really hard so that puppies are not sold in pet stores and its illegal to kill your own pet now - it's why when the SPCA was corrupt I worked to change things there.

Nova Scotia has a population of about a million people - the population of Texas is somewhere over 30 million people and I think maybe Georgia has about that many people too - I ask this question over and over and no one seems to be able to give me an adequate answer - how is Nova Scotia supposed to solve Texas and Georgia's stray and homeless dogs' problem?

It is a question that has flummoxed me since this problem emerged - how is deluging Nova Scotia - and actually the whole of Canada - with unstable, sick animals - going to solve the southern US's problems?

We have done a phenomenal job here of spaying and neutering so that there isn't a huge excess animal population here - that is a GOOD thing!  There isn't a problem with importing animals when it is done CORRECTLY - and there are importing rescues doing things right- but there are some "rescues" that need to just be shut down.  They are too dangerous to the public good.

(Can I interject here for a second here something about Fly with me that I’ve never heard another rescue do - it was revealed this week in a Chronicle Herald article that they anesthesize - they dope up - dogs after they arrive from the south - do they do that to every dog that arrives? Who knows - but they did that to one dog who ended up in the news - really - what responsible rescue does this?  Correct answer - they do NOT)

Rescues like Fly with me.  They have been in the news a lot.  Rescues like Hearts of the North - they - or should I say - Connie Madsen  - doesn't care about anyone but themselves.

And so now maybe I should get on to the subject of this post?  The grifting - because at the end of the days for these importing rescues - that's what it's all about - the absolutely huge amounts of money that is to be made off the backs of the dogs that they are bringing up here - unbelievable huge amounts of mopney that they are making.

Let me break it down for you - because this is the thing that they always scream the loudest that I'm lying about.

The dogs that they are saving - come up here already pre spayed and neutred by the originating rescue - they don't tell you that - they've also already had their shots too  - they might also be having their heartworm treatment if they're heartworm positive - and they're STILL GOING to be heartworm positive when they arrrive here.

So what you are paying for in your adoption fee is the transport costs - and that's the biggest scam - that's probably the person making the most money but I'll get to that later.

Adoption fees run from $450-$700 right now I think - none lower but some are higher.  So taking that lower figure - Fly with me recently announced that they've saved 500 dogs from the south to Nova Scotia - so $450 x 500 equals $225,000 IN ONE YEAR - in adoption fees ALONE.

But that's only one part of the grift people. Because what these rescues do is that they have fundraisers running constantly - it's really unbelievable - I have been in rescue since 2002 - when I was in rescue I never had time to do fund raisers because I was either too busy taking care of dogs or too busy rescuing dogs - but they have constant gofundme's and constantly online fundraisers - and they are always posting asking for donations to their  paypal accounts and to top it off - they have Amazon wish lists - I think I'll start up an amazon wish list - I really want a cri cut machine - it will really improve the quality of my life and the dogs life - fuck those damn southern dogs, am i rite?

Hearts of the North has a fund raiser - every Friday - email Connie $5 just because - no other reason - I mean - I mean - I don't thinik a marketer making $500,000 a year could have come up with this one.

In 2014 Provincial Minister of Agriculture Keith Colwell began meeting yearly with members of the animal advocacy community and in 2016 he asked us if there was anything that would improve the lives of animals in Nova Scotia and I said that regulations around animal rescues would really help - he gave us time to work on them - I wrote some regulations - but until now nothing has happened unfortuntely - and we are here in March 2021 and really - the animals and humans of Nova Scotia ARE suffering because of these importing rescues - they are bringing in diseases we don't have, they are aggressive - they are not being properly assessed in their originating country.

I said before there are some rescues who do things correctly - importing companion animals can be a good thing - but the government of Canada has got to crack down on this before someone dies - either from a dog attack or from acquiring a disease from an infected animal - it's going to happen.

We have to acknowledge the fact that the southern states refuses to spay and neuter their animals. Why?  I have no ideas - there are so many ngo's already on the ground down trying to work to make things better and still there are too many animals - should the whole of Canada be made to suffer for it?

So this is my idea and maybe you'll understand these importing rescues grift with my business plan.  Instead of going to the south - why don't we rescue Canadian dogs - did you know that 500,000 animals are killed in Canada every year?  And 400,000 of them are in Quebec alone - it's only a 13 hour drive to Montreal - I've done it tons of times myself on my own - I propose crowd funding to buy a van, (and can I interject here that Save a life Canada Animal Rescue Society crowd funded for a van at some point and got the amount that they needed for a van, bought it and I don't know if we ever saw that van again - except for maybe at the Co-op in Springhill on Saturday mornings) - make some relationships with vendors around Montreal and then bing bang boom saving some animals and bringing them here and adopting them out.

The originating shelter has to pay for everything though - and the animal has to be young cute and healthy with no behavioural problems - and the people adopting have to adopt based on the photo.

And I will interject to say that there are several Nova Scotia importing rescues  who ARE DOING THIS EXACT SAME THING RIGHT NOW with pit bull type dogs - adopting based on a photo and text description alone.  Read that again.

So other than gas and some food - because you know I''m going to be sleeping in that van - and a cursory vet check to get that health certificate - that's all free money for me, baby.  And guess what - that's all free money for the other importing rescues too.

You may say that these dogs I’m getting from Quebec — they are going to have health problems that weren’t diagnosed in the shelter they came from - that’s no problem! That’s what PayPal, email transfers and GoFundMe are for!  You can make a humongous amount of extra money through sick docs! I remember a few years ago a rescue made $50,000 on one sick dog that got a lot of press - sounds good to me!

Get it now?

So who wants to buy me a van so I can go get some free dogs and make the dream happen? And where are we on that cri cut machine?

Can I also add a little bit here at the end about how all these rescues lie about heartworm? This has bugged the hell out of me since the beginning - since the first rescue imported the first heartworm positive dog - these people think they know more than the veterinerians - this screen grab proves it - it's from the "rescue" - "Dog and Cat Adoptables of Atlantic Canada"  - they are the ones who brought the poor dog up from the south who had the poor dog so full of heart worms he could barely move and they said when he arrived here he was heartworm free and maybe they got his paperwork mixed up with some other dogs - as if - paperwork gets mixed up all the time according to folks like these - this is one of my big bugaboos 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Karin Robertson found not guilty of abusing her dogs

Well actually I don't think that's exactly what she was charged with - don't charge me with defamation for that throwaway line Karin - you're probably feeling litigous right now - the title of this post is a joke - I'm JOKING!  HAHA! We're laughing!

So I have written several, nay you could almost say I've written many - posts over the years on this blog about the justice system in this province of Nova Scotia - the place that we love to call home - the place that we choose to live in - in no small part because it is so breathtakingly beautiful and is such a great place to own a dog in - but I've got to tell you - when it comes to animal justice - we are at the rank bottom of the scale - probably in North America.

Some would say that Karin Robertson won her trial yesterday in provincial court where Judge Ronda van der Hoek decided that what Karin Robertson was saying was the truth and what the SPCA was saying was not the truth.  It's interesting because a few months earlier there was another semi-judicial hearing - an animal cruelty appeal board hearing - when Ms. Robertson had an opportunity to get her animals back while she waited for her case to move through the courts - and she was denied that option - and when that happens the animals are adopted out - so all 35 of the dogs seized from her kennel were adopted out at that time - never to be given back to her - so I'd imagine now that she'swon her case shell be suing the SPCA toute suite.

But the thing is - we were all at the Animal Cruelty Appeal Board Hearing - we all heard what was said - the conditions that she had her dogs in - we all heard it -we all know - we all know that she was in fact not keeping her dogs in sanitary safe conditions and that dogs that went into homes sometimes had life long behaviour problems - everyone knows this - why Judge Van Der Hock chose to ignore this - I wasnt at the trial - I don't know why one side was a better lawyer obviously.

And once again - that seems to be what it comes down to.

We have a lady who had for years not taken proper care of her border collies jack russels - and hey - remember when she sold two pupies to a guy, who bounced the cheque and when she wanted the puppies back said he lost the puppies?  And remember after her dogs were seized seeing a photo of her at Walmart returning dog food - used dog food - to get the money back - (picture taken January 8, 2020 and her animal cruelty appeal board hearing was December 30, 2019) now that's cold - I guess she wasn't figuring shew as going to get her dogs back from the SPCA, eh?  That was cold.

Anyhoo - so what can we do - who's to blame - where can we direct our hot blooded anger at this point?  I mean a lady got 3 months house arrest for letting her dog starve to death inside a parking garage inside Staples - and we still let this shit go on - and do you know who I think is to blame for these lax end results?

It's the crown prosecutors and judges - and mostly the judges - they do not see any value in anything that is not human - and we have to start talking about it - it's 2021 - if we see any value in our canine and feline companions - we have to start demanding it from every level of government - that Ms Robertson was found not guilty for what she was doing in Wilmot is ridiculous.  Her not guilty verdict is a symptom of our justice system in Nova Scotia and should NOT go un noticed - please don't let it go un-noticed - I'm sure all the people who now own the 35 dogs who are the survivors at the time of the raid by the SPCA would really like it if something happens beyond this.

It was NOT the NS SPCA who did something wrong in this case - which ludicrously, Judge Van Der Hock tried to make it sound (see article below) - it was Karin Robertson alone who did wrong things - and did it for years- people have known for years about her in Nova Scotia and everyone sighed for relief when she was finally raided and all her dogs were taken away - the fact that she's been found "not guilty" and is now been given carte blanche to start breeding again? I can't imagine - I hope people will do their due diligence - that'sfor sure.

Anyway - what a depressing outcome for the dogs of Nova Scotia this week - what needs to happen is that compassion training needs to happen for all justice employees in Nova Scotia - but like that is ever going to happen - especially judges - but that would be awesome - can you imagine if a judge saw that an animal was a sentient being and deserved the same justice as a living human?  Unbelieveable - what a world we'd be living in then.

In Nova Scotia right now our Justice Minister is Mark Furey - here is  his contact information - - if you really want to get busy - we have a new premier who is looking to our next election - I think it'd really be nice to put animals on the next election - so Iain Rankin - his contact information is here - - animals really do deserve more than what our justice system here in Nova Scotia have given them - and while you're talking to these two individuals - bring up Snoopy - he really needs to come home.  Thanks.

Here is what an article desribing the Animal Cruelty Appeal Board last December looked like:

N.S. SPCA, Robertson nowhere near agreeing on facts at appeal hearing 

 HALIFAX, N.S. — At an appeal hearing Monday, the Nova Scotia SPCA and Karin Robertson painted two very different pictures of the conditions 35 dogs were living under near Wolfville on Dec. 10. 

 JoAnne Landsburg, chief inspector of the N.S. SPCA, testified she first visited Robertson’s property on Sept. 18 as part of an investigation after two special constables came back with “many concerns with multiple dogs” from an inspection two days prior. 

 “I was immediately hit with the smell of dog and urine when I walked inside,” Landsburg testified during the SPCA’s first public appeal hearing at a Halifax hotel. Landsburg had multiple issues, such as stacked crates, the number of dogs running around and unsanitary conditions, so she gave Robertson a list of orders to follow and said the SPCA would return to follow up. 

 The SPCA returned for several inspections after Lansdburg’s initial visit and gave Robertson more compliance orders. 'An array of negative states' During a followup visit with animal behaviouralist Rebecca Ledger in October, Landsburg estimated she saw upward of 82 dogs on Robertson’s property. “(Robertson) could never tell me how many dogs were on the property,” Landsburg said. 

 Aside from the living conditions and the number of dogs, Ledger was concerned about the dogs' behavioural patterns. “It appeared they were suffering from an array of negative states,” Ledger testified. “They were incredibly fearful of strangers. 

They were very shut down, some of them.” Ledger noted some dogs she deemed aggressive were in pens next to one another, while some mother dogs were locked in crates. Final chance to surrender One of the dogs seized by the Nova Scotia SPCA from what the organization said was a puppy mill near Wolfville. - Nova Scotia SPCA One of the dogs seized by the Nova Scotia SPCA from what the organization said was a puppy mill near Wolfville. - Nova Scotia SPCA Landsburg wrote Robertson a letter near the end of November, asking her to surrender some of her dogs. “I wanted to give her one more final opportunity to reduce the number of dogs she had,” Landsburg said. 

 “When I did this, we had a plan in place with a time frame because I wasn’t prepared to let those conditions go on forever.” When Robertson didn’t surrender any more dogs to the SPCA, Landsburg obtained a search warrant. 

 On Dec. 10, 19 border collies and 16 Jack Russell terriers were seized from Robertson’s property. Almost all of the dogs, some with catch poles around their neck, had to be carried to the vehicles because they would roll or were aggressive, Landsburg said. Landsburg showed many graphic photos of the kennel, inside of the house and fenced areas on Robertson’s property from the day of the seizure and a previous visit. 

 “You couldn’t walk anywhere without stepping in feces,” Landsburg said as she clicked through photos of green-coloured water pooled outside in a fenced-in area, kennels with paw prints up the walls and dirty wood floors. 

 “I don’t think the kennels had ever been cleaned or sanitized.” Many in attendance, most in support of the SPCA, gasped, mumbled to one another or shouted words like “disgusting” as the photos were shown, while some left the packed room shaking their heads. Since seizing the dogs, five Jack Russell terriers and six border collies have been born. Another litter is expected at any time, Landsburg said. Witnesses for the SPCA testified all of the border collies have high levels of anxiety. 

 “The dogs are extremely shut down in fear,” Amy MacRae, a dog trainer who has been working with the border collies, testified. “One of the puppies himself was so withdrawn from human contact he would pretty much risk self-injury to avoid it.” Every one of the border collies was severely matted with burs in their fur, a veterinarian with the SPCA said, adding some of the Jack Russells had roundworms.

 'I was doing everything I could to accommodate them, but I couldn’t' “People who visit prior to or during chores may see an unclear area, but I assure you when I complete my chores, it’s clean.” - Karin Robertson But Robertson, 57, said the SPCA has been inspecting her place for five years and only started having an issue with her after a couple made a false post about her business on Facebook in July. “This is when it started really. 

It was shared 1,500 times and it went from ‘don’t buy a puppy from Karin Robertson’ to ‘this is a puppy mill,’” said Robertson, who was representing herself. In August 2019, Robertson said she had too many border collie puppies because she was having difficulties selling them. “I was doing everything I could to accommodate them, but I couldn’t, so I contacted the SPCA for help,” she said, adding she surrendered some of her dogs. 

 Robertson said after she was given the compliance orders, she was “working really hard" to make sure things were up to code. Robertson said the kennel floors had foam insulation and each had a mat or cot. She showed pictures of some kennels labelled with names, but most of the pictures didn’t include the floor. “I clean my kennel twice a day and more often if needed,” Robertson said. Robertson, who wasn’t present during the seizure of the dogs, said it may smell like feces or urine before she cleans the kennels, inside of her home or other areas. “I live with my dogs in my home. It’s not going to be picture perfect,” Robertson said. 

 “People who visit prior to or during chores may see an unclear area, but I assure you when I complete my chores, it’s clean.” Robertson claimed the SPCA traumatized the dogs during the seizure and that may be why they’re showing anxious tendencies. “SPCA visits are stressful because their visits are not planned, they are not my friend who I welcome into my home,” Robertson said. “They are enforcement officers who make me feel uncomfortable, leading my dogs to feel uncomfortable.” 'I’ve never seen any problems with the dogs' 

Robertson showed a few videos, some recent and others not, of dogs running through a field, one dog chewing a bone and another walking near her feet. “The SPCA have never witnessed my dogs in their home on a day-to-day basis in their natural environment exhibiting normal behaviour,” she said. All four of Robertson’s witnesses, her friends who have been around the dogs, said they have never seen the dogs act aggressively. Darren LeBlanc said he watched the dogs for a week and experienced no issues. 

 “I’ve never seen any problems with the dogs. There was no aggression or all this stuff that I’ve been hearing,” LeBlanc said. “I think Karin is not this evil person she’s been made out to be.” When questioned by Michael Scott, the lawyer representing the SPCA, Robertson admitted she did sell a dog to a buyer not knowing it was pregnant. 

The dog later had a litter of puppies on the buyer’s couch. Scott pressed Robertson on questions about puppy mills, as the SPCA believes Robertson was orchestrating one, but she declined to answer as she “is a professional, not a puppy mill.” Robertson said the SPCA unlawfully removed the dogs from her property and is asking for the return of her 35 dogs plus the money the SPCA has raised for the dogs. “When I read the letter (in November), 

I fear the SPCA were planning on seizing my dogs regardless of compliance,” Robertson said. The Animal Cruelty appeal board, consisting of three people selected by the province, has two business days to give a verbal decision. Near the end of the public hearing, the SPCA issued a news release stating they have charged Robertson with two counts of animal cruelty under the Animal Protection Act. Robertson is to appear in Kentville provincial court on Jan. 21 at 9:30 a.m. The charges are separate from the appeal.


This is an article published after Karin Robertson was found NOT GUILTY

Kings County woman acquitted of cruelty charges, judge says some SPCA orders not lawfully given 

 A Kentville provincial court judge has acquitted a Kings County woman on animal cruelty charges, saying the SPCA made orders that were not lawful and that the accused exercised due diligence in looking after her dogs. 

 Karin Robertson was charged with two counts of allowing an animal to be in distress and one count of disobeying orders after the SPCA seized 35 dogs from her breeding operation near Wolfville in December 2019. 

She was acquitted Wednesday. In July of 2019, malicious online statements caused business for her border collie kennel to dry up. 

With puppies being born and no one to purchase them, the number of dogs increased to around 80, including Jack Russell terriers that she also raised. In early August she started working to decrease the number of dogs, which Judge Rhonda van der Hoek described as “Herculean efforts.” 

Robertson reduced the number of dogs she had by more than half, to numbers below what she had during her annual SPCA inspection in May. An SPCA inspector visited Robertson on an unrelated matter in September, and between that visit and December the SPCA issued five orders with 44 directives with which it said Robinson was required to comply. 

 The directives included many under the Canadian Kennel Club's code of practice for Canadian kennel operations, as well as a few under the standards of care for cats and dogs regulations, which is a provincial regulation. 

 Van der Hoek said the orders to comply with directives under the code or practice “were not lawfully given, were ambiguous, unnecessary, and caused Ms. Robertson to divert precious time to interpretation and taking actions that further reduced her available time to care for and reduce the number of dogs.” 

 Robertson is not required to follow directives related to the code of practice, the judge said, because the Animal Protection Act does not incorporate it by reference, nor does it provide authority to issue orders under the code. 

 Van der Hoek said while directives under the standards of care regulations around food, water and shelter were lawful, they did not apply to Robertson's operation. 

 “She was directed to provide continuous shelter to dogs that were kept outdoors. I find there was no evidence presented by the Crown, that I accept, that the animals were kept outdoors,” van der Hoek said. She said while Robertson was also ordered to not allow “excess excrement where dogs are kept,” there was no evidence of an excessive amount. 

 The judge also took issue with the order issued by the SPCA that Robertson must make sure the dogs had drinking water 24 hours a day. She said the regulations require that dogs have adequate access to water, which is defined as clean, at a drinkable temperature, and accessible in sufficient volume taking into account weather and temperature, to maintain normal hydration. “(Robertson) watered the dogs twice a day, and the puppies every few hours based on age,” van der Hoek said. 

“Despite SPCA insistence, it is not the standard to have water present at all times.” An SPCA veterinarian who examined the dogs after they were seized did not note that any of them were dehydrated. The judge said the two charges of causing an animal to be in distress were not borne out, as Robertson took due diligence to look after the dogs.

 “I accept the evidence of Ms. Robertson, who I found to be both credible and reliable, that she worked from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day caring for all the dogs and the puppies,” the judge said. 

 She said Robertson maintained the gruelling schedule while also dealing with a cancer diagnosis, her ailing mother, and reducing the number of dogs she had, along with the long list of directives. 

 “She knew what issues were priorities, such as hand-feeding puppies, so it should be no surprise that dogs that were in the rainy outdoors were not always bathed and brushed every day. That's was certainly an item that had to be pushed to the bottom of the list.” One of the accusations from the SPCA was that some of the border collies were in distress because they had some mats in their fur and were dirty. Robertson's efforts were due diligence, the judge said, and “even the SPCA could think of nothing else she could have done. 

It would be wise for them to consider the issue of due diligence during their investigations, rather than ignoring it until trial.” The judge said that where Robertson's testimony differed from the SPCA witnesses, “I prefer hers. 

For example, the reliability of SPCA witness inspector (Jessica) Oliver suffered under cross-examination when she overstated her efforts to clarify the orders.” 

 The judge also said that on the day of the seizure, there was no evidence to prove the dogs were in distress. “The dogs were in the house or the kennel and without their master. The SPCA executed the warrant, they entered their house and alarmed the dogs, slip-lining their necks and taking them away. It is not surprising this traumatic experience caused defecation, urination and hostile behaviour.” 

 Robertson broke down as she walked out of the courtroom. Her lawyer, Brian Casey, said outside court that the judge looked at five days of evidence and “that gave her an opportunity which other people haven't had to make sure that she was getting the facts right.” He said the judge gave “a fairly serious criticism about the way the SPCA behaved here. 

One of the regrettable things is that the SPCA essentially has the power of expropriation under the Act, and even now that it has been found that Ms. Robertson did nothing wrong, there is no process for her to get her dogs back, there is no process for her to be compensated.” The SPCA adopted out the dogs after the seizure, months before the trial started. Robertson said she doesn't know what's next for her, but she plans to explore her options. 

 “There needs to be changes in the system so this doesn't happen to anybody else,” she said. She said she suffers from definitive statements made by the SPCA that she was operating a puppy mill before the matter had even gone to court. “I'm not a puppy mill, I've never been a puppy mill,” she said. “It's still in the news. People have made a decision and I'm guilty no matter what happened today. “They've ruined my reputation, they've ruined my business, I've been ostracized in my community. That's not going to change, people have already made up their minds and the hate groups are on their high horse, and that's what they believe.”