Monday, November 30, 2015

Not-So-Secret Lies and Ugly Truths

This Time It's Personal

Did the Halifax municipal prosecutor lie in August when she declined a deal to let Brindi go to the US in return for me to withdraw my appeal?  

After a winter like no other - six to eight inches of solid ice for months and record snows that drove everyone a bit mad here - I ended up spending the summer recovering from surgery for ovarian cancer. It was a double-whammy procedure to remove a large malignant tumour on my ovary, as well as certain lady parts I wasn't too happy about losing. I held my breath until the biopsies came back, and by August the coast was clear and I was able to get around on my own. But I was still far too dazed and worn to tackle yet more court documents. I can't help feeling they're what made me sick in the first place, frankly.

(Imagine if your best friend was put on death row, and their life depended entirely on you, and your ability to fake a language known only to members of a private club. Your friend will die unless you find the right combination of signs and sounds to convince a judge to listen to you instead of the club member in the room - the prosecutor, a native speaker. Then imagine having to do this over and over, year after year, to keep your friend alive, as they grow sick and old. You know you will never speak the language yet you have no choice. You can never see your friend; and after a time, no one will tell you if they are even alive. That's more or less my life.)

A kind relative I haven’t seen in decades called HRM solicitor Katherine Salsman on my behalf to ask once more if she would agree to mediation. When she said no, he went ahead and made an offer to adopt Brindi, suggesting that in return, I might be persuaded to drop my appeal. I haven't been able - physically or emotionally - to talk about it since then, much less function at anything remotely like full capacity. I am still shaking, in more ways than one. Let me try to explain why.

For about five years, this woman ignored many many other calls and letters offering adoption, and my own pleas for a similar deal. Everyone from PETA to Morgan Fairchild to the director of the Cesar Milan Foundation was unable to even get her or anybody on the phone, not even a call back. I could only assume the difference now was that my relative happens to be a lawyer, and a partner no less. In any case, judging from her response, she was perfectly happy to chat away like old chums. And more.

First, she told him she’d reply in a week after consulting with her "team" ("Team? What team?" I asked). Then she added that if HRM did accept, their condition would be that Brindi never comes back to me. He made no objection; it was the start of a process, and he understands that I have no interest in moving down to his or any state. He told me he knows and agrees that such a deal wouldn't be the fairest or most just outcome. But it would put an end to my misery and Brindi's suffering in the best way possible at that point. For my part, if I must allow anybody to have Brindi, I'd be thrilled if it were him. On the flip side, I could not think of anything HRM could object to about him as a prospective "adopter" for Brindi.

Let me just interject here that when he told me about the call afterwards, I just about hit the floor. Not only because the call happened at all, which was pretty massive. No; I figured she would talk to a fellow lawyer. What struck me so hard was that Ms. Salsman did not mention a thing to him about compliance with HRM's muzzle order, an escape-proof enclosure, or training. "Are you sure?" I kept asking him.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

HRM Animal By-law A-700 shocker! New money-maker for Halifax preserves A-300's biggest flaws

[Update: Overnight, a petition appeared: Mayor Savage Fix the Animal Control By-law A-700. Please sign and share!]

Reading A-700 gives me the distinct impression that HRM Council feels I got off lightly. And yet even though HRM has struck out three times in its bid to kill her, Brindi is still locked up after seven years. There is nothing light about that.

Timing is everything... and everything about the timing of the release of the "new" By-Law A-700 for the Halifax Regional Municipality (I'll never comprehend how a municipality can be regional) is simply nuts. And that's just the beginning!

I have not blogged for months. There are a lot of important reasons; they all add up to what I call flatlining. But I can't talk about that now. I have to talk about this. I am trying very hard to meet a court deadline, resuming with reluctance this very difficult task, after trying very hard to find representation - coming close but no cigar. Having to turn away offers of work as this deadline approaches doesn't make it any easier. Neither does having my head explode more than once in the past four weeks by things that just never happen but somehow did to me. Things best left unsaid, for now.

Now I am just speechless - A-700???  I am trying to overcome all manner of obstacles - financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, you name it, to appeal charges under A-300 and the horrible sentence under the little-known "additional penalty" clause tucked into the voluminous HRM Charter, and suddenly this A-700 drops from the sky. It should be called "A-007 Skyfall"! The HRM "Regional" Council voted on it a month ago, and whisked it into effect so fast this weekend, I never even heard it was thinking of it. Even a friend who reads the paper every day missed it. Maybe they wanted to avoid the long years of Council debates before A-300 went into effect?

Still, I would have thought Council would want to make sure it heard from the public first, especially since it had to change A-300 right away when folks went ballistic over the cat licenses. Apparently everybody missed the fact that A-300 contained sections that violate Charter rights, one of which I had to go to court about when it seized Brindi so wrongly and, it turned out, unlawfully.

Council sort of lost the trust of a lot of people after that too. It sure lost mine. Words cannot express the magnitude of the consequences of the way Animal Services treated me and my dog since 2008 - no end of drastic financial and material loss it's caused me, with years of lost income, the extreme and sustained emotional distress of separation and worry about Brindi, not to mention the effects on my professional and personal reputation - with social shunning as well as outright attack from stalkers, cyberstalkers, and cyberbullying from total strangers.

However, reading A-700 gives me the distinct impression that HRM Council feels I got off lightly.

This is what makes it so difficult to even read the thing. From the start, I never imagined it would be necessary to go to court. And then when a judge quashed the order to destroy as well as part of the law that authorized it, I was crushed even more to when HRM immediately refused to return Brindi - Kishan Persaud's fax only gave the reason that HRM thought she was dangerous - but the law doesn't authorize HRM to lock up dogs that are dangerous. They hadn't even charged me with any offences and didn't plan to until they lost in court.

Plus, for years afterwards, HRM neglected to delete the offending clause from the law.

Looking Back

When HRM seized Brindi intending to put her down in 2008 under very murky circumstances, it forced me into court twice, right off the bat: first, to suspend the date they picked out to kill her, because they didn't provide any form of appeal, and second, because they refused to reconsider their decision, would not meet with me or my local councillor, would not read letters from everybody from next-door neighbours with infants to kennel owners, groomers, and even the Canadian Post letter carrier. So the first filing was about wrongful seizure - and it would easily have taken a year to resolve.

Then, when HRM not only refused to meet with me and then refused to allow Brindi to be assessed, I had no choice but to file another application on the law itself - because even a former junior high student council president like me could tell it was unconstitutional. Not to mention, the Animal (Dis)Services people were delighting in having found their first victim - a docile rescue dog that didn't scare them in the least.

And, I never imagined the city would allow the matter to actually go to court! I thought, surely they'd want to avoid that embarrassment, and would rather discuss returning Brindi with me in exchange for four actions on my part - paying fines - once they charged me with something, as they'd leapt from a mild warning to drastic action; installing a dog run attached to the back door to prevent escapes, which I did while waiting; complying with a muzzle order, another drastic action that violated the same rights; I'd hoped to appeal it, but discovered there was no way to do it; and lastly, do specialized training with Brindi on her reactions to certain dogs approaching the property.

Boy was I wrong! The team of lawyers running city hall is pretty confident of themselves. And they are really sore losers. "Why should we abandon our position?" is their mantra.

But still! Sections that violate basic rights jump right out at you, if you have any understanding of your rights, that is - like the right to be heard and the right of appeal on any decision affecting you or your property. There were about four sections that were equally unconstitutional; in fact I'd actually asked the lawyer I hired to get Brindi back to include them all. Would have been easy, using the same brief, he blurted out by accident a few weeks too late. The look on my face must have been the reason he backed slowly out of the room.

Anyhow, I so wished he had done the job I paid him for, because, while section 8(2)(d) isn't there, it looks like the other right-violating sections were transplanted to A-700.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


How long has Brindi been locked up? 

From and including: Saturday, September 25, 2010 (or was it the 24th?? Memory block: with PTSD, avoidance turns to numbness turns to zombie state)
To and including: Sunday, November 22, 2015
Result: 1885 days, or 5 years, 1 month, 29 days

Added to the previous two-year stint, from and including: 

Thursday, July 24, 2008, the night they took her without warning, to and including: Friday, July 9, 2010
Result: 716 days, or 1 year, 11 months, 16 days

A grand total of 2601 days - or, 7 years, 1 month, 25 days.  

She was four when they took her, now she's... oh, you do the math.

Brindi at East Chezzetcook's Long Beach, soon after adoption in summer 2007.
Teeth whiter than white, vibrant and healthy at age 4 after two years in a no-kill shelter.
And to think how in those first July days of unbearable pain, shock, terror, agony at the unthinkable prospect of her spending a week or weeks in that SPCA "shelter". The minute they drove off, immune to my please, it felt like they'd gutted me from top to bottom. Lost ten pounds in seven days, could not eat, sleep, think. Seven years later physically gutted thanks to ovarian cancer... could never even finish restoring my gutted house.

Stay numb. Don't think. Just meet those deadlines... I can't do this.

All for a short-lived mishap in which she ran towards the front yard to check out a possible intruder - a man I never saw before in this tiny community. Started kicking her as soon as she came within reach while he let his dog run off - the dogs never even touched. Stalked off before I could finish a sentence. Had no idea he'd even called HRM until five days later when two men came into my house without a word, then brandished a warrant and took her while I tried in vain to call a lawyer. The man had said he wasn't planning to report it, but then his mom told him some rumours - harmless scuffles became savage attacks. And yet he had to add how surprised he was that she didn't even snap at him when he kicked her head and stomach over and over, as I begged him to stop.

HRM's Animal Services people must have thought, "Hey, perfect candidate to try out our brand new by-law, A-300, let's us seize & kill at will!" They went one step further by not bothering to get my side of the story, let alone talk to a true eyewitness... And they'd already set it up by issuing a muzzle order for Brindi - exploiting a dog owner's request not to fine me for a similar scuffle a month earlier, because I was nice enough to offer to cover a vet to check it over and she promptly ran up a bill of $143, covering a full check-up and a second visit. I'd forgotten all about what happened weeks before that, when she and her dog passed on the road and her dog began lunging and barking uncontrollably. Brindi remained a perfect lady, sitting obediently at my feet. She was, is, such a good dog, so loving, so eager to please, and after a year of diligent training, pretty darn reliable off-leash. But dog's don't forget: provocation then, provocation later, when she saw that pair coming towards our house. 

Last photo of Brindi I have, taken by a vet tech in 2012, age 9.
After just 6 months in the pound, her teeth and gums were 
already rotting, chronic pancreatitis setting in. 
The minute a judge turned over Brindi and her fate to 
the city in 2012, the prosecutor cut off the bi-monthly
visits - which I'd been paying for - with the 
glib remark, "Brindi's not sick."
But it was a mistake to point out such things. The city lawyers simply bellowed, "See, your Lordship, proof Ms. Rogier still doesn't take it seriously! She's unwilling and unable to comply!

Sigh. HRM's lawyers are good, all right. Good at recasting simple scuffles as near fatalities. Of course they have help, like the unfriendly lady across the street. Out here, most folks wave at every passing car; this one hadn't once said hi since I'd moved. Much later, under oath, she did admit she hadn't actually seen anything. But thanks to her, the official docs still say Java "yelped" while Brindi was "on her back" and the man had to kick her in order to pry her off. 

Not what he, I, or that eyewitness, or even that judge said - but why let the facts get in the way of victory?? They've embellished and twisted everything - nearly tripling the vet bill to $363 (and it's in evidence!). They even got the judge to mistakenly assume I took her to obedience class "due to behavioural problems". In reality, I'd taught her the basics in a few weeks; we took the class simply to advance - to make her the best dog she could be so we could go anywhere, do anything, like my dearly departed Howard and me. 

When I called that woman asking for help after the city took Brindi again, she said no. "Why don't you just go get another dog at the shelter?" Seems that's what she did - at least, I never saw her dog again.

Friday, May 22, 2015

"The Belly of the Architect": The Big C Pre-Empts Everything from Court to Construction

 It's been nearly half a year since I posted anything here, and probably for the best, since it's been a pretty hellish time and it's unclear how things will go from here.

First of all, the winter, which got fully underway by February and peaked with the big blizzard on March 19, was uniquely horrible. Never experienced anything like it in my life. Thick sheets of ice covered the driveway and parts of the lawn from February to late March. Salt was useless. Even now, nearly the end of May, it's still chilly and gray most days. 

Along the way, my plumbing went out for a few weeks at a time - and this happened more than once. Just after I got that under control, on March 5 as I brought in the groceries, my feet shot out from under me suddenly. I fell back into open space, my head eventually bouncing off the ice with a loud crack. Concussion, with all the usual earmarks - nausea, headaches, etc.

Then I began noticing that my belly would cramp up a few minutes after tossing a few shovelfuls of snow around - which I did just to clear a little around the car. (Otherwise I was happy to leave it where it was for the most part; this snow was frozen and extremely heavy, not worth breaking your back for).

Sometime in the past four months, well before this news, but in no less of a dark depression, I posted in the Brindi Activists group on Facebook as if in some sort of trance, "One of us is going to die soon." I can't explain what I was thinking. It didn't come from my brain, it came to it, somehow.

By late March I had been to the doctors and even the ER a few times with pain and other disquieting symptoms, including a lot more chronic fatigue than I usually have. An ultrasound right after Easter brought the alarming news of a sizable tumor that stunned the doctors as much as it did me. It was followed by a blood test that strongly indicated malignancy. By that time I had done a little research and figured it out myself, albeit it an uncommitted sort of way.

I have ovarian cancer. Yup, that's me. The fifth leading cause of cancer deaths, it's particularly deadly because unlike breast cancer, it evades early detection. And by now my tumor, which is where my ovaries once were, is about the size of a grapefruit according to the last scan.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Christmas, seventh time around: Halifax says no to mediation

Pope Francis did a great thing earlier today - he basically said dogs go to heaven. Surpringly causing a sensation. Where else would dogs go?
It's final. Sadly.

HRM will not agree to enter into mediation with me in order to resolve Brindi's case sooner rather than later - in other words, before she dies in the kennel.

I put the offer of mediation to HRM at the end of October through a local lawyer who was willing to represent me for that purpose pro bono. This was not too long after I filed notice of a second appeal.

I didn't know mediation was even possible until them. I just happened to notice 
 saw online that the Supreme Court was offering a new, free, court-sponsored mediation program as an alternative to appeals. I found the lawyer's name on a list provided by the court.

Dismayingly consistent with its history of refusing to cooperate in any way, regardless of cost, merit, etc., Halifax said no.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


This hurts so much to read and even more to look at. 

After being locked up in the SPCA's 30-day facility for nearly 2 years, and two months in Homeward Bound's Burnside facility which was even worse, Brindi had nightmares for over two months. 

Just when they began to stop, HRM seized her a second time. And my nightmares and hers began all over again and haven't stopped since.

Friday, September 19, 2014

In need of rescue: NS SPCA must man up and do its duty for Brindi, the dog they say they love

 If you are new to this case, thank you for your interest! For background, please see the 2012  Montreal Dog Blog interview. This case differs from most "dangerous dog" cases and may be confusing. But it is important to know for those concerned about animal control laws and enforcement in North America, as it lays bare core issues common to animal control cases. Thank you.

A call out to all who care about Brindi: 
Please help with the effort to persuade the local SPCA to intervene by using its legal authority to protect animal welfare to take her from the control of the city and place her in a safe, healthy home that abides by all court conditions. 
Asking the SPCA to intervene is one way the public can help. It has the greatest potential for getting Brindi to safety.

Here is how it works. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

No man's land: Appeal denied, open-ended law upheld, HRM gets back power struck down in 2008

Not only does the appeal decision of July 11, 2014 mean HRM can go ahead and do what decided to do in 2008 - namely, kill Brindi. It means it can and will do this in secrecy. And in the end, the decision is very likely to mean HRM seize, detain, and kill any other dog unimpeded: it virtually restores the power HRM gave itself in By-Law A-300 the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional in 2009 - in the case I brought against HRM.  
(see HRM's DILEMMA, below; click "read more")

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Humane Halifax: After 6-year battle to kill Brindi, HRM keeps mum / NS SPCA called on to protect dog's life

HRM secretive about plans for Brindi / Humane Halifax asks NS SPCA to investigate neglect abuse of all seized dogs at municipal pound  

(Dartmouth Aug. 12, 2014 4:00 ATL): In a recent email to Brindi's owner, HRM prosecutor Katherine Salsman tightened a cloak of secrecy around the municipality’s longtime ward, the dog Brindi, claiming there is no “final decision” on the dog’s future (see email below).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Activists Appeal to Nova Scotia SPCA: Please act to secure Brindi from wrongful death

Carol Waterman, Animal Activist, Montreal 

From: Carol Waterman
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:27:38 -0400
To: Elizabeth Murphy
Cc: David Ross ;, Sandra Flemming, Board of Directors ;

July 14, 2014

Good Afternoon,

After many years of fighting to save an innocent dog Brindi from death, today I received horrific news that HRM, Halifax has been given the green light to kill her.   As an animal advocate & animal lover in Montreal, QC, I find this to be totally unjust.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Concerned Canadians tell Halifax: Don't kill Brindi - I will gladly adopt her!

A number of Brindi supporters across Canada have come forward to adopt Brindi. Here are a few sample letters. 
To date, Halifax has not replied. 

From: Lana Horan, British Columbia
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:30:52 -0700
Subject: Brindi

Dear Mr. Savage and Ms. MacDonald,

My husband and I are putting in a request to adopt Brindi. I know she's had a hard life being locked up for 6 years and we are convinced that Brindi would have a wonderful place to live out her last few years here with us in beautiful British Columbia.

We live on 20 acres and have a completely fenced yard (approx. an acre) with the 6' fence buried 6" so no exit is possible. We have a dog door for freedom of yard or house. We are semi-retired, so someone is usually home. Brindi would get lots of attention.

Monday, April 22, 2013


It should never happen to any dog. This evidently happened somewhere in the UK. But similar things have happened in many places.

Amidst scenes of great distress, "Three year old crossbred dog ‘Tyler’ was forcibly removed from his home at 7.30 am on December 20th 1991. When owner Debbie answered her door, dressed in her nightgown, there were at least 5 arresting officers, two wearing protective clothing and carrying catch poles. Tyler was dragged from the bed where he had been sleeping upstairs with a 6 year old child, his neck bleeding as the catch poles tightened in the struggle. When his owner began to obstruct the arrest of her dog she was restrained, forcibly led away down the street in her nightgown and arrested, her dog was driven away in the back of a van.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Justice Denied: Farewell to Rehtaeh Parsons, Farewell to Jeff de la Rosa

Today is "Ruination Day", the 14th of April, the day Abraham Lincoln was shot 148 years ago. An incomprehensible act, like the ones I mourn today.

Today, like every day since last Sunday, I am so saddened by the death of Rehtaeh Parsons: saddened, angered, shocked, aggrieved. One look at 17 year-old Rehtaeh’s open-hearted, beautiful face, captured in the many images so generously and lovingly shared by her family, is all it takes to know what a sensitive young woman she was, what a big heart she had. The stories of her compassion and love for all living things are hardly necessary additions. But those stories abound. And one involves Brindi.

Friday, September 21, 2012

How do you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?

Stories like this rarely appear in the Chronicle Herald: A very reliable source told me about a vicious attack on September 12 in the Bayers Westwood area: a dog ran loose and attacked a child. No idea if the child "provoked" it; I only know that when the child's mom tried to intervene to stop the attack, the dog bit her. Both child and mother needed stitches. It was reported. Yet well over a week later, I am told Halifax animal services did not show up to seize that dog. The owner was fined.

Let me say right up front, I am not a fan of seizing dogs, let alone killing healthy dogs for any reason.
But when Halifax keeps harping on in court briefs and arguments about how Brindi - who has never attacked humans, even the ones who foolishly kicked her repeatedly - is such a threat to public safety and must not be allowed to go home, or to anybody's home - I cannot help feeling very outraged when it fails yet again to seize a dog that attacked humans. It seems to me that if they consistently applied the logic they used to seize and kill Brindi without investigating, they ought to be seizing any dog ever reported for attacking.

Why keeping Brindi kennelled & isolated from contact with dogs is bad for her

How awful it must be for Brindi to be isolated from contact with her kind as well as her own family!

Our trainer, Susan Jordan, tried to explain to the judge during the trial last March (2012) that it is normal for a dog to back-slide in its training under any circumstances. What's really important is whether the aggressive behavior escalates - which it did not. Also, during those precious ten weeks when she was back home, Brindi was in many situations around strange dogs where she did not react aggressively. 

And now, based on the findings of this study regarding the increased risk of behavioral problems due to the isolation from other dogs, after years of isolation, seems to me that having an incident ten weeks after she was released from two years of isolation from other dogs is understandable. Even for dogs that aren't known to have any aggressive tendencies, 
"Within four weeks after picking up their pet, 88% of the owners of dogs that had been housed individually complained of problems."

Here is where Brindi has been kept for the last two years

This is Brindi's cell. It is a 3x4 foot area - less than the minimum standard of 3x5 for indoor runs used by vet clinics, required even for stays of just one day. The thought of the minimum standard for two years is not very comforting! I don't know what that material is, but looks pretty dreary and worn. I don't know about the door, it seems to go right to the outside. What happens when it rains or snows or a cold wild blows and she wants to stay in, no idea. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The amazing stubbornness of stalkers and haters: a rant for once

At every stage of the way, regardless of the number of unfair and cruel actions of various authorities and agents, a crazed core of strange people manages to weave them into a twisted narrative that makes me the villain. Safe in their internet hideouts, these obsessives now insist I am now blocking the city from adopting out Brindi.

The emails from prosecutor Katherine Salsman I posted weeks ago make it very clear that HRM had not done the court-ordered assessment, nor made any decision about Brindi by the appeal deadline. The only decision it made was to keep the results of said assessment private. It had no intention of doing anything, however. 

So while the idea that I am blocking is ridiculous, it's all the more astounding just how persistent these people are. No matter what happens, no matter how absurd the spin. I guess they count on a certain percentage of people who rarely think for themselves, or try to discern fact from opinion.  The litany of untruths, some hatched as far back as 2009, get pretty threatening in this age of Google. Fortunately most people see them for what they are and go on their way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My house is not a home.

Brindi and me, seen through the fence at the SPCA Shelter, which served as the Halifax pound, 2010.
According to rules invented on the spot (no official policy existed or was ever adopted by the HRM council), my visits were limited to 30 minutes once a week, on a day and time set by HRM; I could take no photos, not talk to staff; have no friends accompany me, give my own dog treats, and if I was late for whatever reason, they subtracted the time from the 30 minutes.
Even though there was (and is) no law or rule in place forbidding owners from visiting their dogs in the pound, Halifax refused to let me see Brindi for ten months, barring a single, torturous visit in January 2009, right after the court decision quashing the euthanasia order. At the time I believed she'd be let go in a few days, but it was neverthless horrifying to see her condition and horrible to have to leave her 25 minutes later, after freezing in the subzero weather (they wouldn't let us visit indoors). It wasn't until ten months after they took Brindi away from me that I was allowed regular visits under the same strict rules mentioned above. Then, HRM terminated the visits, just before Xmas 2009, on a claim that I had violated the rules. Which ones and when - forget it; there's no impartial review anyhow. The decision more or less coincided with the onset of Brindi's illness, when it was difficult to get precise medical information. Thanks to that, and the court's insistence that it didn't have jurisdiction to grant visits, I didn't see my dog for another six months.
As of today I haven't seen her for almost two years. Fortunately, I was able to have my vet see her at the clinic on a fairly regular basis, and her assistant took photos. Here's one of the last shots, from June 20. You can see how much she's aged. That probably happens faster when a dog is kept in a cage, I suppose. I know I've aged a lot more than four years.

Meanwhile, I have posted the trainer's recent assessment results, along with her statement to the court. And you can read her in-court testimony here.

"Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is diminished." - Dean Koontz 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Appeal filed Aug. 1: another marathon begins

The reason the judge told HRM that they must wait to take any action until after August 1 was because that was the last day to file an appeal of any kind before the Supreme Court.

I dearly wish it weren't so, but the outcome of this trial was a very odd twist, not what the law envisages, and certainly not what anybody I know expected. The judge waited till weeks after the trial was finished to deny motions I filed before it started and mid-stream: one to dismiss the charges on constitutional grounds, one moving to dismiss evidence as inadmissible, and a motion declare a mistrial. Motions to dismiss are heard before trials begin, and usually decided on the same day. Mine was to be heard orally on March 2. Instead, I ended up filing it in writing, and it was never argued in the courtroom.

The other motions were handled in similar fashion; written arguments were never even completed for them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Trying to find out what Halifax is up to: it's not easy!

From: Francesca Rogier
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:24:55 -0300
To: "Salsman, Katherine"
Cc: "MacDonald, Andrea", "Scolaro, Lori", (the court clerk; Animal Services; David Hendsbee; the vet; the trainer; Mayor Kelly; legal consultant Kirthi Jayakumar)
Conversation: Awaiting response to July 23 email: HRM's plans for Brindi?
Subject: Re: Awaiting response to July 23 email: HRM's plans for Brindi?
Ms. Salsman,

Thank you for your reply.
Would you kindly explain what is meant by “usual practice”? Other than the evaluations of stray dogs by and at the city pound, I am not aware of any practice or policy by which HRM regularly assesses seized dogs. If such a practice exists, surely HRM would have had Brindi evaluated some time ago, but I never received any such documentation as part of disclosure.
Clearly we are not dealing with anything of a usual nature in this instance, at the very least. So I would still like an answer as to why the assessment results will not be made known.
Also, when do you expect a decision will be made?

Thank you,
Francesca Rogier   

From: "Salsman, Katherine"
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 17:59:55 +0000
To: Francesca Rogier
Cc: "MacDonald, Andrea" , "Scolaro, Lori"  
Subject: RE: Awaiting response to July 23 email: HRM's plans for Brindi?

Ms. Rogier,  

As previously stated, the assessment will not be released because it is an internal document. It is not our usual practice to release documents of that nature.

The assessment has not yet been completed and therefore no decisions have been made.

Katherine E. Salsman
Municipal Prosecutor  

Sunday, July 22, 2012




·      Please contact often and be sure to ask for a reply.
·      Send photos of Brindi with them if you can (download from the blog or Save Brindi).
·      Calling them, if you are able, and using regular mail or postcards is very powerful.
·      For emails, try to avoid using Brindi in the subject line because many of them just dump them!
·      ALSO IMPORTANT: To be more effective, please cc all messages to the media. See list below.


Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
Address:          Halifax  City Hall
1841 Argyle Street, Main Floor
PO Box 1749
Halifax, NS B3J 3A5 Canada

Mayor Peter Kelly:
phone: 001 902 490 4010
twitter: @mayorpeterkelly

Head of Halifax Legal Services: Marian Tyson

Municipal Prosecutor: Katherine Salsman

Manager of HRM Animal Services: Andrea Macdonald
Supervisor of Animal Services: Lori Scolaro (she issued the original euthanasia order)
HRM Animal Services
P.O. Box 1749
Halifax, NS B3J 3A5
Phone: 001-902-490-7371 or 490 1791
Fax: 001 902 490-6142

Homeward Bound City Pound
Address:             201 Unit 9 Brownlow Avenue,
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1W2
Tel: (902)407-SAVE (7283) Fax: (902)406-8588

Homeward Bound Owner/Director: Hope Swinimer email:

HRM MUNICIPAL COUNCILORS: see for full information.

Brindi’s local councilor is David Hendsbee.
Mobile:     1 902.483.0705
Home:      1 902.829.2465
Mailing Address: 1 Chamberlain Drive, Dartmouth, NS B2Z 1B1

Email addresses for all municipal councilors:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Twitter addresses for some councilors: @barkhouse @downtowndawn @councillorwatts @darrenfisherns

Attorney General and Minister of Justice: Hon. Ross Landry

Minister of Municipal Affairs: Hon. John MacDonnell
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
1505 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 2M4
Phone: (902) 424-5550
Fax: (902) 424-0581

Member of Parliament for Halifax/Eastern Shore: Peter Stoffer
Community Office:
2900 Hwy #2
Fall River, Nova Scotia, B2T 1W4
Tel: 902-861-2311 or toll-free (NS only) 1-888-701-5557
Fax: 902-861-4620
Ottawa Office:
Room 242 Confederation Bldg.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Tel: 613-995-5822Email:

Member of the Provincial Assembly (MLA), Eastern Shore: Sid Prest
7907 Hwy #7, Unit 2
P.O. Box 6
Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia
B0J 2L0

Phone: (902) 889-2112
Fax: (902) 889-3190

For all MLAs:

IMPORTANT: To be more effective, please cc all messages to the media.

Local media:,, Eileen.McInnis@CBC.CA,,,,,,,,,

Local media on Twitter: @cbcns @cbcmainstreet @maritimenoon @jordimorgan @theRickHoweShow @news957 @chronicleherald @twitcoast @tim_bousquet @openfileHFX @HalifaxMagazine @HalifaxNSNews @nealozano @CKDU881FM

National media: CBC radio and TV, CTV, Global TV, National Post, Globe and Mail

OTHER LOCAL TWITTER ACCOUNTS:  @hfxnovascotia @halifaxtweeters @occupyns

NOTE: Contacting individuals directly and often brings better results than online petitions. We have done petitions over and over, the last total was 10,000 signatures, but the judge and the city ignore them! Belfast ignored nearly 200,000 signatures on petitions for Lennox, sadly!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Alarm bells: Halifax signals all things Brindi are secret from now on

On June 26, the provincial judge turned over all control and rights to my dog Brindi to Halifax - the very city that has wanted to kill her since July 2008. That June, animal services officials had arbitrarily muzzled her, then told me about a law allowing them to seize and destroy her without any further ado if she was reported for anything, including not wearing her muzzle even accidentally. They seized her on July 24, 2008, after exactly that unfortunate thing happened four days earlier: she accidentally got loose for about 20 seconds, without causing injury to anybody.

There is no law in Halifax mandating seizure and destruction of a dog under a muzzle order merely for being off its property without the muzzle on. The supreme court later quashed that euthanasia order, but Halifax didn't return Brindi. And the city never held anybody accountable for those boldfaced lies, either.

It's no exaggeration to say that both of our lives were ruined that sad day. Many times over, in fact.

Last month, after prolonging Brindi's already lengthy stay in the pound by nearly four more months (on top of 18 months since the 2010 seizure), and after I put together a very strong case for Brindi's release, bolstered by the trainer's excellent testimony, Judge Buchan gave carte blanche to Halifax officials, saying they should do their own usual" assessment on her, and after August 1, they are free to decide for themselves what to do with her. (For some strange reason the prosecutor told the media the date was August 21 - not sure what that was about.)

During the trial, the prosecutor argued - as always - that there was only one option for Brindi: death. Somehow the judge ignored this consistent position, as well as the fact that Brindi has been assessed positively many times already. The most recent one was carried out on June 13 by behavioral consultant Susan Jordan; her report lay on the judge's desk.

Now the municipal prosecutor, 2009 law school grad Katherine Salsman, tells me that the results of Brindi's assessment will be in an "internal document". In other words, she will not share the results with me or the public. After two days puzzling over this, I came to the alarming realization that it must mean the city is planning to keep secret what they ultimately will do with/to Brindi a secret.  And that they must have decided to have her killed.

So the only reason for these officials to keep their decision a secret is if they plan to kill her. This would not be a surprise, as Halifax officials have wanted to do since 2008, and spent an inordinate amount of money trying. But it is extremely dismaying news, and everyone should take notice.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My statement to the Court regarding sentencing


The Honourable Judge Flora I. Buchan
Dartmouth Provincial Court
277 Pleasant St
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 3S2

Your Honour:

June 22, 2012

RE: R. v. Rogier

Sentencing Submissions

1.     Please accept this letter as my submissions with respect to sentence in the above trial.


2.     In response to a finding of guilt on the charges, the Crown is seeking an order to have my dog, “Brindi”, destroyed, and fines imposed on me.


3.    HRM has seized Brindi twice, citing the same claim that she must be destroyed. The original euthanasia order was quashed along with the law used to issue it.

4.     Four times since HRM first seized Brindi in July 2008 under the claim that she must be destroyed, at my request she has been assessed by qualified persons with experience evaluating dogs. In all instances, the results have been quite positive. The most recent assessment carried out one week ago resulted in a finding that she is fit to live in a family home. The extended period of detainment has brought about the need for a period of re-adjustment to relearn housetraining and recover other abilities that any dog would need under the circumstances.

5.     The Crown has submitted the full Decision by Justice Beveridge of the Supreme Court which found that after the first seizure, HRM was procedurally unfair and denied me due process.

Letter submitted to the Court by Brindi's veterinarian

Since October 2010, Dr. Larkin has been regularly monitoring Brindi's health at my request, as her health was already compromised from two-years of being held in isolation. For unstated reasons, HRM would not permit the vet to see Brindi at the kennel, however, so she was brought to the Complete Care Clinic. Dr. Larkin speaks about her expertise and her opinion of Brindi's behavior. Posted with permission. 

June 21, 2012

The Honourable Judge Flora I. Buchan
Dartmouth Provincial Court
277 Pleasant Street
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 3S2

Your Honour,

Re: R. v.  Rogier Sentencing Submissions

Please accept and consider this letter which is presented with respect to the trial of 
Francesca Rogier, owner of Brindi.
With full respect to your Honour, I am aware that Courts in Canada customarily give consideration to veterinary opinion in cases where the destruction of a family pet is contemplated.  In some cases, they seek out such professional input. I would hope that such consideration is given here.

Professional qualification:
It is my sincere hope that my statement will not be disregarded or dismissed based on what would be, in my view, a misunderstanding of the notion of “expert”. As a veterinarian, I spent 8 years in university training to become a doctor.
My training at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island qualifies me to diagnose conditions and prescribe medical treatments in the areas of dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology , immunology, orthopedics, as well as performing surgery, dentistry, radiology, and last but not least, behavior modification training. Veterinarians essentially are trained to provide complete medical care for our animal patients including behavioural advice. It is rare that we have the need to consult a specialist. My 18 years of clinical experience further demonstrates my knowledge and skills as a veterinarian.
In addition, as a veterinarian entrusted by both Ms. Rogier and Halifax Regional Municipality to monitor Brindi’s health since early 2010, I am able to provide reliable information about her status and her behavior.  In its capacity as a representative of the public, and having been in regular dialogue with Animal Services staff, I would hope that the Municipality will have no question as to the authenticity of my statement, as I am aware that it is customary for the legal profession to recognize the validity of a veterinarian’s statements on behalf of their patient.

With respect to Brindi, please allow me to place her in context with the greater dog population in HRM from my point of view as a practicing veterinarian. In my practice, and in others across the province where I have worked, it is common (a few times a month) to have an appointment with a patient who is aggressive towards other dogs who must be scheduled for the first or last appointment of the day to prevent them from running into another dog and risking a fight.  It is also common to be confronted with a dog that is aggressive towards people that proves to be a serious health risk to me and my staff.  I am well trained and experienced in handling these situations. Beyond this, I have worked with several pet owners to help them modify their pet’s aggressive behaviour.

In my 2 years of caring for Brindi, I have never felt concerned for the personal safety of me or my staff. When Francesca brought her to my clinic in the summer of 2010, we never found it necessary to clear the waiting room before her entry.  She is a sweet, intelligent dog. Although she does need behavior modification for her territorialism, speaking as a veterinarian with a grounding in behavioural science, I would not deem Brindi to be a candidate for euthanasia. I have seen many dogs in my practice that in my view would pose a serious risk to public safety. I am not aware that HRM considers any of these patients a “dangerous dog” or that their owners have received any warnings or citations.

Francesca Rogier has been a good client of mine since November 2009. Whenever she brought Brindi to my clinic, Brindi was properly muzzled and leashed. Ms. Rogier has kept all of her pets in good health by feeding good food and allowing me to perform good preventative health care. She has kept her dog’s license up to date, as she renewed it in my office this past spring. She even brought in her friend’s 2 dogs to my hospital and paid for their veterinary care and licensing herself.

Ms. Rogier’s persistence in defending Brindi clearly shows her devotion and care that she delivers to her pets.  I truly believe Ms. Rogier has the intent and ability to provide Brindi with the behavior training she needs to modify her territorialism. In addition, I have met and spoken with Susan Jordan, her trainer, and am aware she is well-regarded in the community of trainers and is equipped to handle behavioural modification. I am confident in her abilities.

I hope you find this statement instructive. If you have any questions for me please feel free to contact me (number removed).


Kyra Larkin BSc, DVM

Dr. Larkin first examined Brindi in June 2010, at Belle Kennel, using her mobile vet clinic.  
I am very grateful to her for her dedication and commitment.

For the trainer's findings, go here