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."

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.

So instead of aiming for the appeal hearing that was to happen June 4, I am about to undergo a full hysterectomy in three days. And after that, a course of chemotherapy. The outlook is usually five years before the cancer comes back again, and let's be honest, it nearly always ends up killing a person.

Thanks to The Big C's arrival, I had to ask for an adjournment of the appeal hearing set for June 4. There was a double whammy of problems: with the intermittent pain and constant fatigue, there was no way I could complete another five sets of massive appeal books (now over 2000 numbered, indexed, and tabbed pages in six bound volumes) plus a new factum (brief) by the April 16 deadlines. Now the surgery makes even showing up on June 4 impossible.

And since I didn't know when I'd be well enough to complete all the paperwork, let alone appear in court, the judge simply set another day, June 24, to revisit the matter and set new deadlines. Fortunately the HRM prosecutor - possibly a first  - did not oppose my request, and the judge - also a first - was more than willing to grant it without any of the usual admonitions or remonstrations.

It's taken weeks to absorb all of this. Friends and family, including my 90+ mother, have been amazing and supporting; a wonderful aunt in the medical profession has been even more amazing and supportive; but somehow I still cannot get a grip on it no matter how hard I try. Not that I've had much time for that, with all that needed to be arranged for a 4-5 day hospital stay and the weeks of recovery at home. It really takes a lot of work, just like when I prepared for a transatlantic commute, but with a lot more worry of course.

Granted, I had two or three cancer scares in the past seven years - but those were for Brindi, whose chronic pancreatitis (a gift from the SPCA) puts her at risk for even more deadly pancreatic cancer. In fact, she could have it at this very moment and I would not know. In 2012, Halifax's lawyers ceased allowing our vet to monitor her blood every month as she had done since 2010. This has not done much to lessen my stress and distress in all this time, I can tell you.

So if you are one of those who subscribe to the belief that trauma and stress can bring on cancer, well, I wouldn't say you were wrong. With no family history of this kind of cancer (and relatively little cancer at all), it truly came out of left field.

Day after day, people ask me, "How do you know Brindi is still alive?" Not exactly very considerate question to ask somebody in my position, don't you think? And it's not like I haven't posted so many many many time that I don't know, because HRM will not provide concrete medical information or any reliable information. I do not know how to force them to do it because the judges don't seem to agree that it's necessary. So now, quite frankly, I honestly don't know if I will still be alive to finish the onerous but necessary task of completing the whole appeal and getting her home.

For the same reason, I don't know if I will ever finish my house renovation. And not just because of the immense financial burden it poses, now that I've been drained of the funds set aside for it. I have a slew of other goals that would be nice to accomplish as well - finally finish my PhD, for instance, and get it published in some form. And things of that nature...

But I could happily scrap everything else and this world to boot, happily, if I could only get Brindi safely home and complete the work on this old heritage house as I planned it: the whole garage/deck, basement slab, window and door replacement, cladding, roofing, and oh yeah, a heat pump, what a nice thing it would be to have central heating again.

I never imagined in a million years that either of these tasks would prove so damned difficult.

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

Affidavit Submitted to Provincial Court for Sentencing

Affidavit of Elizabeth Lindsay

I hereby affirm and give evidence as follows:

1.     I am Elizabeth Lindsay, a friend of Francesca Rogier, the Defendant in this matter.

2.     I reside at address withheld , Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

3.     I have personal knowledge of the evidence sworn in this affidavit except where explicitly stated as based on information and belief. I state my belief of the source of any information I state herein that is not based on my own personal knowledge.

4.     I have been a pet owner in HRM for 30 years and am active in the volunteer and rescue community.

5.     In mid-June 2010, on or around June 10, I observed two of Francesca’s training sessions with Brindi at Belle Kennel in Porter’s Lake, which was conducted according to Court order. These sessions lasted for about an hour.

6.     During these sessions with Brindi, who I had not seen prior to these sessions, the dog impressed me as a friendly, good-natured animal weighing about 60 pounds. She responded to commands obediently and intelligently.

7.     Throughout the sessions, which took place in the pen designated for them, I was able to observe that Francesca was diligent and sincerely focused on completing the training as prescribed by court-approved trainer Susan Jordan.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I want every person and every "sanctuary" to know....

that Brindi is not material for a sanctuary or rescue... she is a dog that has excellent obedient training, is smart, affectionate, gentle, and good. This has all been well documented and analyzed by trainers and vets and presented to the court in testimony and prepared reports.
All of the assessments found the same things, including the most recent assessment carried out on June 13 specifically for the purpose of this trial. Brindi is not "dog-aggressive". She is not food aggressive. She is territorial - to some dogs, not every dog. She ranks on the very lowest level of the scale of aggression, meaning Brindi seeks to communicate, not harm.
Typically, she reacts to a combination of the dog and the person with the dog.
Brindi needs work on one issue and one issue only.
That issue is very controllable now, and can be trained out of her.

She is not a dog that should be locked away for the rest of her life. So please do not imagine even for one second that this is an acceptable solution!

Brindi deserves a good home and all the love in the world!