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.  

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. 

1. To clarify the roles:
  • Halifax animal control now takes all animals it picks up as strays or seizes under warrant to Homeward Bound City Pound, a private company in Burnside Industrial Park, that Halifax contracts to provide "pound services" as of 2010.* That year, Halifax chose not to renew its contract with the Nova Scotia SPCA, who previously provided these services at the Metro Shelter. 
  • In turn, Homeward Bound pays a private kennel in West Chezzetcook, Wyndenfog Kennel, to hold dogs Halifax wants detained until their fate is decided - usually until their owners are tried in court. 
  • Halifax instructs Homeward Bound and Wyndenfog to confine these dogs from contact with other dogs and to prohibit visits (from their owners, trainers, vets).
  • Brindi has been at Wyndenfog Kennel since 2010. 
2. This means the SPCA does not participate in animal control in any way and is free to enforce the provincial Animal Protection Act and take action to protect Brindi’s life right now.

  • The Act provides full and sole authority to the SPCA to enforce it. 
  • The SPCA is thus empowered to investigate, lay charges, and obtain a warrant to seize animals.
  • For this, it needs “reasonable grounds to believe an animal is in distress”. No further permission or approval is necessary. 
  • There is veterinary and canine expert opinion on file – already in its possession - providing ample grounds for the SPCA to believe - and know - Brindi is in distress. 

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

 HUMANE HALIFAX PRESS RELEASE AUGUST 12, 2014
HRM secretive about plans for Brindi / Humane Halifax asks NS SPCA to investigate neglect abuse of all seized dogs at municipal pound  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
(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 emurphy@spcans.ca
Cc: David Ross ;dross@spcans.ca, Sandra Flemming sflemming@spcans.ca, Board of Directors ;animals@spcans.ca
Subject: EXTREMELY URGENT ! BOARD OF DIRECTORS & SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM - PLEASE SAVE BRINDI FROM DEATH

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
To: savagem@halifax.caMacdonaa@halifax.ca,
Cc: newsroom@herald.ca,halifax@metronews.cacoast@thecoast.cainfo@newspapersatlantic.ca
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

TYLER: COULD THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR DOG TOO?

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

HELP SAVE BRINDI - LIST OF CONTACTS

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LIST OF CONTACTS

TELL THEM: HALIFAX MUST NOT KILL BRINDI!

·      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.

THANK YOU!! 

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

Mayor Peter Kelly: kellyp@halifax.ca
phone: 001 902 490 4010
twitter: @mayorpeterkelly

Head of Halifax Legal Services: Marian Tyson tysonm@halifax.ca

Municipal Prosecutor: Katherine Salsman salsmak@halifax.ca

Manager of HRM Animal Services: Andrea Macdonald macdonaa@halifax.ca
Supervisor of Animal Services: Lori Scolaro scolarl@halifax.ca (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: hopeswinimer@accesswave.ca

HRM MUNICIPAL COUNCILORS: see Halifax.ca 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: harveyb@halifax.ca, adamss@halifax.ca, barry.dalrymple@halifax.ca, brad.johns@halifax.ca, darren.fisher@halifax.ca, David.Hendsbee@halifax.ca, sloaned@halifax.ca, humd@halifax.ca, jennifer.watts@halifax.ca, karsteb@halifax.ca, lorelei.nicoll@halifax.ca, mcclusg@halifax.ca, mosherl@halifax.ca, outhitt@halifax.ca, peter.lund@halifax.ca, rankinr@halifax.ca, streats@halifax.ca, smithj@halifax.ca, utecks@halifax.ca, walkerr@halifax.ca, wilema@halifax.ca

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

PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS
Attorney General and Minister of Justice: Hon. Ross Landry
Email: justmin@gov.ns.ca

Minister of Municipal Affairs: Hon. John MacDonnell snsmrmin@gov.ns.ca
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 stoffp1@parl.gc.ca
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: stoffp@parl.gc.ca

Member of the Provincial Assembly (MLA), Eastern Shore: Sid Prest sidprest.mla@ns.aliantzinc.ca
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: http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/people/addresses/

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

Local media: news957@rogers.com, radionews@halifax.cbc.ca, Eileen.McInnis@CBC.CA atlanticnews@ctv.ca, news@ctv.ca, jackie.foster@ctv.ca, marnoon@cbc.ca, cbcns@cbc.ca news@globaltv.com, newsroom@herald.ca, letters@herald.ca, editor@herald.ca, Rick.Howe@rci.rogers.com, mileshowe@hotmail.com

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


VIA FAX AND EMAIL

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.

Overview

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.

Facts

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).

Respectfully,

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!

STATEMENT ON THE DECISION OF THE PROVINCIAL COURT

Released to local media June 26, 2012  

By returning total and absolute control of Brindi’s fate to HRM, today’s court decision firmly establishes that HRM is not answerable to any authority.

How is HRM to feign a sincere decision between adopting Brindi out, or putting her down? Ever since HRM seized Brindi after an incident in which no one was harmed, HRM has insisted she must die. Yet it has not conducted a single behavioral evaluation on her, and showed no interest in the results of the ones I commissioned. In fact, HRM blocked and/or attempted to sabotage them. But it failed.

HRM’s record of denying due process and procedural fairness was made clear in the Supreme Court decision of 2009. Yet no individual was ever held accountable, nor did HRM change its ways by amending even a single law or policy. It simply dug in its heels, refused to return Brindi, and retaliated by laying charges against me for an event that took place six months earlier. The pattern continued unabated.

HRM failed again in Court some 16 months later. Then it declined to cooperate with an order to allow Brindi to be trained at the kennel. After they blocked it for a month, I had to appeal to the media before HRM would comply.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Legal Opinion on the Issues

http://freebrindi.blogspot.ca/p/legal-opinion-on-issues.html

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Good Bite Inhibition": If only some humans had it!

The more facts people get about this case, and the situation in Halifax, the more they will come to realize that what is happening to Brindi and me is not about a "dangerous dog" or an "irresponsible owner" or about protecting the public. Not at all. It is about bad legislation and arbitrary law enforcement. And, in the place of accountability for both, a coordinated attack to silence unlucky victims - not unlike the way the NSA treats whistleblowers.

It's a mistake for laws to apply a human yardstick to dogs. The latest consensus in canine science is that a dog that kills at the first opportunity is a far greater danger than a dog that has many opportunities but refrains from inflicting severe injuries. It's called "bite inhibition". As Dr. Ian Dunbar puts it, A dog that gets into lots of scuffles, and the other dog comes away without a mark or a wound, has good bite inhibition. That's Brindi.

There is only one photo of an injury from a scuffle with Brindi, and it isn't remotely like the photo of this poor dog. She has excellent bite inhibition, according to her trainer Susan Jordan. Her behavior is about sending a message in the way dogs communicate to other dogs. It's not about attacking to maim or kill.

Brindi waited two years in a no-kill shelter for my adoption. She knows how to cope in a kennel, but she is not her full self there, and knowing she's got a real home and a human who loves her has to make her depressed. I often hear from kind supporters - who have since become friends - who care so much, they shed tears nightly over Brindi. It's terrible, and though I am deeply touched and humbled by it, I so wish they didn't - I feel like I am suffering enough for everybody.

THIS YEAR: RIGHT NOW
The trial began in March with shock and disappointment, so then the verdicts on May 10 were not all that surprising, although the month delay in between was unexpected and personally devastating.
See the court docs here.
Right now, the sentencing scheme is underway. It's very unorthodox, to say the least: there will be no public sentencing hearing in court. Instead, per the judge's scheduling arrangement, the city had three weeks to file its "submissions" (also with court docs) to request killing Brindi. That left me two weeks to prepare my submission for the June 22 deadline. The judge will announce her decision June 26.

June 22 is a Friday. That means the judge gave herself just one day to read my submissions. One day. After nearly two years of waiting for a trial with my dog locked up in isolation, my dog, who never should have been seized, and was seized twice instead.

The materials submitted by the city include reports of incidents dating as far back as 2007 - minor incidents involving little or no injury, which were not charged. They make no mention of the subsequent hours of training we did. And as before, no behavioral assessment by a professional to back up their claim that Brindi is a public threat. The city is relying on a very twisted argument that blames me for being irresponsible and then concludes from that that Brindi is dangerous and must be put down.

The latest development:
The prosecutor spoke on radio for the first time last week on News 95.7 on the Rick Howe show. Rick, for reasons known only to him, chose not to offer me the chance to defend myself, let alone correct four key things she said that were untrue. After I contacted him to ask what the deal was, he gave me about 5 minutes on air today. Unfortunately he interrupted them with an comment from a caller (unannounced) who ignored everything that had just been said in order to trash me.

More important, the city is currently blocking me from getting an updated assessment of Brindi done by a trainer in time for my June 22 deadline. Normally a trainer would see a dog in its living environment; what else? But HRM is claiming the proprietors (contracted by the city) aren't comfortable with having the assessment there. It insists on wrenching Brindi out of the kennel and trucking her back to the pound, muzzled, in a locked box in a dogcatcher's truck and giving the trainer a small room indoors. That's the same place it kept her for two months in 2010, with an outdoor area consisting of two parking spaces, screened off. Brindi would doubtless freak out going back there, because she'll assume she's being taken there to stay. Great way to set up an assessment.

Clearly, the city has very little idea about behavioral assessments, or Brindi. Secrecy - paranoia, I'd say - is more important than fairness or a living being's right to life. Some say they do things to make her fierce, but frankly, nothing HRM has orchestrated to date served to change Brindi's temperament. But they have certainly hurt her emotional state and isolated her from a lot of love and companionship that she deserves - as well as constant care for her now chronic illnesses brought on by years of confinement and neglect (insufficient exercise, bad food, fatty treats) at the pound.

That's how it is.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Public safety or politics? How Halifax deals with dogs that actually cause severe harm


Titan, a pit bull, and a chow mix in the neighbourhood have fought each other several times.
Was Halifax merely practicing strict animal control when it planned to seize Brindi, laying the ground by issuing her a muzzle order? 
You decide. Here is a sample of its approach to dogs that actually cause serious harm, from last April. 

Dog fights frustrate Lower Sackville residents

Residents of a Lower Sackville trailer park say they've had enough with a pair of dogs that continue to fight each other.

Tracey Crawley, a resident of the Sackville Manor trailer park, said her pet was attacked two months ago by one of the two dogs.

"My daughter was home with my dog and she called me on the phone to tell my the chow dog had been in the yard and attacked my dog," she said Monday. "My next door neighbour, what she did was she called the SPCA and we never heard anything else in regards to it."

At around 4 p.m. on Monday, there was another fight between the two dogs in question — a chow mix and a pit bull. The owner of the chow mix was bitten in the arm as she tried to break up the fight between the animals. Tanya Ross, the owner of the pit bull, said she wants the other dog to leave the neighbourhood.
"Her dog bit my daughter, attacked my dog four or five times on my property, has attacked numerous people in the neighbourhood, I think the dog should be taken right out of the neighbourhood," she told CBC News.

Animal services officers with the Halifax Regional Municipality spoke to Ross and the owner of the chow mix, but neither of the animals was seized.
-- Chronicle Herald, Halifax

So... not so strict after all. Even when people are bitten - or animals are killed: I personally witnessed a case of a dog that strayed far from its yard and killed a kitten belonging to a neighbor. The ten-year old dog had never been licensed either. Irresponsible owner? No. The city didn't seize that dog, or bring that neighbor to court; it didn't ask for the dog to be put down, or even muzzled. On hearing the prosecutor say "It was just a first offense, your honor," the judge granted his request for two fines, a long period to pay, and a long period for the owner - whose husband appeared in court in her place - to obtain a dog license.

Meanwhile, known violent psychos get "day passes" to roam the streets unescorted. Recently this sort of thing led to a man's murder.

Brindi's been locked up longer than many violent criminals.

Halifax seized her and kept her for six months without cause (or due process). I tried in vain to convince them it was a mistake, begged them to let her go, offered to pay fines if they would only charge me; build a fence; do private training, and obey the muzzle order (violated unintentionally for about 20 secs one fateful morning). But the city refused, and kept hold of her even after I had to go to court and a judge tossed out their unconstitutional "euthanasia" order. At that point it simply laid charges and kept her longer, even though the charge didn't entitle them to do that. Also the vet, and any number of members of the public. 
At the beginning Halifax lawyers admitted Brindi was not a danger to people. Which raises the question, why try to put her down? She's never bitten a person, not even close, and no dog ever needed medical treatment because of her. Last week, inexplicably reversing the previous position, the new prosecutor told a local radio host that Brindi's a threat to public safety And all the time, it keeps her isolated from other dogs, and from me, as her health declines. I don't know what their connection is, but the prosecutor spoke on the same show as a woman belonging to a small group of people who have been harassing me for years - people with connections to a branch of the SPCA that, as the poundkeeper, ducked loudly the first time around. The woman hasn't been directly involved in my case, yet keeps putting out false information.
I have blogged the details leading almost up to her release in 2010. It's been very difficult to continue after that, especially with the things I was hit after the city took her again. That was after a minor and rather freak incident. Again, it wouldn't let her go pending trial, though it leaves countless other dogs  at home while it pursues similar charges after similar incidents. It ignores the training that was done and what the trainer says about Brindi.