Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Silvia Jay's Letter

I am posting this letter with the permission of Silvia Jay, a trainer with a good deal of experience with dogs raised on first nations reserves out west. She has also put in a thousand hours working with dogs at humane societies. Silvia wrote the following as a preliminary assessment and recommendation. For Silvia's credentials, see dogsensecommunications.com

With my lawyer David Green's help, I hope Silvia can be granted access to see Brindi very soon. 
(To see other letters of support, click here.)

Needless to say, I miss her terribly, every moment of the day.


August 12, 2008

To Whom It May Concern,

After a lengthy phone conversation with Ms. Rogier, owner of Brindi, I feel compelled to forward my professional thoughts about Brindi’s behavior.

Please note that following statements are very preliminary only.
This letter is intended to provide an explanation for Brindi’s behavior, and an educated opinion how likely it is for Brindi to do serious damage to a dog or person (any age).

Please link directly to dogsensecommunication.com to read why I feel I am qualified to make these statements.

The facts that Brindi is able to attend and complete obedience class with a well known and respected training facility; that she is able to socialize and play with dogs she is familiar with; and that she is cohabitating with a cat and even allows her (the cat) around her food, indicate that Brindi is not an aggressive dog, but circumstantially reactive to dogs she perceives as a threat (imagined or real is irrelevant).

The position where a bite happens is important, because it indicates motivation. The fact that Brindi neck grabs leads me to believe that she feels unsafe and threatened.

But, her bites seem to have been very inhibited – no deep punctures or shakes, no severe damage or kills, no redirected bites to humans that go in between to break the dogs up. In other words, Brindi exhibits a good amount of self-control.

Dr. Ian Dunbar, Veterinary Behaviorist and world-renowned expert on dog behavior, states that a dog that attacks once and does severe damage is considerably more dangerous than a dog that has several incidents but does little to no damage.
In my professional experience, I agree.

To my knowledge there are no reports that Brindi ever attacked a person. She doesn’t bite a person that pulls her away from a dog she’s attacked. Every dog has the potential to bite, including Brindi. That fact that she never bit a person in the past, and that the motivator for the attacks against dogs seems to be fear, not predation, indicates that she is not any more likely to bite a person than most other dogs.

Based on my experience, the behaviors Brindi displayed are not uncommon, and euthanasia for a dog that has not killed, not done serious damage, and never attacked a person, seems unwarranted. Quite frankly, the preemptive action to euthanize to guaranty society’s safety from dog bites 100% means that almost all dogs would have to be executed.

Also, to cage a dog that lived at an overcrowded dog hoarding place again for a lengthy period of time, and to prohibit the owner, Ms. Rogier, to visit her, is cruel.

I reiterate that this is a professional opinion only, based on experience. In order to be accurate about Brindi, I would have to personally assess her. If given the opportunity, I would be willing to do that, and/or work with Ms. Rogier on an action plan how to manage Brindi better, how to get obedience where it counts – in and around her home, and how to establish a kind of leadership where Brindi feels safer and is less reactive.

With regards
Silvia Jay
Dog Behavior Expert and Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers CAPPDT
Greenfield NS

Please fence me in!

Thanks to the awesome help of my friend Jon, I have achieved a fenced enclosure for a dog run: 65 feet long, about ten feet wide, on the back of the house. Wired to sturdy metal stakes pounded into the rocky soil (more like soily rocks) and sitting right down to the ground.
No more escapes from the back door to the street (though this only happened one time, it was enough). Soon to be followed by a similar enclosure on the front. 
I kept looking over my shoulder to see Brindi while we were putting it up. It's so empty without her here. She brightens up the place so much.

Her Young Ones

I received some photos of Brindi's puppies, taken right after they were found abandoned with her about three years ago. 

They were all adopted by people in the metro Halifax area. 

Look familiar?