Thursday, December 3, 2015

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Why won't you step up, Hope Swinimer? Open Letter to Halifax Pound Contractor

As a famous John once famously said to a famous Paul, "How do you sleep?"

You made your name saving wild animals with Hope for Wildlife. You founded Homeward Bound Citypound as the pound contractor for the Halifax Regional Municipality since 2010, taking over from the SPCA. Your goal, you told me, was to gain addition income for the wildlife rehab centre - to pay two staff members, if I remember correctly.

So essentially you are using this business, the pound, to support your wild-life rehab. 
And in its day-to-day business, the pound carries out various functions, including executing orders for and by the Halifax Regional Municipality. [It is part of the municipal system of by-law enforcement. The same system that took my dog away from me twice, under questionable circumstances, and had you hold her indefinitely since 2010 [though as seized property, the law compels it to be returned if, like Brindi, it is not evidence].

My question to you is simple: when are you going to finally stand up for Brindi? She's an animal too, just like the wild ones you love to rescue.

Doesn't my dog have the same right to a good life as a wild animal? How is keeping her kenneled year after year a good life? Why did you allow your subcontractor to swear to a judge she is okay when you know very well she isn't? She's got at least two chronic diseases!

We both know you have been profiting from your business, and it's no exaggeration to say it was my fight for Brindi that opened up this opportunity for you in 2010. So haven't you been essentially profiting from our misery for five years now? Five years!! And for those five years she and I suffered while you collected a healthy sum - something like $2.5 million for the first three years? How much more now, since the new contract last March? I don't know. I don't want to know.


What I do know is, I did some good volunteer work for you at Hope for Wildlife for over a year. The peace pole standing on your property right now was my project, done at your special request, from start to finish. From finding the right artist, commissioning it, selecting the design, the languages, and organizing its fabrication and delivery, to choosing its location on your land. Then, though I did not feel up to it because the city had taken Brindi from me just weeks before, and I could hardly bear being in public, I designed and organized the unveiling ceremony too, for you! I'd lost about 15 pounds by then, was unable to eat because of Brindi. Everybody noticed.


I want my dog back!
My work at your open house for the kids, again at your request, where I came up with a fun way to make bird beaks with real feathers, teaching about shapes of beaks, was a big hit. I did it because I love animals, I did it because I believed in you. 

I cannot tell you how saddening it is to me, to be repaid this way. To know that I also sought your help, in trust, and instead you saw it as an opportunity to advance your own interests and simply took it.

You know how much Brindi means to me. How can you live with yourself, truly?

We both know what you said under oath in 2010 was not exactly the truth. I knew you were okay with me losing Brindi there and then, because you already won the contract. You didn't have a thing to lose. But I did. Luckily your words didn't matter then, because other people kept their word.

Your actions - and your priorities - mattered a few months later when you took over the pound and Brindi came to you for two months in polluted Burnside. Just around the corner from the SPCA'S Metro Shelter in fact. All the sudden, 60 days, no kennel? Didn't you win the contract because you said you could keep a dog in better conditions for long-term? The only fresh air and exercise you provided Brindi for those two months was inside a small fenced-off parking space behind your pound - WORSE than the Metro Shelter! Two months, and she saw not a blade of grass, not a speck of soil, let alone another dog! And you of all people went along with HRM's scandalous dictates - no walks outside, no visits, no nothing.Have you any idea how heartbreaking that was?

You saw how she was so thrilled when I used to take her to the beach, the woods, the park, everywhere I went, even my hairdresser's! And she is so special that I know your employees loved her even as they do HRM's bidding. But you failed her and you failed everybody by taking money for mistreating her.


HRM loves you. You're a beloved television hit with Hope for Wildlife. Are you still that afraid to lose that contract that you wouldn't advocate for me or Brindi? You would rather deprive an animal of a good life, let her grow sick and fat on cheap food, leave her all alone in a cage? Big deal, she gets exercised 40 minutes or whatever - we both know that's BS! Nobody would ever want their dog to be treated like this, it's never okay! And I know that she is often left alone, in the dark. You are okay with keeping her in isolation from other dogs to please HRM, keeping her from her own vet, and letting me suffer for years while keeping me in the dark? Are you really no better than the SPCA after all?

And yet, let's be frank, you know very well how bad it is for dogs to be locked up for months and years. Proper boarding kennels like Belle Kennel refuse to hold them for more than a few weeks. You also know - from my own lawyer and my case - that HRM, and by extension, you, have no actual authority to hold an impounded dog after seizure. Some have called this theft. And that contract is proof you are willing to do it anyway - you can't shrug it off as if it's due to the courts, the courts are not accountable; you are. And you can't hide behind the contract; you're accountable just as much as HRM. (You may want to think about this, as it seems HRM lawyers are not above throwing its paid partners under the bus.)


And it's not just Brindi. I've seen photos of another dog kept in the Wyndenfog Kennel long-term and he did not look at all healthy! He was released after eight months - although he had killed another dog, HRM's witness didn't show up for court. I don't even get that - the owner didn't dispute the killing. Lucky for her HRM just dropped the case and just like that, she took him home.

You know that Brindi didn't do anything remotely life-threatening to anybody, and never will. She never belonged on death row.

And I love her. Just as much, if not more, than you love your wild animals!


I've kept your secret long enough.



After five years, isn't it about time you acted on behalf of a companion animal? And I don't mean the strays.

Tell HRM to let Dr. Larkin see Brindi NOW, before Christmas - or better yet, just take her there! 

And for God's sake, if you can't tell them to give her back, then at least see to it she's fostered at a good home right away - and/or convince them to agree to adoption in Florida! 

Be the person the world believes you to be! 

1 comment:

  1. This action is just the same as keeping an inmate in Prison, despite that the evidence proves otherwise ! This dog has been locked up for a very long time. Seems to me Brindi has got herself locked in a Political battle ! One of which she has no idea what is happening. Seems to me that Hope Swinimer has a " God Complex. "
    I urge all dog owners and dog lovers to contact the political leaders in your area, let's stop this garbage once and for all ! Just how is this justified.....unless this " Private Contractor" is making money off of this situation ! Wednesday, I will be contacting all kennels,animal shelters, trainers, pet owners associations, and any one I can think of. Hope, you do have a choice. This in no way Constitutes a threat. It has just been to long ! Don't you think that Brindi has payed her dues ?

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