Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SAY IT AGAIN: Halt the euthanizations ASAP!

Referencing two recent posts on Granny's Journal and Me and My Dogs in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The very best thing that can be done right now is to put an immediate stop to all HRM-ordered euthanization. No more killing until the city cleans up its act.

A publicly-elected government should be held accountable for such a terrible mistake as ending the life of a family's beloved cat in less than two hours flat. Passing off responsibility to an unsuspecting vet at an all-night clinic is just not good enough. With all due respect, procedural flaws and, frankly, a lack of basic common sense must have factored significantly. Enough to suggest a very close examination of HRM operations, and, I repeat, an immediate moratorium. That is the best and only way to insure that no pet is wrongly killed (or seized!) from now on, until things are vastly improved.

If they have any doubt about an HRM euthanization order, HRM veterinarians may be wise to refuse services, citing their code of conduct. Their leadership is pivotal. No other qualified animal professionals are involved in the system. Take away their cooperation, there are no more euthanizations.
Then what? Well, start over. Get a real law and grown-up procedures with checks and balances. To that end, a bit of knowledge and experience of animals among AS employees wouldn't hurt either.

Until then, when Granny asks, "What time is it?" I say, "It's SIX WEEKS later! Time to let my Brindi go!"


I have written to Animal Services requesting to see Brindi on more than one occasion, and I will continue to do so until I receive a positive reply. To date, none of these requests, or any of my letters, have been answered.

September 3, 2008

Dear Sgt. McNeil, Ms. Macdonald, and Ms. Scolero:

I hereby request permission to see my dog Brindi, impounded by you on July 24, 2008, and housed since then at the SPCA facility.

On a visit this past Monday, I discovered my dog was still not being allowed any time in outdoor pens. This, despite the fact that over ten days ago, I assured a SPCA shelter supervisor that she had the necessary vaccinations. I even gave consent for them to be updated. My offer to sign for this was declined. Nearly two weeks afterwards, I learned nothing changed. While other dogs are put out to the pens in the hot weather, Brindi remains inside, apparently because the shelter manager had since decided she did indeed want written consent. And no one bothered to inform me of this, either directly or through Animal Services.

Please be aware that for HRM and a contracted shelter to leave my dog’s health up to chance, let alone deprive her of fresh air, is not acceptable.

I also learned recently that during her few daily minutes outside, Brindi is not walked on a leash. Instead, volunteers use a pole with a thin wire at one end that encloses like a noose around her neck, an implement normally reserved for the most vicious dogs. I learned she is not being allowed near other dogs anyway, so there is no justified concern about attacks, and therefore, no need to use the pole. To sum up, during nearly six weeks of HRM custody, Brindi has been deprived of fresh air and daylight, contact with other dogs, contact with her owner, and most of the time, other humans, as well as a humane means of exercising her. Only the lack of air and sunlight will change once her shot is given. The others should also change.

As Brindi’s lawful owner, I have the legal right and the moral responsibility to insure my dog is in good health and receives proper care at all times. I urge you to grant my request. To claim it would not be good for my dog is hardly credible under the circumstances.


Francesca Rogier

I have also written to the NS SPCA on more than one occasion regarding their role as my dog's wardens vs. their mission to protect her. My letters have not received a reply.

However, this was recently posted on the NS SPCA website:

August 30, 2008:
Public Statement on the Case of Brindi the Dog and HRM Animal Services

The Nova Scotia SPCA wishes to inform the public that its role in the case of Brindi the dog is related solely to the Metro Shelter holding the contract for animal care services for the Halifax Regional Municipality. In that capacity, the Metro Shelter cares for dogs that are seized by HRM or picked up by animal control. However, the Nova Scotia SPCA and the Metro Shelter have no control over the outcome of Brindi’s case. The matter is between the legal counsel for Brindi’s owner and HRM. Therefore, the Society encourages the public to address their concerns to HRM Animal Services.

Setting aside for the moment the misleading notion that only the lawyers may decide such matters, everyone should understand at least one thing.

Under current law, the NS SPCA and Metro Shelter have no LEGAL say in the outcome of Brindi's case, whether or not they hold an HRM contract. All they can do, all they should do, in either case is conduct their own investigation and advise the city and its constituents accordingly. A contract to operate a pound is not a gag order, a "license to kill" with eyes, ears, and mouth closed.

If a lot of calls are coming in, maybe the public understands what the SPCA cannot or will not. I hope the calls keep coming until they finally get it.

The public expects the SPCA to intervene. It has a right to expect this. Under A300, euthanization orders issued by HRM animal control officers are not subject to review, internal or external. At present, only the SPCA is qualified and well-positioned to provide such a review. Should its findings contrast those of the city, it has a clear mandate to withhold its services and cooperation. Anything less compromises its core principles.

The SPCA may not wish to, but it would be far wiser to demand a say in Brindi's case, and in every case like hers. Because when the SPCA abdicates its mission, it negates her rights, and mine. If it refuses to be an advocate for Brindi's welfare, who is there? What other non-governmental group is authorized to fill the vacuum?


In closing, it would be very nice to receive a reply from the SPCA, and from Animal Services. When it comes to humans, I don't bite. Neither does my dog.