Friday, September 5, 2008


WHO: All dogs and their owners
WHERE: meet at the base of Citadel opposite Gottingen; walk to waterfront.
WHEN: 12 noon Saturday, September 6

BRING: signs, cameras, treats, water, and your enthusiasm!
GOAL: Return Brindi to her owner now, then change the law!

Stop HRM from using By-Law A300 to euthanize dogs that never bite humans or seriously hurt other dogs!

For more info, call (902) 827-3716


WELL, folks... This got posted a bit late - the week started out rather eventfully, and I lost track of it after that. You'll see why in a second.

On Labor day afternoon, I met a friend at the Metro Shelter to go check on Brindi. No chance of seeing her, of course. A volunteer and a supervisor came to the door. The latter was extremely cautious, reluctant to answer questions, how many dogs the pound holds. I tried to remain polite, find common ground. I was met with the response that the SPCA has nothing to do with the pound. So far, nearly everyone there was quick to say this. My friend, on his first visit, somewhat impatiently, perhaps unwisely, likened this attitude to the Nuremburg defense. Are they really unaware the SPCA carries out orders from the city?

At some point, my friend asked if they used a muzzle to walk Brindi. She said they don't need a muzzle, because Brindi is not allowed near any other dogs. I was eager to tell them this wasn't necessary; she gets along fine with other dogs, it's just when they are on the property line. And, thinking out loud, so now she is not getting any dog contact, and getting precious little human contact. Is that good for her? Then I learned they use a rabies pole to walk her. A rabies pole is a long rod with a noose-like loop of thin cord at one end to tighten around a dog's neck. It's meant for the most vicious dogs, usually ones that bite people. But the city does not consider Brindi dangerous to humans; a lawyer told me himself. So WHY then does the SPCA walk my dog with a rabies pole - for over six weeks now??  My poor baby girl.

We went to dinner, despite stabbing pains plaguing my lower abdomen. Few places were open, and darkness fell by the time we made our way back to the lot for my car. I spotted the shelter manager, Diana, through the window, and waved, hoping she would know if they had vaccinated Brindi and she was now being allowed time in the pens. After a few circular replies, it turned out she wasn't. Why? Because Diana wanted my signature after all. So, why didn't they contact me?? Oh, Diana said, she just got back from vacation. SO?  Oh, they are not allowed to contact me directly, but must "go through Animal Services." Then why hadn't she gone through them? "Well, I guess I should have."

Is this credible? I found out about the vaccination hitch on August 22. The supervisor on duty said no when I asked if she wanted me to sign something. And now it was September 1. Ten more days on top of five weeks, my dog stuck indoors all day, barring 15 minutes on the rabies pole. Why nobody brought up vaccinations well before August 22, or noticed her HRM tag, remains a mystery. How large are the letters on my forehead that spelling SUCKER? If I had finished my doctorate, would they have seized my dog? I wonder.

My friend advised me not to "make her an adversary" when Diana went inside briefly to copy my statement (by hand - no form for this). Frustrated already, my patience grew thinner, as each new fact proved more alarming than the last. A month and a half of "she's fine", then the  the rabies pole! She had learned to walk on the leash so well. Now what? If I had not gone to the SPCA myself, Brindi would never get outside. If she does now. So at this point, can anyone expect me to remain content with vague assurances? I am desperate to see my dog, and "animal services" won't let me. By not supporting my request, the SPCA is no longer protecting animals. This is what so deeply bothered my friend. 

Which is why, after Diana returned with the photocopy, he forgot his own advice and lost his cool, trying in vain to make a point unlikely to be kindly received: "The sad thing is," he said, "when you know a dog is not aggressive, but you keep her in a cage, and treat her—" "I never said she was not aggressive, or that she was aggressive," Diana countered, and continued to counter with each attempt he made to continue. Whereupon this otherwise mild-mannered man insisted, "You do too know!" "I do not!" My head bopped to and fro like a tennis ball. Seconds later, the manager spun around and shut the door, saying, "That's it, I'm calling the cops!" Cops??! Before I knew it, my friend had already stormed back to his car and soon sped off towards town. I made my way home, unable to grasp what happened.

But that wasn't the end of it. He called me an hour and a half later, out of his mind: "They pulled me over!" And so they did, on Windmill Road, two squad cars in a daring "high takedown". One behind him, lights flashing, a second sharply cutting off his car in front. They arrested him for criminal harassment. A felony! He narrowly escaped a night in jail. I cannot imagine what the manager said to them; was there some mistake? Criminal harassment means serious threats. She had never even asked us to leave. She wasn't physically threatened. My friend did get a bit carried away over a difference of opinion. But he is passionate about animals, and last I looked, it's not against the law to disagree. Of course, I was a bit peeved at him myself for risking good terms with my dog's wardens, and before I knew about the arrest, I wanted him to make amends. He sent an apology right away, made sure to fax it as well. Whatever its effect, the charges were dropped early the next day, as I was sure they would be. There was simply no evidence. 

Still, it took days for my friend to calm down. His lawyer praised his apology, and advised him to stay away from the shelter. He's not decided yet whether to file a complaint against the SPCA and the police for false arrest, though it would be justified. After all, the high takedown put his health and safety at risk, and the arrest could have jeopardized his career. No wonder misleading the police into a false arrest is itself a felony. I wonder if the SPCA realizes this?

Why wasn't I arrested? Because I wasn't in his car? I'm sure I was getting on her nerves, though I knew not to argue. Perhaps she didn't want me arrested; they surely would have found me.

I'll never forget what my friend said that night about what he was arrested for: "It's the same thing they accused Brindi of: being aggressive! But at least I'll get a day in court. She doesn't!"

No wonder I'm so tired. But not too tired to march.