Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Questions, and some answers

Two days ago, shortly after 5 pm at my home, I received a summons to the provincial court on three charges of violating A300. The charges are: owning a dog that runs at large; owning a dog that attacked another dog; failing to obey a muzzle order. The summons does not cite the date when these offenses allegedly occurred; it doesn not have to, evidently, but I surmise the date will turn out to be July 20.

1. What is the reason for serving me a summons just one day short of the end of the six-month statute of limitations on the alleged offense - i.e., why charge me now?

I don't know, but a provincial court judge is likely to ask the same of Officer Tim Hamm, who evidently felt these charges were serious enough to order Brindi to be put to death. If some sort of urgency is the reason, the judge might then ask, what was stopping him from doing it later?

2. Why don't I just appear on Feb. 3, pay a fine, and get my dog back?

Because it is unlikely that would happen. I am pretty sure it wouldn't have happened that way if they had charged me when they seized her. Back then, they said she was dangerous, period, and must be put down. (This raises the issue for future by-law revisers: is it illegal to own a dangerous dog, if it has not killed anybody and is deemed trainable, etc.?) The only difference being that back then, I could have gone to a judge right away. I think. It's confusing!

Another concern is, I were to appear in provincial court, it is possible (I'm not saying probable) that Brindi might end up being declared dangerous all over again and be put down. I can't fathom this exactly, but I am told it is possible. There's yet another scenario, that seems to be hopping around on the internet, that Brindi should be taken away from me, but still live, in somebody else's family. How could they do that? I received the answer a few days ago, when someone suggested that I sign over Brindi to an Animal Control Officer named Leah Parsons who runs a German Shepherd Rescue. I have no idea if Leah is aware of that. But I guess that's the only possible way a judge would turn over a dog he believes is dangerous. I'm sure people can imagine how I feel about such a possibility. Whether running a rescue and working at Animal Services poses a conflict of interest is yet another, very valid, question. 

3. Didn't the city already use the July 20 events as the grounds for seizure and destruction? (You cannot be tried for murder twice, can you?)

I thought so, but apparently not! Likewise, I'm told anything I wrote on a report could be used in the summons charges, even if it predates July 20. 

If only the authorities were this persistent when it came to prosecuting rapists and drug kingpins. I really don't know how this is possible, but my lawyer says it is. Again, I guess it would depend on the provincial court judge.

4. All of these charges are based on A300. A300 has been delivered a potentially fatal blow, now that section 8 (2) d is quashed; can it still hold?

Well, it remains to be seen if a provincial judge back away from enforcing A300 now. It seems to me it needs overhauling; it is missing something that would explain what happens when an owner is not charged but the dog is seized - even if just to require that an owner be charged before the step of seizure is taken, etc. The law requires a great deal of study before the right answer turns up.

5. What is happening now?

My lawyer is in the process of addressing the summons. We have several options. Keep in mind, the summons is just one of several issues to address. The most important one is that the city refuses to return Brindi. Until it does, I need to be able to visit her, and this is a further isuse.

Needless to say, all of this costs money. My lawyer has to eat. So do I and my animals. That aspect will be taken into consideration by a court when the time comes. I might add that though the Supreme Court awarded me costs, the "usual" amount awarded is $2,000. Hardly a drop in the bucket towards the current total of over $30,000.


I may be out on a limb here, but isn't the effort to get my dog back beginning to sound like Amnesty International trying to get a political prisoner released? If Brindi wasn’t a political prisoner at the start, it sure looks like she is now. What a little troublemaker she is! I love that little one so much. It was so good to see her and that gorgeous tail wag. I just can't wait. It can't be long now, my girl!!