Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This post may be the end of me, as far as my cause goes, because I know what can happen when you take on the SPCA. However, people have a right to know. Someday it may help somebody else. My life is already ruined, or nearly, and my dog's health is compromised as it is. 

Since January the SPCA has been petitioning HRM behind the scenes to "re-home" my dog. In a recent public statement, they claim that they have made a number of proposals to HRM. According to a reliable HRM source, this is the only kind of proposal they have made.

What is the actual justification for giving my dog away to somebody else in this case? Even the HRM lawyers, and they are pretty sharp talkers, can't come up with one. It seems to me the SPCA favors the idea is because they are angry at me. Why are they mad? Last July I begged them to help stop a non-vicious dog from being put down. They declined, pointing to their contract, which I later learn (confirming my doubts) says nothing that could stop them from helping. They were content to keep her locked up, deny me visits, prevent any dog companionship, not walk her (a dog used to good runs several times a day), and now, I learn, veto her the beef bones I bring. Not to mention being ready to inject her with poison if so ordered. They are mad because I had the audacity to write about this - after my attempt to work with them failed - and because they get hundreds of complaints from people, most who haven't even read my blog, actually (it's too wordy, I know!). But some people do think for themselves and happen to find it wrong that a society dedicated to the welfare of animals is not helping to return a dog to its owner, and also keeping it locked up themselves. But I am to blame. 

In keeping with the SPCA's online statement that it has nothing to do with the outcome of this case, it has not spoken publicly about "re-homing", of course. But SPCA members and fans do it all the time - on Facebook, their own blogs, and anywhere they can. They berate me to get down on my knees and beg the city to give her to somebody else. The logic is a bit weak, since first of all, she is not a dangerous dog, never ripped apart an animal, or tried to, and should never have been seized; secondly, the city is hardline about euthanasia as the only option. Why they would allow a dog they say is dangerous to go to another owner, with the liability that goes with it, is a mystery. I never see them agreeing to this for the (apparently hundreds!!) of other dogs they get owners to sign over every year. Yet these SPCA fans swear to the world that I am selfish and uncaring because I will not bow to this demand - even before a judge has heard any evidence. And I have yet to see an actual justification that does not rest on false premises, exclude pertinent facts, and/or ignore the law. 

At the same time, I am told by dog advocates across the country that "re-homing" dogs in such cases often results in the dog being put down afterwards by a rescue or even the new “home" - because who wants to live with the label of dangerous? Who will take the time and energy to work on training? 

I will. I adopted a dog that was in a shelter for two years after being passed over countless times. She turned out to be a beautiful, smart, fun, and loving girl. No indication of "issues" before or after adoption, until a few months later - AFTER obedience training. With a bit more work, she can be a pretty perfect dog. Whatever mistakes I made were unintentional and rare; not the acts of a reckless, uncaring, unthinking person. If I were, I would not have offered to pay for a vet exam even when their dog has unharmed. Not everybody around here, I learned, would offer to pay even if they hit a dog with their car. I felt terrible. If I were so dismissive of things, I would not have apologized, and I would not have offered the city - over and over since last August -  reasonable and more than sufficient conditions in exchange for her return. 

And aside from all that, there is the inconvenient yet undeniable fact that my dog was illegally seized with no prior investigation; that the muzzle order, used to justify it, resulted from another dog owner's request not to fine me so I could afford all of her vet bill, as promised. Given that, what is the most reasonable response with regard to my ownership? I would not sign over my dog to be killed. To this day, I am devoting everything I have, all the energy and resources I can muster, to get her back safe and sound. What would indicate to an outsider that I do not take dog ownership seriously?? 

The point is: what would it take to bring around an otherwise well-intentioned, dedicated group of animal lovers to see this? Brindi and I are offenders? Well, we are small-time offenders. For which there are fences and training, and plenty of neighbors and friends supporting us. And in terms of the greater good, how would taking her away from me fix the gaps in the system that led to this ordeal? 

If by writing these things, I lose the chance to visit my dog again, and am branded a scoundrel, so be it. Life is short, and you have to say what is in your heart while you have the chance.