Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Humane Halifax: "Andrew Krystal should just go away"

Response from Humane Halifax for Better Animal Control:

Andrew Krystal should just go away

Discussions on the case regarding Francesca Rogier and her dog Brindi are not “inane.” It is the opposite. 
This is a highly significant matter legally and to our community. This is not a case simply focused on the behaviour of a dog - a dog that happens to have caused no significant harm to anyone or anything! - or an owner's behavior, but involves the illegality of several municipal and provincial laws, the negligence of city employees and subcontractors, the dubious and exorbitant costs and actions of our city animal control/police and legal departments and the way that neighbours treat neighbours, as well as animals. It is already a precedent-setting case in administrative and animal law, due to Francesca’s win against HRM in the Supreme Court of NS, unchallenged by HRM. 
Francesca did “abrogate” what had happened to her - she applied to a court of competent jurisdiction, and that court used its authority to find and rule that HRM had passed a law that was in fact illegal, under which its employees committed acts that were never legal. These employees testified that they followed the procedural rules of natural justice, but the judge found that they did not.
In fact, the judge found that following the "triggering" incident on July 20, HRM animal control "special constables" failed to carry out a full and proper investigation 
before deciding to seize and destroy Brindi. Got that? They never spoke to Francesca to get her side of the story, and they never spoke to a third-party witness who saw everything - from ground level.
An actual investigation would have found that Brindi never made contact with a dog in that incident. 

Consequently, along with overturning that decision, the judge declared that the section of the bylaw under which AC Officer Hamm seized Brindi was never valid - because it violates Charter rights. I.e., it is unconstitutional.

The facts strongly suggest that animal control staff had already planned to kill Brindi the minute she came to their attention in previous non-injury - and one with a very minor scratch - incidents. No one could explain why they had issued Brindi a muzzle order for those incidents (the law sets out no criteria or standard - yet another flaw), 
and few, if any, officials or media ever asked about that. Animal control used the muzzle order to create the falsehood that Brindi is "dangerous", and worse, that under the law, a dog under a muzzle order must be destroyed if any incident happens - even non-injury incidents! The law says no such thing, and in fact, it only calls for a fine if the dog is seen without the muzzle off the owner's property.

The city's lawyers, though well aware of the falsehoods and deliberate misleading, did nothing to correct them. In some respects, they encouraged the mistaken beliefs, both in and out of the courtroom. Thus, they are at fault for both enacting an unconstitutional law, and fostering mistaken beliefs about its content.

Like Andrew Krystal, the councilors, city staff and mayor not only lack knowledge of the facts of the case. They seem to have little to no understanding of the laws they help enact, or details of the cases that are prosecuted based on them. They accept whatever they are told by self-interested, highly biased staff. This is a sad and shameful state of affairs that also shows the relative incompetence of our city government. 
Are these matters “inane”? Only if your main interest in life is getting home from work in time to see “Dancing With The Stars.” As for this case taking attention away from matters dealing with racism or treatment of the elderly - hardly. That is simply a ridiculous comment. News stories on both of those topics get heavy media coverage, as you well know, and the ‘Brindi‘ case has gotten very little media coverage, and what coverage there has been is largely superficial and misconstrued.
If you are saying that you believe “dog lovers” are neglectful of needy humans, that is also ridiculous. In general most people who show love and affection to animals are also the same ones who show love and affection to humans. Many studies clearly show the opposite: humans who are indifferent or hateful towards animals tend to be the same ones who often cause the worst harm to humans. It is interesting that you say it is a “shame” we can’t euthanize bad pet owners - so you are saying humans should be put to death for some vague idea of what might constitute bad pet ownership? This is a good example of how those who are indifferent to animals (“there are many things to fuss over and Brindi isn‘t one of them” - “down with the dog I say”) also often advocate needless violence towards them and humans. 

People do not have a pre-set limit on the amount and ability to care for multiple things in their lives - family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, personal interests, causes and yes, pets. We are all capable of loving things in different amounts, in different ways, at different times. Most people also care more about what is close to their hearts then things not directly affecting them. Of course one will be more affected by what happens to a family member than by something not happening to one personally!!
As for “guarantees” - they do not exist in life, as much as you might wish they did. This is as true of animal and human behaviours as it unfortunately is of “warranties” and “insurance” and other great concepts that fall very short in practice.
In a court, decisions are to rely on facts as much as possible, rather than suppositions. Those accused or convicted are then given opportunity and are expected to accept responsibility for their actions by remedying any wrongs and make positive contributions to society. 
Simply killing anything or anyone does not solve a problem - it is actually an avoidance of solving a problem. There are cases involving animals where “euthanasia” may be a more appropriate emergency measure, say for an untreatably ill and suffering animal. Destruction of an animal may be warranted in an exigent circumstance to defend another life in danger. There are often more viable options in these circumstances as well. Neither of these situations even remotely apply to Brindi, who is a normally well behaved, well loved pet who simply needs further training to keep her close to home and how to deal with other dogs near her space. That’s it. 
The “history” of this dog does not include any kind of vicious attack on any dog and none whatsoever on any human. It is inflammatory to imply otherwise. If she hasn’t done that to date, why would she begin now? This case is not an example of the premise of “the good of the many outweigh the good of the few.”
Brindi is not a threat to public safety - that is a statement promoted by HRM to defend its mistakes, not a fact. 
Yes, Francesca has been convicted under laws that are widely considered to be inadequate and wrongful, and yes, she did make some mistakes as a owner. These ‘mistakes’ are terribly minor and easily corrected - and must be seen against the tremendous amount of work she put in to achieve the success she had with Brindi on the whole. She has been willing to accept responsibility and remedy the situation since July 2008. Responsibility for accidental events being, of course, a sort of impossible task.
A recent case of a dog that attacked humans took only ten minutes to resolve in Kentville's provincial court. Why was this case not resolved long before now?

HRM is directly responsible for this case developing as slowly and as byzantinely it has, by not owning up to their responsibilities and governing in the way that most of us expect them to. All the while, they've been allowing the SPCA to keep Brindi locked up - unlawfully! - in sub-par conditions for an unacceptable amount of time. 

These things are what a responsible journalist should be reporting on. Not simply letting loose his own uniformed, knee-jerk opinion. It’s a shame the public - and an innocent dog and beloved owner - must pay the price for irresponsible government and media, a shame we can’t just “euthanize” their irresponsibility and indifference.

-Betty Macdonald, Humane Halifax


Krystal Not Clear on Brindi: Time for Andrew to Catch Up

from the blog of Andrew Krystal, News 95.7 talk radio host of Maritime Morning 

Time to go Brindi
April 19th, 2010
“Brindi” the dog has been avoided as a story/topic by yours truly for its sheer inanity. There is simply more to worry about than a single dog. However, the animal has become a case in point regarding the caring priorities of some. I mentioned on the air that many people care more about animals than the civil rights of Black Nova Scotians or the plight of seniors who, in our culture, mainly sit warehoused and drugged and unloved in nursing homes and are visited only to the meagerest degree to alleviate the guilt of healthy, younger, offspring.
There are many things to fuss over and “Brindi” isn’t one of them.
Today, I relented and did the topic as I saw it not so much as about the affairs of a single dog but rather as more about how this animal has arrived as a symbol for how many folks emotionally operate: people care more about dogs than other people. On every level, this is wrong no matter how hard some bizarrely try to justify it: “people make their own bed, whereas animals are innocent”, etc.
My position, to the consternation of doggy do-gooders, was to end it. Down with the dog I say.
We heard on Friday that a decision on whether or not to euthanize the pooch will be heard at the end of the month. The owner was found guilty of letting the dog run at large, owning a dog that attacked another, and not complying with a muzzle order. For all that the prosecution (the city) is calling for the dog’s destruction and a one dollar fine.
Some say the dog is reclaimable and that under the loving hands of a dutiful trainer that the dog won’t bite anyone, or another dog. But, can that be guaranteed? What are the repercussions if a trainer leaves the dog to someone else, or doesn’t take care of it? What is the responsibility of the city when complaints against this animal have been registered? Once a dog mauls a child it is too late. How can the city look at itself in the mirror if yet another attack takes place when they already know the history of this particular dog?
Collective rights and collective responsibility toward them trumps personal grievance. The dog owner in question dealt with due process by abrogating it – failing the system. She was warned, edicts were placed on the animal owner, and rules were broken.
Because the system cannot euthanize bad pet owners, their pets instead have to pay the price.
That is the biggest shame.

No Responses to “ Time to go Brindi ”
  1. Francesca Rogier Says: 

    I am glad you are finally coming to this issue, though it’s not surprising that your points have been put forward so many times in the last two years. Frankly, you are adding little to the debate, and like many others, you are not only woefully uninformed (and misinformed) about the facts. You have also overlooked the fundamental legal issues at the bottom of this, including the fact that  seizures that violate Charter rights to private property and the right to due process. Why is it that this fundamental issue is constantly glossed over - why does no one even ask the question?

    No one even asks what exactly transpired in the incidents as reported - or bothered to notice that not one photo of a dog alleged to be injured by Brindi has ever turned up. Why is that? Because there was no injury worth photographing!!! 

    You, like so many, don't want any details. That takes too much of your time, I guess. You are simply content to recite the list of charges - belated charges - without knowing what lies behind them. How "at large" is "running at large", for instance? In this case, it's a matter of maybe two or three feet past the property line.

    You also seem unaware, Andrew, that at the very start that I - choosing to overlook the fact that the seizure was wrongful and unlawful in the hopes of getting my beloved companion back - offered to pay whatever fines HRM wished. This is important, because fines are what the by-law actually calls for (in such cases), not seizure and not destruction. I also offered to hire a private trainer, build a property fence, and any other reasonable measures HRM required, in order to get Brindi back.

    Not only did HRM ignore these offers. They did not even charge me with an offense or violation - not one - until six months after Brindi was (illegally) seized using an unconstitutional law. Charges were laid two days after the court ruled to quash that law - an hour before the six-month time limit ran out.

    Why didn’t they lay a charge earlier, say, at the time they seized my dog? I can think of one reason: any charge would have brought me to a judge within weeks, and I could have gotten my dog back right then, instead of waiting years. Instead, by conveniently withholding any charge, HRM forced me to hire a lawyer at great expense while "warehousing" Brindi, to borrow your word, for 21 months!!!  

    You have no idea of all this and more. Yet you feel entitled to be dismissive and rude about what is for us a terrible injustice and, I assure you, highly debilitating trauma of separation and isolation for human and canine. Even worse, though you belittle the entire matter, claiming you don't want to worry about it - you go ahead and take a hard-line position on it anyway. You want my dog to be killed - and clearly, not because of what she did, but rather, just so you don't have to hear anything about the matter anymore. And then you end your diatribe with a glib expression of sympathy for her! How shallow can you be?

  2. As far as public safety goes, I suppose it is pointless to say that the incidents never threatened anyone's safety. And though true, dogs are property, not beings with rights, the incidents never threatened a dog's life either. Furthermore, they were accidental events. It's a matter of abberations in an otherwise consistent pattern of good behavior. It is not irrelevant to point out that they did not lead to serious harm. More importantly, just to demonstrate publicly how seriously I take public safety, despite the objectively - and demonstrably - minor risks involved with my well-behaved dog, I have already put measures in place to prevent any future mishaps, with a fence and a private trainer at the ready. HRM has known this since August 2008 and likewise took no notice of it.

    And it so happens - you would know if you did some reading, or just looked at the photo of her at the SPCA; surrounded by women and an infant, all smiling - that my dog Brindi is not a threat to people, never was, and never will be. Halifax likes to kill dogs: 31 since 2007, all but two without a judge’s order (no charges laid). Of the over sixty-nine dogs at large that have attacked people or animals since 2007 whose owners were charged and went before a judge, HRM has only asked for a precious few to be put down - overlooking many dogs that attacked people multiple times. None of those cases compare in severity to Brindi, who never bit a human or seriously injured a dog. She is not a case that begs the question of whether she is "reclaimable"; she is rated as "extremely trainable". So why is Brindi on death row, then? Maybe because not enough people know enough about her - maybe because the media are unwilling to cover the story adequately?

    Instead, there is little more than superficial coverage, too many false assumptions, and a disproportionate worry about safety. In the scheme of things, we all know that nothing in life can be “guaranteed”, don't we? So it is patently unfair to apply such a rigid standard to dogs. Society abounds with multiple offenders: drug dealers, rapists, child molesters, drunk drivers. All have stood before a judge at one time and promised they would not do it again, and when they do it, they are not executed, but given due process and their rights are protected. But not dogs. Dogs have no rights, and their owners' rights are customarily violated, but nobody notices.
    The fact is that the city of Halifax made a terrible mistake, and it refuses to admit it. Maybe that is why we are still talking about Brindi: if she is killed, it would set a dangerous precedent, because it means any dog can be destroyed for any reason. The many people out there with dogs with similar or worse behavior know this, and that is why they are so concerned about this case.
    Still, perhaps you don’t care about these things, and that’s fine. But consider this: society is very hypocritical when it comes to dogs. They are belittled as “just dogs” when somebody wants to save one, yet depicted as a savage threat that must be eliminated when it comes to a dog that scuffles with another dogs - as dogs are wont to do, being animals that communicate with their bodies.
    The disapproval and disdain on the part of some is not in sync with the culture. Need one remind you of the enormous value dogs freely give to human health, safety and welfare, not to mention that they provide Hollywood with billions of box-office profits? When you talk about dogs, you are not talking about loaded guns. When you put down people who love dogs, you are not talking about a lunatic fringe. The New York Times recently noted that over 70% of dog owners are more attached to their dogs than to their romantic partners. It is wrong and unfair to conclude, however, that their love for their pets precludes them from liking people. That’s just another way to marginalize and dismiss what is in fact a majority of people who love their dogs - a pretty sizable chunk of the population, nearly half of HRM, in fact.
    And again, let’s put this into context: in 2007, 36 Canadians died from lighting strikes and only 2 died as a result of dog bites. The low, nearly insignificant position of dog bites on the list of causes of violent/accidental death is probably why a much larger city like Boston does not employ “euthanization” in its animal control politices. So while I am the first to say that owners must control their animals, I can't  help but wonder why you choose to focus on this as if it were a serious threat to humanity rivaling terrorism.
    [Note: In the past year, I have corresponded with Andrew Krystal on a few occasions when he replied to a press release, sometimes to ask that they cease, but never unfriendly.] 

    Krystal says, "Collective rights and collective responsibility toward them trumps personal grievance. The dog owner in question dealt with due process by abrogating it – failing the system. She was warned, edicts were placed on the animal owner, and rules were broken." Yes, and when rules are broken, the law calls for fines. Period. 
    The collective does not always trump the individual - if that is what you mean by "personal grievance" - when it comes to property rights. Not that this even applies in cases like Brindi. Broken by-laws call for fines as penalties, not death and destruction. And there was NO due process for me to deal with, let alone "abrogate", so that notion is quite illogical. The system failed me and my dog - and the community. That is the point. I had to try three strategies at great expense, I won, and my dog was still kept by the city, illegally. The same is true of two other dogs now in the pound. Is the city safer? Not really, since a tiny number land on death row, while since 2007 alone, there are over 60 dogs at large that have proven more of a risk, and qualify as dangerous, but were never candidates for destruction by HRM.  
    You may choose to look down your nose at people with dogs, be intolerant of mistakes, accuse them of being uncaring about people, even try to guilt them into being responsible for racism or the neglect of the aged, but you have nothing to base it on, do you? It's just a cheap and shallow jab; begs the question not only of proof, but whether you truly believe people are one-dimensional, incapable of caring about more than one cause or one being. Insulting or ignorant, either way, your disapproval and disdain comes across loud and clear in your statements. But as I pointed out above, it's not very well-grounded. 
    To be frank, though, it matters little whether you like people who like dogs. The fact is, they are certainly not responsible for solving all the world's problems. Nevertheless, they often help solve them through their dogs. It's your loss, in my opinion, to be so disapproving that you set up false oppositions at such a scale. Unlike you, I am not willing to miss out on a universe of unconditional love that spreads outward, a source that keeps so many people going, especially people who are hurting, discriminated against, in need of healing. The very people you worry about and claim that dog owners neglect - many of them own dogs and turn to them for solace. Ever think about that? And they are very frightened at the prospect of having their dogs taken without warning.

    The bottom line is, if you don't understand the law, you have no right to make such damning statements about anybody. The law matters, and it matters that you get it straight. But your post shows that you do not understand the law at all, let alone the facts of this case. f you wish an explanation, I would be happy to give it. I have explained the legal aspects many times in this blog. It has several parts, but it begins with the right to be heard when the "collective" wants to destroy private property - and under the law, dogs are, among many other important things, property. Owning property is a fundamental right; the entire system revolves around that. 
    When offenses are committed, property is not automatically destroyed. "Because the system cannot euthanize bad pet owners, their pets instead have to pay the price." You say this as though it is a. the way the law actually works, and b. the way it should work. I disagree vehemently with b., and a. is simply not the case. In all animal control by-laws, offenses committed by an owner are handled separately from the issue of whether a dog is dangerous. So one should never lead to the other - a guilty charge alone, or even three, is not sufficient grounds to euthanize a dog. And this is the case here. 
    In cities like Vancouver and Boston, a dangerous dog is roughly defined as a dog that seriously injured or killed a human or another animal, and is untrainable; many laws seem to follow that with "any dog that an officer has reasonable grounds to believe is dangerous," etc. Boston does not seek euthanization, ever; at worst, an owner is forced to remove their dog from the city, but before that, there is an option to undergo training. 
    In Halifax, the definition of  "dangerous" is extremely broad (s. 2(1)(g) of A-300), and almost any dog can be classified as such. 
    (g) “dangerous dog” means any dog which:
    (i) attacks or demonstrates a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack
    a human being or animal either on public or private property;
    (ii) has caused injury to or otherwise endangered the safety of a human
    being or animal;
    (iii) threatens any human being or animal;
    (iv) is owned or harboured primarily or in part for the purpose of dog
    (v) is trained for dog fighting; or
    (vi) is a dog for which a muzzle order has been made;
    provided that no dog shall be deemed a “dangerous dog” solely because it
    attacks or threatens a trespasser on the property of its owner, harms or
    menaces anyone who has tormented or abused it, was at the time of its
    aggressive behaviour acting in defence to an attack from a person or animal,
    acting in defence of it’s young or is a professionally trained guard dog for law
    enforcement or guard duties;

    Now, I could add that two of Brindi's encounters were with dogs that had been aggressive to her on recent occasions, lunging, barking, and growling at her. Dogs remember one another; with their sense of smell, they are even better equipped than we are to remember. So the final clause might be reasonably applied to Brindi's behavior. But she can also be trained not to react that way in the future, with the right training. 
    And when it comes to socializing with people? Please! We spent New Year's Eve 2008 with a friend and her family, sat at the kitchen table with the matriarch, who insisted she was deathly afraid of dogs. Within a short time, Brindi was calmly laying at her feet, where she stayed put the rest of the evening. The woman felt secure and safe. Kids would run up and throw their arms around Brindi to hug her, and she never budged an inch, never even licked them. She was gentle and not easily spooked, even during excavation work on my house. 
    HRM's high kill rate is puzzling, given that under A-300, it is legal to own a dog that was deemed dangerous and even registered as such. Is that just a front? To date, Halifax has not registered Brindi in that category, though I renewed her license twice since the seizure. Even more puzzling, during his testimony, the animal services officer denied he ever deemed Brindi dangerous. Why? And why seize her, then?)
    The fact is, my dog is very well-behaved and well-liked by those caring for her. See for yourself in the video; read the affidavits. I worked hard on her behavior to make her a great dog to have around, obedient and affectionate, and she was/is. Her unwelcome behavior occurred infrequently and was short-lived. It requires specialized training, and unfortunately, I received different advice from the trainer on how to deal with it. Why believe me? Read the letters
    Whether you credit me for having done my best and made a few mistakes that did not lead to great harm, you cannot say that Brindi is a dangerous dog, which is the issue at hand. That is indeed HRM's chief concern, public safety, not whether I am guilty of anything. Apples and oranges. In fact, the city took her without ever having laid charges, and until the supreme court said no, it was prepared to kill her  without ever charging me, which is proof of the split within the law. The truth is, and HRM made this plain to a judge, they only charged me because their goal was to euthanize, and the only available means of euthanizing her was to parlay guilty charges into a court order. This was now necessary because the supreme court quashed section 8(2)d of A300. ("Euthanize" is the wrong word, of course; "destroy" is more accurate.) 
    As a case unfolds, the system blurs the distinction between penalty and public safety, thanks to a provincial law that links one to the other, section 177 of the Municipal Government Act, which is titled, "Additional Penalty." 
    Furthermore, the city is handling this case unlike the way it has the majority of dog attack cases, many involving attacks on humans. These are documented and compiled for your perusal. They were extracted from HRM online records. If you want to see prosecutions of all dog-related offenses since 2007 to compare, you can see them here. These ought to raise your eyebrow, at least halfway. If not, I can tell you a few hair-raising stories, I promise. 
    That is, if you are willing to see more than black and white when it comes to dogs. It would be a shame if you weren't. If your goal is simply to stir up controversy - well, you're a bit late, Andrew, don't you think? 
    Facebook response to Andrew Krystal from a Calgary resident:
    Maureen Hurly
    "Inane”? Stories about sports teams and celebrities are “inane”; not matters of life and death.
    Compassionate people care about all life and all suffering. Ever since I can remember, as a very young child, I cared a lot about animals. I couldn’t understand why so many other people really did not. After all it was obvious to me that they had feelings and could suffer greatly.

    When I grew up I felt I wanted to make a positive impact on the world and I trained and worked as a social worker in fields such as child welfare and probation services. I am now a stay at home mother but actively volunteer in my community at an animal shelter, a senior’s home and at a food bank. I don’t see why you are trying to imply that people who care about animals don’t care about people. I have found the reverse to be true in all the wonderful people I have met over the years. Empathy and compassion are character traits that are not turned on or off depending on which species you are dealing with, or with which race group or gender or other population group, for that matter.
    I do care about Brindi and her owner as I feel this case has been handled in an unjust manner. Brindi has been evaluated by three different animal trainers, none of whom thought she was aggressive and all of whom believed she was trainable. The SPCA staff, where Brindi was held for most of the past 21 months, became attached to her and let her walk around the SPCA property and sleep under their desks. They do not believe she is dangerous, and did not muzzle her. In fact, I saw a photograph where they even held a birthday party for Brindi. In the photo she is surrounded by people including a toddler, and she is not wearing a muzzle.

    The incidents which got Brindi into trouble occurred along her property line where she showed territorial behaviour towards passing dogs. This is behaviour that should be rectified, and apparently it is correctable with training. In the various scuffles between Brindi and passing dogs, no other dog was seriously hurt. To my understanding, one dog received a small tooth puncture mark, but that was it for injuries. Brindi is just not a killer dog. She has never attacked a person, and there is zero reason to believe she ever would (well, no more reason than believing any other dog would; contrary to your question about “guarantees”, nothing in life is ever guaranteed. Even though I have never hurt anyone before, no-one else can “guarantee” I won’t go on a homicidal killing spree tomorrow. And what of the known criminals who are released from prison daily with no guarantee that they will not re-offend?) Contrast Brindi’s case - scuffles with other dogs, no serious injuries, no threats to humans ever- with other cases in Halifax where dogs who have actually bitten people or killed other animals have not been siezed by bylaw, and the owners have merely been fined, and you can surely see the injustice. In Brindi’s case, HRM actually hired a private law firm at a cost (I’m guessing) of tens of thousands of dollars to kill a much loved dog who no-one really believes is dangerous!
    I discussed this case with a bylaw officer in my own city (which incidentally is a city with a reputation for having a very low rate of dog attacks). He had already heard of this case, and was extremely perplexed by the way a “dog bites dog” case (his description) has been handled by Halifax.

    At the very least, people who do not like animals but claim to care about people, should consider the hell Ms Rogier has been through the past 21 months and feel compassion for her. It may be hard for people who do not care about animals to understand, but to her Brindi is her family member and she loves her and is committed to her. She has offered all along to do whatever it takes to get Brindi back - from the beginnning she has offered to pay fines, get training, build a fence etc. The City of Halifax has been rigid in their refusal to negotiate. I, along with thousands of others who are following this case, and who do not regard it as “inane”, hope that the judge sees that a death sentence for Brindi is not appropriate in this case, and that Brindi gets another chance at life.
    April 20, 2010 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

National coverage of yesterday's court proceedings

As far afield as Moose Jaw, local newspapers have picked up the story of me and Brindi, thanks to the fact that it was covered by the Canadian Press!!

Dog at centre of N.S. court battle showed no signs of aggression: trainer

HALIFAX, N.S. - An animal trainer who assessed a dog the municipality of Halifax has deemed dangerous and wants to euthanize says the mixed-breed mutt shows no signs of aggression and should not be put down.
Ted Efthymiadis said in provincial court Friday that he did several behavioural tests on Brindi, a six-year-old dog who's been in a shelter since she attacked another dog two years ago.
The trainer said he believes Brindi can be trained and should be muzzled if returned to her owner.
"She's a great dog and very trainable," Efthymiadis said in court after watching a video that showed him testing Brindi.
"For a dog that has been deemed by some people to be extremely dog-aggressive, I just didn't see it."
Brindi's owner, Francesca Rogier, was found guilty earlier this year of violating an animal control bylaw after Brindi rushed out of her yard and attacked a leashed dog strolling by Rogier's home.
She was convicted of being the owner of a dog that was running at large, owning a dog that attacked another animal and failing to comply with a muzzle order.
The charges came after a series of written warnings from the City of Halifax following other attacks by Brindi. One of the city's warnings required Brindi be muzzled.
Since then, Rogier has waged a costly legal fight to have her dog returned to her home in East Chezzetcook, a rural community on the outskirts of the city.
But the municipality argues that releasing the dog poses a risk to her neighbours and their pets.
"The Halifax Regional Municipality cannot take any other position than the destruction of the dog," attorney Geoff Newton said in court.
The judge could decide to have the animal put down as a threat to the public welfare, have it returned to its owner, or hand it to a third party for continuing care.
She said she would issue her decision on April 30.
But Newton said moving it to another location would merely transfer the problem.
Rogier, who is representing herself in court, said other cases in the Maritimes show dogs that have attacked people have not been put down.
In Hampton, N.B., a judge ruled a dog be muzzled when it is outdoors despite a town order that the animal be euthanized for biting a woman last summer.
Rogier also suggested the Halifax Regional Municipality has a poor record when it comes to euthanization.
She said from January 2007 to March 2010, 31 dogs were euthanized in the city.
When asked by Rogier if Brindi should be killed, Efthymiadis said: "Absolutely not."

© Canadian Press

    Statements from neighbors

    Here are texts of signed statements by my next-door neighbors the Clarks. Many, many thanks to them!!!

    Outing the local media: your lack of morals is showing

    Some media people seem to forget that Twitter is publicly accessible. They should know better, don't you think? Their lack of morals is showing as well as their ignorance of social media. Nobody really cares what a local rag claiming to be political satire says, but people expect more of the CBC and the Chronicle-Herald.

    Here are tweets seen today. Some are by friends of media people. Don't get me wrong:  people are entitled to their opinions. But I can't help noticing, there is no monopoly on heartlessness.

    1. Smiles_normalJohn_Gillis RT @krisp131: Please, God, just make this story go away. RT @chronicleherald#Brindi not aggressive, trainer tells Halifax court http://ow.ly/1zrbP