Sunday, March 14, 2010

What About Owners' Rights?

A very kind person from the south shore area has sent a letter to the Chronicle-Herald and was nice enough to forward it to me. Given the Herald's recent tendencies, I am not expecting it to be published, so I posted it with the other letters on

She writes,

"First of all, it is now very interesting that people such as Bob Ottenbrite are now on record as saying that Brindi is a good dog...

"What I don't understand is why all these animal advocates are not also advocating for the owner's rights here.  Under the law, Ms. Rogier is entitled to the same rights as others who have been charged with animal control by-law offences and that is to pay the fines and have Brindi returned to her. Others with much more serious offenses all have their dogs with them today.  Since Brindi's incarceration, Ms. Rogier has been subjected to all manner of financial and emotional torture.  Her visits with Brindi at the SPCA were initially banned, then severally curtailed with numerous written conditions attached that I'm not sure were even constitutional...

"Who authorized Mr. Ottenbrite "and others" to make arrangements for a suitable home for Brindi? As I understand it, Ms. Rogier is still Brindi's owner, an owner who has fought tooth and nail to first, save her dog from a wrongful execution, and second have her returned to her own home where she is well loved and cared for.  Who else has stood by Brindi these past two years, literally putting everything on the line for the love of this animal?  What kind of home could be more suitable than the one Ms. Rogier can provide for Brindi?"

I really appreciate this letter. I have been trying to get the same message across for so long, it's kind of a surprise to see it in somebody else's words.  This battle is difficult enough. I thought proving that Brindi is not dangerous (too dangerous to live...) was the issue. Being held to a different (unwritten) standard than all other dog owners in Halifax is a bit much. Since I am going to be fined, as the by-law requires, I just don't see why the issue of ownership is being forced into court in a case that does not involve major injuries to anybody. 

I get suggestions from people all over - "Show that photo from the SPCA to the judge!" Done; also sent to the media and the council and the mayor. "Send that list of other dog owners' offenses and penalties to the council and to the court!" Done, in the first; the judge declined it in the trial, but I can show it in the sentencing hearing.

In fact, to make it easier for everybody, I should probably post a list of all the things I have done and others have done on my behalf: letters to the Dog Whisperer, Ellen, Oprah, and various other animal-loving celebrities; contacts to the Animal Legal Defense Fund; calls to lawyers by the dozen; letters to every level of government; some even wrote the prime minister (which took me aback, frankly).