Monday, June 11, 2012

Public safety or politics? How Halifax deals with dogs that actually cause severe harm

Titan, a pit bull, and a chow mix in the neighbourhood have fought each other several times.
Was Halifax merely practicing strict animal control when it planned to seize Brindi, laying the ground by issuing her a muzzle order? 
You decide. Here is a sample of its approach to dogs that actually cause serious harm, from last April. 

Dog fights frustrate Lower Sackville residents

Residents of a Lower Sackville trailer park say they've had enough with a pair of dogs that continue to fight each other.

Tracey Crawley, a resident of the Sackville Manor trailer park, said her pet was attacked two months ago by one of the two dogs.

"My daughter was home with my dog and she called me on the phone to tell my the chow dog had been in the yard and attacked my dog," she said Monday. "My next door neighbour, what she did was she called the SPCA and we never heard anything else in regards to it."

At around 4 p.m. on Monday, there was another fight between the two dogs in question — a chow mix and a pit bull. The owner of the chow mix was bitten in the arm as she tried to break up the fight between the animals. Tanya Ross, the owner of the pit bull, said she wants the other dog to leave the neighbourhood.
"Her dog bit my daughter, attacked my dog four or five times on my property, has attacked numerous people in the neighbourhood, I think the dog should be taken right out of the neighbourhood," she told CBC News.

Animal services officers with the Halifax Regional Municipality spoke to Ross and the owner of the chow mix, but neither of the animals was seized.
-- Chronicle Herald, Halifax

So... not so strict after all. Even when people are bitten - or animals are killed: I personally witnessed a case of a dog that strayed far from its yard and killed a kitten belonging to a neighbor. The ten-year old dog had never been licensed either. Irresponsible owner? No. The city didn't seize that dog, or bring that neighbor to court; it didn't ask for the dog to be put down, or even muzzled. On hearing the prosecutor say "It was just a first offense, your honor," the judge granted his request for two fines, a long period to pay, and a long period for the owner - whose husband appeared in court in her place - to obtain a dog license.

Meanwhile, known violent psychos get "day passes" to roam the streets unescorted. Recently this sort of thing led to a man's murder.

Brindi's been locked up longer than many violent criminals.

Halifax seized her and kept her for six months without cause (or due process). I tried in vain to convince them it was a mistake, begged them to let her go, offered to pay fines if they would only charge me; build a fence; do private training, and obey the muzzle order (violated unintentionally for about 20 secs one fateful morning). But the city refused, and kept hold of her even after I had to go to court and a judge tossed out their unconstitutional "euthanasia" order. At that point it simply laid charges and kept her longer, even though the charge didn't entitle them to do that. Also the vet, and any number of members of the public. 
At the beginning Halifax lawyers admitted Brindi was not a danger to people. Which raises the question, why try to put her down? She's never bitten a person, not even close, and no dog ever needed medical treatment because of her. Last week, inexplicably reversing the previous position, the new prosecutor told a local radio host that Brindi's a threat to public safety And all the time, it keeps her isolated from other dogs, and from me, as her health declines. I don't know what their connection is, but the prosecutor spoke on the same show as a woman belonging to a small group of people who have been harassing me for years - people with connections to a branch of the SPCA that, as the poundkeeper, ducked loudly the first time around. The woman hasn't been directly involved in my case, yet keeps putting out false information.
I have blogged the details leading almost up to her release in 2010. It's been very difficult to continue after that, especially with the things I was hit after the city took her again. That was after a minor and rather freak incident. Again, it wouldn't let her go pending trial, though it leaves countless other dogs  at home while it pursues similar charges after similar incidents. It ignores the training that was done and what the trainer says about Brindi.