Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why won't you step up, Hope Swinimer? Open Letter to Halifax Pound Contractor

As a famous John once famously said to a famous Paul, "How do you sleep?"

You made your name saving wild animals with Hope for Wildlife. You founded Homeward Bound Citypound as the pound contractor for the Halifax Regional Municipality since 2010, taking over from the SPCA. Your goal, you told me, was to gain addition income for the wildlife rehab centre - to pay two staff members, if I remember correctly.

So essentially you are using this business, the pound, to support your wild-life rehab. 
And in its day-to-day business, the pound carries out various functions, including executing orders for and by the Halifax Regional Municipality. [It is part of the municipal system of by-law enforcement. The same system that took my dog away from me twice, under questionable circumstances, and had you hold her indefinitely since 2010 [though as seized property, the law compels it to be returned if, like Brindi, it is not evidence].

My question to you is simple: when are you going to finally stand up for Brindi? She's an animal too, just like the wild ones you love to rescue.

Doesn't my dog have the same right to a good life as a wild animal? How is keeping her kenneled year after year a good life? Why did you allow your subcontractor to swear to a judge she is okay when you know very well she isn't? She's got at least two chronic diseases!

We both know you have been profiting from your business, and it's no exaggeration to say it was my fight for Brindi that opened up this opportunity for you in 2010. So haven't you been essentially profiting from our misery for five years now? Five years!! And for those five years she and I suffered while you collected a healthy sum - something like $2.5 million for the first three years? How much more now, since the new contract last March? I don't know. I don't want to know.

What I do know is, I did some good volunteer work for you at Hope for Wildlife for over a year. The peace pole standing on your property right now was my project, done at your special request, from start to finish. From finding the right artist, commissioning it, selecting the design, the languages, and organizing its fabrication and delivery, to choosing its location on your land. Then, though I did not feel up to it because the city had taken Brindi from me just weeks before, and I could hardly bear being in public, I designed and organized the unveiling ceremony too, for you! I'd lost about 15 pounds by then, was unable to eat because of Brindi. Everybody noticed.

I want my dog back!
My work at your open house for the kids, again at your request, where I came up with a fun way to make bird beaks with real feathers, teaching about shapes of beaks, was a big hit. I did it because I love animals, I did it because I believed in you. 

I cannot tell you how saddening it is to me, to be repaid this way. To know that I also sought your help, in trust, and instead you saw it as an opportunity to advance your own interests and simply took it.

You know how much Brindi means to me. How can you live with yourself, truly?

Why won't Halifax tell me how Brindi is, or take her to her vet?

I can no longer shut my ears from the question people keep asking me: What makes you think Brindi is still alive? 

They seem to be asking this more than ever. And I am worried more than ever. I ask HRM often, and they refuse to give me any information. They used to just ignore the question. But more recently they  say they are "satisfied" that they don't have to give me any info on Brind because she is not relevant to the appeal. Not relevant? She is the whole reason for the appeal. I am not satisfied.

How can I write a brief without knowing how she is, or if she is? I cannot, I am finding. I haven't got anything to go on for three years. What I do know is she is not healthy per se because of her chronic conditions. And I know she is not getting the supplement that stabilizes her blood enzymes. And there is no reason on earth HRM is not able to tell me or to take her to Dr. Larkin for a checkup. Dr. Larkin has written several times as well, no answer. So it is maddeningly worrying. It's totally debilitating in fact. Paralyzing.

I am going to have to do something soon about it, somehow, because for weeks and weeks I've been having migraines, flare-ups of muscle pain, insomnia. By now I cannot focus or concentrate at all, I sleep randomly, I can't manage the house or bills or anything. It's too much. And the work for court is incredibly complicated, the papers riddled with reminders that trigger PTSD like nobody's business. I stare in lockdown-mode for hours. Then suddenly a memory stabs my brain and I'm sobbing for fifteen minutes.

Nobody should have to live like this. My house is a mess. I can't work. I have no holiday plans, the seventh year in a row. I can't fly to the US to see my 94 year-old mother. I have nothing to look forward to - nothing but more difficulty and hardship, and possibly much more grief, because this is my last chance.