Excerpt from testimony with behavioral consultant

March 16, 2012 Dartmouth Provincial Court
(Based on court transcript. For audio, see BrindiJustice.com)


THE CLERK: State your name for the record and spell your last name, please.
SUSAN JORDAN: Susan Myra Jordan. J-O-R-D-A-N.
THE COURT: Would you like to have a glass of water?
SUSAN JORDAN: No, not yet.
THE COURT: Thats fine. Just let us know if you need one.
MS. ROGIER: Your Honour, may I have a glass of water?
THE COURT: Oh, of course. Just help yourself.
MS. ROGIER: Are you sure you dont want one?
SUSAN JORDAN: Not at the moment. Ill probably know it over.
MS. ROGIER: I am trying to find, I thought I had a file prepared for this.
THE COURT: Sheriff, just before we start. Is there any way that we could turn the heat up perhaps? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it.
MS. ROGIER: Okay. So can I, Susan Jordan. Can I ask you what your occupation is?
SUSAN JORDAN: I am a professional pet dog trainer and a canine behavioural consultant.
MS. ROGIER: And what are your qualifications or affiliations in that capacity?
SUSAN JORDAN: Well, I have been employed in the industry for just over  years. My formal education background is I attended Dalhousie with a Bachelor of Physical Education. I was involved with the corporate world after that and had a number of courses and training with regards to the humans, human resources and psychology, sales, marketing training. When I made the transition into the canine world, I became a member of the American Association of Pet Dog Trainers, The Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers, and an international group called Dog Gone Save Incorporated which promotes dog safety throughout the world. I attend seminars and educational courses as available and extensive study within the dog training world with the newest publications of animal behaviour, as science is showing us and articles and so on.
There is no formalized accredited dog training structure in the world at this point. It is a bit of a stumbling block for the industry because there are a variety of ways at which professionals reach accreditation or knowledge and the only ones who are permitted to call themselves behaviourists must have attended university and obtained a PhD in animal behaviour. So, you can be a behavioural consultant, and you can have expertise, but to call yourself a behaviourist you must have your accredited degree and PhD. To my knowledge, in Atlantic Canada, Dr. Norm MacKay at the Atlantic Veterinary Collage is the only one holding that capacity.
MS. ROGIER: So, then, today at this point in the proceedings, I dont know if we will be getting an opportunity to return at a different time and for other kinds of questions, but for now, this is a trial that we are discussing charges against me in relation to an incident with Brindi on September , 2010.
MS. ROGIER: Are you familiar at all with that incident?
SUSAN JORDAN: I am familiar from conversations that we had related to the behavioural component of it. I wasnt present. So, as always, trainers will say that there is probably a lot of canine conversation going on that the uneducated eye didnt necessary see. So, it is...
MS. ROGIER: Thank you.
THE COURT: Excuse me. Just with respect to this witness being qualified or not as an expert in canine behaviour, the witness herself has said there is only canine expert, as I understand it, in that behaviour, that you have to get a PhD...
SUSAN JORDAN: Well, no, no. You can be a canine behavioural consultant. You are allowed to use that phrasing. You cant call yourself “certified behaviourist but you can certainly give expert testimony or witness, if you have had sufficient training and background.
THE COURT: Have you given expert opinion before?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yes, I have.
THE COURT: Which courts?
SUSAN JORDAN: Ah, in Small Claims Courts.
MS. ROGIER: What kinds of cases would you...
THE COURT: Just a sec... And do you remember what the qualification was?
SUSAN JORDAN: It was regard to, it ultimately came down to, regarding clear ownership of the dog, but the argument by defence was with regards to the care and   
treatment that the other owner was providing versus what she was providing.
THE COURT: What would your position be with respect to. . .Just, I am sorry, I am speaking to...
Your Honour, with respect to Ms. Jordan, I wouldnt have difficulty with her being considered an expert in training. In fact, that really seems to be her area, but in terms of being an expert and giving opinions on the scientific backing on the behaviour of dogs and how she would be able to predict future behaviour of dogs, I would have some concerns where she doesnt actually have an academic background in that area.
SUSAN JORDAN: Well, I have...
THE COURT: Just a sec. To be quite, quite blunt with you Ms. Rogier, I appreciate, thank you, this witness being brought forward. How much is really relevant, quite frankly, to the charges that. . .But just let me finish. What I think I am prepared to do, I certainly want to give you as much leeway as possible, that we could qualify Ms. Jordan as an expert in the training of dogs. But, I am sure that might go over, obviously does go into behaviour, but I think that probably would be sufficient qualification at this point.
SUSAN JORDAN: As I would say, Your Honour...
THE COURT: Thats all right.
MS. ROGIER: So, Your Honour. I fail to note, Ms. Jordan was approved by HRM to train Brindi as part of the court-directed conditions before she was returned to me, so we worked in June, over the course of four weeks. Is that correct?
SUSAN JORDAN: It was longer than that, yeah.
MS. ROGIER: It was longer than that. So, Ms. Jordan is very, very familiar with Brindi and with all of Brindis...
THE COURT: Thats fine. Go ahead. We have qualified...
MS. ROGIER: I just want to make clear...
THE COURT: Just a second. Dont talk when I am speaking please.
MS. ROGIER: Sorry.
THE COURT: We have qualified. The court has qualified Ms. Jordan as an expert in dog training. I think that is sufficient. It encompasses, I expect where you want to go, that I have read, has a lot of hands on training with Brindi.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, I am hoping at some point that Ms. Jordan can later speak about issues that are related to the Charter claim in relation directly to the laws. Now I would like to talk to her about what she knows from her familiarity and working with Brindi and how she would see Brindi in the spectrum of dogs in terms of dogs that attack. How severe dogs will attack and what measures might be applied to interpret them as whether they are public safety menaces, and to what degree one can make a statement about that with any precision.
So, Ms. Jordan, lets just make one formality. I would like to show you and enter, I am looking for an extra picture, I actually already entered this picture before at the first day. Can I just show it to the witness and ask her to identify Brindi in the picture?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yep, thats the dog.
THE COURT: All right. Thank you.
MS. ROGIER: What is she doing in this picture?
SUSAN JORDAN: She is trying to make eye contact with the humans around her.
MS. ROGIER: Is there something else that someone is holding to her?
SUSAN JORDAN: Oh, sorry I couldnt make it out. Yeah, she is sniffing on a food item, a piece of cake or something.
MS. ROGIER: She has got her mouth open, right.
MS. ROGIER: So, and there is a lot of people -
SUSAN JORDAN: She is in close proximity to the humans, yeah.
MS. ROGIER: What kind of body language do you think these people, are they afraid of her?
SUSAN JORDAN: No, there is absolutely no hesitation there...
MS. ROGIER: But what -
SUSAN JORDAN: No, no in body language between dogs and humans there is no sense of threat or anxiety there.
MS. ROGIER: Okay. So there is such a thing as body language between dogs and humans?
SUSAN JORDAN: Absolutely.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, now, when we, okay. Had we ever met before you started work with...
MS. ROGIER: We didnt have any connection before this, is that correct?
SUSAN JORDAN: No, none whatsoever.
MS. ROGIER: So, would you say our relationship was a business relationship or a friendship relationship?
SUSAN JORDAN: Its a business, absolutely, and has been kept that way.
MS. ROGIER: And, were you compensated for the training work that you did?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yes, maam.
MS. ROGIER: Now, what, lets see. Were you asked to provide any information in particular as you set out to do this in order to obtain approval from the City?
SUSAN JORDAN: Well, I had to be accredited by HRM and approved in order to be ascertained that I was sufficient background and knowledge to be beneficial in this situation.
MS. ROGIER: And you said that you had been involved in other cases? Had you been involved in prosecution cases, or dogs that were subject to some kind of by-law A-?
SUSAN JORDAN: I have worked with owners who have been either cited or fined or under, I dont want to use the word execution, who were required to muzzle or leash their dogs as part of a response to a fining.
MS. ROGIER: So when you began to view the duties to train Brindi, how did you view that to the degree of difficulty, lets say, at the start.
SUSAN JORDAN: Based on what I was told with the historic background of the nature of the incidents, and the response on the part of the dog, it was strictly a behavioural modification for the dog and heightening your education of dog canine communications and proper skills and a skill set to continue moving forward with the behaviour modification and to lessen to move forward with thresholds that the dog was experiencing that were causing a problem right now.
MS. ROGIER: And when you began the training, did you work with me independently first?
SUSAN JORDAN: That was part of the structure, is that it was owner, dog, and owner/dog, done in three parts.
MS. ROGIER: So, you spent some time alone with Brindi, as well.
MS. ROGIER: And where did you sp end time alone with Brindi?
SUSAN JORDAN: I worked with her at Bell Kennels, and I worked with her both, I did
assessment in the confines initially and ultimately when we were working together, we were able to do some off-site work as the skill sets strengthened.
MS. ROGIER: So, we started out in the kennel together,
MS. ROGIER: …and then when it was time to do that, we went to Point Pleasant Park, is that correct?
MS. ROGIER: We did that at least twice, I believe is that correct?
MS. ROGIER: Okay, and we had done that, did we do that after Brindi had been returned to me?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yes, it was, we did not go offsite until permission was granted for the dog to be returned to you.
MS. ROGIER: Did you appear in Court as part of those conditions before Brindi was released?
MS. ROGIER: Was she released because you had submitted a report?
MS. ROGIER: Okay, why was she released at that time, that way, do you know?
SUSAN JORDAN: Based on my understanding, the court, to use an ambiguous word, the court, seemed to sense that sufficient work was done, that it was al right for the dog to be returned to the owner and to be taken back into public setting.
MS. ROGIER: Do you remember, at the time, was that a surprise to you?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yeah, I pretty shocked, to be truthful.
MS. ROGIER: Yeah, it was a surprise to me. We were very shocked.
SUSAN JORDAN: Well, I was ready to, obviously, I had submitted a structure, and I actually expected to be called on that structure as to how it had proceeded and what the results were, and in my opinion, was I prepared to support that the dog was ready to return. And none of that was required at the time.
MS. ROGIER: When you first assessed Brindi, by that time I had assumed   you had assessed a lot of other dogs, at the time, is that correct?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yeah, I have a large client base.
MS. ROGIER: So, how would you place her say, in terms of mild to extreme aggression problems?
SUSAN JORDAN: Aggression is a very dangerous word. There are actually sub stratus of the word “aggression, so the assessment of Brindi was determined that she has territorial aggression, she does not have dog-to-human, she does not have dog-to-dog, she does not have food aggression, and its very important to know which type of aggression is being dealt with in order to successfully modify that behaviour. So, in working with her and ascertaining it, it is a territory aggression. Dogs are, by nature, defensive of things that they consider theirs. It is inherent within the species. So, the work that was done was for what I would call mild to moderate, because of the way she had responded in the past situations, and the control with which, and the canine signals with which she was using to explain herself in dog language, to what she perceived as a threat.
MS. ROGIER: And so, I just wanted to clarify one thing. You said something, we talked about the moment before you met Brindi, how you approached this, and then you did meet her and made an assessment first, okay?
MS. ROGIER: Well, there was obviously prior to working with you there had been some media coverage, and although I try not to pay a lot of attention, specifically because of a lot of the type of work I do, and knowing that there is a tremendous amount of miscommunicae regarding animal behaviour in general. But, obviously with that kind of press being out there, there was a bit of trepidation on my part with regards to what I was actually going to see when I came in to see and meet and visit with the dog.
MS. ROGIER: Now, she was in the kennel at the time, right?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yeah, and she had been put in and confined to a kennel.
MS. ROGIER: Did you speak with the kennel operator?
MS. ROGIER: And did he make any remarks to you regarding...
MS SALSMAN: Its hearsay,
THE COURT: Ill leave it...
MS. ROGIER: He had submitted an affidavit, Your Honour, which I will submit. Now, at the kennel. Let me ask you the same question about me, just for the record.
That you had, you agreed to do this work.
MS. ROGIER: But not before we met. It was after we met...
SUSAN JORDAN: No, it was predicated on getting a full and complete and unbiased as possible history before I would accept the case. Um,...
MS. ROGIER: So, were you satisfied...
SUSAN JORDAN: I dont take dogs into my client files, there are some situations   
where its just not appropriate. A dog is just not capable of enough rehabilitation to safely re-enter society and thats a very mixed bag. We have everything from no kill shelters through shelters that euthanize for a variety of reasons, and so, my personal decision is that a dog that has lost all bit inhibition and beyond behaviour modification is really not an appropriate client for me. So, I needed to speak with you and find out about as much about the previous situations as possible to know whether or not this is a dog for whom behaviour modification truly would be beneficial.
And, that I wasnt wasting your time or your money, or taking a dog that was incapable of recovery into a system.
MS. ROGIER: So then, you made this determination both about Brindi and about me.
MS. ROGIER: And it sounds like it was very thorough in both cases.
SUSAN JORDAN: It was over, I take long and detailed histories, and if you recall, it was well over two hours of interrogation for you to give me a full picture, as best...
MS. ROGIER: It was.
SUSAN JORDAN: as you were able.
MS. ROGIER: Thats correct.
SUSAN JORDAN: And then there was an hour at the kennel of an assessment of the dog as well. And that was done independently without your presence.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, yes. And when you took her out to the park, did you muzzle her?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yes, that was under the restrictions of the conditions.
MS. ROGIER: Did you muzzle and leash her in the car?
SUSAN JORDAN: Ah, I had her leashed. I did not have her muzzled.
MS. ROGIER: Okay. And then when you got to the, arrived at the park...
SUSAN JORDAN: Before I opened the door, she was put into her basket.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, so you said, mild to moderate, or moderate to mild?
SUSAN JORDAN: Mild to moderate.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, so that it wasnt a case in your opinion where there was a problem that was so severe that you had concerns about the ability to train, or anything?
SUSAN JORDAN: Oh, not about ability to, I mean, behaviour modification, as with all species, and I say that kindly. Humans, dogs, horses, when we modify behaviour, it is a process, it is not an instantaneous aspect. It is a training.
It does have thresholds that you work through. And in order to set, define goals and to have steps to work towards, you have to sort of figure out, where is the dog at this particular point, and how severe is the behaviour? And, so, yeah, I always have concerns when a dog has any rehabilitation, whether its a dog that is jumping all over the kids, or its a dog thats got territorial, or a dog that has food aggression, there are always concerns because they go against the human standard of norm. And we have a very sanitized view of our dogs, and unfortunately sometimes working within those parameters makes it difficult. So you have to know where the dog is in the process in order to set realistic and responsible goals. So, I would classify her as mild to moderate.
MS. ROGIER: Mild to moderate. Okay, so is there a classification below that?
SUSAN JORDAN: No, for example, a dog that does not have any food guarding issues whatsoever, is a dog that basically does not exhibit that characteristic.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, so to be clear, I believe you said she has territorial issues?
MS. ROGIER: She did not have dog-to-dog to issues.
MS. ROGIER: She did not have food aggression issues.
MS. ROGIER: She did not have human-to-dog aggression issues.
MS. ROGIER: Would a dog be, what affect if a dog had and mild to moderate behaviour, what would two years of isolation from other dogs have on her potentially?
SUSAN JORDAN: Potentially, it is of great...
MS SALSMAN: Your Honour...
MS SALSMAN: I think she is asking questions about behaviouralism, rather than training.
MS. ROGIER: Your Honour...
THE COURT:: No, I would agree that is outside of the qualification that...
MS. ROGIER: Very good, Okay. Then you used a phrase that came up before today, bit inhibition.
MS. ROGIER: I would like you to briefly define what that actually means.
SUSAN JORDAN: And I am going to be very carefully because I appreciate the courts concern about my not overstepping, but let me preface this by saying that there is no way to be a truly effective training, without understanding deeply the principles of behaviour. You cannot train, if you do not understand. Its like being a teacher.
If you dont understand the basics and the truisms of behaviour you cant be an effective teacher within the school systems, so in the same application, I answer this question as a true trainer.
Bite inhibition is required to be done with all dogs from the moment they are six to seven weeks of age in order to teach them to manage the power within their mouths. Our dogs jaws have the power, strength and ability to crush bones. They are decedents of the wolfs. They are domesticated. And one of the aspects and the tools that they have is their mouths. So as they are growing, it is imperative that good owners develop what is called bite inhibition, which is teaching a dog how to manage the power of its mouth. Dogs with good bite inhibition are heavily socialized play well with other dogs, have learned how to use the structure, much in the same way humans learn to how to handle their strength and to draw a parallel through. It would be like children on a playground. They have to learn how hard they can play tag, so that they can tag their friend and not bruise or injure them. So our dogs are learning on that same level. So we talk about biting inhibition in t he ability of them to manage the power of their mouths so they do not cause harm when they close their jaws down. So we have a variety of warning structures. And the escalation is, very simply, a hard look, a curled lip, a growl. There are four types of nips: air snaps, there is no technical – ninnying, where they just jitter their teeth a little bit; there is mouthing and there is mouthing with pressure. Now mouthing with pressure, can, in fact bruise, or can even occasionally create a puncture. It is still considered bit inhibition.
A true bite is defined for our industry, is when a dog does an intentional puncturing and lateral tear with force designed to create deep muscle tear. When a dog crosses the line past nipping and moves into the escalated full, and what they also phrase as “kill bite, um, it has transgressed the boundaries of what our society deals with well, and are usually much, much more difficult to rehabilitate.
I dont work with dogs that have crossed the line into full blown inhibited bite. Because, its a very long journey and most dog owners struggle with the difficulty of that kind of level of a behaviour modification.
So bit inhabitation is crucial for our dogs to communicate with one another. It is how they send and posture and utilize. For a dog, there is no writing a letter to a solicitor, or calling the editor at the newspaper and complaining, they communicate dog to dog.
MS. ROGIER: Thats a form of communication?
SUSAN JORDAN: It is a very crucial form of communication.
MS. ROGIER: Are you able to distinguish that form of communication when it crosses the line into an intention to inflict serious harm?
SUSAN JORDAN: Yes, because usually you are talking about extensive, deep muscle tear and tissue. You are talking about extensive stitching, its, and a full-blown kill bite is a very, very brutal and a very, very ugly thing to see.
MS. ROGIER: So that, if I could turn back to Brindi, just very quickly. . .You said that you did a thorough study of Brindi from her previous events or incidents,
MS. ROGIER: Rather, and did I supply you with some photos or anything after that for the September th incident?
SUSAN JORDAN: I dont believe so...
MS. ROGIER: We have an exhibit on that. I dont know, can I ask for that back? I showed it to Valerie earlier, if I may...
THE COURT:: I am sorry... of the dog. . .with the wound. It was Exhibit...
MS. ROGIER: It was the set of photos, just pull your file...
THE CLERK: Yes, um...
MS. ROGIER: It was Exhibit . Now in terms of what you just described,
MS. ROGIER: Can you describe how that fits into the photo, the injuries that are in that photo?
MS SALSMAN: Your Honour, I think that Ms. Jordan is not qualified to evaluate injuries, especially based on a photograph.
MS. ROGIER: Your Honour, she just did do that, and she can specify very nicely, I think for us, so we answer a questions about this that, I think has a lot of relevance to the...
THE COURT:: Well, what we are getting into is outside of, once again, the parameters of the qualification, here, which is dog training.
MS. ROGIER: Well...
THE COURT: No, the qualification was not expertise in what a bite wound looks like, or what it could be interpreted as, I appreciate is well, has a great knowledge in that regard, but thats not the parameters of the qualification for this trial.
MS. ROGIER: Could we allow that the witness does not necessarily have those skill types, but simply has from a different point of view as a trainer her opinion? And say it that way, that it doesnt necessarily have to be taken as...
THE COURT: No, I have noted what the witness has described as, once again, outside of the parameters, but I am, once again, giving you lots of leeway here about bites that graduate from nips to kill bites. I have noted that. It is outside the parameters, but I dont want to be too strict given that you are self-represented and I appreciate, I think, where you are going with respect to the testimony of this witness, but no, I am not going to allow the witness to give what would basically be a...  
MS. ROGIER: The dilemma for me, Your Honour, in self-representing, is, even a lawyer, I think, would have a problem is that a veterinarian can look at the health implications of an injury, not the behavioural.
THE COURT: I am not, sorry. We are going to move on, here. Okay, There is no vet here, I have already given my ruling with respect to the question that you want to put to this witness, and it is “no.
MS. ROGIER: And, Your Honour, could I just be allowed to provide some photographs of Brindi at the, so the witness might look at as far as body language with other dogs present?
THE COURT: Did you want to look at those first?
MS. ROGIER: She has not seen these before.
I am not sure, for what purpose are they being introduced.
THE COURT: Thats fine.
MS. ROGIER: Are there are any signs that the dog in that photograph has any kind of fear?
THE COURT: Did you want that marked as an Exhibit?
MS. ROGIER: Yes, please, thank you.
THE COURT: Ex parte.
MS. JORDAN: Okay, so there are two dogs in the photo.
THE COURT: Okay, just wait a second...
MS. JORDAN: Oh, I am sorry.
THE COURT: Okay, I dont know whether there is a copy for the court or not. Sorry, I am just jumping in the middle here. So that is exhibit . . .Alright, thanks, go ahead then.
MS. JORDAN: Okay, so there is two dogs present in the photo. Brindi, which is the larger dog on the left side of the photograph, and there appears to be a Yorkshire Terrier mix or Yorkshire Terrier in the arms of the owner on the lap. The Yorkshire terrier is showing more stress because of the restraint in the owners arms.
Your Honour, I am sorry to interrupt, but, I think again, we are going straightforwardly into giving opinions about the behaviour of the dogs in these photographs.
THE COURT: I agree, thats your opinion.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, so that is Brindi in the photo.
MS. ROGIER: And she is with a smaller Yorkshire.
MS. ROGIER: Can she comment on whether she looks like Brindi is under control?
MS. JORDAN: Yeah. Her mouth is open and relaxed. The facial structure on the dog is what we look to encourage in training for acceptable behaviour of dogs in the presence of other doges and humans.
MS. ROGIER: Thank you. Now returning to, this is from the summer of . And we talked about the start of our work together, and the court required training of Brindi while she was still in the kennel.
MS. JORDAN: Right.
MS. ROGIER: We talked about that when she was released it was a surprise and well fully expected that we were to meet the requirements to go back to court, but somehow the judge conveyed to the clerk in the detail that she could be released without any submissions of any assessment at that point. Is that right?
MS. JORDAN: Right. Correct.
MS. ROGIER: And then the dog run that was...
THE COURT: Excuse me, Ms. Rogier, you should be standing here.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, excuse me. Right, So then, at the time then, were you satisfied at the time that she was released to me, that the two of us had made sufficient progress?
MS. JORDAN: We had met all the criteria and more of what had been outlined in the original submission to HRM.
MS. ROGIER: And who set those criteria, to be fair? Who set out elaborate criteria to be met?
MS. JORDAN: Well, it was a combination of the judges requirement for the order, as well as our consultation as what we saw as goals for achieving again, the judges requirements and above and beyond to ensure compliance.
MS. ROGIER: Right. So we had her back at a certain point at my house.
MS. JORDAN: Right. What was the reason we continued after that.
What we wanted to ensure was that we were proofing, given the confinement that she was in, and whenever a dog was in a confinement situation, there is always a danger of backsliding. You want to make sure that when you are training, we talk about threshold, that if a dog is pushed beyond its threshold it can reverse back into spontaneous recovery, so the more you proof a dog, the more you prepare and push far beyond what would normally be a threshold event. The dog is going to be more stronger and more skilled.
MS. ROGIER: Okay so when you say proof, does that entail exposing her to other dogs, and?
MS. JORDAN: Absolutely, and...
MS. ROGIER: So a certain amount of risk is impossible to avoid.
MS. JORDAN: Well, the risk is always managed, because we followed through on Court criteria with the leashing, with the muzzling to ensure that what we were doing was allowing a training process to move forward without impinging on the criteria laid out by the court.
MS. ROGIER: Now, if there was another attack at that point in time, would that somehow reflect on your overall assessment of Brindi?
MS. JORDAN: I am sorry, if Brindi was attacked or...
MS. ROGIER: If there, was, there was an attack, we could talk about Brindi. When Brindi was reported to have attacked, at that point, first of all, when did you learn about it?
MS. JORDAN: It wasnt until after the event.
MS. ROGIER: Later that evening.
MS. ROGIER: Did I call you that evening.
MS. ROGIER: To seek advice?
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, ‘cause you were concerned...
THE COURT: Just so, are we talking about September 14th?
MS. ROGIER: September 14, Your Honour, that we spoke. And I expressed my deep concerns, and I told you about the event.
MS. JORDAN: Right.
MS. ROGIER: So then, I kept you up to date after that.
MS. JORDAN: Yes, I knew what was going on.
MS. ROGIER: We sent a letter to the City, is that correct?
MS. ROGIER: About what, do you recall? I am going to lose that. . .The City was in possession of it, and I believe that the court is in possession of it. You sent one on...
MS. JORDAN: There was one on October ,
MS. ROGIER: October , Your Honour, I think it is in the package...
THE COURT: And then there was a second one following on December 2nd.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, just briefly, what was the gist of the one on October 5th?
MS. JORDAN: It was, um, it was about the isolation that she was currently positioned at, given the amount of work we had done to bring her up to a certain standard, and through this isolation we were going to lose the hard-fought ground that we had between the training and desensitizing and the progress that had been made.
Its like any good skill set, if you dont continue to backslide. Behavioural is an on going, its a fluent, viable component. And I know I am using the word behaviour in there, but as a trainer I cannot avoid that word. Behaviour fluctuates, and without constant rehabilitation and work, we will lose ground.
MS. ROGIER: So that, you would say that is fair to expect that there would be backsliding, or whatever?
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, well, when you stop practicing something, its like a golfer. If they are not out there practising their swing they are going to become rusty.
MS. ROGIER: Is it possible to continue that kind of adjustment or process, growth process or training process while confined?
MS. JORDAN: It is extremely difficult, unless, you know you have got somebody who is taking a dog on a daily basis and maintaining and working.
MS. ROGIER: And taking them where?
MS. JORDAN: In proximity to other dogs.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, but to your knowledge, is Brindi able to be in contact with other dogs?
MS. JORDAN: Not to my knowledge. I have yet to be able to visit the kennel. I havent actually had an opportunity to go out.
MS. ROGIER: Have you requested to see Brindi?
MS. JORDAN: I did put a request in and have heard no response.
MS. ROGIER: So this letter at the end on the second page, “in my opinion the current situation will not complement, sustain or nurture the effort and training that has
been part of the last two months of Brindis life. Additionally, her health both physically and physiologically can deteriorate and suppress her immune system. She already has health issues you go on to say. “I wish to state that while Brindi demonstrates territorial aggression towards other dogs, this does not translate into aggression towards human. It is my understanding that no charges have been laid against the owner. Until the investigation is complete, and a final judgment has been ordered, I would recommend that the dog be returned to the owners care, with the same original provisions for her care and management as previously decreed by the court.
 Is that correct?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. ROGIER: Now, in the, if I could ask this question. I hope that I am allowed to. If the witness could please comment on, to her knowledge the details that you know, and I did talk to you right after the incident and since then, and the other incidents that you had researched, can it be said that Brindis behaviour had escalated in terms of the aggression or threat?
MS. JORDAN: No. It...
THE COURT: Well, that is getting into behaviour, but I will allow you to answer the question.
MS. ROGIER: When the assumption that an Animal Control Officer makes a determination about these things to some degree, we try, as we had discussed today, and the comment was made that they are not qualified to go deeper than an attack, that they decide whether there was an attack.
MS. ROGIER: So, we know that there was an attack, or there were attack, so we...
MS. JORDAN: The complexity with Brindi is quite simple. She is a dog, she is not human. She doesnt recognize surveyors line or property markers. She has a history of territorial aggression from the first two incidents and that was what we were working on, was to provide and prevent this from happening again.
The work we had done we had done in neutral environments, like Point Pleasant Park, because you dont push a dog over threshold too fast. For proper training you have to build up until you get to the threshold and where we were at, was our next step was to then begin working extensively on property, now that we ascertained that she was comfortable working around dogs and neutral environments and there were no, obviously when we go to neutral ground like Point Pleasant Park, we go to neutral ground. We are not in their territory.
MS. ROGIER: To come back to your environment, our steps at that stage would continue to help her desensitize against dogs moving in and around. When she escalates and feels threatened by the presence of their other dogs, she is responding to a perceived threat, but she has been posturing the whole time.
MS. JORDAN: When we first spoke, whether or not she was the dangerous dog by my trainers definition of it, the answer was no. Because in every case she has exhibited very sustained bite inhibition and has postured and withdrawn.
MS. ROGIER: So in other words, she has shown restraint?
MS. JORDAN: Yes, because without restraint, you would not have been able to separate neither of those dogs from own another.
MS. ROGIER: In any of the incidents that you know about in your observations...
MS. JORDAN: Right.
MS. ROGIER: You were satisfied that she was able to show restraint.
MS. ROGIER: It would hold her back from causing serious damage.
MS. JORDAN: She may still posture, because we hadnt worked on property sufficiently to complete that process, but she had certainly not escalated and was still exhibiting canine restraint.
MS. ROGIER: All right. So just a yes or no quickly. Did we have a plan to continue doing this training?
MS. JORDAN: Yes, yeah.
MS. ROGIER: We were planning to go on the property...
MS. ROGIER: Specifically to desensitize her and...
MS. JORDAN: To work on reliable recall on property,
MS. ROGIER: Meaning.. .
MS. JORDAN: Comes to first call on command.
MS. ROGIER: Would you say that the court had any involvement or any...
MS. JORDAN: Oh, no. This was our determination that these goals were   
above and beyond what had been defined.
MS. ROGIER: This was not necessary in order for me to have her back?
MS. JORDAN: No. No, it was necessary for you to feel confident that you and your dog were not going to transgress against the rules?
MS. ROGIER: If I said to you my goal was to make Brindi as perfect as possible...
MS. JORDAN: Yes, thats pretty much how you phrased it all along, yes.
MS. ROGIER: Because why?
MS. JORDAN: Because you didnt want to lose her again.
MS. ROGIER: And, because why in general, when you met me?
MS. JORDAN: Well, I would consider you in the way you responded in the case and in comparison with other clients, you are an extremely responsible dog owner. You havent always know in the past what the best steps were, and that was my role as a trainer to provide you with the knowledge and the tools to deal with the dog you had in front of you to achieve the best possible.
And thats responsible and caring ownership.
MS. ROGIER: Would you say, in general, I was concerned about dogs?
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, yes I would.
MS. ROGIER: Now, I just lost my, oh yeah. We were planning to do this at the time, and after this event happened and Brindi was, were you still willing to work with Brindi and me?
MS. JORDAN: Oh, yeah. And would still to this day?
MS. ROGIER: And that would be in return for a business arraignment, right. I would pay you, and...
MS. JORDAN: I am sorry, I dont give it away for free.
MS. ROGIER: So, in your experience, have you ever worked with a dog would have been confined for such a length of time before?
MS. JORDAN: No, I havent.
MS. ROGIER: So, would that be a challenge?
MS. JORDAN: It would be challenging in that my concern for the dogs emotional and mental health, yes. Dogs in long-term confinement are stressed animals and stress is a high contributor to a variety of health and behavioural.
MS. ROGIER: So a dog can have a traumatic effect from stress?
MS. JORDAN: From stress, yes. Stress is responsible for percent of canine and human problems.
MS. ROGIER: But you view the prospect of rehabilitation in terms of the entire environment, bringing Brindi into my home, and me working with you do you have an optimistic view?
MS. JORDAN: Yes, the other aspect here sadly, because of the amount of time involved, Brindi is getting older, and there are going to be certain physiological changes to her body and energy differences in her brain chemistry that shes not going to be as reactive simply because age is now going to be a factor for this dog, as well, and thats always something we consider with the amount of stimulation and work that they even require as they get older?
MS. ROGIER: So you say that may have an effect of dampening reactivity.
MS. ROGIER: She will calm down.
MS. JORDAN: She is achy. Her joints are getting old. Um, getting up and chasing a ball isnt going to be as much fun, certainly let alone, going after what she perceives as a threat.
MS. ROGIER: Okay. I dont know if we were going to discuss anything more. Oh yes, would you say in regard to the conditions, the court conditions that were continuing training to the point that the court was satisfied. Complying with the muzzle order, paying fines, and what was the fourth one – oh, the dog run.
MS. JORDAN: Right.
MS. ROGIER: So, to your knowledge, did I comply with those things?
MS. JORDAN: Ah, from every aspect of...  
THE COURT: No sorry...
MS. JORDAN: Well, from my involvement...
MS. ROGIER: No, sorry that is not a question that I wanted to say.
MS. JORDAN: I could speak to the training, but.
MS. ROGIER: Yeah, only what you could answer. Um, I was heading in a different direction, though. The.. . .I just lost it... um. . .In your experience with working with other dogs whose owners are in similar situations, lets say, whose dog, lets say you have worked with dogs who have been seized? Owners whose dogs have been seized?
MS. JORDAN: Ah, Ive worked with dogs who have had restrictions levied upon them.
MS. ROGIER: Seized as well?
MS. JORDAN: Um, I havent worked with a seized dog previously. I have had, without going into specifics, obviously, I have to respect their privacy, but I have had probably at least a half a dozen cases in the last few years where the dogs have been cited, fined or been given restrictions with regards to muzzle and leash management.
MS. ROGIER: So that was the last few years of the eleven years that you have been a...  
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. JORDAN: I have had others in the past, but most recently under the current guidelines.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, alright and so, Brindi you ranked as mild to moderate amongst those, but among those other dogs, there were presumably, variations in there.
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, I have had, I have had mild and moderate escalated. And, I have also done temperament testing for a couple of rescue groups with dogs that have not passed, that are extreme and are of grave danger.
MS. ROGIER: When you saw me a lot with Brindi, handling Brindi, well we did go to Point Pleasant. We had her on a leash, we had her muzzled and so on, and you saw me coming arriving, and you know, taking her out of the car by myself, and so on.
MS. JORDAN: Ummhmm.
MS. ROGIER: Did you have any cause for concern, at all, at any time, when you saw me with her? MS. JORDAN: No.
MS. ROGIER: And, so there was no to your, sort of regard, I never expressed to you that I didnt want to muzzle her or I didnt want to follow the conditions.
MS. JORDAN: No, I think the concern with regards to the muzzle when we first started working was making sure that the muzzle was appropriate for both training and for her health and, in that regard, the basket muzzle is the only way to safely have a dog muzzled in order to allow them to pant, and to be able to reward them with food when the behaviour is complaint.
MS. ROGIER: So, would you say that I am willing to follow the conditions?
MS. SALSMAN: Your Honour, in order to answer that question, …
THE COURT: Thats hearsay. I am end, yeah, you cant answer that question. I am just looking at the clock, are you almost finished with your questions?
MS. ROGIER: It has been said by other witnesses that I am “unwilling and unable,” Your Honour. I think its fair that a witness that has the ability to speak about dog behaviour, make that a comment, as well, and subject that to her opinion.
So, may the witness, answer?
THE COURT: No, once again, I repeat myself, that the parameters have been set with respect to the expertise...
MS. ROGIER: Alright. Do you have any other concerns about Brindi as far as returning her to me?
THE COURT: She has already answered that question.
 MS. ROGIER: And the answer was in the negative, is that correct?
THE COURT: The witness is not answering your question.
THE COURT: The witness has already answered those questions.
MS. ROGIER: Okay, then. I think thats all that I say for this witness, thank you.
THE COURT: Okay, thank you. Okay, Ms. Salsman?
MS. SALSMAN: Now, Ms. Jordan, you said that when you first meet with the dog, you think that you evaluate whether they are going to be able to be properly trained about whatever the problematic behaviour is, correct?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: And, have you ever been wrong? Have you ever had a situation where the person, the dog could be trained for the behaviour and then by the end of the training you realized that the behaviour couldnt be?
MS. JORDAN: No, dogs are actually high predictable creatures. And, with the level of science and assessment that we have available to us at this point in time, there may be steps where you take smaller increments in a training process to get to the goal, but in terms of completing missing the beat, no.
MS. SALSMAN: So, in eleven years, when you had someone in, for instance for biting, you have never had a situation whereby at the end of the training they were still biting?
MS. JORDAN: No, safety is the first and the most important aspect of training for any ethical training. It is that the dog and the humans at whatever age and stage, that safety is our first rule. We do not set a dog up to fail. Its imperative we do not fail either the owners or the dog.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, now you talked about previously that it was your opinion that Brindi, in all of these attacks, had shown restraint. Now, you obviously werent there for any of those tasks.
MS. SALSMAN: So, the information you had about the attack came from Ms. Rogier, is that right?
MS. JORDAN: Its based on the information that I had from meeting with her and then the reports that I read from the first trials.
MS. SALSMAN: Right, okay. But you never actually spoke with for instance, the owners of the other dogs or any other witnesses at the scene of those attacks, is that right?
MS. JORDAN: No, I did not. I did not feel it was appropriate for me to speak to them.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay. Now you also said that on the night of September , , Ms. Rogier called you.
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: And she told you about what happened that day?
MS. SALSMAN: So, what did she tell you happened that day.
MS. JORDAN: Well, she said that Brindi had offended, that she had gotten loose and that she wasnt percent at the time that I spoke to her, obviously she was upset because she realized that this was more than worrisome. And it was dark, as well, so a perfectly clear view of everything that was going on, but she felt that Brindi had moved out of the car and towards the other dog, and the other dog had moved towards Brindi. And so, we had two dogs meeting together. And, my understanding is that the other dog was at large, as well, off leash, and that the two dogs came together and that    
Brindi postured over and pinned the dog and then released the dog.
MS. SALSMAN: So, do you recall if she told you that Brindi actually came out of the window of the car?
MS. JORDAN: Yes, she talked about the fact that she wasnt sure whether she went out the window, like she was still upset, like in all honesty, it was, for me to say a clear yeah or nay...  
MS. ROGIER: We are going back two years ago, Your Honour, if thats a fair question to ask at this point.
THE COURT: No, its certainly a fair question, overruled.
MS. JORDAN: Alright. She was upset and, my big concern, in all honesty, was not how the dog got out, but that the dog was involved in an incident and in order to understand, once I knew it was on property, because the concern was territorial. So once I knew that it was occurring on property, thats really where my focus went to as it was on property, the other dog was at large, and the two dogs came together, and then what as Brindis reaction and then what were the owners reactions, as well. Because, that obviously exacerbates the situation substantially.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, from what Ms. Rogier told you, though, it seemed that this was another example of the territorial aggression.
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: Um, and now you talked about the owner. And the owner is always significant when it comes to dog training. Is that right?
MS. JORDAN: Absolutely.
MS. SALSMAN: So you really have to have an owner who is willing to take all the steps?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: And take any precautions, is that right?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: So, for instance, most territorial aggression could be prevented if the dog is kept from running at other dogs on the property, would you agree with that?
MS. JORDAN: Thats a very clean, simple way of putting it. Let me give you, just to give you an example. A dog who was on an electric fence and runs back and forth across the fence, we nickname that fence fighting. Thats territorial aggression. Alright. The dog has decided not to take the jolt and go over, but there are dozens of situations where ultimately, that dog is believed to be confined by the electric fence, and yet at some point the dog will escalate, take the jolt, and then all of a suggestion I get “for no reason at all the dog jumped over the fence and went after another dog. This has been the bill. But the dog was believed to be safe and under confinement by a responsible owner, so, its a little bit about, you do everything you can, and you believe you have taken all the appropriate steps, but there will be the odd incident that the owners dont always precipitate as potential problems.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, now you said that when Brindi was returned to Ms. Rogier that you felt that Brindi was ready at that point?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: And, so you felt that the issues that really had come up at the trial, had already been dealt with at that point.
MS. JORDAN: That we had solid training in place for both owner and dog.
MS. SALSMAN: And the issues that we are talking about there is territorial aggression.
MS. JORDAN: Right. And that it was under management. And because we were continuing to work together, it wasnt a case of okay, I have just cleared off the court requirements, now take a hike honey. There was never any of that attitude ever expressed by the owner. It was always a case of wanting to work until we got to a –You never completely relax with any dog. You never fully trust any dog, but you do everything you can to build as many safeguards and possible and develop as reliable a response from the dog as you can. And we knew we werent at that 99.9 percent reliability and we were continuing to work forward to it, but with the protocols in place, and with the training in place, leashing and muzzling, yes, I felt the dog was more than ready to go home.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, but without a leash and a muzzle you would have had some concerns.
MS. JORDAN: Well, there was still, because we had not completed the on-property step. Yes, obviously there is going to be those aspects that would need to be in hand first.
MS. SALSMAN: Okay. And you mentioned that when you went to Point Pleasant Park, by the time Ms. Rogier removed Brindi from the car she always had the muzzle on.
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: Now, did you observe if she had the muzzle on in the car?
MS. JORDAN: Not always, because with the heat, as you can appreciate, we were working during the summer months, and even though its a basket muzzle, the only way a dog can exhaust its heat is by panting, there is no other way for them to cool themselves down. And the air in a car can be very humid, so within the car putting the muzzle on sometimes is going to be a health risk. So, arriving at the park, she would always put the muzzle on and then open the doors.
MS. SALSMAN: But sometimes in the car, it wouldnt be on.
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, only because of a health facture [sic]. There is sort of a, bit a judgment call there where you are compromising health...
MS. SALSMAN: Okay. Sorry, I am just going to take a minute... Okay, those are my questions, Thank you, Your Honour.
THE COURT: Okay, any re-direct?
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, I would just like to go back, just like to reiterate, we also talked about when you arrived at Point Pleasant Park, and you would transport Brindi. And you would take her in the car, and it hot, September or October.
MS. SALSMAN: Did she, did you muzzle her usually?
MS. JORDAN: Ah, the first couple of times I did, and once she was used to being in my vehicle and I had her arranged, because I have a gating system, and I also leash. So, that she had airflow through and I would muzzle her, and I would drop the gate from inside the vehicle and then apply the muzzle and then I would open the tailgate and bring her out that way?
MS. SALSMAN: The condition for muzzling that was in a confined enclosure, would you consider a car a confined enclosure?
MS. JORDAN: To safely transport her without a muzzle as long as she was secured within the vehicle, yeah.
MS. SALSMAN: But is it confined in terms of the condition that you understood from the court? Would a car meet the ...
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, well, oh yeah. And dogs consider their cars very definitely their area.
MS. SALSMAN: They are confined, so that...
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, no, no, no, its...  
MS. SALSMAN: Okay, you used again. You mentioned something about the owners’ reactions as you were answering before, I dont exactly remember what context that was in, but you brought it into play in things that can happen that would be involving the dogs or a dog’s reactions. The owners reactions…
MS. JORDAN: Well the owners exasperate, exacerbate, I am sorry. And sometimes exacerbate a dogs behaviour by… our body language and communications with our dogs in training are crucial and the aspects of how a human reacts. We have physical changes in our body, we have facial changes in our bodies and these are triggers and signals to our dogs. An owner becomes very scared and begins to elicit forenames that trigger anxiety or fear, will, and our facial expressions will provide clues to our dogs as to whether they feel or not that there is cause for concern.
MS. SALSMAN: Ummhmm.
MS. JORDAN: So, quite often, if two dogs get into an altercation for example, and let me take a very harmless situation, two puppies in a puppy social class are playing and one becomes a little rough, if the owners jump in and panic and “oh Fluffy no, and dont do that,” you can actually set the dogs off more because they sense their owners anxiety as being problematic to the presence of the other puppy, not their behaviour with the other puppy.
So, when owners react with their dogs, it frequently can set off a chain of events that they wouldnt have been involved in whatsoever if it had just been the dogs talking with one another in their canine conversation.
MS. SALSMAN: So from your viewpoint, as a trainer who can consult on behaviour, would you agree that a dog could, or a dogs bite be provoked by both dogs and humans.
MS. JORDAN: Oh, it happens all the time.
MS. SALSMAN: And not attach the humans, but just go after the dog.
MS. JORDAN: Yeah, it happens all the time. We, we have incidents through Dog Gone Safe in Germany for example, postmen who come on a property and set a dog off through their body language. We have situations where small dog owners pick t heir dogs up and hold them above another dog, and in frustration that dog will appear to be aggressive. We have whats called leash aggression, which is a false aggression created by the owners and is very commonplace.
Probably I would say percent or more of the work I do revolves around leash aggression, which is completely predicated by the behaviour of the human.
MS. SALSMAN: Really.
MS. SALSMAN: Interesting. Okay, so you were satisfied with Brindis bite aggression with regard to these other situations...
MS. JORDAN: With regards to her behaviour with other dogs.
MS. SALSMAN: Yeah, we were focussing on the property, but we hadnt quite had the opportunity yet to do that, is that correct?
MS. JORDAN: Correct.
MS. SALSMAN: Because at the time this happened...
THE COURT: Okay, this is re-direct.
MS. SALSMAN: That about wraps it up for me.
THE COURT: Thanks so much for your evidence here today. You are excused. Oh, yes thank you. Okay, well its now 12:30 and we will adjourn until 1:30. Thanks very much.
THE COURT: Is there any further witnesses, Ms. Rogier?
MS. ROGIER: No, I dont have any witnesses, Your Honour. I do have submissions to be made.
THE COURT: Did you want to, you are not, you dont wish to take the stand. You certainly have the right to not do that, so I just making sure that...
MS. ROGIER: I think the thing is that, um, I am aware that these are strict liability offences and I am aware of the standard of proof, so I dont know that there is a need for that. I think that we have gone above and beyond, but I think, you know, my concern is the issues that I have raised already as far as the Charter...
THE COURT: I just wanted to remind you, that...
MS. ROGIER: Thank you, I dont believe so.
THE COURT: I wanted to remind you that you have that opportunity.
MS. ROGIER: I dont believe so.
THE COURT: If you dont chose to do so, thats fine, so I am just wondering that, I know that there is defence testimony, but I wondering usually when its a self-represented person, I ask the Crown to sum up first, if thats your preference. Or, would you like to sum up first.
MS. ROGIER: Can you just clarify now. We have got to the end of the
MS. ROGIER: …So at this time...
THE COURT: This time would be argument submissions.
MS. ROGIER: Was I correct in understanding that from the first day that we had this that you talked about, that at the end of the evidence that we could have the Charter arguments?
THE COURT: Well I remember I said if you wanted to put forth those arguments in writing that you would be able to do so. I did receive a brief, I am not sure, I think it touches on some of the issues that you are concerned with, as well as the other materials that I have received along the way. Um, as I understand it, your concerns are with respect to the warrant. I think perhaps the wording in the Act itself. And so if you dont want, there is no more evidence at this point. Its for closing submissions.
If you wish to get into the Charter issues here, you can. Or you can do it in writing...
MS. ROGIER: Well, um...
THE COURT: We have the afternoon now, so its up to you.
MS. ROGIER: Okay. Then I would like to...
THE COURT: If you would like to go ahead now, we will proceed here.
MS. ROGIER: Right. I would like to recall Susan Jordan in about an hour. She had to leave for a while, but if we are continuing, and to speak...
THE COURT: No, I am sorry we had been finished with Ms. Jordan.
MS. ROGIER: She was speaking on the trial, in terms of the defence. But…