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« Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 2/28/10 | Main | Four year old Oregon girl dead from dog attack »

March 01, 2010

Comments

YesBiscuit

If we killed dogs based on occasional horrific sounding/looking fights that result in very minor (or no) injuries, every dog I have would be dead. Dogs get into arguments sometimes - it's normal.

Viktor Larkhill

Something is seriously wrong in Canada and I can assure you we are going to do our best to fix it.

Many thanks for your support and balanced view on this issue.


Viktor Larkhill
canada.myletsadopt.com

Kris

Your post is very wise and correct.
This owner of Brindi immediately offered to get special training - in fact, she had already sought it. She also offered to construct a fence and pay any fines the city wished to impose (it did not until she won against the city). The city ignored her offers, even when she built an enclosure and hired a trainer.

EmilyS

"offered to"? I believe the law requires the owner to take certain actions. This blog presents another side of the owner:
http://dogkisser.blogspot.com/2010/02/deconstructing-bad-newspaper-article.html

of course, the dog is innocent and deserves to be saved

Brent

Emily,

Yes, to be fair, it sounds like the owner made more than her fair share of mistakes in this case. There appears to be little doubt in that matter. But there is nothing about the dog's behavior that leads me to believe the dog is "vicious" and needing euthanasia.

Hala

I feel for these dogs and I hope laws will become more fair int his regard. My concern is also cats. We have learned that dogs need to be walked. They're vocal enough when they suffer form being trapped, that their suffering doesn't go unnoticed. Cats however are unhappy domestic prisoners, and they internalize it. Laws and the mindset of socisety (and dog owners) makes it difficult to take cats out on walks. The stigma has it that you can't walk a cat anyway, but the fact is that if you train them early, you can. many of us get harassed when seen with a cat in a park. To keep them safe we trap them indoors, but the fact is an indoor cat is less emotionally and mentally healthy than a cat who can go out. They don't bark nor chew on anything, they just get quietly depressed, and obese. Cruelty to dogs not withstanding, we should create a society and outdoor environment that welcomes cats outdoors.

Joan Sinden

The Brindi case is VERY different from the Brampton case - the Brampton case is about BSL and the Brindi case is about a dog owner who systematically and habitually failed to follow the conditions over and over that Animal Control asked her to comply with - and her dog is now paying the ultimate price - although the judge in the case is probably going to rule so that the dog does NOT die because she does realize that the dog is not in fact dangerous and it is in fact the owner who is the negligent one. You said in your post about this story that "we seem to be way to trigger-happy on this continent to kill dogs for minor skirmishes" - this is definitely not a case where this has happened - this is a case where the owner consistently did not comply and had run-in after run-in with Animal Control until they were forced to seize her dog. She may tell you otherwise - but that is in fact the case. People locally know that - but she's been able to convince the international community otherwise.

Brent

Joan,

Of course the cases are completely different -- but in each case, dogs that have not shown aggressive tendencies are slated to be euthanized by cities under dangerous dog ordinances.

Yeah, Brindi's owner has made her bed in this case....but the dog shouldn't be euthanized. And why as a society we've decided that non-aggressive dogs need to be euthanized because their owner screwed up or because of the way they look...either way, we're way to excited as a society to euthanize non-aggressive dogs.

If Brindi needs to be taken from his owner -- fine. But killing the dog makes no sense at all.

Humane Halifax

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: The claim above that Brindi's owner "consistently did not comply and had run-in after run-in with Animal Control until they were forced to seize her dog" is not true in any way.

The FACT is that there were only 2 reports to animal control prior to Brindi's seizure. Both were minor incidents. She was seized to be put down immediately after the third report, which did not involve any report or evidence of injury to a dog or a person, despite the fact that a man was witnessed kicking her in the head and stomach repeatedly.

At the conclusion of the trial of charges laid belatedly (6 months after the seizure) against Brindi's owner, the prosecutor made the same claim Ms. SInden makes here. In response, the Judge admonished him to say that there were only the two prior reports before the dog was seized. And in the first report, there was no injury reported; the complainant stated only that she wanted somebody to speak to the owner, and this was done, with a warning issued.

The seizure was not something Halifax AC were "forced" to do. It did not correspond to routine animal control practice in Halifax in any way. No other case comes close to this one.

There was only one reported instance of non-compliance with the muzzle order, wh and it was deemed to be unintentional and accidental, though the owner was still found guilty.

Brindi was put under a muzzle order after the second report, but not directly afterwards. The muzzle was not imposed because of the severity of the attack, because the AC officer first decided to fine her owner. He changed it to a muzzlel order only because the other dog owner asked him not to issue the fine. This questionable action is documented in email correspondenc over by the police to defence lawyer for Brindi's owner. It shows that the other dog owner did not act out of concern for Brindi or her owner; rather, she acted out of self-interest, because she feared that if fined, Brindi's owner might not pay the rather high vet bill for treating a minor injury - a small puncture in the dog's chest - which included the expense of a full examination, and the use of antibiotics, which was not necessitated by the injury.

It should be made clear that, seeking to do the right thing even though the incident was not grave, Brindi's owner had volunteered up front to pay for this treatment: it is not a requirement by law. Just as she volunteered to hire a trainer and build a fence without being required by law.
In any case, the email documents the AC officer's reply asking the other owner if she would like him to issue a muzzle order for Brindi, and assuring her that he would seize Brindi the next time any report was made. She answered in the affirmative.

Other incidents were brought out in court but the city had no knowledge of them prior to the seizure; in fact the people involved did not regard them serious enough to report. In at least one case it seemed the other dog owners were partly responsible for an incident.

The FACT is that not only did Halifax use an unconstitutional law to try to destroy Brindi; but there was never any reason for seizing this dog. Similarly, there was never any reason for giving Brindi to another owner, as her owner demonstrated her commitment to controlling her dog and was prepared to pay fines if required; she consulted a trainer at every instance and should have been given better advice from him.
Even those testifying about attacks that happened did not support killing or taking Brindi away. Rather, they simply wanted a fence to be constructed and the muzzle order to be in place. Also, they all confirmed that Brindi never exhibited any aggression to humans. So did a kennel owner, a vet, a trainer, and a groomer, in letters sent shortly after the seizure, which were ignored by the city as they continued trying to kill Brindi by any means necessary. The prevailing attitude among city employees is one of hardened disregard for property and life. Last winter, one of the city lawyers to media reporters off the record that he thought they should "kill the fucking dog and give the owner $35." This speaks volumes. Meanwhile, there are dozens of dogs at large in HRM that have attacked people and animals, but were never slated for euthanization; many were not charged or had the charges acquitted or withdrawn without ever having to pay a lawyer. Residents are not safe from these dogs and their irresponsible owners.

The AC of Halifax claim to this day that they "have to" seize and destroy any dog violating a muzzle order, even if it was simply seen without the muzzle. Yet this "mandate" is not stated in any policy or anywhere in the by-law, which indicates only that violating a muzzle order is an offence like other offences, and can incur a fine if charged and found guilty.

As far as being trigger-happy, things are indeed regrettable in Halifax. It is a matter of public record that since 2007, Halifax has put down 33 dogs they claim were too dangerous to live. They did not work with those owners in terms of muzzles or fences or training. Only one of the cases was heard in court and the result of a court order; the rest were a matter of the owners signing over their dogs reluctantly, after being informed there was no appeal process, and if they wanted to challenge the "euthanization", they would face huge expenses of legal fees, while their dog languished in the pound for an indefinite amount of time.

When the number of dogs put down since 2007 came up during the court proceedings, at the urging of an AC supervisor, the city lawyer put forward the dubious claim that these cases were a matter of owners actually going to the city for "help" with their dogs, requesting they take them off their hands and put them down. Not a likely story.

Lately, AC has begun forcing owners to sign over dogs that were picked up as strays, unless they can pay $160 on the spot.

Thank you for posting this information. We assure you that it is correct. We are a small group seeking the improvement of the AC system in Halifax.

Joan Sinden

I find it very surprising that on July 21st, 2010 whoever is the representative for the group "Humane Halifax" that left the comment about Brindi and her owner correcting previous comments on this post failed to leave the fact that on July 12th, 2010 Francesca Rogier was allowed to take Brindi home with her from the kennel that she was being kept at. So Brindi was not euthanized, and is in fact now home with her owner - with the condition that she be muzzled when outside the home or enclosure that Francesca built for her.

So the story has ended happily for Brindi.

And Brent - where have I ever said that I wanted Brindi euthanized? I have never said that. That is the problem with our bylaw and many bylaws - there's no way to distinguish between a bad dog and a bad dog owner - and I've written that in many posts on my blog - a dog shouldn't have to die because an owner can't keep a leash on a dog, or comply with provisions put on them by their town's bylaws.

I have said from the beginning of this case in particular that Brindi shouldn't have to die because of the sins of her owner. And so have almost all of the local dog community here in Nova Scotia.

Thankfully Brindi had a judge who did actually care about Brindi - so the case ended well - now it is completely up to her owner as to whether or not Brindi lives out her natural life. We'll all have to wait and see what happens.

Thanks.

And as well, the local dog community is also waiting with batied breath for the group "Humane Halifax" to come forward and actually start to become active and actually present itself in some way locally in any real way - so far it has just been a website that purports to be a group of local people - it has yet to name any actual human names of people or appear at any local events or activities.

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