Letter from Jennifer Richardson, Dartmouth to the Chronicle Herald newspaper in Halifax, submitted for publication April 26, 2009
Francesca Rogier’s beloved pet Brindi has been in the pound for nine months. The Supreme Court quashed her euthanization order in January, effectively rendering impoundment illegal. HRM then kept hold of her on a technicality, and charged Rogier for the first time ever while it seeks a new court order to kill her dog. But without an order in hand, how can it even hold Brindi? Dogs are property. Can HRM impound your car for months and then ticket you, hoping to prove you broke a parking law? Hardly.
Now HRM is outsourcing the case to a fancy law firm. It says its lawyers are too busy. More likely they’re afraid they’ll look bad if they prosecute somebody with one lawsuit filed last August, another on the way, and a supreme court victory. Outsourcing only makes it look worse, in my view.
The trial starts in June. Ms. Rogier is more desperate than ever to get her dog out. She knows private lawyers have no incentive to shorten a case that is already guaranteed to take months longer. All along she’s been willing to negotiate with HRM. In her favor: an assessment opposing euthanization, local and international petitions, affidavits from dog professionals, and a highly-qualified trainer who supports her plan to take Brindi home and retrain her. There she’ll be safely fenced in and well-cared for. Rogier has yet to hear back.
Last week she learned Brindi has a potentially serious medical condition: the SPCA vet found a cyst that might be cancerous, and recommends a biopsy. It’s near the spine, and full anesthesia is necessary, so Rogier wants her own vet to do it. HRM will allow this only if she foots the bill. Rather than give her vet a complete health record of nine months, it will only release recent blood test results. And if Rogier (allowed only one visit so far) wants to see her dog now she must submit to no less than 13 rules that, among other things, limit the visit to 30 minutes, force her to stay outdoors regardless of weather, and forbid her to discuss the visit with anyone, especially media.
Is this a democracy?
Clearly HRM prefers being a bully to listening to reason. Even animal control officers elsewhere question its motives. Hiring a high-priced firm to prosecute by-law violations is laughable; to insist on euthanasia for a rescue dog that never bit a human - and may have cancer after nine months in the pound - is in poor taste indeed. If HRM succeeds in putting this woman’s dog down or force her to give it away (as rumor has it), it can expect bad publicity for a long time: win or lose, it will lose.
Enough idiocy! HRM must work out a deal so Brindi can go home now. Use our taxes for better things, like cleaning the poop out of the harbour (again) and ridding the gunmen from our neighbourhoods!!