Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I never know what my Shasta will do next. She definitely has a mind of her own and a talent that amazes me. She defininately has strong opinions and goes for what she wants.
She wrote an email to our Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. As yet, she hasn't received a reply. It would be interesting if she did and I will keep you updated if she does.
This is her email.
Your honourable, Mr. Harper,
My name is Shasta Fawn and I am an American Pit bull Terrier. I humbly appeal to you to hear my voice on several matters that I find extremely important. I am after all, a Canadian Citizen that was born and raised in Ontario and have the right, as such to voice my opinions and have them heard.
I believe the government would be less bias and in a better position if it were to incorporate canines in parliament. I know personally speaking, I could do a better job as Ontario's Attorney General than Michael Bryant without getting the province taking me to court over a ridicules law that is threatening hard working and honest citizen as well as dogs, such as myself.
My owner would not have had to go doctor less since November 2004 and it's well and fine that Dalton McGuinty promises are full of excuses without action for those that needs doctors care two years ago, not now or in the future.
I have been a Service Dog for three years now and must say I do a remarkable job with an excellent reputation. I have an intuitive sixth sense that has located cancer prior to doctors or specialists. I am able to calm my owner from panic attacks whereas humans can't. I have ridden my owner of several severe phobias that she has had since 1994 due to her conditions and disabilities.
It's to my owners disadvantage that I can not be legally certified as her Service Dog due to the Pit bull Ban that Michael Bryant has deemed us as vicious and dangerous.
I will have you know Sir, that I am not and have never been anything but loving, caring and responsible. I do not have a mean bone to my body against human or beast. I sit quietly as I watch my human feed the wildlife such as birds and squirrels and show them I pose no threat. I also live with my two feline brothers that I love and tolerate their strange behaviours.
My best friends are canines of all sorts of breeds including my own.
I must say, that I think it is deplorable that my owner is treated as a third class citizen of Ontario because of what my breed may be. I would think that my honourable nature would be given consideration.
The Pit bull Ban with my owners disabilities have brought her more stress and heart ache. She fears to leave me tied up outside fully muzzled and leashed, I might add, for fear I will be harmed or stolen. My job is to carry her groceries home and I do so by either a wagon or sled. I use this approach with other duties too, as well as I let her know when there is a knock on the door or if the buzzer to the front door is ringing. This in itself is a feat as it comes in by telephone and I require knowing which ringing is to the entrance.
My restriction is her restriction as she is still not able to take public transit and I am not allowed on the transit to help her. I am not allowed into stores so she needs not to attempt to carry groceries and articles to my wagon. By her doing so sets her back and she will have to tolerate pain and exhaustion because of this for days and in some cases weeks.
For her to get to a walk-in clinic or a specialist is an ordeal for her to make arrangements of other humans which is frustrating and stressful as they are not always readily available. I am and this should be taken into account.
I'm not sure if what I am purposing has ever been considered, but I am a quick learner and have my certificate from the Canadian Kennel Club stating I am a Canine Good Neighbour graduate. How Sir would I and the other entire Bullie Breeds taking this course graduate with honours if we were what Mr. Bryant claims we are? Plus I would just like you to know we are a proud breed and do not feel it is right being called Pit bulls. There is no such breed as 'Pit bull' and to set the record straight, it is racial profiling to call us such and not acceptable.
I would like your views on what I have spoken about and anxiously await your reply.
Rambled by Conners at Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
This excellent column was in the Vancouver Sun. It's these kind of stories we need to educate people about training and other types of stories, such as bite prevention, etc. People, from the dog owners themselves to those that don't have dogs need to be educated in order to lay the foundation of dog bite prevention.
When taken Shasta for training, we were taught the Wolf Pack Theory. We were amazed in our first lesson how our dogs understood what we were wanting them to do. It was as if we were being trained to a whole new theory that came natural for our dogs, but that owners needed to learn to have that understanding with their dogs.
All I know is that it works and I highly recommend it to all dog owners.
Obedience is about more than power
Your dog depends on you to guide it through human society
Moe Milstein, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, May 29, 2006
Pit bulls are back in the news this month. Chess, a two-year-old pit bull, is finally going to get his day in court. His owner, represented by lawyer Clayton Ruby, is arguing that Ontario's 2005 ban on pit bulls is too vague to be constitutional.
According to the law, pit bulls must be neutered, leashed and muzzled in public. Failure to comply can result in six months in prison or a $10,000 fine for the owner. Regardless of the outcome, the problems of aggression by dogs will remain.
Although the law was enacted to deal with the more catastrophic effects of aggression, veterinarians see variations of the problem on a daily basis where the victims are the owners of the dogs and, in a way, the dogs themselves.
Dr. Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at UBC and a prolific writer on things canine, says: "The major problem with dog aggression is that people don't want to see it, nor do they want to believe it exists in their dogs."
Dogs attacking other dogs and people are clearly instances of aggressive behaviour. But veterinarians often see more subtle signs of aggression in their practice.
Bootsie develops an ear infection. It is itchy, sometimes painful, and drives her crazy. The veterinarian prescribes some eardrops that will give Bootsie relief in less than 24 hours. A week later, at the next office visit, the infection is worse. Bootsie's owner admits to not having administered the medication because "Bootsie wouldn't let me put the drops in."
Variations on the theme are many: eye drops, oral medication, bandages on paws, therapeutic baths -- in short, anything involving touching the animal becomes impossible with some dogs. When owners can't administer treatments, simple problems become uncontrollable with serious consequences for the dog.
There is something dysfunctional about this relationship. The dog is calling the shots. The caregiver is unable to properly care for his ward.
Traditionally, obedience in dogs was considered to be a contest of wills. Humans exerted their will by overpowering the dog. Methods used were a reflection of pedagogical principles of the time -- spare the rod and spoil the child.
Today, a more natural and humane approach has become popular, one that makes use of the hierarchical nature of the dog pack to assign roles. In this model, the handler becomes the alpha dog and power flows to him or her from this relationship.
This notion of hierarchy was most eloquently elaborated by an unlikely source. In New Skete, New York, a community of monks got involved in the breeding and raising of German Shepherds. Their methods were successful and led to the publication of several books.
The monks became a sort of underground phenomenon among those interested in dog training. Their basic concepts have now become mainstream and form the basis of most modern obedience programs.
How do you know who is top dog in your family? Here are a few tests.
- Can you touch any part of your dog's body without fear?
- Can you open its mouth and touch its teeth and gums?
- When you pass your dog in a narrow hallway, who gives way for whom?
- Can you step over your dog when it's lying down?
- Can you take food or toys away from it?
- Who goes through the door first?
- Will it get off the furniture when you ask it to?
- Can you reach for your dog when it is under a bed or table?
If you can't do these things with security, then your relationship needs work.
Obedience is not merely the exercise of power for its own sake. Dogs do not live in a natural environment. It is up to us to lead them through modern human society in a way that protects them and us.
Dr. Moe Milstein runs the Blueridge-Cove Animal Hospital in North Vancouver.
© The Vancouver Sun 2006
Rambled by Conners at Monday, May 29, 2006
Saturday, May 27, 2006
This is a plea on behalf of the Banned Aid Coalition that we ask for your support and cross posted from http://chicobandido.blogspot.com/
Put your money where your (dog's) mouth is!
The Banned Aid Coalition has been fighting the Ontario government for the past year and a half on behalf of ALL dog owners and they have been successful.
Public awareness of the dangers of Bill 132 has increased dramatically, media organizations are starting to understand the greater ramifications of legislation that punishes law-abiding citizens, and the best lawyer in the country has just finished arguing the legislation's constitutionality in Ontario's Superior Court, a first for Canada!
What does this mean to the average dog owner?
If the legal challenge is successful, governments across Canada will be discouraged from creating arbitrary, discriminatory, and unfair laws against dog owners. Precedent will have been set, experts will have testified, and arguments will have been made (and won) to help protect all responsible dog owners in the country. All of this information and testimony will be available to ensure that communities will consider dog owners as a large block of voters with a unified voice who will NOT sit back and watch their freedoms and their right to enjoy their pets be stripped away.
Success means that you won't be the next person to be forced to muzzle or sterilize your dog because of the way it looks.
Success means that the authorities won't be able to enter your home and seize your dog simply because your neighbour doesn't like you.
Success means that you won't be forced to prove the breed of your dog in order to keep it alive.
Success means that you will have the choice to buy, adopt, or rescue any breed you wish, instead of having the government decide which breed is right for you!
Most members of Banned Aid do NOT own breeds targeted and banned by the Ontario government. They simply recognize the danger of allowing a government to start on this path.
This legal challenge has cost, and is still costing, a lot of money. In the case of an appeal, it will cost even more.
There are approximately six million dogs in this country, living in at least a million or two households. A combined effort by dog owners to support this legal challenge would require very little money from each individual, in reality not even a dollar!
The Banned Aid Coalition is fighting for you and your dog(s). Please reward these efforts by supporting them financially. All members are volunteers. Most materials and supplies are donated by supportive organizations or by the volunteers themselves. Every penny raised goes to fund the legal challenge.
One dollar, ten dollars, or a hundred. It doesn't matter. What matters is that every dog owner in this country needs to stand up and be counted, BEFORE they come for YOUR dog!
Please make your cheque payable to Ruby and Edwardh and mail it to:
Ruby & Edwardh
11 Prince Arthur Ave.
IMPORTANT: Please indicate on the envelope and on the cheque memo line that the money is for the BANNED AID LEGAL FUND.
If you would prefer to donate online using PayPal, simply go to the DLCC Donation Page.
For those of you who have already helped, the dogs of Ontario and the rest of Canada thank you!
Rambled by Conners at Saturday, May 27, 2006
Cesar Millan is in Toronto promoting his Nation Geographic Channel and recent DVD release and has this to say in canada.com.
Unfair pit bull ban not the solution, says celebrity behaviourist Dog Whisperer
John Mckay, Canadian PressPublished: Friday, May 26, 2006
TORONTO (CP) - Ontario's pit bull ban is an unfair law based on ignorance - because getting rid of a breed of dog doesn't get rid of the problem, says celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan.
Millan, known as the Dog Whisperer for his uncanny ability to solve canine behavioural problems, was in Toronto this week promoting his National Geographic Channel show and the recent DVD release of the first season's episodes.
"In the United States, in the '70s, they did the same thing to the Doberman. In the '80s they did it to the German shepherd, in the '90s they did it to the Rottweiler, and now they're doing it to the pit bull," he says.
"So whatever dog is in fashion, people are going to blame them for things."
Under the Ontario ban, which was passed last August, it is illegal to own, breed, transfer, abandon or import pit bulls or other breeds "substantially similar" to pit bulls. Owners who violate the law can be fined up to $10,000 and/or be sentenced to six months in jail. The court can also order a dog to be destroyed.
For the Dog Whisperer, there are no bad dogs nor bad breeds, just bad owners who need to be trained. On his show he displays a remarkable ability to rehabilitate once-dangerous pooches because he knows how to position himself as the alpha dog, the leader of the pack.
The worst thing an owner can do, he says, is to heap affection on a pet without balancing it with discipline and exercise. In the dog's eyes, that means the owner isn't a boss to be respected - and the result is a range of problems from disobedience to outright violence.
So Millan doesn't think much of the controversial Ontario law aimed at eventually eliminating the pit bull from the province.
"It's not fair," he says. "They're not going to defend themselves. They're not going to go to court and say, 'Look guys, it's not us. You guys don't walk us every day, you guys don't give us rules, limitations every day.' "
While Rin Tin Tin and Lassie are always touted as dog heroes in the movies, what about Petey of The Little Rascals, he asks. The dog with the famous circle painted around his eye was a lovable pit bull in the old Our Gang movie shorts.
Loving a dog is one thing, humanizing and pampering the animal is another, he maintains.
"It's a selfish attitude because it's what the human wants, instead of really seeing the picture - what does the dog need?"
And intelligence does not make a good pack leader/trainer, Millan says.
"I have Harvard graduates for clients who can't control a chihuahua."
In one rather scary scene from his show, Millan is seen stooping and placing his face right into a dish of dog food where a pit bull is eagerly eating. He even pokes the dog in the side of the face, but the animal respects the relationship and continues eating without snapping.
In Los Angeles, there are many homeless men who have pit bulls, he says, but they're not on a leash and yet they never attack anyone or misbehave.
"Homeless is homeless. He has no money. But he practises leadership behaviour. The dog doesn't see them as homeless. The dog sees them as pack leader."
For the record, Millan has been doing his thing for 20 years and claims a 99 per cent success rate with his rehabilitation techniques. In that time, there have been only two "bad" dogs he was unable to return to society, he adds.
Asked about his claim that he was born with his dog whisperer ability, Millan says he grew up on a ranch in Mexico where he learned animal communications skills from his grandfather.
"It's the tendency to be with animals, to spend more time with animals," he says. "So it's an innate behaviour . . . You are born with that innate ability to connect and if somebody nurtures that you can become the dog whisperer."
Yes, he has been bitten.
"Of course," he says matter-of-factly. "It's like cowboys that get stomped by bulls. Any time you're working in the world of taming animals, you're going to get hurt. But it's a rush that we get."
And his practice isn't without issues.
Earlier this month, a TV producer in Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against him claiming his dog was injured at Millan's psychology centre. Another suit filed in April claimed copyright infringement for his use of the name Dog Whisperer.
At the same time, Millan enjoys the admiration of such famous dog owners as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and Scarlett Johansson.
By the way, Millan has six dogs of his own: two Italian greyhounds, two springer spaniels, one chihuahua and one Chinese crested.
He's asked the inevitable dog lover's question: Why do we bond so strongly with a species that has a much shorter lifespan, pretty much guaranteeing a grieving experience as our pets grow older and die before us?
"Birth, life, death is a cycle. And they're all beautiful, you celebrate all of them," he says about the pet owner's inevitable heartbreak.
"Animals do grieve, but they move on. That's the lesson behind animals."
© The Canadian Press 2006
Rambled by Conners at Saturday, May 27, 2006
Thursday, May 25, 2006
This IS about the Pit bull ban in one way or another. It's about my day yesterday and me attempting to do something 'normal' on my own without Shasta. I wrote this as a vent in a forum and the spelling, well it's just plain bad, but my fingers couldn't keep up with my thoughts nor through my tears.
For me to be denied a Service Dog because of Shasta's breed is absolutely rediculas. No person should have to go through what I experienced yesterday. I'm leaving my vent as it is without correcting it as this cry to one of my forums is a cry that government can't understand. Possibly you won't neither as you may not live in a situation like I do. But I do, and somewhere out in this crazy world is my answers. I just don't know where or how to find them.
I also wrote to a London MP. Yes, I know I said MPP, but that was my confusion and it was in error. That letter follows my vent.
As a human being I have the right to live accordingly and should not be denied because my breed of dog is not your standard service dog breed. The insanity and humiliation I felt is unjustified because I can't certify my dog because of breed.
Life is unfair at times, but you shouldn't have to be MADE to live a life as this because of the breed of dog you own. I'm not taking it any more. I want answers!!!
I'm unsure were even to start.
I've been running out of my medication gradually to the point that I had no choice but to go to the walk-in clinic to see a doctor to get my medications refilled. It's been so difficult as I can't seem to get any stamina in me to do the things I need done and my mind and memory just aren't were thy should be.
It sounds funny to many, but my Christmas tree is still up with all the ornaments. It's driving me crazy, but I can't help it. I just can't take it down. I'm already using up everything with in me to get by the days.
I know the Pit bull ban has taken a lot out of me, but I'm trying to relax and a wait the verdict without it effecting my health too much.
Yesterday, my girlfriend came over and she said she would driveme to the walk-in clinic because I was getting zaps or feelings of electrical currents in my head which scared me, dizziness and buckling at the knees, a long with when the kitten lay on my cheast I couldn't barely breath.
The last time that had happened to me, the doctor told me that dropping medication like that, that I was lucky I didn't have a heart attack, so that scared me even more.
It was fine that she took me, and I figured I had come so far with Shasta, that I could do this on my own. Not only that, but the wait would be extremely long and someone could steal Shasta as uncertified, I can't bring her in with me.
They said the wait would be about 45 minutes, but it turned into an hour and a half. I already could feel I wanted so badly just to run out of that place and I was trying so hard to contain myself as I wnted to burst into tears so badly. It was as if, if I moved I would explode inside.
When my name was finally called, I don't even know how I managed to walk without tripping, but once in the small room and the nurse asked me what was wrong, that was it. I lost all control and started to cry so badly that I could hardly contain myself. I did manage somehow to tell her I had run out of most medications and was in pretty bad condition.
When the doctor came in (I had never seen him before) rather than looking at my files he started asking me all sorts of questions and my mind went totally blank. He asked me what was wrong and I couldn't even tell him because I was so confused I wanted just to be home with Shasta.
He finally looked at my file and asked questions about my conditions and I managed to say something, but he was making me sooooo angry as well as confused and telling me I was depressed. I told him I was NOT depressed and can't take antidepressants. Then he askedme if I worked which I told him no, I was not able to and he wanted to hospitalize me for depression.
By this time I didn't know if he was even crazier than me. I told him that give me my scripts and that they would get my system regulated again. I tred to explain how some of them I had gone a whole month without.
I couldn't believe he said if I could go a whole month, then perhaps I didn't need them. I thought about Shasta and what she was being muzzled for and for the first time in my life, I wished she was here to bite that clown where it hurt!!!!
I'm illergic to my own tears, so you can imagine how my face was all blown up and burning and I could feel my head was getting a migraine coming on. I just wanted to be in the house with Shasta where I knew I would be safe.
I told him I had responsibilities at home and had kids to take care of. I didn't tell him that they were of the fur kind.
After argueing about my meds with me and me telling him he didn't know me, didn't read my file, and I wasn't about to let him change my medication and play geania (sp?) pig with and just give me what my file said and let me out of here. Ignorant Bast*ard!!!
Somehow I needed to try to contain myself to get me out of that office and past the large waiting room filled with people without them seeing my face and hopefully not cry.
Instead of relief once outside, now there were people there too and I saw a large outside garbage container and quikly went behind it, sat on the ground and tried to contain myself so somehow I could manage to go to the drug store which was only 2 loooong doors down. This was like a night mare that just would quit, only it was real and I was living it.
As much as I just wanted to run for my life to the safety of home and Shasta, I knew I needed to fill these scripts. To heck with the COPD and asthma, I sat there and smoked a whole smoke while I tried to calm myself down. It was so confusing. I was mixed up and mad at the same time. My brain and heart were going a mile a minute. I tried to think each detail out how I would handle myself in the drug store to look semi 'normal'. Easier thunk then done.
Of course it was packed. My luck couldn't have been any worse and I was doing pretty good in the long line up when I started to get those erupting gulps of trying to contain crying that are hard to surpress. I had no choice but get out of the line u and head for somewhere where there wasn't any people. I found one nd stayed there for awhile, but thet wasn't going to get me home and I needed the medication.
Finally I looked again and the line was empty. Oh Lord! THANK YOU!!!! So I rushed to the counter and explained I didn't have enough money to cover all the scripts, but if I paid for what I could and they could front me enough to get through the week I'd pay the rest at the end of the month.
NO!!!!!! It can't go that easy. The new owner made it a policy of you can't pay, you no get! Naturally the tears started all over again and I'm appologizing. Yeah! Appologizing because I'm a basket case in tears! For many this is easy, but for me it was agonizingly horrible with seemingly no end in sight. I JUST WANTED TO BE HOME to make this night mare stop!
The girls were really sweet and called the pharmasist for me to see if she could help me. I thought I had just asked the same of what the paharmasist said she would do, but at this point, I wasn't sure of anything anymore. Whatever she said I agreed with, ad tried to pay, but was told to wait until I received my meds. I'm thinking I should have known that. Now I didn't know anything.
Filling the scripts were going to take quite awhile, so I asked if they could be delivered so I could just go home. Sheesh...that couldn't even be easy! It was too late and the only delivery guy wasin training and didn't know the area yet. I'd have to wait. I told her I was too embarrest with me crying, so she told me to go in the back outside where nobody was and maybe I could contain myself. I think I walked out like a romote control robot just following orders. The only thing that didn't work was my shut off button for the tears and my face was burning so badly and between my eyes I could feel the swelling of the migraine growing.
At least I was alone except for a few parked cars. I knew I looked like some kind of bag woman with a king size face and eyes bulging. If I was in my right mind I would have laughed at the situation...but if I was in my right mind I wouldn't BE in that situation. Anyway, it was a matter of getting my scripts and going home after the wait and that thought kind of calmed me.
A small dog turned the corner were I was sitting and I reahed out to pat it. For a brief moment I felt good as I said hello to it. A second later the owner following the leash came around and called the dog away from me as if I was a piece of dirt it shouldn't get into. I knew I looked bad, but that was insult to injury. I couldn't even pat her dog. The tears started again. Where were they all coming from???? I'm NOT a crier. I usually laugh at the insanity of everything, but this was different, I didn't have Shasta and that made such a difference.
I finally got the scripts and started for home trying to hide my face as people were walking by. I noticed that seemed to make them look more, so I decided, you wanna see my face??? Well HERE! You got it! I didn't hide my face nor my tears, I walked as fast as I could knowing each step was one step closer to home. With each step the electrical current in my head zapped it my head by now was killing me. I didn't care... I was so close!!!!
I somehow manged to unlock myy door and Shasta came running. Instead of getting excited like normal she took one look at me and then did the most ingredible thing you can think of. She did like with my panic attacks. She lifts herself up on two legs and places her front paws on my shoulders but with no pressure to me. We call it hugs. She started tonging my face, but slowly and not wet. Slowly across my forehead first, then carefully across on side of my face, then the other, back to the forehead. All this is done delicately as if a person was wipng my face gently with a face cloth and saying you'll be alright. I felt the calm come into me and I relaxed until I realized the funnyiness of it all. It took Shasta (a dog) to do what nobody else could do. When she saw I started to laugh she knew I'd be alright but she stayed by my side even though i NEVER THOUGHT WITH All that time passing she probably had to go pee real bad.
I started to swear when I couldn't open any of the stupid bottles and I told Shasta they probably used crazy glue to seal them on me. The look on her face made me laugh and I swear she thought I'd take a hammer to them to bust them open, but somehow they finally gave way.
I had to think for a moment what or how many I should take, but I took them and evntually I could feel myself relaxing somemore, plus I had taken a migraine pill.
Withg all this behind me, I started to feel sick to my stomach and Shasta followed me, but then I thought I can't throw up or the meds will come out. I took my sleeper and it wasn't even 10 PM but I didn't care. I let Shasta out for a pee and said it was time for bed. I had too much of that day and I couldn't take anymore.
Today, I emailed my MPP and told him my story. Not as dramically as I did just now about my day, but from getting Shasta as a pup to now and how badly I realize I NEED her certified. I left out her breed though. The tears flowed as I repeated my day here so spelling errors, forgiveme. My brain is faster than my fingers. Hopefully I hear from him soon for answers.
I really needed this and sorry for the vent but it had to come out.
Good afternoon XXXXXX
I have been searching for an answer to my question, but nobody seems to know where I would go for answers.
I am physically, mentally and cognitively disabled. I also live with phobias, chronic anxiety and suffer with panic attacks and I live alone.
I was not able to leave my apartment, nor talk to strangers unless someone was with me and they did the talking. This was due to an abusive marriage that ended up breaking my neck and the trauma of keeping my secret and the fears of the surgery suppressed, that I went into post traumatic stress for approximately five years and the phobias increased. I'm happy to say I am no longer in that situation, but it has permanently effected me as well as multiple health conditions that has me disabled.
I needed to rely on people to help me in many ways, such as going grocery shopping, taking out garbage, getting me to doctors and specialist appointments, etc. People are not readily available when you need them and this causes stress and anxiety as you are always trying to balance your life schedule around them. Simple things that people take for granted are considered either impossible or will take a considerable longer length of time and challenge to accomplish, and because of that you end up bed ridden or in severe pain and lack of energy which could take months to get over.
My doctor who understood all of my conditions, phobias, disabilities, etc., had left the province in November of 2004 to practice in Calgary. Prior to him leaving, he did set appointments up for me to see specialists, but was not here to give them any reports when my appointments finally came.
In 2002, just prior to the doctor leaving, I was looking after a puppy which I was training to be calm and mannerly for a family with a youngers and an new born. This puppy changed my life in so many ways that was incredible. Because the puppy needed to be taken outside to learn house breaking, I had little chance but to take the puppy outside to do it's chores.
I live in a 3 story walk-up but am on the main floor as climbing stairs is difficult, or at times impossible. I had the property manager install a lock to my patio door so I do not have to climb the stairs to the main entrance during difficult times.
With taking out the puppy just around my patio, puppies attract people, another fear of mine, but because the subject was about the puppy I found it became easier with time to not only go further, but also speaking to strangers about the puppy and it was becoming enjoyable after awhile. Her socialization also became my socialization and it also gave me a purpose to try harder.
It turned out the family that owned the puppy had their hands full with the children and work and they offered me the puppy as they could see how much both the pup and I had proceeded and bonded.
My pup seemed to be very perceptive and exceptional regarding my conditions and together we started to experiment how to make it work to my advantage for independence. She loved pulling the sled to the garbage bins, although heavy bags are still difficult for me to throw in at times. She pulls a wagon and we go to the grocery store together now and she pulls my groceries home.
During times of anxiety or stress when I take panic attacks, she intuitively has learnt to pull me out of them. She knows when my health is bad and the difference of my better, more normal days.
I did not know that there were Service Dogs available for my conditions and did not find this out until a couple years later when asked why I didn't get her certified. This was my turning point and became aware that my life did not have to remain to a 2k radius that my dog and I have finally gotten to.
I'm not allowed to drive a vehicle because of my memory or cognitive problems and I have phobias with public transportation. While I have come a long way with my dog, I'm at a stand still. She is not allowed into stores and attempting to bring out packages or groceries to her wagon is difficult. It may not effect me at the time, but the next day or the day after I could be bed ridden because of the extra exertion I needed to do.
I LOVE the fact that I am now independent to a certain degree. But knowing I could be so much more independent makes me feel cheated, as if I have boundaries that I can not conquer all because my dog is not certified.
As far as training, I have called several trainers and they have all told me that I have already trained her to my needs and training would be a waste of money, although she did go for CGN training (Canadian Good Neighbour) put out by the Canadian Kennel Club, graduated and received her certificate. I have researched the web what is expected of a Service Dog and have taught her not to take food unless given. She does not react to being bumped by grocery carts as I can be quite clumsy and loud noises do not scare her, such as dropping pans or even fireworks displays. She is a social butterfly with both people and animals, yet knows the difference between work or play and when it is permitted or not.
I have spoken with and matter of fact, seen by Guide Dogs of Canada when they had their walk by the Lions Club last year. They were amazed at the job I had done with her, her manners and her calmness. But, as always, there is always a 'but' in my situation. They do their own training for their clients with their own dogs. They also do not train a dog over two, which she was at the time.
Had I not have had phobias and knew about training, I would have done what was required for her, but you can not blame a person who was unable at that time to even speak to people regardless as the right people and had no clue what my rights were.
Yesterday, I needed to go to the walk-in clinic and a girl friend gave me a ride there but was unable to wait. I thought I had come such a long way that I could handle this on my own. Instead, it showed me that without the other part of me (my dog), I completely fell apart at the office that the doctor there ( I had never met him prior) suggested I either should be in hospital or on antidepressants. I tried to explain I was NOT depressed that I had conditions, but because I was in such a state I wasn't able to explain my situation so he could understand me. I could not control my crying and frustration. I was embarrassed because of it and I needed to get home somehow.
I did make it home like the darkest of night mares and as soon as I came inside the door, my dog immediately took her role to calm me down rather than excitement of seeing me. I know with her by my side, the anxiety and panic wouldn't have happened.
I live in a one bedroom apartment and I am on ODSP. I can not afford another dog to be my Service Dog, as well as my own dog gives me all that I require plus she acts as a therapy dog with me too. Yesterday showed me the importance of certification. It is no longer a matter of my boundaries, but she is my confidence and side of me that does not work, but together we (or I) am a whole individual that can conquer battles of life together.
Please Mr. XXXX. Tell me where or how I can get her certified as my Service Dog. I need her more than anyone knows.
Anxiously waiting for your reply,
Please note that I am much better speaking in writing than in person and this email has taken me hours to write.
Rambled by Conners at Thursday, May 25, 2006
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
I received a warm, encouraging comment in my guest book on my web sight yesterday from a fellow named Greg. I tried to get to his homepage, but for some reason I wasn’t able.
What I did come across was his blog, Dogs are us. He’s in the Philippines and his mission is to save dogs.
He doesn’t fight for them in the same way you and I fight against the BSL with letters, emails, media and lawyers. It’s true, we have an underground that takes innocent dogs out of the province and what we do is rewarding and fantastic to bring dogs and place them in safe hands.
But Greg’s story is different than ours. He puts his life on the line everyday to rescue the most horrific and inhumane practices of the illegal scum of the earth and the hideous treatment of dogs.
I’ll tell you right now, reading his blog made me feel sick right down deep in the pit of my stomach, yet if everyone were to close their eyes to truth, no matter how upsetting, we wouldn’t have people like Greg and others fighting to eliminate these repulsing acts.
I wrote in one of my comments to him that it was ‘man’ that was the most dangerous animal on the face of the earth, but as I thought about it while trying to fall asleep, I found my statement to be wrong. I’m repeating in the same way that unknowledgably people speak about dangerous breeds of dogs. They are stereotyping dogs just as I am of humans.
There is the good and the bad in amongst us. The compassionate and those without and it’s because of this, we fight each other to try to rectify and balance what is good and right. To fight for dogs that can’t fight for themselves and fall victims to the people with no conscious, but only the greed of money.
His life touched my very soul and I thank the Lord for people such as him. I don’t know him, yet I worry for him as he’s right at the front lines for the sake of saving dogs.
Greg, should you ever pass my blog again, I want you to know that you have touched me so much by a simple reply to my web site and opened my eyes to the fights going on even in a world unfamiliar to me. Thank you so much for that. God bless you.
Rambled by Conners at Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Monday, May 22, 2006
With all the stress of waiting for the court summaries, I had help from a friend who kept me in constant emailing to get my mind off of the long wait. Gail and I have something very in common. She has two very special Rotties that she loves very much and they are a misunderstood breed like the Pit bull breeds are.
Although she doesn't live in Ontario, she continually asks me how she can help us in fighting against the BSL. Here web site is on my side bar and on my web page, rotts4ever and not only does it fight against the BSL, it shows true love of her dogs and people as well.
She write letters to the government and makes a powerful staement. You see, her husband is a trucker with around 100 truck fleets. She has written that they will stop gassing up in our province and that is $1,000.00 a fill.
Her husband also know many other truckers willing to do the same. So you see, how people are doing their part to elliminate the BSL in their own way. Hurt the governments pocket book to make a statement.
Yesterday I had a surprise in my email box and I wanted to share will all of you what Gail has sent me.
Thank you Gail from the bottom of my heart!
This is dedicated from Gail to all bullies and rotties everywhwere!!!
Rambled by Conners at Monday, May 22, 2006
Saturday, May 20, 2006
I know I have already posted about Shire, but both Shire and her family NEEDS YOUR HELP! That's why I am reposting about her.
I have the petition in my sidebar, but perhaps some of you you haven't read it, so here it is again.
Keep Shire With Her Family
Target: David Morgan, Mayor, Council of Florenceville, New Brunswick, CanadaSponsor: Gail Gallant
See Full Petition
Email this Petition
Please read the letter and newspaper article about Shire. Breed Specfic Laws condemn innocent dogs and their families. The hard times this dog has gone through all the while helping humans. It's time humans helped her. It's time for all to stop the stupidity and madness. It's time the politicians stop jumping on innocent animals and innocent responsible owners and go after the bad ones. If a politician can't or won't talk to the people, then he shouldn't be in office. These people represent ALL not just "their voters". Time they made laws that is right for EVERYONE. To put fear in a family because they were given the wrong information is HIS offices fault, not this family or SHIRE. If this office can't tell the truth then get out. It's time people took a stand and take back OUR rights as the GOVERNMENT. After all they are suppose to speak for us not dictate to us.
After speaking with this family, I also know that SHIRE has gone through more then the surgeries stated in this article.
May 3, 2006
Honourable Mayor David Morgan
Deputy Mayor Joyce Trafford
Paul RoyNancy Whyte McCauley
Clerk Treasurer Dierdre McLatchy
Honourable Mayor and Council Members,
On April 4, 2006, the Dog Legislation Council of Canada (“DLCC”) was notified by the deWeerd family of Florenceville, New Brunswick that they had been served with a warrant of seizure for non-compliance with the Animal Control by-laws of the Town of Florenceville. The family was given only one option: to release their dog Shire for euthanasia.
The Dog Legislation Council of Canada is a Canada-wide not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible dog ownership, assisting provincial and municipal governments to develop effective licensing and enforcement legislation, and educating the public regarding dog bite prevention. The DLCC does not support any legislation that targets a breed instead of the real problem – the irresponsible owner.
The DLCC has been advised that since 2003, Florenceville, New Brunswick has banned two "groups" of dogs, the "pit bull" and the "Rotweiller"(sic). The DLCC has reviewed your town’s municipal bylaws and prepared a written consultation on behalf of the deWeerd family, which has been submitted to their legal counsel. It was through no fault of the deWeerd family that they found themselves in violation of your current animal control bylaws. There was no attempt on their part to deceive your community by falsifying their dog’s breed. Ms. Deirdre McLatchy, in her role as the town clerk failed in her duties to inform this family of the existing by-laws. This official has stated for the record that she was unaware of an existing bylaw prohibiting any breed(s) of dogs. Had the deWeerd family been informed of the existing by laws, the deWeerds would not have moved into your community, nor would they have purchased a home that they have now been forced to put back on the market for sale.
This same town clerk provided false and misleading evidence in a statement to the local real estate agent who enquired on behalf of the deWeerds about any dog breed restrictions or bans prior to the purchase of their home. The deWeerd family acted on good faith that the information they received from the town clerk via the real estate agent was accurate.
On the afternoon of April 3, 2006, the Florenceville animal control officer came to the deWeerds' door to notify the deWeerd family of the by-law, and stated that a letter had been sent to them 10 days previously (which they had not received), when they had moved into their new home only three days before. The deWeerds were offered the opportunity to attend a village council meeting on April 11th to make a case for letting their dog stay. Despite the fact that they presented several letters from Shire's previous veterinarians, trainers and other concerned friends who attested to her excellent behaviour and her use as a therapy dog to interact with children and adults with autism and Down’s syndrome, your council voted unanimously against letting Shire stay. It is my understanding that during the town meeting on April 11, 2006, Mayor Morgan acknowledged the town's error and publicly verified that the information stated by Mr. deWeerd regarding the licensing of a prohibited breed was accurate.
On April 24th 2006, the animal control officer reappeared on their doorstep with a seizure order for Shire. At this time, this family was informed that the dog had ten days to be removed from the community; otherwise, Shire would be euthanized. The deWeerd family refused to accept the notice, in accordance with their lawyer’s advice.
After failing in the first official attempt to remove Shire from her home, the ACO revisited the home of the deWeerds on April 25, 2006, accompanied by an official of the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment.
The deWeerds were served with a writ for Shire to be removed from the home and euthanized.
The DLCC has made recommendations to the deWeerd family, should mediation between the Town of Florenceville and the deWeerds’ legal counsel fail to avert a court challenge. It is important that the dog-owning public in Canada and abroad be informed of your breed biased by-laws. Typically, responsible dog owners eschew communities that use breed specific legislation to deal with what is solely an issue of irresponsible dog ownership. The media has already released news of the deWeerds’ treatment by your community. The DLCC has been approached to lead a boycott against your community and McCain's, which to our knowledge is your community’s largest employer.
Below you will find a brief summary of the DLCC’s position regarding breed specific legislation.
As an organization comprised of dog owners, professional breeders and trainers, veterinarians and members of the general public, the DLCC does not support the banning or restriction of specific breeds of dogs. There are a number of reasons why we do not support this approach. I will summarize them briefly here:
1. Breed identification is virtually impossible, especially identification of the "pit bull" type dog because it is NOT a breed, but rather a catch-all term for a dog of crossed or mixed breed heritage, often an unknown combination of breeds. Even DNA testing has not been proven capable of identifying a dog's breed. Visual identification is at best subjective, and has been proven time and time again to be inaccurate. There are web sites on the Internet dedicated to the "pick the pit bull" game, where photographs of various breeds of dogs are displayed and the viewer attempts to pick the "pit bull". Even seasoned dog professionals have had serious difficulty with these games, so you can imagine the difficulty that your average Animal Control or Law Enforcement officer will have and, even more so, the average victim of a dog bite who often is the sole identifier of the breed, since the dog is not available for scrutiny.
2. Many communities in the United States and countries such as Britain and Germany have found themselves mired in lawsuits challenging breed identification. Lawsuits have also been launched challenging statements such as "pit bulls are prone to aggression", "pit bulls bite harder than other dogs", and "pit bulls are born dangerous". Not only have many of these lawsuits been successful, but also the court costs to the communities involved have been astronomical. Hundreds of communities in the United States have repealed or rejected breed-specific legislation, based on cost figures alone. Many US states have made breed bans illegal on constitutional grounds. Britain and Germany have backed off from their original, incredibly strict breed-specific bans and are now allowing these dogs to be bred again.
3. Communities that have implemented breed-specific legislation have discovered that bite incidents in their communities did NOT go down. Rather, those irresponsible owners who may previously have been attracted to the muscular "pit bull" type dog because of its "tough" image and who tended to be the people that produced the badly bred, badly socialized, poorly trained animals that seemed to be causing the problem simply moved to another breed that was not banned, and the dog bites moved along with them. Again, many of the communities in the United States have recognized the "slippery slope" of banning one breed, then another, then another, and have now implemented non-breed-specific laws instead. Unfortunately, there are still countries like Italy who have chosen to go down that slippery slope and now have banned or restricted 93 different breeds, including the Corgi (the Queen's ankle-high herding dogs), the rough Collie (Lassie), and the Newfoundland dog.
4. Statistics initially used to support breed-specific legislation are extremely suspect, primarily for the reasons mentioned above. Given that identification of a breed is difficult, often impossible, statistics reporting bites by breed must be considered at best unreliable and probably just wrong
5. In addition to being arbitrary, inaccurate, expensive, and virtually unenforceable, breed-specific legislation does something else that is even more insidious. It lulls the public into believing that they will now be safe from serious dog bites. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Canada, there are approximately 480,000 dog bites per year. Of these, approximately 80,000 bites will require an emergency room visit with some sort of medical intervention. These could be considered serious bites. Since there is absolutely no reliable data indicating how many of these bites were inflicted by "pit bull" type dogs and since unscrupulous or irresponsible owners will just move to a different breed, there is absolutely NO concrete evidence that legislators will be able to reduce this number. In fact, by looking at communities and countries that have already tried breed specific legislation, we can see that the number does NOT reduce and, in some cases, actually goes up.
6. In the last thirty years, approximately thirty people have died from dog bites in Canada. These deaths are tragedies, and it is the deepest desire of every one of our members to ensure that the thirty-first death never happens. Over a dozen breeds have been responsible for deaths in Canada
7. For politicians, breed-specific legislation is an answer that will immediately satisfy the demands of an enraged and fearful public, but for the DLCC, an organization that dedicates itself to reducing the number of dog bites in this country, breed specific legislation is an approach based purely on emotion which has been proven to have no permanent effect on the number of bites in a municipality, a province or this country. The DLCC supports the implementation and enforcement of zero-tolerance dog licensing, zero-tolerance leash laws, and heavy fines for non-compliance.
The DLCC supports financial and, in some cases, criminal repercussions for those owners whose dogs, when not in compliance with existing laws and without very real provocation, cause injury to a human being or to another animal.
The DLCC believes in significant repercussions, both financial and criminal, to dog owners who, in the opinion of a judge, could reasonably foresee the occurrence of an injury based on the previous behaviour of the dog or based on previous multiple infractions of existing laws. We also believe that people who have consistently and repeatedly proven themselves to be irresponsible dog owners should not be allowed to own a dog.
We suggest that, as soon as possible, the province and its communities implement the thirty-five recommendations from the coroner’s inquest into the death of eight-year-old Courtney Trempe of Stouffville, Ontario. We would be happy to provide you with a copy of these recommendations. We believe that only one has been implemented in the province to-date.
We suggest that, as soon as possible, the province and its communities implement the recommendations from the coroner’s inquest into the death of four-year-old James Waddell of New Brunswick.
We would be happy to provide you with a copy of these recommendations.
We suggest that, as soon as possible, the province and its communities implement the recommendations from the "Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention" report by the American Veterinary Medical Association's Task Force on Canine Aggression. We would be happy to provide you with a copy of these recommendations.
You also may not be aware that breed-specific legislation has been rejected by every major dog organization in North America. Each and every one of these organizations, most of which have boards and memberships filled with people whose lives have been dedicated to understanding dog behaviour, have publicly stated that they do NOT support breed-specific legislation and that they do NOT believe that it works.
Some of these organizations are:
· The Canadian Kennel Club;
· The Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers;
· The Dog Legislation Council of Canada;
· The Canada Safety Council;
· The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association;
· The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies;
· The National Companion Animal Coalition;
· The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;
· The Pet Industry Advisory Council;
· The American Kennel Club;
· The Center for Disease Control; and,
· The American Veterinary Medical Association
It is the hope of the deWeerd family and the members of the DLCC that your council reconsiders its stand both on the use of breed specific legislation and in regards to allowing Shire to remain in Florenceville with her family.
We respectfully ask that your town work with responsible dog owners and not against them.
LeeAnn O'Reilly RN,PBMH
Pres. Dog Legislation Council of Canada
Used with the permission of LeeAnn O'Reilly
For updates on this story visit http://rotts4ever.piczo.com/
Rambled by Conners at Saturday, May 20, 2006
Friday, May 19, 2006
Please crosspost! Anyone with blogs and websites, a link would be AWESOME!!!
This website is about dog bite prevention and safety for kids and dogs.
Over the past year, Yvette VanVeen dog trainer/behaviour consultant has been gathering bite statistics. You have probably seen the book she has donated a bunch to our various fundraisers, Meeting Milo.
The survey is a little long in order to be thorough, but will be really helpful in the future for BSL type issues.
She has about 100 entries and plans to compile all the data in about 203 months. The dog bites do not have to be from this year.
Please help! Fill out this important survey and print them out for others to do the same.
Rambled by Conners at Friday, May 19, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Here is my summary of the morning of May 18.
Legalities require me to tell you that I'm not a lawyer and this document contains only my interpretations of what was said in court and my opinions. Nothing in this document should ever be construed as advice. This applies to my previous posts as well and they will be modified to note this.
Well, they sure managed to fit a lot into two and half hours this morning.
The crown started with the arguments about "trial fairness", which was Clayton Ruby's third reason for unconstitutionality.The crown argued first about Section 19 of the DOLA, where a document from a vet can be entered into evidence as "proof" that the dog is a pit bull. Ruby's argument was that cross-examination of a document was not possible and that, even if the vet is called as a witness, because the defendant would have to call the witness, the defence can only examine the witness "in chief", not cross-examine him. This means that it is dependent on the judge as to how "rough" the defence can get with the vet.
Crown pointed to the section Provincial Offences Act (POA) that applies to proceedings under DOLA. Part IV, Section 46, subsection 2 says that the defendant is entitled to make full answer and defence. Subsection 3 says that the defence may examine and cross-examine witnesses. Ruby responds to this later on.Then the question was "how do we get a vet into court?"
The answer is that the defence may issue a summons. What does it cost to get a vet? The court costs are $5.00 (i.e., not prohibitive) and are only applied upon conviction.
Also, the defendant could easily bring a motion before the judge to allow cross-examination (i.e., treat the witness as hostile).
Even without cross-examination, the defence could still put contradictory evidence to the witness and, if the witness is hostile, request permission to cross-examine.The crown's basic argument is that, in order for cross-examination to NOT be possible, the legislation would have to EXPRESSLY prohibit it, which the DOLA does not.
Now to Section 1 of the charter (reasonableness):
According to the crown (which Ruby later challenges), the onus is on the applicant (us) to establish that there has been a violation of the charter. In this case, what the crown is saying is that it's not the crown's responsibility to prove that the legislation is reasonable. It's the applicant's responsibility to prove it isn't. Ruby disagreed with this (later) and provided arguments to the contrary.The key to reasonableness is "harm to society". The government has to prove a reasonable apprehension of harm.Then he went off on a tangent for a second to talk about whether the judge should allow him to bring into evidence the legislative committee transcripts. He provided 3 case histories that allowed legislative committee transcripts into evidence. Ruby later attacked all 3 cases as irrelevant to this case.
The judge noted that the only time legislative committee transcripts are allowed to be used as evidence is to help with determining the INTENT of the legislation. She noted that there is no dispute among anybody about the INTENT of this legislation (i.e., reduction of harm to society), so why do we need the transcripts? No real answer from the crown on this.Back to Section 1 of the charter.
Section 1 requires a "proportionality analysis" to determine if the legislation is reasonable in its attempts to achieve its objective.The proportionality analysis consists of three parts:
1. There must be a rational connection of the challenged portion to the purpose of the legislation. In this case, the challenged portion is the banning and restrictions of pit bulls. The purpose of the legislation is dog bite reduction and public safety. Is there a rational connection between banning pit bulls and increasing public safety?
2. The legislation must minimally impair the lives of those it affects. This brings in the discussion of alternative measures that the government did or did not consider. Does banning pit bulls minimally impair those it affects compared to other, more generic, legislation?
3. The legislation must be proportional to the risk of harm. Is banning pit bulls an overly extreme measure considering the risk of harm from the dogs?
Rational ConnectionUsing a case related to obscenity charges for pornography (which was used throughout this case), the court in that case noted that, while there is NOT direct link between obscenity and harm to society, it is reasonable to assume that exposure to certain images could change a person's attitude towards the group depicted in those images (specifically women and children).
In the face of insufficient social or scientific evidence, it is sufficient that Parliament had a reasonable basis for assuming harm. Parliament does not need proof in order to reasonably predict harm. The government is afforded a margin of appreciation to achieve their objective of public safety. Although there was no conclusive proof of harm, the legislation could reasonably conclude that there was harm. In our case, the crown contends that their proof is actually better than the proof that was in the obscenity case and that legislation was upheld.
The judge responded by stating that the issue is not whether pit bulls cause harm, but whether it is JUST pit bulls causing harm or whether other dogs could cause or have caused similar harm. She asked the question "is that harm caused because the dogs are pit bulls"?
There is no constitutional right to own a pit bull. This was reiterated throughout the case by the crown. I find it interesting that Ruby has never stated that we have a constitutional right to own a dog. He is saying that we have a constitutional right to NOT be imprisoned for owning a certain type of dog.
Leashing, muzzling, sterilizing constitute reasonable impairment.
Courts have held that Parliament must be given some leeway in restricting the public in order to prevent harm to the public.
Back to the obscenity law, many of the alternatives are RESPONSES after the harm has occurred. The judge responded "if one could determine ahead of time, through a temperament test, prior to an attack, if a dog was dangerous or likely to attack, would that not be a reasonable alternative and impair less? Also, would obedience school prevent attacks"
The crown replied that there is no evidence presented to this particular court that obedience training prevents attacks.
Crown: Pit bulls are unpredictable. There is no warning of attack.
Judge: Saying that there is no warning of attack at the time of the attack is not the same thing as saying that dog cannot be assessed for dangerousness [using a temperament test].
Crown quoted AVMA report (Dr. Clifford) stating that pit bulls attack without giving warning signals. He quoted another AVMA report (Carl Seminac sp?) and Richard Stratton's book stating that both purebreds and crossbreeds are unpredictable. The Clifford report also discussed the wisdom and policy of allowing inexperienced vets to handle pit bulls, given that they are unpredictable and attack without warning. The Clifford report also stated that pit bull bites are more serious that other bites, directly contradicting Dr. Brisbin's that the "bite and hold" tendency of pit bulls actually causes less damage than the "slash and tear" of other breeds.
The effects of the law so severely infringe on the right of the individual that it is grossly disproportionate to the positive effects of the law. Crown's argument is that the harm is severe enough and the restrictions reasonable enough that this legislation is proportional.
Federalism (Animal Pedigree Act)
In order to discuss a conflict between provincial and federal legislation, there must first be an assumption that both pieces of legislation are constitutionally valid. In this case, the constitutionality of the provincial legislation is in question, so this argument regarding federal paramountcy may be moot.Also noted that Attorney General of Canada has not requested to intervene in this case, which he might have done if he felt that the two pieces of legislation conflicted.
Quote from a Supreme Court decision: "Courts should be particularly cautious about invalidating provincial legislation due to paramountcy if the federal government has not intervened".Section 95 of the Constitutional Act of 1867: Each province may make laws in relation to agriculture. Any laws of the province are valid in as far as it is not repugnant to a federal Act of Parliament. Where there is inconsistency, the provincial legislation is inoperative to the extent of the inconsistency. It is only inconsistent when it is impossible to obey both laws.
A federal law regulating a field does not necessarily "occupy the field" (i.e., prevent provincial legislation from addressing the same field). The purpose of the APA is to promote the purity of a breed and only this purpose should be considered when determining paramountcy. The purpose of the DOLA is public safety whereas the APA's is commerce and agriculture. Because of these two entirely different purposes, they can co-exist and be obeyed simultaneously.In the Rothman's case (Saskatchewan Tobacco Control Act) where provincial legislation prohibited retail tobacco displays while the federal legislation did not, the provincial legislation simply prohibited something that the federal legislation did not. Both could be obeyed because they did not expressly conflict.
Final CommentsJudge: "Are there any sections that, if found unconstitutional, the crown would be willing to sever?"
Crown focused particularly on jail time and on the vet's certificate (i.e., bring a vet into court to testify instead of just a document). Basically, he left it up to the judge.
The judge has no option to sever parts of the legislation. It was not requested by the applicant. The only option to the judge is to make a decision if the entire legislation is constitutional or not. If severability becomes an issue, then this must be approached carefully because of the complexity and arguments will have to be made from both sides on that issue.
Legislative Committee Transcripts
In the cases listed by the government, the legislative committee transcripts were only used to determine the scope of the legislation, not the wisdom or the facts. In our case, nobody is question the purpose of the legislation.
Quote from Ruby
The government is asking the judge not to make any findings of fact. In fact, they're saying "For God's sake, don't make any findings of fact!" This is because the facts are not on their side. The whole point of their argument is "We're the government. Trust us!"
Reasonable Apprehension of Harm
Regarding the legislature having a "reasoned apprehension of harm", it appears that the cases to which this has applied in the past have all talked about trying to estimate what harm might occur based on certain actions or legislation. These cases did not have existing evidence of harm. They had to guess what the future harm might be. In our case, we have evidence of harm from all breeds, including the pit bull attacks listed by the crown. So there is no need for a reasoned apprehension of harm. The legislature should have given more attention to the existing evidence instead of just guessing at the possibility of future harm.
Core vs. Periphery
There had been quite a bit of discussion about this earlier, which I hadn't really covered. Ruby's point had been that there are a lot of dogs that "sit on the edge" of the definition of pit bull (the periphery). The core are the dogs that are one of the three listed breeds. Much of the reason for the arguments from the crown about trying to prove that "pit bull" is a commonly used word that everyone understands is so that a lot more dogs could get thrown into that definition, thus making the "core" bigger. One of the tests of reasonableness or proportionality is how big the core is compared to the periphery. How many dogs are guaranteed to fit the definition and how many dogs MIGHT fit the definition?
To show that the core in this case is insignificant, Ruby listed the registrations last year for Amstaffs and Staffy Bulls in Ontario (2 and 114 respectively). These dogs are insignificant in the population as a whole and are also not the problem, being purebreds that are unlikely, based on existing statistics, to ever be involved in a bite incident. "Pit bull terrier" and "substantially similar", on the other hand, are clearly definitions designed to catch as much of the periphery as possible.
The DOLA does not require the judge to consider the breed standards, unlike the Winnipeg bylaw which does.
In the cases of the challenges to the Winnipeg bylaw and to a Quebec municipal bylaw, the courts must start by assuming that the bylaws are valid and are the will of the people. Then they must be proved to not be. This is the exact opposite of what's required here. The government must prove that their law is constitutional when it comes to Section 1 of the charter.
In the cases where "substantially similar" or like phrases have been challenged and rejected, the purpose of the legislation must help interpret that phrase. In this case, the purpose of the legislation (danger) cannot help with the interpretation of "substantially similar physical characteristics" because all the evidence shows that you cannot determine the dangerousness of a dog by its physicality.
Canadian evidence (Zaharchuk) takes priority over U.S. evidence (Beck and Skeldon).
The bite evidence of the victims cannot assist the court in the two questions:
1. Is the ban necessary?
2. Is it reasonable? (I think that's what Ruby said)
Section 1 Onus
Also, the onus is on the crown to prove that the legislation is reasonable under Section 1 of the charter.
Provincial Offences Act (Trial Fairness)
There is no right under this legislation to cross-examine the veterinarian who provided the document. It is only a privilege. Thus, it violates a defendant's right to make full answer and defence.
If significant harm can and has been caused by all breeds of dog, then rational connection is lost between the harm to society and the ban on pit bulls.
Regarding pit bulls attacking without warning, specifically regarding temperament testing, Ruby discussed the American Temperament Testing Society results. He also quoted the Ohio case, where all experts except one agreed that all dogs give warning signs before biting.
In response to the crown's suggestion that alternatives other than banning pit bulls were in RESPONSE after attacks have already occcurred, Ruby notes that other portions of the DOLA allow for proceedings against an owner before an attack ever occurred (menace to public safety, failure to prevent a dog from being a menace to public safety).
The federal government has not intervened in this case for EITHER side. It is not here supporting the provincial government either. No conclusion can be drawn in favour of the crown just because the federal government has not intervened. Its own legislation is not at risk, so it doesn't need to intervene.
COURT IS FINISHED
Judge reserved her decision. We have no idea on timeframe for a decision. We should expect at least two or three months, maybe longer.
I am going to try to get the names of the judge and the crown attorneys for historical purposes.
Over and out. I'm going to bed.
It's articles like this one in the Toronto Sun that give our bullies their bad reputaions. Naturally, people that have never been around knowingly to a 'Pit bull' would be scared sh*tless of them reading this kind of propaganda.
Where DO they find their reporters? In the dumpsters?
Not only is he not an expert on dog behavior, I'd say he's also a poor journalist putting out trash like this.
Thu, May 18, 2006
Bite's worse than its bark
Regardless of who's to blame, pit bulls can be dangerous dogs
By PETER WORTHINGTON
When I went on the inaugural SUN TV show CANOE Live on Monday, I wound up being criticized by some for inadvertently suggesting that so-called pit bulls were "stupid."
The nice lady from the Humane Society objected that her pit bull wasn't stupid, but friendly, loving and well behaved.
I backed down a little, and said that compared with Jack Russell terriers, which I've lived with for years, pit bulls were kind of dumb. Even that was unnecessarily rude to the dog. Had I thought, I'd have said "mentally challenged" rather than stupid.
The "debate," such as it was, concerned the court case whereby lawyer Clayton Ruby is challenging the province's ban on pit bull dogs on behalf of Catherine Cochrane who adopted a 2-year-old Staffordshire cross from the Toronto Humane Society. (The THS refuses to euthanize healthy dogs that are slated to be put down).
Although Ruby is correct that defining exactly what constitutes a "pit bull" is difficult, it also seems undeniable that certain types of dogs are dangerous and need to be curbed.
Winnipeg has banned pit bulls for about 15 years; Kitchener for eight years. Despite Ruby's claim that only 4% of all dog bites are done by pit bull types, too often it's this 4% that result in deaths, or the neighbour's kid having his face chewed off.
Clearly, something has to be done, even though banning, or "putting down" pit bulls is a grotesque injustice to these dogs, which have been specially bred for the characteristics that critics now want eliminated.
Pit bulls are bred for extreme courage and loyalty.
They are afraid of nothing, and their "loyalty" is to be defensive over territory or against anything they see as a threat -- even when there's no threat. To me, that qualifies as somewhat stupid.
It also makes them formidable, and sought after for illegal dog fights, which occur in rural areas and attract big betting money.
Frankly, I think something is basically wrong with people who own these types of dogs. Especially in a city, or in an apartment. Sometimes, one is tempted to say that owners, rather than their dogs, deserve to be "put down."
While pit bulls are the canine targets of the moment, it used to be German shepherds that were considered unstable and dangerous -- until recent breeding made them more gentle and tolerant.
For years, Dobermann pinschers were considered lethal, then Rottweilers, and now pit bulls. Reality is that any big dog can be dangerous, but what distinguishes the pit bulls are large, powerful jaws that can do real damage, and a refusal to quit if riled.
So who is likely to own these dogs that Attorney General Michael Bryant has called a "menace," "dangerous" and "a loaded weapon waiting to go off"?
Drug dealers seem to like them for protection, as do people who live in risky areas. Others like the idea of a "pet" that intimidates others.
It's not the fault of pit bulls that they are what they are. They are guard dogs, weapons, not house pets like Tricky-woo, Spot or Lassie.
Clayton Ruby's argument in court that "bad dogs are made by bad people," is true only up to a point.
BRED INTO DOG
Characteristics can be bred into a dog that make it react in certain ways. Even a "lovable, friendly, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly" pit bull has the potential for inflicting serious harm that even its owner can't control.
Kids with chewed faces prove it.
So common sense dictates controls -- which is muzzling and prohibitive fines if the dog goes nuts -- and reducing their presence in crowded cities.
In the 680 News today;
Closing arguments expected to begin today in pit bull ban challenge
May 18, 2006 - 7:46 am By: Jason Satur
Closing arguments are expected to begin today in the first court challenge against Ontario's pit bull ban.
The Crown has defended the existing ban on pit bulls, insisting the law is a vital tool to protect the public from a dangerous weapon.
Pit bulls have a ``predilection to attack'' according to the Crown and were called the ``automatic guns of the dog world.''
The challenge is being argued by noted lawyer Clayton Ruby on behalf of Catherine Cochrane, who owns a two-year old pit bull mix.
Ruby has argued the ban is too broad and vague.
The current law forces owners to sterilize, muzzle and leash the dogs in public, otherwise they could face a fine of up to $10,000, as much as six months in jail or both forms of punishment.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
This article in yesterdays Ottawa Citizen. Based on this, we, the general public and responsible owners should not be allowed the Bullies breeds because of criminals. Should we be punished because of criminals as to the breed of dog's we prefer? I think NOT!
Ontario pit bull ban necessary to protect public from dog attacks: Crown
Gillian Livingston, The Canadian PressPublished:
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
TORONTO -- Government lawyers defended Ontario's controversial ban on pit bulls from a constitutional challenge Tuesday by insisting the law is a vital tool in the province's efforts to protect the public from what they consider dangerous weapons.
Pit bulls have a "predilection to attack,'' Crown lawyer Michael Doi said as he described the broad-shouldered, snub-nosed animals as the dog preferred by criminals who want an extra level of security.
"In many ways, pit bulls are the automatic guns of the dog world,'' said Doi, as some spectators in the courtroom groaned in disagreement.
Doi described cases in which police were forced to shoot pit bulls dead because the dogs attacked officers trying to execute an arrest or search warrant at the home of a suspect.
"With the criminal element, the dog of choice is a pit bull.''
The challenge is being argued by lawyer Clayton Ruby on behalf of Catherine Cochrane, who owns a two-year old pit bull mix. She is mounting the challenge with the support of animal-rights groups.
In court, the Crown described in graphic detail cases where children or adults were mauled by pit bulls in unprovoked attacks and suffered severe injuries that scarred them for life.
Superior Court Justice Thea Herman agreed that the attacks were vicious, but in cases where police had to shoot the dogs, their owners were the main problem, she noted.
She also acknowledged a point made in earlier arguments by Ruby that if pit bulls are banned, irresponsible owners and criminals would simply choose a different breed of dog.
"It raises the question: is the problem the dog or is the problem the owner?'' she said.
Doi countered that the validity of the law is not in question, only whether it violates the Constitution.
"It's not the wisdom of the legislation that's at issue, it's the constitutionality of it,'' he said.
"Just as there's no constitutional right to possess an automatic weapon, a banned weapon in Canada, ''there is no constitutional right to own a pit bull.''
The government has the right to take action against any threat to public safety, Doi noted.
Cochrane, who adopted Chess from the Toronto Humane Society as a puppy, said the ban has curtailed what she can do with her dog, who is friendly and not aggressive.
Documentation for the dog, whose bloodlines are unknown, classify it as a mastiff, a pit bull, or an American Staffordshire Terrier cross, one of the breeds covered by the ban.
As a result, Cochrane has to muzzle the dog and keep her on a leash at all times when out walking. Cochrane said she fears these limits will make her pet less friendly with other animals and people.
"I feel as though I'm being put in a position where I need to prove that I'm not guilty,'' Cochrane said. "To me, that's a reversal of how things work here.''
On Monday, Ruby argued that the ban, put in place last August, is too broad because it encompasses several recognized breeds, along with any dog with "substantially similar'' characteristics to those breeds.
The onus is on the owner to prove that the dog isn't a pit bull, he said.
If affected dogs aren't sterilized and muzzled and leashed while in public, the owner can face a fine of up to $10,000 or as much as six months in jail, or both.
Attaching a penalty of jail time to such a broad law is unconstitutional, said Ruby, who noted the law considers all pit bulls dangerous regardless of their actions and forces owners to take special measures as a result.
"I don't think it will prevent dog attacks,'' Cochrane said.
"Because it doesn't do anything to help people choose a dog that's right for them, or how to train a dog correctly, it just doesn't look at any roots of the problem.''
Crown lawyer Zachary Green insisted the law is not vague or too broad, pointing to cases in Manitoba and Quebec where municipal pit bull bans similar to Ontario's have been upheld by appeal courts.
As long as the court is able to interpret the law, then it's not unconstitutionally vague, Green said.
The hearing resumes Thursday with closing arguments.
© The Canadian Press
Rambled by Conners at Wednesday, May 17, 2006