Saturday, December 25, 2010

Twas the night before Christmas - a "pitbull's" tale...

Thank you to the DDA Watch for creating this thoughtful video!

My Christmas wish this year is that people around the world (well ok I'll settle for just Ontario for now) will finally "get it" and realize the insanity behind breed banning. 

We as a society have an intense desire to not want to see or hear anything disturbing. Ok, I get it. People get depressed if they are chronically subjected to negative images or situations. Yes it's disturbing that governments legislate good dogs to be killed based on how they look. Yes there are many problems involving people, children and other issues that are equally important. There are so many disturbing things happening at all times around the world. Yes it is overwhelming if you have the thought; 

"what can I do about the world's problems? I am just me.."

You are absolutely right. Any one person would very quickly become overwhelmed and burned out just beginning to think about what ONE person could do about such a large problem; however if each and every one of us do just one thing. Do all we can to fix the problems of our own little micro piece of the planet, the world would be a much better place! 

We dog owners have a problem that is dotted all over the planet but we are living the nightmare here in Ontario. We need to get back to sanity and dump the breed ban in this province. It has and is killing good dogs based on looks not behavior! There are ALTERNATIVES!

Please help me and fellow dog owners in Ontario get our Christmas wish. Loose the myth. Loose the lies. Dogs are all just dogs. Dangerous dogs do exist but look to the owner. Dangerousness is NOT based on looks or breed any more than it is in humans or any other species.

Get informed and get involved to help us stop this insanity!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today's irritation

It is time to send a little vent out into cyberspace..

I had a really busy day today. I have construction people here doing some reno's to my home. I have a business at home so between clients the reno's were going on. I had booked the gas company a while ago to come and do a furnace inspection but when I booked it didn't know my house would be under construction at the same time. When the guy from the gas company came to the front door he knocked and of course my dog barked. I have a window beside my front door which soon will be replaced with a new front door that will have glass you cannot see through. That cannot come soon enough! Obviously my reason for telling you that is; he saw my dog barking at him.

I went to the front door and instead of opening it I waved to the guy and motioned that I was going to come around to let him know I had construction people working so this wasn't such a good day after all. When I came around outside to open the gate he was escalating into a full irrational moment. The first thing he said to me was "are you going to lock up that 'pitbull'?" I just stood looking at him. It isn't like this hasn't happened before but every time it does I am stunned.

I told the guy he was here to clean my furnace, not socialize with my dog. He then said, his "buddy" was put in the hospital with a dog bite and that he himself hates "pitbulls" and "shepherds". So now it becomes my fault there are some irresponsible dog owners out there? I don't get the relationship between his buddy and my dog..

So now my hackles come up. It is beyond me why one would have a job that you constantly enter people's houses when you have an irrational fear of dogs.  I had an experience with the meter reader from the gas company too. They knocked on my front door, which I expect them to do, then said "oh I see you have 'pitbulls'." I replied "pardon me?" to which they told me that it is entered into the database so that they are informed when coming to my property. Bet you didn't know that? The utility companies record the breed of dog without your knowledge in their database to "warn" employees. Or rather they record the breed if it is on their list of breeds worthy of recording. I called the company after the meter reader left. Discrimination? Why they aren't afraid of stupid owners and record simply whether there is a dog or not. That would make more sense? I guess they don't care if the employees get ripped up by a breed not on the list?

The sooner readings and such can be done remotely, the better. I don't want these people on my property. I feel as though I must protect my dog from them! Since our rights have been stripped away I don't feel I can have anyone I don't know on my property without a witness for fear they accuse my dogs of "barking/menacing" or some such thing. Not sure what response they expect when you knock at the door? Lick the window perhaps?

Anyway, I am sick of this shit. I am sick of feeling paranoid in every day occurrences because McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals took all my rights away. We are unprotected from stupidity and irrational fear.

What a sick province we live in! This law must be repealed.
October 2001 can't come soon enough!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

News article from Toronto Sun about Friday's protest

Protests against Ginger's destruction order went off without a hitch

Four protests were held this past weekend in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary.

A good crowd gathered at Queen's Park in Toronto to protest the cruel injustice being brought down against dog owner Phillip Huggins. Phillip's dog Ginger, a short haired cross bred dog, that was identified as a mythical "pitbull" by the city of Toronto was ordered killed even though Ginger was leashed and muzzled and was attacked by an off leash dog. No charges were laid against the owner of the off leash border collie/shepherd cross.

Phillip walked at the protest with empty collar and leash in hand. The Huggin's family is devastated over this cruel injustice.

This video clip is from a year ago, however the story remains unchanged.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Protest for Ginger

Phillip Huggins and his beloved dog Ginger

Come out to support Ginger and her owner, Phillip Huggins. Speak out! Have your voice heard. Strength is in numbers! Tell Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals that enough is enough. It is time to end this senseless slaughter of dogs, solely based on looks not behavior, in Ontario! Together we can make our voices heard!

When: Friday November 12

Where: Queen's Park, Toronto

Time: 2:00 pm

Protests also being held in Calgary, Ottawa (yes that's right, McGuinty's riding) and Montreal.

The Montreal protest is;

When: Saturday, November 13 

Parc Jeanne-Mance corner Mont-Royal and Park Avenue
Time: 2pm 

The Ottawa protest is;

Where: 1795 Kilborn Avenue Ottawa, On (Dalton McGuinty's office)

When: Friday, November 12 
Time: 2:00 pm


Thinking of Ginger and her family

Thanks to the SBTCC for creating this poster.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tribute to Ginger

First I would like to direct you to an article written by Ledy VanKavage,the Senior Legislative Attorney for Best Friends Animal Society.
Ledy brings things into focus quite well in this article.

Jon Stewart, Pit Bulls, and Media Hysteria

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear was a huge success on Saturday. While Jon Stewart was calling out the media for stoking fear, I was safely nestled on the couch with our three adopted pit bulls, Che, Bella Abzug, and Karma. Stewart's words could easily describe the pit bull controversy: "The press can hold its magnifying glass up to our problems or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire." The media hysteria surrounding American Pit Bull Terriers has been lighting them on fire — resulting in the mass euthanasia of these dogs simply because of their appearance. Instead, the media's magnifying glass should focus on the real public safety issue: reckless owners of any dog.

It's not much of a stretch to think Stewart would agree with applying his words to pit bulls. Though animal issues don't come up often on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is a known animal lover and has two pit bulls of his own — Shamsky and Monkey.

The province of Ontario, under Dalton McGuinty's direction, legislated a ban on 3 purebred breeds (all three are among some of the rarest breeds in Canada/less than 1000 all breeds combined in Ontario) and tossed in "pitbulls" or rather any dog substantially similar to any of the named purebreds.

Some examples of the insane regulations that apply to this legislation are;

  • Every dog owner in the province is at the mercy of the animal control officer/peace officer performing the identifying. You cannot prove the lineage of any mix or non registered dog. You may have the biggest/hairiest dog but if an animal control officer/peace officer deems your dog a "pitbull" it is up to you the owner to prove it is not!
  • That folks is called reverse onus. It is impossible to prove a negative or rather that something is not something else. You and your non registered dog are doomed no matter what you say or do.
  • You may not enter the province with any dog of the 3 named purebreds or any "pitbull". (Refer to breed ID problems or any non registered dog)
  • No dog may be imported into the province; any dogs deemed falling under the legislation that were born after November 29th, 2005 are automatically booked a date to die.
  • No dog deemed to be falling under the legislation may bite any human or domestic animal or menace. There is no definition for either bite or menace in the legislation. As is stood for Ginger's ruling a bite includes a puppy bite/defensive bite/accidental bite/any bite. If a criminal breaks into your home and your dog bites the criminal to protect your property; your dog has less rights than the criminal and receives a date to die! There is no explanation of menace so this is also left up to the interpretation of the court. 
  • Contrary to Liberal spew, this law is 100% based on LOOKS not BEHAVIOR of any dog. The dog does not have to do anything wrong, simply needs to "look" a certain way. This law was NOT based on fact or science. Is it a well written law? Absolutely. It was written by constitutional lawyers and law professors. Is it based on rational or fact? Absolutely 100% NO! 

In Ginger's case, her owners mother was out for a walk with her. It was 2 months exactly after the law took effect. To be safe, since Ginger is a short haired mutt of unknown lineage, they were compliant with the law and she was leashed and muzzled. Another off leash dog named Buddy that is a Border Collie/Shepherd type dog, got into a squabble with Ginger and tore off her muzzle. Ginger received damage under her one eye that is permanent. Consequently the muzzle was taken as evidence by the city be subsequently "lost" before the court date. Ginger retaliated and Buddy's owner got in on the business end of the squabble. She was bitten but did not require hospital attention.

Animal control was called and Toronto Animal Services charged and seized Ginger. The city illegally held Ginger for 3 1/2 years in the pound. Ginger's owner hired a lawyer but the fact the city was illegally impounding Ginger was overlooked.

The case was taken over by Clay Ruby last summer. Ginger was sprung from the pound. Ginger was finally back with her owner after nearly 4 years. Many dogs wouldn't have lived through that experience unscathed, however Ginger picked up where she left off. Her mental and physical scars fell away and in true dog form living in the now, she adjusted quickly to life back with her owner.

A justice of the peace granted the city’s application in 2007 to have Ginger destroyed, but Ontario Court Justice Mary Hogan set aside that destruction order last year. Hogan said legislation introduced by the province in 2005, which amended the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and targeted pit bulls, was ambiguously worded. It could be interpreted to mean judges must always order a pit bull destroyed once it has bitten or attacked another person, she said, but it could also be read as requiring judges to first determine whether destruction is necessary for public safety.

The city of Toronto appealed Justice Hogan's decision. The city was granted an appeal. The city brought in the provincial Liberal government to intervene.

The ruling of the court of appeal disagreed with Justice Hogan and overturned her decision.

“Respectfully,” Blair said Thursday, Hogan’s “interpretation … is not tenable, in my view.”
The legislation is clear, he said, that when it comes to pit bulls, one bite or attack, or one menacing act by the dog, requires a court to issue a destruction order.
New evidence is not allowed in court of appeal. As part of the argument, Ruby asked the court to kick the case back down to a municipal level. New evidence could then be brought up and the appeal court did not need to rule in favor of killing a good dog based on the draconian law.

Dog squabbles happen all the time. This in no way indicates a dog is aggressive or a danger to public safety. It is irrational to think dogs must maintain composure no matter the circumstance. This may be likened to someone walking down the street minding their own business (wearing handcuffs *muzzle*) when someone comes up and punches you in the face. The handcuffs fall off now your hands are free. Do you retaliate? Probably. It is nature's way to retaliate in some way to an unwarranted attack.

I got to know Ginger and her owner in the last couple years. Ginger is a sweet and gentle soul. She has been through a lot in her 8 years. She was only 3 years old when she was attacked by Buddy. She has spent most of her life having her life fought for because she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and looked a certain way.

We had a fundraising event this past summer. Ginger and her owner attended the event. It was held in a night club on Queen St. W. There was a band (loud music) and a lot of people milling around. It was dark and loud. Where was Ginger? in the middle of the floor on her back, getting belly rubs!! She has such a balanced temperament. I know a lot of dogs and including my own I don't know of too many that would subject themselves to such a vulnerable position in a loud packed room full of strangers!

Ginger passed her CGN Canine Good Neighbor test in August. She passed with flying colors! I witnessed this with my own two eyes. The CGN test is a CKC certified test performed by a CKC certified evaluator.

There are 12 steps to the CGN test:

1. Accepting a friendly stranger
2. Politely accepts petting
3. Appearance and grooming
4. Out for a walk
5. Walking through a crowd
6. Sit/down on command and stay in place
7. Come when called
8. Praise and interaction
9. Reaction to a passing dog
10. Reaction to distraction
11. Supervised isolation
12. Walking through a door/gate

The last paragraph of the ruling makes me sick to my stomach.

I recognize this decision will be difficult for Mr. Huggins, and the result perhaps
incomprehensible to him. Like pet owners generally, he is undoubtedly very fond of
Ginger and sees her as the friendly dog and docile pet his mother portrayed at trial. The legislature has decided, however – as it is entitled to do – that pit bulls are inherently dangerous animals that pose a risk to public safety by their very presence in public places. The language of s. 4(8) is clear and unambiguous about what is to happen when a pit bull contravenes its provisions, and must be given effect.
“R.A. Blair J.A.”
“I agree D. O’Connor A.C.J.O.”
“I agree Janet Simmons J.A.”
RELEASED: November 4, 2010

I hope one day the heavy gauntlet of justice falls onto those who have contributed to the deaths of thousands of innocent souls. Souls that were killed not based on behavior; which behavior is learned at the hands of a human owner, but simply for looking a certain way. Legislated to die based on absolute propaganda, media hype, myth and bullshit.

Ginger getting her CGN test...

I am sorry sweet girly that Dalton McGuinty and his henchmen,this province and the city of Toronto let you down. I am ashamed to say I am from Ontario. 

Thanks Dalton McGuinty for making this province such a hell hole. I demand you resign your position as premier of this province! You are fired! This province will be years digging out from beneath the hole you have created. I hope you are proud of being the worst premier this province has ever witnessed!Take your right wing, hyper conservative views and shove them up your ass because we the people of this province don't share your fascist views. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Huggins Ruling

Released Nov 4/10

Link to Huggins Ruling

Letter to Cesar Milan and Cheri DiNovo's office denying Junior's entry to Ontario

I explained in a previous post that Cesar Milan specifically asked permission through Cheri DiNovo's office if he would be allowed to bring his dog Junior into the province for his tour. The reply letter was posted at the Ottawa Citizen.

Link to the reply letter;

Via Ottawa Citizen

Open letter to the media from Cheri DiNovo's office and the DLCC

World famous canine behaviourist has four sold-out shows across the province

Everybody who knows dogs knows Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer.  He has millions of fans all over the world who watch his television series and read his books.  When his famous dog, Daddy, passed away last year messages flooded in to the Dog Psychology Center expressing condolences on the loss of a fabulous dog and trusted assistant.

Daddy was old and failing when Cesar got Junior, the puppy Daddy trained as his replacement.  Junior learned well and is now filling the role of trusted sidekick to Cesar as they go from town to town rehabilitating dogs and training people.  The perennially popular television series, The Dog Whisperer, documents the many types of problems they confront and solve.

One problem they can't solve is the McGuinty government's refusal to let Junior enter Ontario.  You see, Junior is perceived to be a "pit bull".

The McGuinty government is determined to uphold its amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act (2005), popularly referred to as the "pit bull" ban.

Correspondence from the Attorney General's office indicates that the government will say anything to save face, despite the lack of any factual supporting evidence for its so-called breed ban.  Since purebred dogs of the three breeds banned in Ontario are so rare that most people have never seen them except at dog shows, the law includes a clause targeting dogs that are substantially similar in physical appearance to these three rare breeds.

Junior apparently fits the 'substantially similar' description of the non-breed "pit bull".

So once again, a responsible owner is being discriminated against because of the physical appearance of his dog - not the dog's behaviour, but it's looks.

Despite overwhelming opposition to the amendments in correspondence, at demonstrations and at the public Committee Hearings held in 2005, the government went ahead with its ill-advised 'breed' ban. 

Organizations such as Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Canadian Kennel Club,  American Kennel Club, Dog Legislation Council of Canada,  United Kennel Club, American Dog Owners Association, North American Flyball Association, Canadian Safety Council,  Canadian Association of Pet Dog Trainers ,  Canadian Association of Dog Judges, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (UK), among others were against the ban.

To this day, the government insists that three pure breeds of dog are dangerous and that any dog that vaguely looks like them is dangerous, even though all the facts, scientific evidence and bite statistics prove them wrong.

The real losers in this instance are not only the people who paid to see Cesar Milan and his right-hand dog Junior perform but also the thousands of Ontario dog owners who have a garden-variety mutt that might be mistaken for one of Dalton McGuinty's "pit bulls".

It's time to end the insanity and repeal the amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act (2005) before more innocent owners and their pets are hurt.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cesar Milan had to leave his sidekick Junior at home..

Cesar Milan asked permission of the provincial Liberal government, to bring his dog Junior into Ontario to help with his live shows in Hamilton and Toronto.

The Ontario government's reply was a flat NO not Junior or any "pitbull" is allowed in the province.

This is NO surprise since the notorious ban was never based on fact or behavior in the first place. It was based on propaganda, lies and of course how the dog looks not how it behaves! 

There is no surprise that the McGuinty Liberals have NOT come to their senses. I don't expect that will ever happen but I have become somewhat of a pessimist in the past few years. The Liberals have trained me well. Their mantra is repeating the same act (banning things) and expecting a different result. The definition of insanity!

From CP 24

Ontario pit bull ban forces Dog Whisperer to leave canine companion at home

TORONTO — There are some problems even the Dog Whisperer can't solve. An Ontario politician is up in arms because Cesar Millan can't bring his trusted sidekick, Junior, with him to the province.
The Liberal government banned pit bulls five years ago, saying the breed was too dangerous.
New Democrat Cheri DiNovo says it shows that Ontario discriminates against even the most responsible owner because of how a dog looks, not how it behaves.
She wrote an open letter condemning the government for denying the celebrated dog trainer his loyal companion as he travels Canada for a speaking tour.
Millan, host of the popular TV show "The Dog Whisperer," has focused on rehabilitating aggressive dogs.
He even dedicated one episode to dispelling myths about breeds that are considered to be particularly aggressive, saying it's the owner who often determines the dog's behaviour.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Have you said your "I hate the McGuinty Liberals" yet today? All together now..

 From CP24 today

NDP says public utilities should not be donating to Liberal Party of Ontario


 TORONTO — There's nothing wrong with public utilities donating money to the Ontario Liberal Party, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said Monday after the NDP charged the donations are driving up hydro bills.

The New Democrats released Elections Ontario documents showing that local utilities, including Newmarket-Tay Power and Oakville Hydro, donated thousands of dollars to the Liberal party in the past few years.
"Essex Power put nearly $3,000 into Liberal party coffers, while Thunder Bay Hydro made a donation to the Thunder Bay Superior North Liberal Riding Association," NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told the legislature.
"Why are families who are already feeling the squeeze funding the Ontario Liberal Party when they're paying their hydro bills?"
Duguid repeatedly refused to answer Horwath's questions in the legislature, and outside the house defended the political donations by utilities.
"We have the most stringent rules probably ever in Ontario in place and they apply to all three political parties," said Duguid.
"Those that make donations to the governing party make donations to the opposition generally as well."
Duguid wouldn't say if he thought it was appropriate for municipally owned utilities to donate to political parties at a time when electricity rates are rising, repeating his statements about the donations following the rules.
The Progressive Conservatives also refused to support the NDP's call to change the rules to prohibit local utility companies from making political donations.
"I wouldn't advocate changing a system that is clear and transparent about where campaign contributions come from," said Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.
Each of the utilities named by the New Democrats said they never donated money directly to the Liberals, but rather purchased tickets to party fundraisers so they could network with cabinet ministers and industry officials on the Green Energy Act.
The Elections Ontario documents show Oakville Hydro gave the Liberals $8,500 in 2009 and another $7,000 in 2008.
Newmarket-Tay Power Corp. gave the Liberals $2,350 in 2009, but the money was used to buy tickets to fundraisers or for speeches by then energy minister George Smitherman, said CFO Ian Clinton.
"We would never make donations to a byelection," said Clinton. "We're a publicly funded utility company."
Oakville Hydro did not use money from electricity ratepayers to buy tickets to Liberal fundraisers, but instead used funds from its other businesses, which included telecommunications and construction companies, said CEO Bob Lister.
"This would have been paid for by funds earned elsewhere than the electricity distributor," said Lister.
"From our perspective, it was an industry networking event to support the business needs of the corporation."
Essex Power Corporation donated $2,940 to the governing Liberals, $1,700 of which the party directed to the Toronto-Centre byelection, which the Liberals won in February this year.
The utility viewed the Liberal fundraisers as necessary networking events, said Essex Power President and CEO Ray Tracey.
"It's really to understand the direction of the government and... ensuring that if we're going to be making investments we can be sure that there's a commitment to these (green energy) programs," said Tracey.
Other funds donated by the utilities were directed by the Liberals to last year's byelection in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, which the government won, defeating then PC Leader John Tory.
"It's obvious that byelections provide that extra opportunity for more money to flow," said Horwath.
Other public utilities donating to the Liberals included Thunder Bay Hydro ($330), Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus ($520), St. Catharines Power Generation ($228), and Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro ($215).
The government's refusal to change the rules or acknowledge the political donations are inappropriate is a "slap in the face to every hydro ratepayer in this province," added Horwath.
"It is indefensible," she said. "There's no way that these public utilities should be donating to political parties. They benefit from it (so) they don't want to change the rule."
The government points out the NDP have also accepted donations from the energy sector, including $1,200 from Five Nations Energy Inc., which is jointly owned by the Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany First Nations.

Can October 2011 come soon enough??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brampton Councillors looking for disclosure

From the Toronto Star this morning...

Brampton councillors call on mayor for disclosure
Five of Brampton’s 10 councillors have said they would like Mayor Susan Fennell to make public the accounting for her private community fund and have the city hire an integrity commissioner.
“Up till now we had a pretty smooth council, but now there’s doubt. After the election I guarantee we will put into effect the policy of hiring an integrity commissioner to look into these complaints against the mayor,” said Councillor John Sprovieri.
Last year Sprovieri — along with Fennell and five other councillors — voted against revisiting the possibility of hiring an integrity commissioner. He changed his mind after a Star story about the Mayor Susan Fennell Community Fund. Fennell hosts an annual arts gala, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the private fund but does not issue receipts or make public its books.
“I think she needs to open the books and clear the air,” Sprovieri said.
Mark Blumberg, a Toronto charity lawyer, said there are advantages to setting up a private fund. Unlike strict Canada Revenue Agency reporting rules for registered charities, there are few reporting requirements for unregistered non-profit organizations.
By law, registered charities can issue tax receipts to donors and must file public reports that show income and how the money is distributed. Private funds, on the other hand, face no such obligation.
Fennell has said all the net proceeds from her gala go to the organizations listed on the fund’s website and it wouldn’t make sense to have the gala registered as a charity because it is not a charity.
“But even non-registered non-profits can be as transparent as they want to be,” Blumberg said. “They can post all their fully audited statements on a website. What she (Fennell) could have done is run everything through the municipality and issued charitable receipts through the municipality.”
Which is, in effect, what Vaughan’s mayor does.
Although Linda Jackson’s annual golf tournament and fundraising gala dinners are not registered charities, the events are run by city staff with the help of a committee made up of community members.
       Vaughan spokesperson Madeline Zito said all the money raised goes into a city account (there are two private bank accounts for Fennell’s events) and staff then pay the expenses and cut a cheque to the mayor’s favourite charity, the Vaughan Health Care Foundation.
            The city also keeps a detailed accounting of who gave how much, something that is available on request.
            “I don’t have an issue giving monies to local groups/organizations, but I think that the funds should be distributed within the calendar year of the event and the funds should remain in the city’s control and not passed to a committee of friends and family to distribute how they see fit,” Jackson said.
The seven-member board that administers the Mayor Susan Fennell Community Fund includes Fennell and three women associated with her re-election campaign team, including her campaign manager and a fundraising official.
In Mississauga, Mayor Hazel McCallion was unable to comment Tuesday to clarify the management of her various charities.
            A search of the Revenue Canada website showed that the Hazel McCallion Charitable Fund, registered since 1993, has been in place with activities that include a golf tournament and dinner. Also listed as a registered charity is the Living Arts Centre Foundation.
However, there is no record of a Hazel McCallion Foundation for the Arts, Culture and Heritage on the federal website. That charity has been mentioned in the media since last year.
But even if such funds are registered, Ryerson University political science professor Duncan MacLellan says there are perception issues.
“There’s the possibility that contributions could lead to some type of political or private gain. What type of considerations are people getting if they donate large amounts of money. And if, for example, an elected official gives money that’s raised to an ethnic group, there can be the perception it’s being used to buy votes.”

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Corruption in Brampton? Time for a change...

The Toronto Star broke a story this morning that Brampton's current mayor, Susan Fennel, has been up to shenanigans..  Should she change her name to "Funnel"? 

Brampton Mayor's private "community fund" not registered
For five years, Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the community for a fund in her name that isn’t registered as a charity, doesn’t issue receipts and has never opened its books to the public.
The fund’s main event is an annual arts gala and its website suggests that since 2006 it has raised between $150,000 and $250,000 each year, proceeds that “are directed to numerous groups in the community who self identify and request assistance.”
At least two Brampton city councillors have expressed concern that they cannot find out exactly how much has been raised and where the money has gone. One donor stopped giving this year because of what he called a lack of transparency.
The seven-member board that administers the Mayor Susan Fennell Community Fund includes Fennell and three women associated with her re-election campaign team, including her campaign manager and a fundraising official.
In an interview with the Star, Fennell said all the net proceeds from the gala go to the organizations listed on the fund’s website. Calls to a sampling of the groups, ranging from schools to an art gallery, brought a mixed response, with some grateful for the support and others saying they received no money.
Fennell said it wouldn’t make sense to have the gala registered as a charity.
“People come for dinner, they come and buy a ticket to be present at the mayor’s gala. It’s not a charity, it’s a dinner, it’s a function, it’s an event. So, that’s what it is. It’s not a charity,” she said.
By law, registered charities can issue tax receipts to donors and must file public reports that show income and how the money is distributed. Private funds, on the other hand, face no such obligation.
Though it can’t offer a tax write-off, the gala draws many of the city’s high flyers. The sponsors are a who’s who of development companies.
One developer, John Cutruzzola, president of the Inzola Group, gave thousands of dollars in past years despite receiving no charitable receipt. He said the mayor solicited him for money.
“The developer is put on the spot,” Cutruzzola said. “He can’t afford to say no to someone who has influence over what he wants or what he needs.”
That the fund isn’t a registered charity is “just stupid,” said Bob Callahan, councillor for wards 3 and 4. “How can they even write a receipt, and how do we know they are reporting interest income to Revenue Canada? This is why I voted for bringing in an integrity commissioner, but the mayor voted it down.”
Asked why the books haven’t been disclosed publicly, Fennell replied: “Members of the public, who are the board, certainly have that in place and they review this with full audited statements. The books are open to the members of the public — leading citizens who sit on my board.”
The mayor declined to give the Star a chance to review the records independently, saying, “I am satisfied with the oversight of the members who sit and give direction on how the disbursements and how this fund should operate.” Later she added that there are “privacy issues associated with who gives and where the money goes.”
The board members listed on the gala’s website in addition to Fennell are:
• Dorothy Wood, the mayor’s neighbour, who has cheque-writing authorization for the fund and handles finances for the mayor’s re-election campaign.
• Bev Adcock, the mayor’s former administrative assistant, who is now her re-election campaign manager.
• Heather Picken, a Brampton development lawyer, who is listed on a Facebook site for Fennell’s re-election as co-chair of fundraising;
• Jennifer Evans, Peel deputy police chief.
• Sharon Hermes, winner of a 2008 citizen of the year award.
• Doug Munro, a business owner.
Board members either did not respond to the Star or directed all questions to Picken, who confirmed by email that the fund is not a charity and the books are not made public.
After Fennell spoke to the Star, Adcock confirmed Wood handles accounts for the Fennell re-election campaign. However, she said Picken has nothing to do with fundraising for the campaign.
Fennell has served three terms as Brampton mayor and was elected with 75 per cent of the vote in 2006. She raised $190,000 for her last campaign, 55 per cent of which came from the development industry. She faces four rivals this election.
Cutruzzola, of the Inzola Group, stopped donating to Fennell’s gala this year.
“I usually gave $5,000 for one table,” Cutruzzola said. “One year I was a sponsor (of the gala) for $25,000. We bought one foursome every year (at a separate golf tournament organized by Fennell), except this year. I didn’t buy nothing this year. I want to know where the money’s going.”
Fennell made it clear she doesn’t have signing authority on the accounts, nor does she direct where the funds go.
“We specifically have a community board of directors of citizens in this community who oversee and approve the disbursement of the funds, because I don’t want to be the person pointing where the funds go. I’m just proud to lend my name to an event that helps to raise the funds.”
Fennell said books kept for the gala show that all net proceeds go to the organizations listed on its website. “You can see on the website the number of groups and organizations who’ve been able to be helped through the proceeds.”
The gala’s website lists 88 community groups that “received a donation of funds or the use of the Community Suite at the Powerade Centre (a joint city-private venture) or (the city-owned) Rose Theatre for their fundraising efforts.”
Listed organizations contacted by the Star offered mixed responses.
Fennell “donated her private box to a (Ontario Hockey League) Battalion game in 2008,” said a representative of the Academy of Martial Arts in Brampton. “There was no money donation.”
A non-profit downtown gallery, Beaux-Arts Brampton, confirmed it received a $6,000 donation this summer. “We’re grateful for the mayor’s contribution to us,” said administrator Sharonanne Baillie.
Five Catholic schools are also listed. Bruce Campbell, head of communications for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board, said two schools were allowed to use the private box at the Powerade Centre to see Battalion games. One received $350 for a student trip and one received access to the Rose Theatre. “I’m not sure for what,” he said.
“One school (on the list) couldn’t find or recall any donation from the mayor, but the principal has only been there for two years.”
Catherine Hinton, executive director of the Peel Children’s Aid Foundation, confirmed the mayor has helped her organization but privacy issues prevent her from specifying how. “I can say the mayor has been very supportive of (us).”
The Brampton Arts Council is also listed, but executive director Marnie Richards said her organization gets no funding from the gala. “What we do get is funding from the mayor’s luncheon (an annual function for the Arts Council that began long before Fennell became mayor).”
As well as the gala, there is the Mayor Susan Fennell Annual Golf Classic. In 2009, it charged $2,000 per foursome and racked up sponsorships at $1,000 to $25,000 per donor. Fennell has pledged $100,000 a year from the proceeds to the new Brampton Civic Hospital, with any excess directed to “a worthwhile charity,” according to the tournament’s website.
Fennell said funds collected from the golf event and arts gala are kept in separate bank accounts.
Anne Randell, president and CEO of the William Osler Health System Foundation, said Brampton Civic Hospital has received a $100,000 cheque from the mayor’s golf tournament for each of the past four years.
The hospital is also listed on the gala website as a beneficiary. But Randell said it hasn’t received any money from that event “that I’m aware of — so that’s interesting. There’s nothing over and above the $100,000 from the golf tournament.”
Regional councillor Elaine Moore, who sits on Brampton’s council, wants to know if some of the many city staff who attend the fundraising events are doing so on the taxpayer’s dime. “I think enormous city resources are being used, but we have no way of knowing.”
Fennell makes a point of a grand entrance at the golf tournament: She has been flown in on a helicopter, arrived atop a Zamboni and had a police escort.
Fennell denies that city resources or staff have ever been used for fundraising events without reimbursement.
A previous donor to the arts gala, who didn’t want to be named, showed the Star an email received last January from Sandra Carpino, a member of Fennell’s staff.
It invites the donor to purchase a table again, and is signed: “Sandra Carpino, Office of the Mayor; City of Brampton.” It lists a City of Brampton phone and fax number. The attached order form also lists the mayor’s office and the city hall address as the place to send cheques, and includes a phone number for the mayor’s office to inquire about sponsorship opportunities.
Fennell acknowledged city staff are involved in fundraising, but insisted they volunteer their time — including Carpino, who she confirmed does much of the work of organizing the golf tournament, soliciting prizes and sponsorships and sending registration letters.
Last November, Moore asked that council revisit its earlier decision not to appoint independent watchdogs, including an integrity commissioner.
The motion was defeated, with Callahan, Moore and two others voting in favour, and Fennell and six councillors against.
“People ask, ‘Where is all this money going?’ ” Moore said. “Councillor Callahan’s tried his best to engage at the council table, but gets shut down by the mayor every time, because (she says), ‘It has nothing to do with the city.’ ”
Fennell said Callahan brought up the question of the community fund during the city budget process. “And the chair of the budget says, ‘Councillor Callahan, we’re talking about the city budget today. That is not a city event, it’s not city money. So could we please get back to the budget.’ ”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Update on Denver Dias vs. Denver case

Thought you might want to hear of a new update in the Denver court case Dias vs. Denver. This case was filed in 2007--that one that's making its turtle-slow plod through the federal judicial system.
Anyway...on September 29th, the judge ruled in our favor in Denver's motion for summary judgment. To briefly recap what this means...Denver filed in January that we should not be allowed to go to trial because this issue had already been decided in previous cases in court and we had no possibility of winning. The judge ruled with us that this case should be tried. In fact, in the ruling, he wrote these glorious words...
"...a reasonable trier of fact may find that Plaintiffs' experts are correct and there exists no rational basis for a breed specific ordinance. Accordingly, summary judgment would be inappropriate."
So...this is a really good thing for this case and yet another loss on Denver's part. I've attached the ruling in case you might be interested in seeing it. What might particularly be of interest is the section where the judge talks about some of the expert witness testimony beginning on page 8.
For a much better write-up of this summary judgment, check out this web site, The author of the article on the site, Katie B, worked with our lawyer, Karen Breslin to help write our answer to Denver's summary judgment motion. She also was instrumental in getting Topeka, Kansas to overturn their breed ban, which they did this week! All in all, there's a lot of momentum moving toward sane dog laws, and it's going to get even better!
Now...on to trial. When the judge sets the trial date, I'll let you know!
Your friend,
Additional great news!!...
October 4th, Bill Bruce, the director of Animal Bylaws for Calgary, Alberta, is coming to do a presentation in front of Denver's City Council and it is open to the public.
As you might recall, Bill has created the model animal community in Calgary and goes throughout the United States and Canada to speak about their success at various animal control associations, humane society meetings, etc. He's achieved this success and made dog bites almost a thing of the past in his city--roughly the size of the Denver metro area--through sane laws, great community service-based animal control officers, and a culture that doesn't allow for discriminating against dogs by how they look.
Bill was here in 2009 and did an abbreviated presentation to some of the city council members and on Monday he will do his full and recently-updated presentation at the City and County Building at 1437 Bannock Street. It is open to the public. I cannot get the exact time or room number yet--I get different info from Bill and the City Council, so I will have to let you know that later. As far as I can tell it will be between 2:00 and 3:30 p.m. and in room number 451 or 391.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rui's Story an Interview by Let's Adopt Canada

An interview with Rui Branco and Ciaron Lewis

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fight Network gives great coverage

Thank you to the Fight Network for the great coverage of last weekend's Hershey's Bill Rally.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rally for Hershey's Bill on the 5th Anniversary

Dog owners want same laws for all

Local MPP’s bill calls for end to pit-bull ban

Brendan KennedyStaff Reporter
Ontario’s controversial ban on pit bulls — now five years old — is under fire once again as a coalition of dog-loving groups rallied Sunday to support a local MPP’s efforts to have the law changed.
“They’re ripping family pets away from people based on very vague legislation,” said Rui Branco, who successfully fought the City of Brampton earlier this year by proving his family pet, Brittany, was not a pit bull.
The American bulldog-boxer mix was seized and held by the city for three months before an independent veterinarian was able to determine its breed.
“An animal control officer looked at her and said she was a pit bull. Then she was taken away from us.”
The law, as it stands, requires owners to prove their dogs are not pit bulls, which can be difficult if the dog was adopted from a shelter and its lineage is unknown.
A few hundred people and dozens of muzzled pit bull-type dogs gathered at Coronation Park on Lake Shore Blvd. W. Sunday afternoon to listen to speakers and to protest the current ban, which took effect in 2005 after a series of vicious attacks across Ontario involving pit bulls.
The Dog Owner’s Liability Act was amended to ban the breeding, sale and ownership of pit bulls. Dogs born before Nov. 26, 2005 are allowed to live, but must be sterilized, and muzzled and leashed in public. Dogs born later must be put down.
A pit bull is not a specific breed of dog, so the province’s definition of pit bulls includes pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and any dog “that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar” to those breeds.
Critics of the current law say its description of pit bulls is too vague, gives bylaw officers too much power and leads to harmless pets being removed from their homes at taxpayers’ expense.
They want the province to go after bad owners, rather than target any specific breed.
“You can’t tell a dog’s breed by how it looks,” said Kelly Turnbull, a member of Stop K9 Profiling, the group that organized Sunday’s event.
After a series of legal challenges, the group contacted the MPP for Parkdale-High Park, Cheri DiNovo, o owns an English bull terrier herself. Earlier this year DiNovo tabled a private member’s bill calling for the repeal of the breed-specific aspect of the Dog Owner’s Liability Act.
Named “Hershey’s Law” (for a pit bull that was barred from continuing its therapy work with seniors when the current law came into effect), Bill 60 received its first reading in the Legislature in May.
“This isn’t about the dog, it’s about the owner,” DiNovo said, adding the law has been ineffective in curbing the number of dog bites in the province.
She said she would like to see more responsibility and liability for dog owners, without targeting specific breeds.
“It doesn’t need the (breed specific legislation) to be effective.”
The Ministry of the Attorney General stands behind the current law, saying it ensures fewer opportunities for pit bull attacks and that the law has not been around long enough to accurately measure its effectiveness.
One of the most anticipated speakers of the day was Bill Bruce, director of Calgary’s Animal Control Services, heralded for its education, training and early intervention approach to animal control, which has drastically reduced the number of dog bites in the city.
“All dogs bite,” Bruce said. “I don’t care what kind of dog it is. If the dog is aggressive, it needs to be corrected.”
Sunday’s rally was followed by a pit-bull march along Queens Quay and a candlelight vigil at the Ontario Legislature to acknowledge all the pit bull-type dogs euthanized under the current legislation.

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 29 CGN testing

At the August 29th event at Coronation Park in Toronto (see post below) the DLCC will not only have a booth but we are also conducting CGN testing from 12:00 noon to 4:30pm.

We will be running 2 rings simultaneously. The more dogs that get their certificate in CGN, the better! What an awesome documentation to have in hand. Let's show the government that we are responsible dog owners and our dogs are properly trained and socialized.

Dogs must be 6 months old to get a certificate.

The price for testing at the event is $25.00 which is a savings of $10.00 off. 

If you are interested in booking a time slot please email me 

Here is the criteria for the testing;

Canine Good Neighbour Program

The Canadian Kennel Club, Canine Good Neighbour program identifies and rewards responsible and caring owners and their canine partners.

The purpose of the Canine Good Neighbour Program test is to ensure that one of our most favoured companions, the dog, is accepted as a valued member of the community.  Canine Good Neighbours can be counted on to present good manners at home, in public places and In the presence of other dogs.  The program embraces both purebred and mixed-breed dogs and has been created to assist canine owner’s combat anti-dog sentiments which often target dogs as a whole. Additionally, the program enhances community awareness of responsible dog ownership and the benefits associated with dog ownership.

Canine Good Neighbour training is fun, rewarding, and useful. It can enable owners to achieve a better relationship with their dogs.

The test is not a competition calling for precision performance by the handler and dog.  Rather, it assesses the handler and dog's relationship together with the handler's ability to control the dog.

Dogs are evaluated on their ability to perform basic exercises as well as their ability to demonstrate good manners in everyday situations. 

The Canadian Kennel Club encourages all dog owners to participate in this program, thereby ensuring that our beloved canines are welcomed and respected members of our communities.


The handler is required to bring the following equipment to the test
  •         Proof of vaccination certificate
  •         Dog license
  •         Test fee
  •         A leash not less than .75 metres (2’) nor longer than 2 meters (6’) in length is required (acceptable collars include a well-fitting slip, buckle or martingale collar, made of fabric, leather or chain.  All other types of collars are unacceptable.
  •         A grooming tool – either brush or comb
  •         A plastic bag for picking up after the dog
  •         For the registration form you need

o        Owner’s name
o        Full address
o        Phone number
o        Email address
o        Dog’s registered name
o        CKC registration number (if registered)
o        Breed


Demonstrating confidence and control, you and your dog must complete theses 12 steps.

TEST I - Accepting A Friendly Stranger
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to allow a friendly stranger to approach and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday manner.

The evaluator will walk toward the handler and dog and greet the handler by shaking hands and briefly chatting. The dog should remain under control with only gentle verbal or leash assistance, if necessary. The dog should not go to nor jump on the evaluator. It must not exhibit any signs of shyness by hiding behind the handler or by attempting to avoid the evaluator, and must not exhibit any signs of resentment.

TEST 2 - Politely Accepts Petting
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to allow a friendly stranger to pet it while out with its handler.  The evaluator will pet the dog on the head and shoulders. The dog may sit or stand quietly beside the handler and may change position, but must not exhibit any signs of resentment or shyness.

TEST 3 - Appearance and Grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will accept being groomed and examined and will permit a stranger to do so. The evaluator inspects the dog, brushes the dog briefly on the back and sides, and lightly examines its ears and front feet. The evaluator then quietly walks behind the handler and dog, returning to face the dog. The dog does not have to hold position, but should not have to be restrained: minor movement is allowed. The handler may assist the evaluator and talk quietly to the dog.

TEST 4-Out For A Walk
This test demonstrates the ability of the dog to walk politely on a loose leash as well as the handler's ability to control the dog. The evaluator will have the handler and dog walk a course, which will include at least one right and left turn and a 180º-degree turn. It is not necessary for the dog to be exactly aligned with the handler or sit when the handler stops. The handler may talk to the dog.

TEST 5 - Walking Through a Crowd
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to walk politely beside the handler in pedestrian traffic while remaining under control at all times. The dog and handler walk through and close to several [at least five] people.  Throughout this test the handler may talk to the dog, giving praise and encouragement. The dog must maintain a position close to the handler without becoming unduly stressed or unruly. The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should not go to them.

TEST 6 - Sit/Down On Command and Stay In Place (Long Line)
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to respond to the handler's commands. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to sit and down the dog. If required, the handler may touch the dog gently to assist it.

Once the dog has responded to both a sit and down command, the handler will decide in which position the dog is going to be left. The handler will then tell the dog to stay, and walk forward & meters (20 ft), before turning around to face the dog, then will return to the dog.

TEST 7 - Come When Called (Long Line)
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to come when called by the handler. The evaluator will stand near the dog, and instruct the handler to position the dog in either a sit, down or stand position.  The handler will then leave the dog and go to a distance of 3 meters (8 - 10 ft) before turning and calling the dog.  The dog may change position, but must remain in place.  The dog should come readily to the handler; the handler may encourage the dog.

TEST 8 - Praise/Interaction
This test demonstrates that the dog can be easily calmed following a play session or praise. After playing with the dog for approximately 10 seconds, the handler then calms the dog. More than one command may be used, but the dog must display controlled behaviour when told to settle by the handler. The evaluator is looking for evidence of a good relationship between the dog and handler.

TEST 9 — Reaction to Passing Dog
This test demonstrates the dog's polite behaviour while in the presence of other dogs and handlers. Two handlers, with their dogs, approach one another from approximately 6 meters (20 ft). They stop, shake hands, briefly chat, and then continue walking for approximately 2 meters (6 ft). The dog should exhibit no more than mild interest in the other dog, and should not cross over to it.

TEST 10 - Reaction To Distractions
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common visual and auditory distractions such as the sudden opening or closing of a door, crutches, wheelchairs, baby strollers, joggers, etc.
The dog may express natural interest and curiosity at the distraction, or may startle temporarily, but should not panic or show aggression or fear. One or two barks are permitted but the dog must not continue to bark at the distraction. The handler may encourage and talk to the dog throughout this test.

TEST 11 - Supervised Isolation
This test demonstrates the dog's ability to be left alone with a trusted person other than its handler, while maintaining a calm acceptance of the situation. The handler asks another person to hold the dog, and tells the dog to stay or wait.  The handler will leave the area and go to a pro-designated location, out of sight of the dog. The handler will wait 3 minutes until called to return by the assistant evaluator. The dog is not required to stay in a particular position, but should not show excessive stress or nervousness by pulling on the lead or trying to get away. Excessive panting, barking, whining, or seeking attention from the evaluator is not acceptable.

TEST 12 - Walking Through A Door/Gate
This test demonstrates the dog's response to the handler's commands as well as the handler's ability to control the dog in a restricted area while moving ahead of the dog and through a door/gate. The handler may speak quietly to the dog as they approach the door/gate.  The handler commands the dog to sit/wait and walks through the door/gate, while instructing the dog to follow calmly and join him. Alternatively, the dog and handler may proceed through the door/gate together, with the dog accompanying the handler on a loose leash.  The dog must not go through the door/gate before the handler instructs him to do so.