Monday, May 31, 2010

Great news out of Ohio

As you know, Ohio is a state long known for breed discrimination and killing dogs based on looks; not behavior. 

Last week, Ohio struck down the "inherently vicious" portion of the law.  

Ohio House strikes down "inherently vicious" designation of pit bulls

The Ohio House of Representatives this afternoon struck down the long-held designation of pit bulls as inherently vicious under Ohio law. The modification to the law was made as an amendment to House Bill 55, which proposes to modify Ohio’s animal cruelty statutes and allows for animals to be included in domestic dispute protection orders. 

Currently, pit bulls are designated as “vicious" under Ohio law, triggering various requirements for their owners, including special insurance. The amendment to eliminate the breed discriminatory provision in Ohio law passed by a vote of 86-10, and HB 55 as amended was approved 93 to 3. 

Ohio is the only state in the country to designate pit bulls as inherently vicious under state law. Both the OVMA and AVMA have long opposed breed discrimination language in law. OVMA supported the amendment to HB 55 , as well as the bill as passed. The legislation now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.
I was fortunate to exchange email with a fellow dog owner who lives in Ohio and has lived the nightmare.

Here is his explanation of the situation in Ohio which is helpful.

First and foremost, the reason for the recent success was due to a bill (House Bill 79) that was introduced in March 2009 by Representative Barbara Sears out of the Toledo area. This bill would, if passed, remove any and all Breed Specific language in our statewide law that claims Pit Bull dogs to be "inherently vicious" based on "breed". It appeared that this bill was dying as late as early this year, but mass  emails, letters and phone calls persisted from residents around the state that forced the bill to go to the Agriculture Committee where it was heard last month by  testimony. Still, the outlook was not that bright until the bill was amended as part of House Bill 55 which proposes to modify Ohio’s animal cruelty statutes and allows for animals to be included in domestic dispute protection orders. It passed almost unanimously and is now in the Senate. This brings great hope to finally ridding our 23 year statewide Breed Specific statute, due to the language that HB 55 offers, with or without HB 79 included. 
Along the lines of challenges to the law, there have been plenty, but a few notable recent ones include:
Hugh Smith vs Toledo, which is in appeals, but Hugh won his case from an attorney I know very well who represented him. He has 3 Cane Corso's and was stopped in Toledo walking them. Toledo (Lucas County) has an additional restriction of only allowing one Pit Bull per household and his dogs were seized, but Mr. Smith doesn't have Pit Bulls, he has Cane Corso's. AKC judges and other breed specialists were flown in from around the country to testify that his dogs were not Pit Bulls and the judge sided with Mr Smith that the ACO's were not competent enough to pick out a Pit Bull.

Another recent case is Tellings vs Toledo (do you see a pattern here - Toledo, where former dog warden Tom Skeldon used to hold office), the court also chose in favor of Mr. Tellings, but was appealed and the decision was reversed. Those are only two cases, but there has been plenty more on a local and state level.

The reason I was brought into this fight, was Lakewood, Ohio. Lakewood is the city directly west of Cleveland, where I once resided until the ban on Pit Bulls, Pit Bull "type" and Canary dogs was passed in July of 2008. Since then, there has been one case that has struck a cord with me. That is the Leonard Shelton case.

Leonard is an African American man who served his country in the military for I  believe around 20 years and settled in Lakewood after, getting a black dog named Roscoe. Because his experiences in combat, he became a changed man who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but Roscoe helps him with his illness by making him leave the house and be in public. One day, Leonard was walking Roscoe when he was stopped by a police officer who said he has a Pit Bull. The officer called the dog warden to verify and ID the dog and he confirmed his assessment. Leonard has since moved out of Lakewood, with Roscoe and is suing the city for a little less than half a million dollars. Roscoe was DNA tested and it came back that he is predominantly Glenn of Amal Terrier with traces of other words, no Pit Bull. The charges against the city range from racially profiling, harassment, among others and could make an already broke city, financially ruined. Surely jobs will be lost when the city loses this case (notice I said when and not if).

I guess the moral to this story is, you have to hit them where it hurts. Never stop challenging the powers that be when it comes to BSL, because, frankly, they have no real case. I make sure I spend my free time in public with Preston so people can see what a real Pit Bull looks like (temperament and physically). If I can change one persons mind about these (and all dogs for that matter) then I did my job for the day. These same people will call and write there legislatures and demand change. I don't know how it is in Canada, but here in the states "My vote counts" and "My dog votes". 

Very well said Jeff..
Thanks for your synopsis and I agree that we must continue to hit the towns/cities/municipalities/states/provinces and countries where it hurts. We must stand up for our rights as dog owners and educate the masses there are no bad dogs, only a few bad dog owners. A large contributing factor is a media campaign that has stretched over nearly 2 decades spewing myth and hatred against a type of dog; the notorious "pitbull".

The only way to increase public safety where dogs are concerned is to implement fair and equal treatment under the law and deal with irresponsible owners!

And for the record, we share with you in the USA, every vote counts and MY DOG VOTES!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brampton's Mayoral race is going to be a good run...

Rui Branco, the owner of Brittany, one of the dogs seized in Brampton in January has signed on as campaign manager for Bruce Haines. Haines is running against Susan Fennell, who is Brampton's current mayor.

K9 crusader signs on with candidate
The man at the centre of the dog seizure controversy is fighting back in a whole new arena—he is trying to help oust Mayor Susan Fennell.
Rui Branco has been named campaign manager for Bruce Haines, who is running against Fennell in this fall’s municipal election.
For mayoralty candidate Haines, Branco represents the “grassroots citizens’ campaign” he says he is running, which is exactly what he was looking for in a campaign manager, he said.
“He clearly ran into a city that refused to accept the truth, tried to cover it up, and had no interest in justice,” Haines said. “It’s what I’ve been fighting for years... It’s brought two fighters together.”
Branco’s family owns Brittany, one of two dogs wrongly identified by the city as “pitbulls”, seized and held for 14 weeks before finally being released when it was determined by an independent veterinarian that they were not “pitbulls”.
“To date, Susan Fennell has refused to independently investigate this matter and instead participated in a campaign of disseminating inaccurate information to the public all the while wasting tens of thousands of the taxpayers’ dollars to facilitate a cover-up,” Haines charged.
Branco said Haines is “a true community fighter for justice,” and residents would  be well-served by him as mayor.
“Transparency and accountability cannot be just empty words promised by our elected officials,” Branco said. “Bruce will ensure the city behaves in a fashion that restores the public’s faith if he is elected as the new mayor of Brampton.”
Bruce Haines is fortunate to have Rui as his campaign manager. 

Susan Fennell is in for the fight of her life. She best be getting her resume updated...

Fennell certainly isn't about fair and equal treatment under the law in Brampton. Rambo and Brittany were seized and ripped from their loving homes only to be held for 3 months. It cost Rui $20,000 and making a deal with the city agreeing to post a dangerous dog sign on their property even though neither dog were seized for any reason other than the Brampton AC thought they were "pitbulls". There are an awful lot of dog owners in Brampton. Approximately 1/2 of households own a dog.. That is a lot of votes!

Rambo's owner took him to the vet to find he had a broken rib that was not a recent injury. It was estimated by the vet the injury happened sometime while Rambo was being held by the city. 

The city is refusing to launch an investigation. 

Here is an editorial from the Brampton Guardian today.

Time for dog inquiry
The arrogance and lack of accountability shown by the City of Brampton throughout ‘doggiegate’ continued last week as city officials refused to answer questions about Rambo’s broken ribs.
Simply stating there is “no evidence” that the dog’s ribs were broken while he was in the care of the animal shelter just isn’t good enough. It’s an unacceptable response to a very serious allegation.
Because the truth is, it is possible that’s exactly where his ribs were broken. According to an expert, the injury happened at least two to four weeks before he was released by the city, and he was in the city’s shelter for 14 weeks.
There are questions.
Who, we ask, will address these questions? They need answering. Residents need to know that the city’s animal services department is operating fairly and transparently. Right now, there are no indications that is the case.
Apparently, the city has no interest in even trying to find out the answers, maybe because the bureaucrats fear the possibilities. Better to say nothing, and deny, deny, deny.
When questions are raised, and city officials take a “don’t say anything” approach, waiting for the storm to blow over, it does a disservice to the residents of Brampton and the city itself.
This whole episode is an embarrassment for this city, and the way it has been handled is shameful. 
We expect more from our municipal government, and we demand an inquiry be held to shed some light on this very murky, questionable mess.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ex- OSPCA worker spills a few beans..

A Toronto Sun article yesterday gave a first hand account by an ex-OSPCA worker named Suzanne Lee.

According to Lee the kill rate is high and workers sign a confidentiality agreement. This isn't surprising at all. I hope more people with first hand accounts speak up. As I said in my earlier post, the business of sheltering animals is not easy but in my opinion it can be drastically improved.

Ringworm plight could have been avoided:  Ex-Worker

Suzanne Lee says the OSPCA easily could have avoided the deaths of potentially hundreds of animals if simple procedures were followed and if there wasn’t such a high turnover in staff.
Lee quit her job as the OSPCA director of rehabilitation four years ago because she believed too many animals were being put down.
She also was angry that not all animals were given a complete checkup when brought to the Newmarket facility.
“This (ringworm outbreak) could have been avoided. The cat that brought the outbreak would have had sores. It should have been vet-inspected and quarantined, but 99% of the people there don’t have vet training — and there is always miscommunication and a constant change over in staff,” said Lee, who is a vet.
“When I first started there, my job was to rehabilitate the animals and find them homes. Then my job changed and I started to get 10 to 20 orders to euthanize animals a day. Out of every 10, six weren’t justifiable. It got to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore.”
Lee once was told she had to put down six baby rabbits that were five minutes old, or she would lose her job.
“I had to stick a needle into their heart to kill them. I’m not proud of it but I did it,” she said.
The last straw was when a box of kittens found on Hwy. 400 were brought in and Lee was told to put them down.
“One could have been nursed back to health,” said Lee who at that point quit and took the kitten with her.
Lee says OSPCA employees have to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“They may take me to court but I swear everything I say is true.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Abuse of power? Good question to ask the OSPCA...

Another fine mess opened like a can of worms. Worms like to escape the can in which they are confined. It was only a matter of time until a media story broke to get the outrage flowing. 

I am curious why nobody is talking about the kill rate at the OSPCA on a regular basis. The recent outbreak of ringworm, "mistakenly" no doubt, hit the press and has caused a public uprising unprecedented in Ontario; but what about all the others...

What about the constant killing of thousands of animals killed to "make space", didn't pass the "test" or didn't make the "cut". The feline kill rate is no doubt much higher than the canine; however I saw a figure thrown out earlier today the OSPCA kill rate sits at about 50% to 60%. This figure would fluctuate between branches. The affiliates may tend to have a lower kill rate than the branches. There would be more wiggle room in the affiliate world when it comes to protocol.  

I am going to call out the "dogs" and say this likely isn't a first that an Ontario shelter is wiped clean, so to speak. I would think information such as this is a highly guarded secret, sort of like a resource guarding dog with a high prized bone. An outbreak of public outcry can possibly do immense damage to the donation flow. May go from a river to a babbling brook. 

The business of sheltering animals has been a long, emotional, hotly opinionated debate for decades. The business of rescuing and protecting unwanted, abused and lost animals is no easy feat. It is not a black and white situation. It is multifaceted, complicated, emotional and plain difficult. I have read and loosely followed the work of Nathan Winograd and must say it makes sense to me. I am not going to tell you I am well versed in animal sheltering or rescue, but have worked along side people who are and have enough common sense to know that what is being practiced now can be greatly improved. 

I doubt people start out with the intention of methodically killing unwanted animals but get sucked into the role based on habitual practices and not stopping to think there may be an alternative. Maybe thinking that implementing an alternative is too large of a task. The role of sheltering may become like a religion in that this is the way we do things and that is that. A sense of entitlement. 

The McGuinty Liberals, who in my opinion have single handedly set our province back decades in the animal welfare department, (to name just one area) gave the OSPCA police powers and made the entity virtually untouchable and accountable to no-one. It is never a good or smart thing to allot unlimited power and  benefit of the doubt to any organization. It is the accountability that keeps things "honest". You will always find someone or a group of people more than willing to abuse that power and see the potential for personal gain. A tendency for feelings of entitlement based on that shift of power are basically human nature. The attitude of "who are you to question us?"

If Dalton McGuinty doesn't work for Ingrid Newkirk (PETA) directly, he certainly should send in his resume. I bet it pays better than his current job as being the worst premier in the history of Ontario! 

Between thousands of dogs killed based on looks not behavior with the breed ban and legislating the amended OSPCA Act giving free reign to an organization with no parameters on training/education or skill, this province has been witness to the crime of methodically slaughtering animals for no logical reason. Speaking of zero accountability! Let's hope karma holds true.. Ask Michael Bryant...

Ontario Animal Welfare Act rev 2008

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Toronto Sun editorialist took one too many bumps to the head..

An article titled "Without the ban all hell would break loose" in todays Sun, is a sad attempt for a lonely editorialist to stir up shit in a tired subject. 

I did a little digging and found what is a possible answer to why Ian Robertson (the author of this pathetic article) would write such bullshit. 

During the torch run for the Olympics, Robertson was shoved to the ground by security guards and taken to the hospital and treated for an apparent head injury. I guess there must have been some brain damage involved. His cognitive skills are definitely impaired. 

Spouting BS from I guess Merritt Clifton? He never really says which Clifton he is quoting, but if it is Merritt Clifton, he is certainly no expert nor should he be quoted.

For the record numb nuts, the reason "pitbulls" aren't registered with kennel clubs as a breed is because THEY AREN'T A BREED! They are mutts nimrod. Short haired mutts and they weren't descended from anywhere other than crossbred dog breeding of likely Labs and Boxers since they are 2 of the most popular purebreds in Canada.

I am sorry you had such a knock on the head, but could you please check your sources before spewing hatred and lies. You certainly don't know squat about dogs, so maybe stick to a subject you know something about.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cheri DiNovo re-introduces a private members bill to repeal the ban

Big high five to Cheri DiNovo for re-introducing a private members bill to repeal the breed specific or breed discrimination amendment to DOLA (Dog Owner's Liability Act). The Act itself needs to remain intact. It has been on the law books since the late 1800's; therefore it will stay on the books to be used against irresponsible owners of any breed of dog. The problem with DOLA is that it was rarely used prior to the ban being placed as an amendment. Miraculously after the ban was put in place, many municipalities were activated to enforce launch a witch hunt looking for "pitbulls". "Pitbulls" don't actually exist, it is a slang term for a type of short haired mutt, and the purebreds are so rare (less than 1000 all three breeds combined in Ontario). 

In an excerpt from Hansard during a debate at Queen’s Park:
MPP Peter Kormos made a statement regarding municipal participation during one of the many House debates over the legislation.  This is an excerpt from Hansard:

"That provoked me to put questions to ministry staff about exactly what the Bill does: "Does the bill require municipalities to participate in this ill-conceived so-called pit bull ban?" "No; it merely enables them." Oh, I get it: "These are the tools in the toolbox."

While out trolling for "pitbulls" thousands of innocent short haired mutts have  been ripped from loving homes and killed simply because the McGuinty Liberals legislated it legal to use warrantless entry, warrantless seizure of any dog deemed a "pitbull" by the authorities, reverse onus (up to the owner to prove it isn't a "pitbull" which is impossible because it is a slang term and unprovable), and restrictions on mobility. 

Today, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo has made another important step to ending this insanity and introduced Bill 60 to repeal breed discrimination in Ontario. 

Her last private members bill was squashed since McGuinty prorogued the House early this year. When Cheri DiNovo introduced her last Bill (222) it passed first reading and was met with applause from Liberal MPP's who were in attendance! McGuinty was "off" that day... It speaks loudly that Liberal MPP's applauded in agreement with a private members bill to squash the law that McGuinty clutches so tightly his knuckles have turned white. 

I will never figure out for the life of me why McGuinty choose to ignore 86 presentations out of 102 at committee hearings all speaking out against the ban. Of the 86 presentations that were from around the world; most were experts in their field. Of the 16 that spoke in favor of the ban, most were victims of dog attacks. Victims are justifiably traumatized and sometimes willing to stand behind any law that looks as though it may rectify the same thing happening to anyone else. Yet McGuinty maintains to this day, and stands before the citizens of Ontario and justifies his decision claiming they listened to the experts. Either his ears are blocked or his blocky head has a few screws loose. Hmm blocky head, short hair.. maybe he's a "pitbull"? 

Here is an article that was in the Sun today called NDP barking at pit bull law.

Ontario MPP Cheri DiNovo is offering a very faint hope clause for the province’s banned pit bulls.
The NDP MPP introduced a bill Monday that would overturn the portion of the Ontario Liberal government’s dog legislation that targets the breed.
While the bill won’t come up for second reading until next year and private member’s bills rarely get passed, DiNovo said the pressure is building in the province to follow the path of other jurisdictions that have eliminated breed specific bans.
“The Facebook site out there – the last time I checked there were 85,000 hits ... so there’s huge support,” DiNovo said. “ Of all the issues that we’ve dealt with this term, I’ve had more e-mails and so has every other MPP on this issue than any other.”
The government hasn’t show any interest to date in amending its legislation, DiNovo said.
But both opposition parties, the New Democrats and the Conservatives, are solidly opposed to the pit bull ban which means that the law could fall with anything other than a Liberal majority government in October 2011, she said.
“It’s the breed specific aspect – it’s not the entire legislation,” she said. “There’s nobody saying that we shouldn’t have dangerous dog legislation and that owners shouldn’t be liable.”
DiNovo said the Ontario experience has shown that the ban has made no difference to public safety but has resulted in the euthanizing of many healthy dogs.
Ontario outlawed pit bulls, while grand fathering existing dogs provided they were muzzled in public and neutered, following several high profile attacks.
The dogs’ many fans have argued that bad owners are to blame for such incidents, but then Attorney General Michael Bryant said when introducing the ban in 2004 that the canines are “ticking time bombs” and “inherently dangerous animals.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day! but please take a moment to remember Denver...

Today I am taking Justice and going to visit my Mom. He loves going to "Grandma's" house!! He gets lots of extra attention and special treatment there. He is the only "grandchild" she will be getting from me. Luckily for her, my bro gave her a human grandchild but they live out west; therefore Justice gets to reap the rewards of being the only in province. 

No worries, I'm not one of these people who treat my dog as if he were a replacement for a human child. He is much better than that! *wink*

I received an email this morning from a friend in Denver. Today, May 9th also marks a horrific anniversary. May 9, 2005 was the date Denver began enforcing the breed ban by slaughtering thousands of good dogs based on how they looked. 

...Please spare a moment on May 9, 2010 for Denver and the dogs that have been killed because they have blocky heads and short coats. It was on May 9, 2005 that Denver began to enforce its breed ban again after a hiatus. Since that day 5 years ago, over 3000+ dogs have been killed for how they look. I've met many of those grieving families for whom I will light a candle on Mother's Day. I hope you'll do the same and send good energy for change!
That said, I wish all you Mothers--be you a mother to two-legged or four-legged children--a fabulous day!

Please take a moment to remember those innocent souls whose lives were taken because of how they looked. We have our own witch hunt happening here in Ontario. It will be 5 years August 29th since Ontario enacted the breed ban. This atrocity must stop. 

I too wish you the very best Mother's Day. Enjoy your Mom, Grandmother, Step Mother and Mother in Law. Also take a moment to remember those who have gone before us. Family is to be treasured and celebrated including our four legged ones..

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dollars for Dogs

The Government is at it again, we need to fight for our rights in court:
THE DLCC's second annual " DOLLARS FOR DOGS" Campaign on behalf of Phillip and Ginger, the Huggins family.

"Law abiding citizens are not being targeted by the ban". Former Attorney General for Ontario, Michael Bryant Sept 2005.

Nothing could be further from the truth if you happen to own a dog of unknown genetics in Ontario.

Knowing that any dog born with the wrong 'look', Phillip Huggins made sure his best friend, an 8 year old "brown-haired" girl named Ginger was in full compliance with the regulations of DOLA.

On November 29, 2005, while Phillip's Mother was walking Ginger, leashed and muzzled, in a Toronto park, Ginger was savagely attacked by an unleashed dog .

So savage was the attack on Ginger, that Buddy (an alleged border collie/shepherd cross ) tore Ginger's muzzle off and inflicted severe injuries to both Phillip's mom and Ginger. Ginger now has permanent damage to her left eye.

Now you think that it would be the owner of Buddy that would be charged. But not so. Buddy's owner walked away VIRTUALLY scot free.

Ginger wasn’t so lucky. The City of Toronto Animal Control Officers seized Ginger illegaly ,without warrant or consent of Ginger's owner.
Within hours, a 'destruction' order was placed on Ginger's life while Phillip was charged with 3 counts under DOLA. .

Prosecutors attempted to strike a deal with Phillip, offering to drop all charges if he ' simply ' handed over Ginger to be killed. Phillip would have nothing to do with it and said he would fight to the end.

Ginger spent 3 ½ years incarcerated simply for defending herself and Phillip's mother.

As a result of the charges and the battle in court, Phillip lost his job, ended up on welfare and now suffers with depression.

Out of money and time, Clayton Ruby, an established Human Rights lawyer, took over the case. He knew the City of Toronto was wrongfully holding Ginger in the pound. Within days, Clayton Ruby went before a judge and Ginger was released back to her loving home until the next court date.

Despite a ruling which allowed Ginger to be free, the City of Toronto was granted an appeal on the ruling.
Phillip is yet again scheduled to appear in court again on May 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM at The Court of Appeals for Ontario.

Ginger is still at risk of losing her life.


As a result of the city of Toronto being granted an appeal, it is costing a lot more than what was anticipated.
If Phillip doesn't raise the funds, he may lose his appeal, Ginger will lose her life.

He has come this far, if he stops now the city will be granted the destruction order and Ginger will be destroyed.

Your financial help would be greatly appreciated.

To donate go to


Please send payment in trust for Ginger to:

Ruby and Shiller
11 Prince Arthur Ave,
Toronto, On
M5R 1B2

And remember, every cent counts, no amount is too small. You can help save Ginger’s life.

"Is your dog worth a dollar?"