I have to say, I cannot recall ever seeing a city do this before. The City of Brampton has taken out a full-page ad in their local newspaper in order to "defend" their employees’ actions in seizing two family pets and scheduling their destruction. So, not only does Rui Branco (the owner of one of the dogs) have to pay for his own lawyer, but his (and many other irate dog owners’) taxes are being used to help the city try to kill his dog and to try to hoodwink the public with cover-their-butt propaganda!
According to KC Dog Blog, the cost of this ad to an average person would be $7,291!! How is a normal dog owner supposed to compete with that? Clearly, the letter from the city contains a number of misstatements and errors, especially in relation to what their options are. Is Rui Branco supposed to just come up with more than seven grand in order to put his point of view forward? Should he? Is this case supposed to be tried in the court of public opinion?
The city says in their letter that they won’t comment on a case that’s before the courts, yet they just spent seven thousand dollars doing just that!
Here is a photocopy of the original ad from the Brampton Guardian courtesy of KC Dog Blog:
Here is the text of that same ad:
On behalf of the City of Brampton, I am writing to clarify the circumstances surrounding two dogs, Brittany and Rambo, currently being looked after by the City’s Animal Shelter. I would also like to correct some of the misinformation about why these family pets have come under our care.
The Province of Ontario’s Dog Owners’ Liability Act, 2005 has been hotly debated since it was first introduced. Under the legislation, identified pit bulls born prior to November 29th, 2005 are considered “legal” pit bulls in Ontario. The law also says that these dogs must be spayed, neutered, microchipped, registered and licensed annually by the City. Pit bulls born after November 29, 2005 are considered “illegal” under the provincial law.
Rambo and Brittany, the two dogs currently at the Animal Shelter were both born after November 2005 and are, therefore, considered illegal pit bulls under the provincial law. As a result, both dogs were taken into care by the city on Jan. 13. Once in the care and custody of our Animal Services, the legislation is very clear about what can and cannot be done with the dogs. Both the owners and the City are now faced with limited options about how to proceed. At the heart of this issue is whether the dogs are pit bulls.
Many of you will have read that the families have called for the return of their dogs, as they contend that Rambo and Brittany are not pit bulls. Even though the provincial legislation does not provide an appeal route for resolving this issue, the City approached the families’ lawyer last week to see if a mediated settlement was possible.
Unfortunately, the City could not reach an agreement with the families’ lawyer on the details of how this mediated process would work. The City’s offer remains open to the owners but, regretfully, the City anticipates that the family may seek an application before the Ontario Superior Court to argue that their dogs are not pit bulls and should be returned.
Readers should know that in instances where legal action is pending, as in the case with Rambo and Brittany, city staff and elected officials are unable to comment.
As we move forward, I want to assure everyone that Rambo and Brittany will continue to receive the highest level of care at our Animal Shelter. The dogs have been, and will continue to be, examined by an independent veterinarian to ensure their health and well being.
Throughout this process, we have understood that this is a sensitive issue involving family pets. It is our hope that the information in this letter has helped to set the record straight. We know that Brampton residents care deeply for their family pets, and that issues like this must be thoughtfully and cautiously considered.
We stand behind our Animal Services staff – they provide an important and compassionate service in our city.
Our team takes enormous pride in how we approach and interact with every family and their pet. This case has been no exception.
Commissioner, Community Services
Of course, they don’t mention the fact that they browbeat a 75-year-old lady, who doesn’t speak English very well and didn’t know her rights, into giving up her family pet. They don’t mention that, when the second dog owner stood up for his rights, he ended up facing six police cruisers, having the police break his door, and being physically manhandled while animal control officers took his dog.
They don’t mention that all of this was done without a warrant. The city’s "we must follow the law" stance seems to skip the part where they’re REQUIRED to obtain a warrant to seize a dog from a home!!
The law that this city is supposedly enforcing clearly states:
Where the circumstances in clauses 13 (1) (a) and (b) exist [Author’s note: Where in the interest of public safety, it has been determined that a dog should not be in a particular location] and it would be impracticable to obtain a warrant because of exigent circumstances, a peace officer may exercise any of the powers of a peace officer described in section 13 [Author’s note: seize the dog from a home].
In this section, exigent circumstances include circumstances in which the peace officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that entry into any building, receptacle or place, including a dwelling house, is necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm or death to any person or domestic animal.
This means that the ONLY reason that a peace officer is allowed to seize a dog from a home without a warrant is if somebody is about to die or be seriously injured!!
The city has never accused these dogs of being dangerous, threatening anyone, biting anyone, running loose, or doing anything that could be considered a danger to public safety. There clearly were no "exigent circumstances" in which the officers need to prevent imminent bodily harm or death to a person or an animal.
So the city of Brampton, apparently so concerned about making sure the letter of the law is followed to the extreme, broke the law themselves when they seized these dogs.
Now, they’ve spent YOUR money defending their actions in a newspaper!
Something smells here.
Residents of Brampton, we have encountered a number of cases in both Canada and the United States where politicians have been ousted during elections because of their anti-dog policies.
Please remember that YOUR VOTE COUNTS. If every enraged (and scared) dog owner decides they’ve had enough of this type of discrimination and intimidation, then you can get rid of Mayor Susan Fennell and all the city councillors who don’t have the backbone to stand up for these dogs and their owners.