Thursday, February 5, 2009

Francesca rages, Brindi languishes

The battle to determine the fate of Brindi is about to turn itself into a much larger affair now that Francesca Rogier, Brindi's owner, has threatened, on her Facebook site, to go on a hunger strike. I can't even begin to go into the details here about what's transpired over the last few days as the whole sad-for-Brindi affair is starting to take on a soap operatic quality with a lot of he said she said type accusations being flung about. Joan's site, Me and my dogs in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has the best coverage of this and if you want back and forth drama just check out the 58 comments and counting on her latest entry Cease and Desist from Francesca Rogier. Kudos to Joan for filtering out the riff raff and keeping her house in order under this barrage.

In my earlier post on this, I had expressed support for Ms. Rogier's fight to regain ownership of Brindi but given some of her recent actions, I'm not so sure now. She's definitely under severe emotional duress and that might account for her lack of judgment in attempting a hunger strike and in burning bridges with anyone who even remotely questions her past actions and future intentions but I suspect that most people will just view her implosion as further justification for keeping Brindi out of her hands. I know I do. Well, sort of I do.

Yeah, yeah, so I'm sitting on the fence now on this one. On the one hand, I totally feel for Ms. Rogier wanting Brindi alive and back in her arms. I get that. Especially the keep Brindi alive part. On the other hand, I'm wondering if Ms. Rogier's going a little cuckoo for Coco Puffs and if she is, will she be able to handle Brindi in the case of the dog's return? If I were in her shoes, maybe I'd be going nuts too. Certainly the out of control on-line publicity she's generated for herself can't be calming her nerves.

I'm being a bit flippant here but at the heart of this matter is a dog months in jail now still awaiting a possible execution. I've seen dogs imprisoned in small concrete cells for months on end and it's heartrending. Regardless of people's opinions of Ms. Rogier, no one wants Brindi kept in a cage or dead, except, it seems, for the City of Halifax. The section of the law that was used to put Brindi on the kill list in the first place has been struck down so I don't understand why the insistence on carrying through with her death sentence. I'd say that Halifax Regional Municipality has already done an admirable job of covering their asses against future liability so now maybe they can do something for Brindi and either give it back to Ms. Rogier or rehome it.

addendum: Looks like the hunger strike idea has been removed from her Facebook site.


Steve Bartlett said...

I commented at length earlier, but I'd just like a brief repeat if you don't mind. I think Brindi should be adopted by a professional dog handler if one can be found; she obviously needs one now more than ever.

As for Ms Rogier, all I know about her is what you've written on your blog. From your description only (and you're probably more sympathetic to her than most), I seriously think she has far more problems to deal with than her dog, and I hope she grows up and gets help.

House of the Discarded said...

Amen, Steve! Well said!

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are always two sides to any story. But, where is your compassion for a human being? Why do you insist on crucifying Francesca Rogier, when it is clear that she has been and still is under constant emotional stress!
It seems that you want to draw blood? At this stage and you might just succeed. I just cannot believe how people can be so cruel to another person. Please find it in your hearts to be more charitable and less judgemental!
Thank you!
A Compassionate Heart
Montreal, Qc

Carol Waterman said...

I received this message today from an animal Rescue in Toronto. I agree with their statement.

"Any website that permits anonymous posts, or doesn't monitor posts, attracts the many humans who get sick satisfaction in anonymous terror attacks. They are worse than scum. They lurk in the darkness of anonymity just as rapists lurk in dark alleys. I had no idea how many people there are in the world who sink to that level if given the chance until the internet showed me. I don't know who runs the board but they must change the format so that all posts have to be approved. Whoever that person is, is just as foul as the posters because they let the creeps post."

Posted by
Carol Waterman
An Animal Activist
Montreal, Qc.Canada

Fred said...

I have no idea who you're trying to malign with your post, Carol, but I'm just wondering, who's the author of the quote you sent me? It seems rather anonymous.

bulldaisymom said...

Don't worry Fred, Carol and the rest of them like to do things like that.

Anonymous said...

Looking back, it seems you failed to get the point of a hunger strike. Joan Sinden failed as well. Perhaps you’re missing some information.
You have to realize that Ms. Rogier had every expectation of getting Brindi back after she won in supreme court. Instead, Halifax claimed it didn’t have to release her, because the judge didn’t specifically order it. It took two weeks before Francesca’s lawyer Blair Mitchell admitted that his written court application to quash the by-law neglected to also request release. When he appeared in court on Jan. 5, he verbally asked for it, but without having it in writing, the judge was not compelled to grant it. As if this weren’t bad enough, after the Friday announcement of the ruling, on Monday, animal control charged Francesca with by-law violations dating back to July, their first and only charges ever – coincidentally, only an hour before time ran out to do it. Did I say coincidentally? No- it’s just their way to try to kill Brindi again. But Joan Sinden and gang totally missed the obvious.
They also don’t get that the city holds Brindi illegally, and instead love blaming it all on Francesca. Why is it illegal? The sole purpose of the original warrant was to execute a euthanization order. This was invalidated once the judge quashed the relevant part of by-law A300 as ultra vires (i.e., unconstitutional).
So even though they hope to get a guilty verdict turned into a death order, there is no legality in holding Brindi now on the old warrant. Even with a new warrant, the events are too far in the past, and the city cannot claim it can hold her just because she is dangerous, because they give out licenses for dangerous dogs!

You’d think it a simple matter to get Brindi out, since that was the point of her whole case, but somehow Francesca’s lawyer didn’t spring into action after Jan. 19. He didn’t even demand they drop the charges, or even complain to the media. On Jan. 29 he made a feeble effort to get a provincial judge to quash the warrant; this failed. Then, at the arraignment on Feb. 3, he failed a third time, even though the judge openly questioned the warrant, an invitation to quash it. But Mitchell remained silent. It seemed very odd to me. Then the judge said the first court date available to schedule the trial was in May followed by October, if more time was needed. This would have been Mitchell’s second cue to question the warrant. All he did was schedule an hour in court on Feb. 24, though it was not enough time to deal with the charges. He didn’t even try to negotiate with the city after that.
Other people think Francesca has been standing in the way of getting Brindi out- not likely! Back in September, the city refused a series of her proposals to get her dog out of the awful pound, including sending her to a training facility or a foster home. Halifax never once budged from its unnecessary hard-line stance. On Feb. 3 its lawyers confirmed in court the goal of a guilty verdict is to give them a chance to request a euthanization order all over again. They know that under a different municipal law, judges have the power to order dogs destroyed without need of any evidence, and they’re counting on that because they have none. In August, they even acknowledged Brindi was no threat to humans. Yet they also refused permission for an assessment to be done on her regarding dogs. It took till December for Francesca’s lawyer to get a court order to allow a trainer to assess Brindi (at her expense). The city just ignored the positive results, as did the Supreme Court judge. So at the arraignment in February, when the city lawyer said the goal was to get Brindi “off the streets”, neither he nor the news reports ever mentioned the assessment, even though Francesca certainly did – but no one listened.
She must have been totally devastated. I cannot fathom what it must feel like, to win in court, only to discover your lawyer messed up and you had to start all over. Worse, to see him quit (probably thinking she would fire him and maybe even sue for malpractice). Mitchell was supposedly an expert at quashing by-laws, and apparently, this was the quickest way for Rogier to get to court, as . lawsuits take a year to begin. Because animal control hadn’t charged her with anything when they took Brindi, she had no other way to get to a judge. In the usual way in provincial court. Negotiating didn’t work either: since the start, AC officials refused to speak to her, let alone consider her genuine offers to build a fence, hire a trainer, and obey the muzzle order. The supreme court judge’s ruling says he found no evidence they had ever read the many positive letters of support for her and her dog, from her groomer, vet, trainer, kennel owner, and the community.
We all saw how Francesca worked ceaselessly side by side with her lawyer from September to January, and know she shelled out $21,000 of her savings (she raised $6,000 too!). Without landed status she can’t work in Canada, so she was truly putting everything on the line. It seemed to pay off on Jan. 16 - Mitchell told her she won and would even get court costs covered. Soon she learned that “costs” are rarely more than $2,000, and Mitchell said his bill was over $30,000. Then it turned out she didn’t really win because Halifax just refused to release Brindi. essentially because he messed up. He kept saying the warrant was no longer valid, but he did nothing about it. He filed all sorts of other papers, but they only involved the lawsuit, which probably pissed of the city. I don’t know what his deal is, but by the arraignment on Feb. 3 – I saw the AC officer grinning all through it like a sicko - things were looking pretty bad for Francesca and Brindi.
So tell me Fred, what would you do?? Local media (and bloggers too) had yet to cover the story in the depth it required, and Francesca and her supporters had tried for months to get national coverage, with no success. She told us later she figured that announcing a hunger strike was the only hope to get Brindi out anytime soon.
It is certainly an extreme tactic, but that is why it is guaranteed to get national attention, and that could have helped her expose Halifax’s abusive treatment. She consulted her doctor and her lawyer, and neither objected. But sadly, this idea was sabotaged: people reacted negatively before she even started! It’s a shame. Hundreds in the facebook group actually wrote her to say they were behind her all the way. A few even wanted to join he". But a few others, mainly outside the group, called her irrational and crazy without bothering to ask her. Apparently they even contacted her lawyer. Afraid, she didn’t go through with it. In my opinion, this may not have been the right decision. But who can blame her?
Around the same time, some creeps tried to get her arrested for making death threats to the SPCA - hardly likely for a woman willing to use passive resistance, like a hunger strike. Thank God the RCMP saw through that!
I don't know why some people seem to enjoy condemning Francesca all over the internet. Luckily, it’s only a few (though as usual they’re the loudest). Maybe the situation is just too complicated for them to get. But I still wonder, how can they not see who is really responsible for this mess, i.e., Halifax animal control and the lawyers? What are they doing about that? And what about the SPCA? Aren’t they supposed to look out for Brindi? They know how much Francesca cares about her, yet they act like wardens, not animal welfare advocates. They don’t even ask the city to give Francesca permission to visit her dog!
After Mitchell quit Francesca she was forced to appear in court alone on Feb. 24. She got an adjournment so she could find another lawyer. But the judge scheduled the trial for June 5, and when Francesca asked how the city could continue to hold Brindi till then without any legal authority, he just washed his hands of it - now suddenly claiming it was not his jurisdiction! A number of those present, including me, were totally stumped. It was pretty outrageous, again with the AC officer there grinning like an idiot.
So tell me, who is really playing games with Brindi’s life here? From what I can see, she made some mistakes, sure, but all along Francesca has been direct, honest, and willing to cooperate in order to get her dog out of the pound. She's shown a great deal of awareness and responsibility. I wish I could say the same for the lawyers, the judges, the SPCA, and city officials. Admit it, people: at the end of the day, her dog did not do anything that doesn’t happen every day in this town. But they don't get killed for it, or taken away from their owners.
If the loud ones don’t get over their pettiness and finally help Francesca - or at least back off, so others aren't afraid to help her (and this is anonymous, because I'm sick of being attacked)- neither she nor anybody else will be able to save Brindi.

Fred said...

Anonymous, thanks for the detailed update. I was wondering what was going on with Brindi and it sounds like she's still living in a cage. That's truly unfortunate.

With regards to Francesca, I'm keeping my mind open on her obviously very complicated situation.

When you ask me what I would do in her situation, I guess my answer would be that I wouldn't have gotten into her situation in the first place.

I have a question for you, though, (and I ask it sincerely) because you seem to have good knowledge of what's going on in the case. Do you think the on-line campaign by Francesca has helped or hindered Brindi's case?

June Trenholm said...

Hi Anonymous,
I wish you weren't Anonymous but I appreciate that you need to protect yourself. I understand how Francesca can feel so desperate and I don't think this means Brindi has to be adopted by an experienced handler although after spending 2 years in the pound after being abandoned with her pups and nearly another year in her short life, I do think she needs as much love and support as she can get. That Brindi was able to interact like a normal dog at her obediance lessons and get along with Francesca's 2 cats says to me that this dog must have the temperment of a saint. Francesca had the heart to take on a dog with a sad story when others had passed Brindi by for 2 years. I think this more than qualifies her to be Brindi's owner. Yes Francesca may need more help and advice especially after the abuse Brindi has suffered at the hands of HRM, even if it is the passive abuse of being in a cage with no human or animal contact, no play, no love, just food and water. Don't understnd Francesca? Imagine your child in a cage for a year being threatened with execution. No mystery to me. How far would you go?

Alas, Could Have Told You said...

Well, here we are in September 2010 and rereading Anonymous's long post is sad. She got Brindi back & she couldn't abide by the Judge's condition of release for even 2 months. Now, Brindi has attacked again, she is nowhere to be found--both AC and the RCMP are looking for her--she lost in small claims court and owes her attorney (who won her case in the NS Supreme Court) the $20,000 he was awarded. So much money spent! But when a person believes the rules don't apply to them--stuff happens. She never approved of a muzzle order. Not the first time when Brindi was seized and not this time, only TWO months after she got 'home.' Those people in the country have a right to walk their dogs along that road--as they were able to do for the 2 years Brindi was removed.

Sybil! said...

I whole heartedly agree with the Sept 26 posting. It is a real pity that Brindi will pay the final cost for having such an irresponsible owner. A good home was offered to Brindi by the SPCA through a rescue organization that offered to care for her. Ms. Rogier was more interested in publicity and fame than what was best for her dog. And now Brindi will die ... Ms. Rogier of course will not see this as being her fault.

Kitty UK said...

IsBrindi still alive does anyone know? What a poor unhappy dog ...........such a sad story. What can be done to save this poor let her end her days in a safe and loving home ?