This morning, I spent a little extra time in bed snuggling. This time it was with a cat named Sebastian, and two dogs, Bosco and BooGee. This time, it was because I did not feel like starting the day.
I thought of Paketo. She had the funniest little quirk to her meow. She would open her mouth to speak, but there was a time delay between when she opened her mouth and when her voice actually came out. Maybe a half second.
And I thought of Francesca. Our lives seem to mirror each other’s right now. She, too, is unable to see her beloved one, her Brindi. But not for the same reason.
Brindi is alive and well and was recently transferred to the new pound facility — Homeward Bound City Pound. The Nova Scotia SPCA has lost their contract with the city to house animals seized by Halifax’s Animal Services.
In December, the city revoked Francesca’s visitation to see Brindi – a once-a-week, half hour visit she had enjoyed for almost seven of the 20 months that Brindi has been impounded.
IN A NUTSHELL: Brindi was seized by the city of Halifax in July 2008 because they deemed her a threat to the safety of the community, a dangerous dog who must be killed. They handed Francesca a piece of paper that included the date she would be destroyed… August 7, 2008.
Fast forward 10 months to May 2009. Brindi is still alive, but still impounded. The SPCA sends Francesca a photo of Brindi taken with staff and volunteers as a birthday present… to let her know that Brindi is doing okay and that they love her. Brindi is eating birthday cake in the photo.
A threat to the safety of the community? A dangerous dog who must be killed?
Fast forward again to a couple months ago when the NS SPCA releases a letter they have submitted to the city suggesting an alternative to killing Brindi, their beloved mascot. Let’s “re-home” her.
Let’s not return her to the woman who knows her, the woman who has made several unanswered attempts to mediate the situation with the city, the woman who has built a fence and offered to solicit more training, the woman who has made it quite clear that she will do what she needs to do to have her dog returned to her? The woman who has endured this struggle each and every day for 624 days?
C’mon folks. This train is way off track. This can be negotiated. We need to work this out. These are lives we are talking about… living, breathing beings. Not used towels or old cars.
I again ask everyone in Halifax involved in this situation to step back for a minute. Those closest may need to take a few extra steps back to see the whole picture because maybe you are just too close.
Imagine this happening to someone you know: your mother, your sister, your uncle, your grandfather. I ask this so you can separate the specifics from the person at the center of the ruckus because from where I sit, the city’s beef seems to be with Francesca and not Brindi. So replace Francesca with your aunt, your grandmother, your best friend. And perhaps you will see what the rest of us see.
Perhaps then you will see the absurdity.
Francesca Rogier is an American citizen wishing to emigrate to a small rural coastal town outside Halifax in Canada. She is a Fulbright scholar; a university professor of Architecture; a giving person who has donated her time as a volunteer in the community. She became the guardian of a senior dog to save him from a neglectful home; she nursed him back to health and had him until passed a few years ago. She moved Rudy, the cat she adopted when she was teaching in Germany, back to the States with her and then here to Canada; and she adopted Amelia, a companion for him. (Sadly, Rudy passed away a few weeks ago after a long illness.) Her pets have been regularly vetted. They live inside. They are fed every day. They have water to drink. And they are loved. A wonderful home.
Brindi broke away from her. Yes, three times. And she was taken away.
There were no serious injuries and no person was ever bitten.
And the fence she has offered certainly gets to the heart of things.
Lest you have any concerns, Francesca is aware of all of this. She has learned her lesson in a very hard way and has promised she will do better. I think it is in the best interest of the city to work with its citizens and support them, especially those who wish to do better.
There is still time for the city to negotiate an amicable resolution. Hiding behind the statement that “it’s before the court” is not quite right.
Halifax city officials, please… give peace a chance. Negotiate.
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Francesca makes her pre-sentencing statement before the judge on April 16, 2010.
Please call and/or email the contacts below. Do it often and do it regularly.,
Ask them to let Francesca visit Brindi. And ask them to negotiate a resolution to this craziness so Brindi can go home to Francesca.
Mayor – Pete Kelly
Phone: 902-490-4010Head of Legal – Mary Ellen Donovan
Chief Administrative Officer – Dan EnglishSuperintendent – Bill Moore