Vancouver Animal Rights Campaigns (VARK)

Activists Uniting For The Benefit of Animals

Please write a letter for Brindi

Hon. Minister of Justice Ross Landry
Department of Justice, Nova Scotia
Hon. John MacDonnell
Minister of Municipal affairs
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations

Dear Minister Landry, Dear Minister MacDonnell,

I am writing to you as a last plea regarding the upcoming court case on November 8th for Francesca Rogier and Brindi, her beloved pet dog. I’m respectfully asking you to please consider intervening in this case to prevent a miscarriage of justice, and would like the opportunity to briefly state why in the following:

On November 8-9, Brindi’s owner, Francesca Rogier, will be put on trial for by-law infractions stemming from a minor scuffle with a dog in front of her house on September 14, 2010. The dog was not seriously harmed. The owners were related to the people who first reported Brindi to the city, and one of them works for the city of Halifax.

If the court finds Francesca guilty on any charge, the prosecutor for Halifax will invoke a law allowing the court to order a dog put down as an “additional penalty”.

This is a repeat of the first trial, where her owner was charged for  three by-law violations – six months after the event, and immediately  after the city lost its case in supreme court, but refused to return  Brindi. A judge ultimately decided not to order euthanasia, based on a good deal of positive evidence including testimony from expert witnesses.

These were violations that are minor offenses, not criminal offenses; HRM is not obliged to prosecutes them, and barring that, HRM is still not obliged to take it further to ask for a euthanasia order. That is something HRM hardly ever does – even in cases where a dog killed a cat or bit a person, and in those cases they hardly even issue muzzle orders. They are making the muzzle order on Brindi, which was issued without good reason, into something that it is not in that regard. The law does not require a violation of the muzzle order to lead to putting a dog down; it only requires a fine. Beyond that, every case must be judged on its merits. But despite the minor nature of this incident, Halifax is again seeking a court order to kill Brindi as an “additional penalty”. You must not let this happen, as it would be a shameful thing for the province as a whole.


Cities have a role to insure public safety, but within reason: they must also treat dogs and owners fairly. By-law infractions are minor offenses that are meant to be fined. Killing a dog is not a fair or moral penalty for any by-law infraction. If a city seeks to kill a dog it says is dangerous, it must present proper grounds. It must have proof that it has attacked with the intent to kill or do serious harm. It cannot fairly ask for “pre-emptive” action. Dogs that fight dogs are not necessarily a threat to public safety (dogs are not part of the public – if they were, they would have rights!). Dogs typically fight dogs as a way to establish dominance. It is no indication they will attack humans. And dogs can be trained out of this behavior. Fatalities due to dog attacks rank very low on the list of causes of accidental death and injury. They are not even among the top fifty.


Cities should be held to a consistent standard that is in keeping with their usual enforcement of the by-law. Halifax decided in 2008 to muzzle, then seize and destroy Brindi, fully aware that she had never attacked a person and had not injured dogs at all, except for one minor injury that was treated with first aid. Halifax’s decision to kill Brindi was thus way out of line with its customary enforcement. Its decision to seize Brindi once again is not only cruel and unusual punishment itself, but also in stark contrast with its handling of a recent case of a pit bull that attacked a woman in the throat and face. The city has never had Brindi’s behavior evaluated professionally. It will not be bringing an expert witness to the stand next week. (An animal control officer will testify, but she is not qualified in dog training and behavior.)

Clearly Halifax is not pursuing this case in the interest of public safety.


Brindi was evaluated by several trainers and behaviorists at the request of her owner. None of these deemed Brindi dangerous. They regard her as territorial, and suggested more training. Brindi’s owner, Francesca Rogier, observed all court-imposed conditions for Brindi’s return. The conditions are: following a muzzle order, building and maintaining a dog run, and doing further training. The conditions were identical to the conditions she originally offered to the city in 2008, but were met with no response from the city.

The incident leading to Brindi’s second seizure and third year behind bars was an accidental event. Freak accidents do happen: people should not be punished for them by the destruction of a beloved family member. Moreover, the incident was no more serious than previous incidents. Like those, it occurred on or near her property (I.e. At most, a few feet from the boundary). Brindi simply needed more time to readjust to her surroundings after being locked up for two years without contact with other dogs. Francesca worked with trainer Susan Jordan. She did more training that was required and continued after Brindi was released – not because a court ordered it, but because she wanted Brindi to be as perfect as possible.

I feel that Brindi does not deserve to be treated as a ‘criminal’, not to mention that she spent the past year locked up –  in depression and in deteriorating health, without her owner Francesca, and already missed out on many years of normal, natural life that a pet dog should live.

Brindi already spent many years in a shelter when Francesca adopted her, and an other two years on death row during the previous ordeal – there are no words to describe this dog’s suffering caused by bias actions of the City of Halifax‘s officers, or Francesca’s suffering throughout this ordeal.

Please, consider to give this dog a chance to live in peace, she’s getting old and needs to go home – and her owner has been unfairly singled out. They have suffered enough and need your intervention to put a stop to this case, or at least stop it from going further than the fines imposed.

Thank you for your time and understanding in this matter.

Best regards,



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