Sunday, January 31, 2010

My one dog post per week....

I don't want to harp on this and drive you all crazy, but I am sunk down deep in pitbulls and breed bans, and the more I get into it, the more I just want to freak out. Because this is what happens:

From the Brampton Guardian:
Rambo on death row as city, owners battle over breeding
Friday January 29 2010
By PAM DOUGLAS
Rambo wasn't hurting anyone.
No one had complained about the young dog, he hadn't escaped 75-year-old Maria Gaspar's Vodden Street yard, and he had never bitten anyone.

But Rambo and his sister, Brittany, are on death row at the City of Brampton's Animal Shelter right now while their owners are embroiled in a battle to get their beloved pets back before they are euthanized. The deadline- Feb. 5.

Both dogs were seized from separate homes on Jan. 13 by city animal control officials who said they believed the dogs to be pitbulls.

Their owners say that's not true, and both say they have proof from veterinarians tracing their backgrounds as boxers/American bulldogs.

The city's veterinarian has a conflicting opinion, according to a letter sent to the Branco family, who own Brittany.

Gaspar is heartbroken. The senior citizen can't understand why Rambo was seized. She said the confusing part is, the city has licensed Rambo as a boxer/American bulldog cross for the past two years. His vaccination certificate from North Town Veterinary Hospital classifies his breed as a boxer cross. And, no one who has seen the dog has ever thought he was a pitbull, according to the distraught Gaspar.

The city told Gaspar that no one had complained about Rambo. He had not escaped the back yard. If anything, he made passersby laugh the way he would jump up onto the roof of his dog house to look over the fence, she said.

But it was that quirky little habit that led to him being removed from his home and held by the city under threat of euthanasia.

A passing animal control officer spotted Rambo on his perch in December, looking over the six-foot fence, and told Maria Gaspar she had to move the doghouse because Rambo could escape. Gaspar agreed, but then the issue of Rambo's breed came up. She was told to get a letter from her veterinarian attesting to the dog's breed, and to have him neutered. Gaspar said she got the required letter, and an estimate for neutering, and gave both to the city.

In response, the city sent a letter telling Gaspar there is no completed certificate from a veterinarian, and that "Rambo has been confirmed to be a pitbull by his parentage as well as the characteristics as defined in the City of Brampton Dog By-law..."

The bylaw defines a pitbull as a pitbull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier, American pitbull terrier, or "a dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar to those dogs."

"It's not, it's not pitbull," said Gaspar emphatically, struggling for the English words to describe her upset. She can't talk about Rambo without crying.

"This problem is like a son problem," she said, emphasizing how important Rambo is to her. "Now, I no have dog, I no have money, I no have nothing... It's not fair."

They can't fight the city because her family doesn't have any money for a lawyer, she said, but Rui Branco is taking on the fight for both dogs.

His family owns Brittany, and they are in a similar predicament. Like Rambo, there were no complaints or allegations of biting against Brittany. The licence for Brittany's father, Tyson, was due for renewal, and an animal control officer went to the Branco's house to collect the $20. She was told Tyson was given away to a friend, but that's when the issue of Brittany's lineage arouse, according to Branco.

He has hired a lawyer who is preparing to file a motion in court to get the dogs back.

"This is an injustice," Branco said, pointing out how ironic it is that he will not only have to pay a lawyer to fight for his family's dog, but, as a resident of Brampton, he will also contribute to the cost of defending the city.

Tyson, also Rambo's father, was also licensed by the city at one time, although Branco said the family did not realize the city had classified him as a pitbull, especially since he was born in December 2005, one full month after the grace period for owning a pitbull. If he was a pitbull, Branco said, the city should not have issued a licence to him at all. But, he says, the real mistake was labeling him a pitbull in the first place.

He has the microchip paperwork for Tyson, and a veterinarian's letter, stating, "He is in my opinion a healthy and well-socialized pet and is a cross between an American Bulldog and a Boxer."

A second veterinarian, Dr. David Kirkham of the Cheltenham Veterinary Centre, has added a letter stating Brittany's mother, Jersey, is "unquestionably a purebred boxer."

"I don't understand why they are fighting me so hard on this," he said. "Brittany doesn't look anything like a pitbull."

The Branco's said the city did not have a warrant to seize Brittany when they arrived on Jan. 13, and Rui's brother, John, confronted the city worker, who then called for backup. Several police officers and other city animal control officials arrived, and, ultimately, the dog was handed over. However, the Branco's argue they were intimidated into willingly turning over their pet and feel proper procedure (a warrant) was not followed.

For their part, the city is considering four charges against the Branco family- owning a pitbull born after Nov. 29, 2005 in relation to Brittany and in relation to Tyson, failing to licence a pitbull, transferring a pitbull without consent of the poundkeeper and permitting a pitbull to breed.

The Gaspar family faces one charge of owning a pitbull.


This just really breaks my heart. I honestly have no words. It needs to stop and it needs to stop soon.

I hope this thing causes a shit storm for the City of Brampton/Brampton Animal Services, because they deserve it. This is not acceptable.

annnnd breathe.

I'll be back next with a non dog related post! :)

4 comments:

lifelove'n'wine said...

Oh my god, Meg. This is heartbreaking. Please keep us updated if you hear anymore news about these poor dogs. I really don't understand how all of this can happen. I mean...even if they were pitbulls...so what? The woman upstairs has a pitbull/chow mix and it is literally the most friendly, sweet, loving, snuggly dog ever. He never even barks. Just tries to curl up in your lap. People are stupid.

Nuke Girl said...

Dear Lord, what a cluster. I'm not even a huge pitbull lover or anything, but this just makes me so mad. I hope the city gets raped in court!

Meg said...

i know...it's horrible. I'll update on this for sure! If anyone is interested in signing the petition that will go to Brampton Animal Services, it is here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/735981954

Candice said...

Sick. Seriously, this just blows my mind.

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