The OSPCA seizes 31 dogs from an alleged dog fighting ring in Tilbury, Ontario. Dog Tales immediately reaches out and offers to take in all 31 dogs for rehabilitation. This offer is declined. Three dogs are euthanized shortly following for "medical and behavioural reasons".
Behavioural assessments are completed on the dogs by the ASPCA. The court documents outlining the evaluations of the 21 dogs note that only four of the 21 dogs exhibited any aggression towards people.
See The Dogs for summaries and presented copies of these evaluations.
Dog Tales offers, for the second time, to take in all of these dogs at no cost to the OSPCA and asks to be granted a special designation to house the dogs by The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to address Ontario's BSL. The proposal was put forward that when the dogs were rehabilitated, Dog Tales would actively seek appropriate homes in provinces not affected by Ontario's Breed Specific Legislation. If any of the dogs were unable to be rehabilitated, Dog Tales would provide them with a loving forever home at the sanctuary. This plan accounts for OSPCA involvement, whether that entails sending representatives to the shelter regularly to monitor the rehabilitation process, or having final say in any potential adoptions.
The Ontario SPCA files a request with the court to have 21 of the remaining dogs euthanized, claiming them to be a danger to public safety. Subsequently, Dog Tales files an intervenor application to prevent this from happening.
Dog Tales publishes an Open Letter to the OSPCA, addressing Inspector Brad Dewar and the Ontario SPCA, as well as outlining available proposed alternatives to euthanasia.
MPP Jennifer French speaks to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario asking the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to grant a special designation to Dog Tales that will allow the lives of all 21 dogs to be spared.
MPP Rick Nicholls additionally calls on Minister Naqvi to take action to help Dog Tales save the lives of 21 dogs seized from a fighting ring in Tilbury. The Minister maintains that he is unable to help to grant us a designation that will allow us to house them under the Dog Owner's Liability Act if the court permits. The act does not limit the designation of bodies to regulation, so this is able to be done without a formal regulation (e.g. non-regulatory ministry approval). Minister Naqvi is the member of the Cabinet (The Lieutenant Governor in Council) in charge of this area of the legislation.
Dog Tales representatives attend court in Chatham, which is again adjourned until April 18th. There is debate between the defense and the crown over whether the applications should be heard by a Justice or a JP, and whether the matter of the dogs should be addressed before or after the criminal charges.
John Nunziata, lawyer for Dog Tales, requests that the dogs be transferred to the rescue facility on an interim basis until any decisions regarding their outcome are determined. The defense lawyer for the accused supports this request, letting the court know that his clients have agreed to transfer the dogs to Dog Tales, and that he believes the treatment they will receive is exemplary. The request is not granted.
Dog Tales representatives attend court in Chatham where a judicial pre-trial date is set for July 21st.
MPP Jennifer French presents a petition to the legislature seeking a special designation that will allow Dog Tales to house dog breeds currently affected by Ontario's Breed Specific Legislation for out-of-province adoption or permanent sanctuary.
Dog Tales representatives attend court in Chatham to attend a judicial pre-trial. A date to hear intervenor applications is finally set, only to be cancelled hours later. Instead, another date to set a date is scheduled for August 25th, with the court considering dates in November for the applications to be heard.
Dog Tales prepares to present an alternative option for the dogs outside of Ontario and the concern surrounding the limiting Breed Specific Legislation - that they be transferred to an advanced behavior support center in Wellborn, Florida - the DPFL National Canine Center.
The facility will be operated under the guidance of Ms. Aimee Sadler, the founder of Dogs Playing for Life. Ms. Sadler is a internationally recognized trainer specializing in socialization and behavior modification. Her techniques have been derived from over twenty-eight years of professional work. In recognition of her work, Aimee has been honored with the Henry Bergh Leadership Award in addition to being recently inducted into the Members Hall of Fame for the International Association of Canine Professionals. The DPFL National Canine Centre is Ms. Sadler’s undertaking, where dogs in need of advanced training and behaviour work will be provided with extended opportunities by the dedicated DPFL team.
The DPFL National Canine Centre and Ms. Sadler agree to receive the dogs for further evaluation, training and/or behavior modification. Dog Tales will pay all costs including the cost to transfer the dogs to Florida, the costs associated with caring for the dogs including veterinary care, and the costs associated with National Canine Centre and Ms. Sadler’s team. Additional members of the Dog Tales team will travel to Florida to participate in the care of these victims of cruelty.
A new petition begins circulating urging the court system to consider the repercussions that the delays in resolution have on the 21 dogs. A date to hear the intervenor applications in the case and decide if they will be permitted, is set for November 3rd.
Dog Tales representatives presents an intervenor application to the court so that the court may determine whether or not intervenor applications will be accepted. JP Thomas Stinson chooses to not to make an immediate decision and will review the materials put before the court. A judicial pre-trial date of December 22nd at 3:00 is set, and a final decision regarding the intervenor applications will be communicated to all parties prior to this date.
The Crown argues against the court granting intervenor status to any party, however no compelling reason to support this position is provided. The Crown suggests that the breed of the dogs has contributed to the justification for the euthanasia application. John Nunziata, lawyer for Dog Tales, outlines the alternative options available to these dogs both in and out of Ontario.
The courts decide that all applications to intervene in the case will not be accepted.
On February 16th, a judicial pre-trial will take place as the court determines whether or not to approve the application to euthanize the dogs.