Friday, June 29, 2012

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Letter submitted to the Court by Brindi's veterinarian


Since October 2010, Dr. Larkin has been regularly monitoring Brindi's health at my request, as her health was already compromised from two-years of being held in isolation. For unstated reasons, HRM would not permit the vet to see Brindi at the kennel, however, so she was brought to the Complete Care Clinic. Dr. Larkin speaks about her expertise and her opinion of Brindi's behavior. Posted with permission. 

June 21, 2012

The Honourable Judge Flora I. Buchan
Dartmouth Provincial Court
277 Pleasant Street
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 3S2

Your Honour,

Re: R. v.  Rogier Sentencing Submissions

Please accept and consider this letter which is presented with respect to the trial of Francesca Rogier, owner of Brindi.
With full respect to your Honour, I am aware that Courts in Canada customarily give consideration to veterinary opinion in cases where the destruction of a family pet is contemplated.  In some cases, they seek out such professional input. I would hope that such consideration is given here.
Professional qualification:
It is my sincere hope that my statement will not be disregarded or dismissed based on what would be, in my view, a misunderstanding of the notion of “expert”. As a veterinarian, I spent 8 years in university training to become a doctor.
My training at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island qualifies me to diagnose conditions and prescribe medical treatments in the areas of dermatology, ophthalmology, cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, oncology , immunology, orthopedics, as well as performing surgery, dentistry, radiology, and last but not least, behavior modification training. Veterinarians essentially are trained to provide complete medical care for our animal patients including behavioural advice. It is rare that we have the need to consult a specialist. My 18 years of clinical experience further demonstrates my knowledge and skills as a veterinarian.
In addition, as a veterinarian entrusted by both Ms. Rogier and Halifax Regional Municipality to monitor Brindi’s health since early 2010, I am able to provide reliable information about her status and her behavior.  In its capacity as a representative of the public, and having been in regular dialogue with Animal Services staff, I would hope that the Municipality will have no question as to the authenticity of my statement, as I am aware that it is customary for the legal profession to recognize the validity of a veterinarian’s statements on behalf of their patient.
With respect to Brindi, please allow me to place her in context with the greater dog population in HRM from my point of view as a practicing veterinarian. In my practice, and in others across the province where I have worked, it is common (a few times a month) to have an appointment with a patient who is aggressive towards other dogs who must be scheduled for the first or last appointment of the day to prevent them from running into another dog and risking a fight.  It is also common to be confronted with a dog that is aggressive towards people that proves to be a serious health risk to me and my staff.  I am well trained and experienced in handling these situations. Beyond this, I have worked with several pet owners to help them modify their pet’s aggressive behaviour.
In my 2 years of caring for Brindi, I have never felt concerned for the personal safety of me or my staff. When Francesca brought her to my clinic in the summer of 2010, we never found it necessary to clear the waiting room before her entry.  She is a sweet, intelligent dog. Although she does need behavior modification for her territorialism, speaking as a veterinarian with a grounding in behavioural science, I would not deem Brindi to be a candidate for euthanasia. I have seen many dogs in my practice that in my view would pose a serious risk to public safety. I am not aware that HRM considers any of these patients a “dangerous dog” or that their owners have received any warnings or citations.
Francesca Rogier has been a good client of mine since November 2009. Whenever she brought Brindi to my clinic, Brindi was properly muzzled and leashed. Ms. Rogier has kept all of her pets in good health by feeding good food and allowing me to perform good preventative health care. She has kept her dog’s license up to date, as she renewed it in my office this past spring. She even brought in her friend’s 2 dogs to my hospital and paid for their veterinary care and licensing herself.
Ms. Rogier’s persistence in defending Brindi clearly shows her devotion and care that she delivers to her pets. I truly believe Ms. Rogier has the intent and ability to provide Brindi with the behavior training she needs to modify her territorialism. In addition, I have met and spoken with Susan Jordan, her trainer, and am aware she is well-regarded in the community of trainers and is equipped to handle behavioural modification. I am confident in her abilities.
I hope you find this statement instructive. If you have any questions for me please feel free to contact me (number removed).

Respectfully,

Kyra Larkin BSc, DVM


Dr. Larkin first examined Brindi in June 2010 at Belle Kennel, using her mobile vet clinic. I am extremely indebted and grateful to her for her dedication and commitment.
For the trainer's findings, go here

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