Tuesday, July 25, 2017

First steps in Ontario!

Now that the news has been released, I can comment on a project that took three weeks of my time in Ontario.

Over a year ago, a group of dogs was seized from an accused major dog fighter in southern Ontario. the Ontario SPCA had them in custody, and under the laws of the Province, would have normally destroyed all of them.
The facility at Dog Tales, King City, Ontario.

But two dedicated dog activists, Rob Scheinberg and his wife Danielle, decided that these guys deserved a chance at real lives, free from abuse. They contacted Jennifer Bluhm of the Ontario SPCA and a team of lawyers, and the fight for the Ontario 21 began.

Thankfully, Ms. Bluhm was not the unreasonable dog hater that some feared: Jennifer is a compassionate and caring leader that had no desire to needlessly kill a large groups of dogs. She was, however, bound by the idiotic breed ban present in Ontario law, and as such had to fulfill her duties....BUT...she could do so compassionately and allowed the legal process to proceed, while taking extreme efforts to keep the dogs safe, humanely kept, and in the best shape possible given the strain on her agency.

Now, after almost two years of dealing with an often painfully slow legal system and hurdles that I can't begin to go into, thanks to Rob and Danielle and Jennifer and the legal team and a host of compassionate people that cannot be publicly thanked but who kept the dogs safe and well, the dogs are coming out of Ontario, alive and in better shape than they were when they were taken into custody.

Their next step is coming to Florida where I will be working with friends in Rescue to place some, and with fellow experts to rehab just as many others as we possibly can. I won't reveal their exact destination out of both concerns for security and to not steal the spotlight from the rest of the team. But I look forward to seeing my four legged friends as they enter rehab and hopefully become family members.

This may sound like a minor achievement, and some may question why we are spending time and effort here, but these dogs ARE the Canadian Vicktory dogs. These dogs ARE the first for the Province of Ontario to get a fair chance at a new start. This case is a really big deal, and I am so honored to have been chosen to take part in this effort.

I am not saying we won't have bumps along the way. These dogs, like any fighting dogs, have had a rough life. The dogs that have been fought (and I can attest that they have) suffered a life of active, horrible abuse to force them to attack and destroy fellow dogs against their natural desires to be social and exist in peace. There are tough times ahead for all of us.

There will still be rainy days for these guys...

But we will try our best and give them the shot they never would have had. Some may not make it because they may just be too damaged. That is a fact of life when you are a victim. For those, perhaps permanent safe sanctuary may be the answer. But I have faith and have always had a profound respect and amazement at the level of forgiveness dogs can show.

More on the progress of these guys as they come "home" to their new lives.

The rainbow over the road as I left Toronto was a hint.

Peace to all, and remember that compassion and patience can change the world, even if for one person or one dog at a time.


  1. This is not a minor event...as w/the Vicktory dogs, everytime dogs in these situations are assessed individually and not immediately viewed as the equivalent of a chair, precedent is set for the next group...

  2. As one involved in this case for the past 18 months agree with you except in the case of Ms Bluhm. Jennifer did a fair amount of fesr-mongering to justify the OSPCA application to kill the dogs and in a very public way. She cares way more about her job than she cared about the dogs. Check out her comments in the newspapers when the protests were reported in the news. She set back the cause to end BSL in Ontario in a big way and is no animal advocate.

    1. I agree Fran, so much could be said about the OPSCA. However i will save that for another day. Way to go Dog Tales, and all agencies involved, Bullies in Need, Animal Justice. Thank you for standing up for these dogs who deserve to be alive and happy. Still not enough but it is the first victory to end this madness called BSL!

  3. Sorry about Tommy, but so happy for the 18 remaining dogs who will have a happy retirement!

  4. On behalf of Animal Alliance of Canada, thanks to you and all who worked so hard for these dogs.
    - We are deeply grateful for the persistence shown by Dog Tales owners Rob Scheinburg and Danielle Eden. They, their staff, and lawyer truly saved the day. Without their compassion and determination we would not have this happy outcome.

    These dogs have mattered deeply to so many of us.

    - The efforts to save these dogs were wide-spread. Rescue group, Bullies in Need, brought a lawyer to the table early on and only withdrew when it was clear that both Animal Justice and Dog Tales were seeking to legally intervene on the dogs' behalf. At repeated court proceedings animal advocates demonstrated, some participants driving for up to five hours to make the events. One person distributed 'Save the 21' t-shirts to publicize the dogs' plight. Rallies and protests were organized and held. Emails were sent. Vicktory dog, Handsome Dan's guardian, Heather Gutshall did several media interviews, as did Paul Faccione, Cherry Garcia's guardian.
    - You are so right, Mr. Crosby that these dogs are Canada's Vicktory dogs. There are many Ontarians fighting hard to get BSL repealed in this province,and to improve our animal protection laws. Hopefully we will see a time when dogs who were harmed in our own province do not need to rely on those in other jurisdictions to give them safe shelter. Until then, we fight on together.

    Thanks Mr.Crosby for the role you played in this encouraging outcome for the survivor dogs.

  5. Many thanks Mr. Crosby for sharing, and for your involvement which contributed to the final decision by our court’s to Save the Chatham dogs.

    This has been a long, hard fought battle to 'SAVETHE21' by many dedicated animal advocates here in Ontario and abroad. Although 3 additional dogs have died, I am thrilled that the remaining dogs, who are the true victims of these heinous crimes by humans, will have an opportunity at a 2nd chance to live through being transferred to the US for rehabilitation while the criminal case against the 3 remaining accused, is still before our courts.

    From my involvement advocating for this case, the victims of such crimes (the dogs), should not have had to suffer as a result of our laws in Ontario and by the many delays of the judicial process. These injustices towards animals in our communities needs to STOP and be changed. Thankfully through the persistence of many, this case brought much awareness to the grave deficiencies with the laws and the enforcement systems of the Ontario SPCA as well as our judicial process, when animals are involved. Many thanks to ALL who supported the efforts and followed this case. Much work to be done in Ontario, Canada to strengthen Animal Welfare and Protection!