Tears, promises at appeal hearing for seized Oshawa dog
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Dog lovers gather in Oshawa to save Roxy
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OSHAWA -- An Oshawa woman will have to wait at least two more weeks to learn the fate of the dog she calls "my best friend in the world."
Deanna Pike sobbed quietly during a Feb. 7 appeal hearing at Oshawa City Hall, while supporters in the gallery wiped away their own tears and clutched signs that read 'Free Roxy'.
Ms. Pike is fighting to have her four-year-old dog freed from the City pound after it was seized on Jan. 10.
City officials allege the dog is a pit bull, a breed banned in Ontario except for animals born before the 2005 legislation was passed.
The City also says Roxy is unlicensed and was observed acting aggressively in public.
Ms. Pike insists her dog is a "boxer cross" who has never hurt anyone.
She says she didn't buy a licence in 2009 or 2010 because she wanted to change the breed listed on the document, but didn't know how to accomplish that.
"I will do whatever I can to get her back, I'll do anything," Ms. Pike said at the hearing. "She's like my child, she sleeps in bed with me...I just miss her, this month that's gone by is the longest month ever."
She said a representative from the Canadian Kennel Club has agreed to come to Oshawa to determine Roxy's breed. From there Ms. Pike promised to license the dog, have her spayed and muzzle her while in public.
Kevin Feagan, the City's manager of municipal law enforcement and licensing, said City staff spotted the dog tied up outside a local store on Jan. 10 and observed her barking, growling and lunging at pedestrians passing by.
Since the dog has been brought to the pound, Mr. Feagan said, he has personally seen Roxy act "in a very aggressive manner."
"I have no jurisdiction to talk about provincial regulations, so we're not going to be talking about whether the dog in question is a pit bull,"said Brian Johns, the hearings officer who oversaw Monday's proceedings.
After listening to evidence on both sides, he said a judgment on the licensing and aggression issues would be mailed out in two weeks.
The question of Roxy's breed is still unresolved.
City staff said they would need to bring in a vet or other expert to weigh in on the pit bull question, before Roxy could be licensed.
This past weekend more than 50 people rallied in downtown Oshawa to demand Roxy's release.
"It's heartbreaking," said local resident Pamela Correia, who brought along her own dog, a British Bulldog also named Roxy. "Every time I hear about another dog that we've lost over this, it's just terrible and affects all of us."
It's not the first pit bull controversy in Oshawa and it likely won't be the last.
Jared Mercieca recently moved to Calgary in a bid to save his pit bull, Leo. City officials seized the dog in late November, alleging he was spotted unleashed and unmuzzled at a local skateboard park.
The dog was born after 2005 and stood a chance of being euthanized, so Mr. Mercieca agreed to move out of province to save his canine companion's life.
On Sept. 29, a dog named Scarlette -- whose owners say is a boxer/lab cross -- wandered away from home when the door was accidentally left open.
She was picked up by the City, identified as an illegal pit bull and is now facing a potential death sentence.
Her distraught owner hasn't seen the dog in more than four months.
Dogs by the numbers
Here's how many dogs the City of Oshawa has seized in recent years and what happened to them.
40 dogs seized (26 pit bulls)
20 returned to owner
10 fostered, adopted or relocated
14 dogs seized (7 pit bulls)
10 returned to owner
1 transferred to other agency
6 dogs seized (2 pit bulls)
3 returned to owner
Still no clarity on whether Roxy is a pit bull, recent rally drums up support
Feb 08, 2011 - 03:21 PM
Its very wrong and very very heart breaking