A Plea for Rambo
After watching dogs turn from family pets and loyal companions to untrustworthy, vicious monsters in the public's eye, it still breaks my heart to see the victems pile up, in my own city none the less.
I actually went to school with the owner and saw rambo as a small puppy. I'm bringing in the article to post on the window to try and set up a legal fund to take her case to court.
Dog owner given tough choice
By: John Stewart
January 9, 2008 01:09 PM - The owner of Rambo, a 10-month-old cross-bred pit bull puppy, has been given a bitter choice: sign the dog over to the City of Mississauga to be killed or face a long legal battle she cannot afford.
Even if she were to take the legal route, the odds aren't good that the dog's life would be saved.
"Rambo is harmless. He wouldn't hurt anybody," a tearful Gabriela Nowakowksa
told The News yesterday after she had spoken to Dulio Rose, the City's manager of animal control.
Rambo was caught running free on Christmas Day by animal control officers. He had escaped via the back yard from Nowakowksa's Dixie Rd./Dundas St. E. area home.
Rose outlined two choices to the 20-year-old: sign Rambo over to the City to be put down or go to court on the unlikely chance that she can convince a judge that Rambo is not subject to legislation passed two years ago by Queen's Park that essentially made it illegal to own new pit bulls.
"I really do want to fight it," Nowakowska told The News in a telephone interview. "I don't want Rambo to die."
But Nowakowksa, who works part-time at a grocery store and a restaurant, does not have the resources to launch a protracted legal battle.
"When the Province passed this, nobody wanted it," Rose said. "We're still not quite sure what it's all going to accomplish."
Rose said he sympathized with the young woman, who "faces two crappy options from where she stands.
"We're not happy about having to do it, but when the Province passes a law for public safety, we must follow it," said Rose. "What we're doing, we have to do. The law is very clear and we really can't do otherwise. It's unfortunate that (the dog) got out, but sooner or later, we would have turned up at her door."
Rambo is more likely five- to seven-months-old, but even if he were 10 months, he's clearly not permitted to be owned under controversial Bill 132, adopted by the Legislature in 2005.
If Rambo is signed over, Nowakowska will not be charged with violating animal legislation or be charged the $10 per day kennel fee.
She is welcome to launch a legal defence, Rose said, but given the age of the dog and the clear definitions of the legislation and her admission that he is part American Staffordshire Terrier, it's unlikely she would win. In the meantime, Rambo would stay confined to a cage most of the time for the minimum six-month period the case would take to get to court.
If Nowakowska goes to court, there's a good chance the outcome will be the same — Rambo will be put down — but she will still face the kennel and legal costs as well.
Rose said City staff has been working with owners of dogs who fall under the pit bull legislation. Some older dogs who have been apprehended have been neutered and returned to their owners. Several others have been fitted with proper muzzles by staff to comply with the law and then returned to their owners.
"You have to understand that what (the Province) wants is, after all the existing dogs have passed away, they don't want any more around," Rose said, adding that the municipality has very little discretion in how the law is applied.
The letters of protest he has received about Rambo's case have been referred to Ontario's Solicitor-General.
Rose said he asked Nowakowska why she would put herself in this situation, acquiring a pit bull long after all the publicity about the new law.
"This dog is clearly prohibited and now she has grown very attached to it. It's most unfortunate and it's hard on everybody."
Nowakowska bought the dog at a flea market. She said she was unaware of the breed of dog or of the pit bull legislation at the time.
She's now reaching out to animal welfare organizations in a bid to get assistance if she does decide to go to court.
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