May 2014 edition of Dogs Today

May 2014 edition of Dogs Today
May 2014 edition of Dogs Today

Friday, 3 July 2009

Innocent Bruce is due to die on Monday - can we save him?

Today I've received two urgent emails about Bruce.

Earlier today well known doggie barrister Pam Rose sent this appeal out:

Bruce is a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier living in NI. On Monday he will die unless we try and stop this happening. Perhaps there is a chance - the slimmest of chances - that Bruce can yet be saved and sent to safety in Eire. I implore all of you to write to the contacts below.
There is very little time left to try to save Bruce. Please put pressure on decision makers by writing in support of Bruce.


And Ryan O'Meara from K9 also asked if we'd give it a push and contributed the words and You Tube link in the hope it'll help save poor old Bruce.

If this story moves you, please read Pam's suggestions at the bottom for what we can all do to try and save an entirely innocent dog from dying on Monday.


Dog lovers around the world have reacted in horror to the recent news that the high profile case of pet dog “Bruce” may finally be over as a court orders he be destroyed in a few days time ending an exhaustive twenty one month battle to save him.


Bruce was a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier living happily with his family in Northern Ireland. On September 19th 2007 Bruce was seized by council officials as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.

Whilst incarcerated in kennels his family were allowed to visit their dog in October 2007, Bruce had lost weight, muscle tone and had an open cut to his muzzle. Five months later Bruce was allowed a second visit from his family in March 2008, they were shocked with what they found: The wound on Bruce’s muzzle was larger, weeping and had become infected, he tail had been amputated due to damage and infection, he had open pressure sores, was underweight and looked totally broken and rejected, yet despite the clear pain he was in, is described by experts as being a friendly dog that poses no danger to the public.

A trial was heard at Bangor Magistrates’ Court on 27th August 2008 and the court determined that Bruce was “of type” despite the evidence from two expert identification witnesses who said he was not. Judgement was given two weeks later on the 12th September and Bruce was ordered destroyed devastating his family and supporters.

A legal appeal was lodged and a brief hearing on the 12th November 2008 listed the case for mention on 12th January 2009.

A further hearing in March 2009 was scheduled to set a date for the full Appeal. But, as we understand it, at this hearing the Judge gave Bruce a reprieve, as she believed Bruce does not pose a danger to the public. It was unclear how this potentially groundbreaking ruling would proceed as the Judge did not contest that Bruce had been found to be a pit bull type but decided as he posed no danger to the public he could be returned to his owner under the conditions that apply to pit bull types in England: Bruce’s owner was trying to obtain third party liability insurance for him as a pit bull type in Northern Ireland. As it is illegal to have a “pit bull type” in Northern Ireland no insurance company was able to offer insurance cover.

A further court date was set for 29th June 2009 to decide how this ruling for Bruce could proceed and the Judge ordered destruction.

In a desperate attempt to save Bruce, owner Shannon Brown, supporters and neighbours have created petitions, online networking groups and videos resulting in worldwide support to “Bring Bruce Home”. Bruce remains on canine death row, removed from his family home, alone and unaware of the worldwide support he has to spare his life.

Despite being debated several times, Northern Ireland has not adopted the provisions within the1997 Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act allowing friendly pet dogs found to be unlawful by appearance, but posing no danger to the public, to be allowed to live. In England, Scotland and Wales, a dog found to be “pit bull type” by the courts can be ordered entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs as an alternative to destruction. If the Amendment had been accepted in Northern Ireland, the court would have been able to exercise discretion as with the rest of the UK - Bruce is likely to have been home long before now, alive and well registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

If Bruce lived across the border in Southern Ireland where no breeds are nationally banned he would never have been seized and imprisoned at all. Bruce has been offered a place of safety with a dedicated rescue and sanctuary in Southern Ireland where he could legally live out the rest of his life; this offer has been conveyed in writing to the solicitor but has sadly not been accepted by the court.

Bruce hasn’t actually ever put a paw wrong; he is sentenced to death due to the way he looks and the fact that NI has a mandatory death penalty unlike the rest of the UK who gave the courts discretion when sentencing twelve years ago.

Bruce and his family have endured much mental and physical anguish and pain solely due to a draconian law. His owner is simply a young dog owner who has been struggling for nearly two years to save her dogs life.

All that needs to be done to let a friendly dog live is for Bruce to be allowed safe passage from Northern to Southern Ireland and Bruce needs your support again during his eleventh hour.

We are asking supporters to contact the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward MP) and Ministers urging them to use compassion and discretion by granting Bruce a Pardon removing the penalty imposed – the mandatory death sentence with the provision that Bruce is moved to the rescue placement ready and waiting for him in Southern Ireland. For a nation who claims to be animal lovers this would be the expected outcome.

As the court has ordered that Bruce be destroyed someone will be expected to administer the fatal injection. Veterinary surgeons take a sworn oath and promise to safeguard the welfare of animals committed into their care. In line with this sworn promise we are calling on all veterinary professionals within the UK to take a stand and refuse to kill Bruce - a healthy, wanted animal who poses no danger to the public & has a rescue space waiting for him in Eire. Bruce’s legal owner does not give consent for Bruce to be destroyed.

Please forward this link to everyone you can. Hopefully with thousands of emails and calls someone will remove the death sentence from Bruce.

Who to contact to help save Bruce:

Home Secretary - Alan Johnson

email - public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
or
johnsona@parliament.uk

Please ask for Bruce to be given safe passage to Eire where he can live legally. It's probably best if you can compose your own letter but here's a template letter...

Please write today. There is so little time left.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you with regard to a travesty about to occur in Northern Ireland and to beg you to intervene and help save a life.

The life in question belongs to Bruce,a young Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was living happily with his family in Northern Ireland. On September 19th 2007 Bruce was seized by council officials as an alleged “pit bull type” and taken to secluded kennels whilst his owner was taken to court for owning a banned type of dog.
While incarcerated in kennels his family were allowed to visit Bruce in
October 2007, Bruce had lost weight, muscle and had a cut to his muzzle. Five months later Bruce was allowed a second visit from his family in March 2008, they were shocked with what they found: The wound on Bruce's muzzle was larger and had become infected, he had to have his tail amputated, had open sores, was underweight and looked totally rejected, yet despite the clear pain he was in, is described by experts as being a friendly dog that poses no danger to the public. In a desperate attempt to save Bruce, owner Shannon Brown, supporters and neighbours have created petitions and videos resulting in worldwide support to “Bring Bruce Home”.
Northern Ireland has not adopted the 1997 Amendment Act as in England, Scotland and Wales, despite being proposed several times, thus meaning any dog deemed to be “pit bull type” cannot be entered onto the Index of Exempted Dogs. If the proposal had been accepted in Northern Ireland, as with the rest of the UK, Bruce would have been home long before now, alive and well registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
If Bruce lived in Southern Ireland where no breeds are nationally banned he would never have been seized at all. Bruce has been offered a place of safety with a reputable rescue in Southern Ireland where he could legally live out the rest of his life, this offer has been conveyed to the solicitor but has sadly not been accepted by the court.

I understand that you have the power to grant a pardon and we beg of you to do all within your power to allow Bruce the chance of life by requesting Bruce is granted safe passage to Southern Ireland and the rescue placement that is waiting there for him. This is all that is needed. I am sure, Mr. Johnson, that you are aware of how emotionally committed good owners are to their pets. Dogs are part of our families as much as children. Please spare Bruce’s owner the further trauma of destroying Bruce so needlessly. Please pardon Bruce and allow a blameless animal the chance of life.

We claim to be a nation of animal lovers, surely now it is time to prove it?

Yours faithfully


Thank you. Thank you for writing. Just one last thing....

Excluding the bit about 'having the power to pardon' please write also to:

Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
http://www.shaunwoodward.com/enquiry.html

and
Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland Ministers

http://www.peterrobinson.org/EnquiryForm.asp


Martin Mcguiness
email: ps.ministers@ofmdfmni.gov.uk

Gerry Kelly
email: ps.ministers@ofmdfmni.gov.uk

and

Jeffrey Donaldson
http://www.jeffreydonaldson.org/AdviceCentre.asp

and

Tony Hill, Mayor of Northdown Borough Council
email: tony.hill@northdown.gov.uk

If enough letters land on enough desktops perhaps we can make a difference.

An alternative template is...

Dear Sir

I am writing to you with deep concern about events about to unfold in Northern Ireland.

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier, named Bruce, was seized in 2007 as being of a banned type (pit bull terrier). Bruce’s owner has fought ever since to have him returned but, as Northern Ireland has never adopted the ’97 amendment to the DDA, they have not been successful.

Whilst in the care of the State Bruce has deteriorated physically to a shameful degree but his temperament has remained impeccable throughout. The current situation is that Bruce has an offer of sanctuary with a highly regarded welfare organisation in Eire (where pit bull ‘types’ can live legally) but his destruction has been ordered by the court nonetheless and is scheduled for Monday, 6th July.

We have many problems in this country concerning poor standards of dog ownership. It is an issue that repeatedly takes up parliamentary time and our media is regularly filled with stories of abuse and neglect. Our nation’s dog owners are continually (and rightly) urged by government and welfare organisations to pay proper attention and to attribute appropriate value to our dogs’ welfare. As a volunteer for an animal welfare organisation I am personally acquainted with our society’s disposable attitude towards dogs and the suffering engendered by those who do not value welfare.

What example does it send to society if the State is willing to throw away a dog’s life so needlessly? What role model does it offer, if government, after ill-treating this dog discards the offer of sanctuary that has been made for Bruce?

Accordingly I request that you use your influence, if not to re-unite Bruce with his owners, to at least afford him safe passage to the Republic.



For Further Information – Please Contact:

DDA Watch

Email: mail@dangerousdogsact.co.uk

www.dangerousdogsact.co.uk

Tel: 0844 844 2900

Endangered Dogs Defence & Rescue

www.endangereddogs.com

12 comments:

John Robinson said...

Thanks for highlighting Bruce's plight. What example does it set our young generation when our politicians opt to kill needlessly?

Penkitty said...

This poor dog has been through hell and his only crime is being born. Shame on the authorities!

guy41 said...

I have emailed all of the government addresses givenabove, I recieved just one reply from PS Ministers NI who said that Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development are the ones responsible; here are their addresses:
private.office@dardni.gov.uk; dardhelpline@dardni.gov.uk

I also sent 6 unsolicited mails to UK national papers ....Any other suggestions???

LETS GET BRUCE OFF DEATH ROW NOW!!

wellie boots said...

Done and passed on to friends. Unbelievable. Poor Bruce. And his poor family.
*shakes head and crosses fingers*

jo siemieniowski said...

I too have emailed the gov addresses, it is such a shame that they are still killing the breed, and not the deed, god bless bruce, there are many people trying to help you xx

Amanda said...

More contacts, this time the Northern Ireland Assembly-debate issues and laws etc

Please email the following regarding Bruce - these are the political reps for Bruce's area -

North Down constituency has six MLAs:

MLA = Members of the Legislative Assembly

Alex Easton
Stephen Farry
Peter Weir
Leslie Cree
Brian Wilson
Alan McFarland

Alexander Easton DUP - Alex.Easton@niassembly.gov.uk

Stephen Farry - stephen.farry@allianceparty.org

Peter Weir DUP - pjweir@hotmail.com

Leslie Cree UUP - leslie.cree@niassembly.gov.uk

Alan McFarland UUP - alanmla@hotmail.com and alan.mcfarland.@niassembly.gov.uk

Brian Wilson - brian.wilson@niassembly.gov.uk

Thank You!

Anonymous said...

any news on what has happened?

Anonymous said...

so what happened?

Beverley Cuddy said...

Bruce is still alive, but his life hangs by a thread.
Please write to support him as if he does die it is better there are thousands of eyes to witness yet another pointless killing than his passing be unmarked. He was given a short stay of execution, but it will take a miracle to save him.
Beverley

wellie boots said...

any news on this?

Anne Bardell said...

Dear Beverley, do you have any further news on this? I am still hoping that common sense has prevailed (relatively speaking - the most logical course of action would of course be to return poor Bruce to his family!) Best wishes.

Amanda said...

Candle Lit Vigil - Bruce:


A world-wide candle lit vigil is being held for Bruce onThursday 23rd July 2009.

Everyone can take part-in your home, your town showing your support, standing united for death row dog Bruce who will on that day have been imprisoned for agonizing six hundred and seventy three days.

Here’s how it works:

What is needed.

1) A candle

2) A sign saying ‘Save Bruce’ 'Let Bruce Live' or simi liar and location (county/state/ country)

3) A camera

What to do.

1) Persuade, cajole, bully, bribe and threaten as many people as possible to join in the photograph.

2) Take photograph

3) Upload photo and email it to mail@dangerousdogsact.co.uk.

What happens then?

1) On Friday 24th July the pictures will be published across the Internet

2) A press release will be issued by DDAWatch.

3) A new video will be released with the pictures included.

Points to remember.

1) Make the sign big, clear and central

2) It’s a sombre purpose so big, cheesy smiles are probably not needed.

3) If you are under 16 then please make sure that a parent gives permission and is in the photograph too.

Join Our Call to "paws"

"Paws" for a moment of silence and join us in lighting a candle in honor, support and recognition of our beautiful canine friend, "Bruce", an innocent victim and pawn of Northern Ireland's Breed Specific Legislation law.

We can not do many things for Bruce as he still sits - just under 2 years - caged, isolated, and physically neglected at the hands of a government agency. These laws were enacted to decrease harm to its' citizens but is now causing harm to many dogs, including Bruce, and their families.

We can not break him free.

We can not ease his confusion and sadness of being taken from the only home he has ever known.

We can not relieve his suffering, and the pain that he continues to endure, nor can we replace his once-beautiful and healthy tail, now amputated from this government's abuse and neglect.

What we can do is pause "paws" for a moment of silence and light our flame in honor of "Bruce", in support of his steadfast-unwavering courage, continuing trust and devotion, and in recognition of his undeniable "spirit", that continues to touch the world.

We can "paws" to honor all of our canine friends and their families around the world who have lost their lives to Breed Specific Legislation and Dangerous Dog Act Laws, this criminal - breed genocide law, and vow to make a change, worldwide, one goal, one purpose, uniting us all in solidarity to repeal this law of inhumanity.

On Thursday, July 23rd 2009 at dusk in your part of the world, with your beloved pets safe at your side, light a candle and "paws" for this powerful moment of silence in honor, in support, and in recognition for all of us fighting to "Bring Bruce Home" uniting to make a change for "Bruce" and the many lives already lost--so that they did not die in vain.

Capture the moment with a digital photograph or video and please send to: mail@dangerousdogsact.co.uk and/or Facebook-Events so that we may record this historical moment in our fight for justice and publish these touching moments for the world to see.