Guest Column    

by  Selma Mulvey 01/06

 

IN DEFENSE OF DLCC re Dog Politics

Ms Doris Shields article to which these communications refer

DLCC release regarding Ms. Doris Shields editorial.  (rec'd our office Jan. 12th via email)

It has come to our attention that a member of the Dog Legislation Council of Canada has been the subject of much public discussion, some of which has been  negative.

With all due respect to the complainant organization, its decision in this matter does not bind or affect the DLCC, and does not prevent this member from volunteering and providing her expertise in certain unrelated events for the DLCC.

The DLCC does not screen members.  We ask only that members agree to and abide by the DLCC's Code of Ethics - available at http://www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org/COE.html

This member has, to the best of our knowledge, fully abided by the DLCC Code of Ethics.  Ms Lewis is a member of the DLCC and holds no other office.  Ms Lewis has not, at any time handled cash monies for the DLCC.

While websites and pieces such as this are trivial in view of the compelling and global issues we face, it is still unacceptable to us that any individual, who claims to support the cause, would publish material of this nature without contacting us for our input.

Ms Shields stated in regards to the Bully Ball, 'If that flies, I'm waiting for a squadron of Pot Bellied Pigs to buzz the Ontario Legislature.'.

Our council kindly suggests that Ms Shields buy a very sturdy umbrella for those pigs droppings will be landing on target.

To date the response has been quite positive.

One final word of caution:  When persons place information on the internet, either on list servers, emails, or web sites, it is deemed to be public information.  As a result of publishing such information, persons are accountable and if libellous or defamatory statements are made about other persons, legal action may be taken.

It is up to the person making the statement to prove that their statement is correct and true - not the person being defamed to prove that it is not. 

Therefore our council has forwarded this editorial to legal counsel in order to provide Ms Shields the opportunity to have her concerns addressed in the proper venue.

Sincerely, LeeAnn O'Reilly RN,PBMH  lor@nf.sympatico.ca
Pres.Dog Legislation Council of Canada       president@doglegislationcouncilcanada.org
www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org

Editorial reply same date:

Thank you for contacting our offices.  Your communication clarifies some issues but raises others.  Perhaps you can take advantage of this opportunity of offer input and comment on the following:

1.)    Do Canadians not have the same right to free speech as Americans?

2.)    By “complainant organization” do you mean the Canadian Kennel Club that Ms. Shields said suspended the accused person?

3.)    Are your members content with a DLCC that makes no attempt to screen members, even when that member has been suspended by the national registering body for Conduct or Ethics violation?  If so, how does the DLCC enforce its Code Of Ethics?

4.)    Your warning to TheDogPress and your characterization of the website as “trivial” are unprofessional, petty, and unwarranted.  No news service is under any obligation to contact other parties for input on an article based on the credibility of the CKC.  We make no claims for the authenticity of the writer’s opinion.  We gave her the same opportunity as we have just given to you and editorially speaking, Ms. Shields seemed to have less malicious intent than you Ms. O’Reilly, speaking I assume, on behalf of the organization.

5.)   Before waving a red flag, it is wise to ascertain the mood and whereabouts of the bull.  It was an article.  Not an “editorial.”  We are certain that your Legal Counsel will advise you that any publication, online or hard media, is indeed a proper venue for opinion.

BJ Andrews, Managing Editor

Note:  In view of the space you allotted to Ms Shields, I would appreciate having my letter published on your site as a rebuttal to that piece.  Thank you.

January 8, 2006 (received Jan. 12th)

RE:  'Dog Politicians' This piece was brought to my attention by an alert reader of my blog. To say that poor judgement was shown in running this 'guest column' by Doris Shields would be understatement.  Not only has this diatribe maligned the organization to which I belong, the DLCC, it has also defamed an individual and linked them with the DLCC in an uninformed, malicious and inflammatory manner.

I do not know this writer and must wonder at her agenda.  She states that she opposes BSL, yet refuses to join the DLCC or, I presume, any of the four other organizations which make up the Banned Aid Coalition.  She has denigrated our ongoing work to overturn the Ontario breed ban and has insulted our fundraising efforts.  She has obviously not investigated the facts around the matter she discusses so freely but appears to be regurgitating second- or even third-hand information.

Contrary to her statement, the DLCC has proud members across the country who are owners of many breeds, including Akitas and ACDs.  The  piece is full of erroneous postulation, so this statement simply underscores her lack of research or access to background information on the subjects being discussed.

I would strongly advise Ms Shields and the publishers of this site that in future, should you wish to discuss the DLCC, you contact the organization directly.  I for one am dismayed to see a biased, ill-informed and prejudicial article running in public which attempts to cast aspersions on the DLCC.  We are all working very hard in preparation for the case which, in the event of a decision favourable to Banned Aid, will benefit owners of all breeds across Canada whether they have supported the cause or not.  I doubt that there is another anti-BSL organization in existence that rivals the level of expertise, commitment and integrity found in the DLCC, at both the executive and membership levels.

I have issues with a few specific comments made in this column:

1.  "Lately, it's been for a $350/per plate Ball scheduled for March 2006 in Toronto. (Only(!) $650.00 for a couple.) If that flies, I'm waiting for a squadron of Pot Bellied Pigs to buzz the Ontario Legislature."

I am sorry if the writer finds the contribution for this event too costly, but I feel confident in stating that she is not a member of the target group.  This statement, aside from being fatuous, reveals a lack of sophistication.  The event is, in fact, generating a lot of interest among those for whom it is intended, ie, people who are committed to helping us in the fight to restore the rights of dog owners in Ontario.

2.  "She was soliciting admission for 'Herding Instincts Testing' well after that date & for fundraising for the court challenge to the Ontario Bill 132".

I would like to receive specific information from Ms Shields as to the exact events for which Ms Lewis has been fundraising, as I am unaware of them.

3.  "(Re: The All Breed Herding Instincts Testing... Does anybody care that their Rotti, Mini-Poodle, or St. Bernard can herd Ducks!? More to the point, why would they care? I'd be happy if any of these dogs could still do the jobs that they were supposed to be bred for. Is it possible that Dog People are the dumbest group of people on the planet?)"

It may interest the writer to learn that an essential breed characteristic of the Rottweiler is herding ability, as that was one of its original purposes.  It is indeed possible that certain members of the dog community display poor judgment; I believe we have an excellent example in Ms Shields.

4. "If she made full disclosure, she either made it several months after the fact, or they debated for several months after the fact to take her off the exec. When they say 'her current situation', do they mean that the CKC rulings against her meant nothing? Or that they were told about this a very short time ago?"

Rather than speculating about the internal workings of the DLCC, why has the author not contacted the organization for the answers to her questions?  Why would she not use a rudimentary journalistic technique and go to the source?

5.  "I have written my share of letters to MPP's, The Premier, & the 'Papers. I've made calls, stood out in the snow waving a sign, driven for 2 hours to get to anti-BSL demos BUT -"

Based on the veracity displayed in this column, I doubt that the author's lone efforts to fight BSL will be effective.  She may have written to newspapers but I am unable to find evidence of her having been published in any of them.

Fighting BSL involves dedication, research, focus, teamwork and selfless commitment - qualities which the author of this superficial and potentially libelous piece does not appear to possess.  I would like to mention that we have been unable to find the author's name on the list of contributions to the legal fund.

Incidentally, I am the coordinator for the Bully Ball, our gala event to be held at the Royal York Hotel's legendary Imperial Room on March 18, 2006.  It will be a night to remember and the price per person includes a cocktail reception, full dinner, drinks, live entertainment, interesting guest speakers and much more.  A modest contribution to the legal challenge fund is included.

If any readers of this site would like more information about the DLCC and its events, or wish to support the Banned Aid Coalition in its fundraising efforts to fight breed specific legislation in Ontario and beyond, I invite them to visit; http://www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org.

Sincerely,

Selma Mulvey, Proud Member, Dog Legislation Council of Canada

http://caveat.blogware.com

Editor: The article by Ms. Shields was reviewed and accepted on the basis that it represented a problem found on both sides of the border.  Political infighting is not limited to politicians as has just been demonstrated.  It takes dedicated workers to achieve progress against BSL.  It takes interest and helping hands and financial backing.  Many such organizations take help where they find it and no one can criticize that as long as results are beneficial to the dogs.  We have not gone to the website or to the blog by Ms. Mulvey but trust that there will be long lists of accomplishments on behalf of anti-BSL.  Hopefully everyone has gotten their say and we leave it to our readers to decide who is right, wrong, or where the grey areas may be.  We present the story in the hope that all dog legislation groups will re-examine complaints against members in light of how it may reflect on the noble goals of the organization.

 

To see Ms Doris Shields article go to the following; TheDogPress - Shields re Dog Politics in Canada - CKC Lewis vs. DLCC