LET MERCEDES COME HOME! sign now

Mercedes’ owners swear she’s a good dog. But she’s a pitbull, she’s not spayed, and she was picked up loose by Animal Services Friday after she escaped from the back yard.

Because she wasn’t spayed, she won’t be going home.

“I know I screwed up, all I want now is a chance to make it right,” said Kevin Adnum, the dog’s owner.

The province’s Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA) outlines specific laws for pitbull owners — and Adnum, 30, knew the rules.

When he went to pick up his dog from Animal Services, he was told he wouldn’t be getting her back — the dog, having not been spayed, was illegal and would either be euthanized or shipped out of province.

“I’ve had this dog since she was four weeks old. She’s a family dog, around kids all the time, she’s never been loose before, has never bit, nothing,” Adnum said.

“But because of this damn law, if they’re not spayed and they pick them up, you can’t have them back.”

He fully admits he should have had her spayed when the pitbull ban came into effect more than five years ago:

“I know, they told me four years ago. I was young. I didn’t have money to spend on spaying, but she’s also never had a litter.”

He says he has had the dogs licence renewed regularly—and despite paying a higher fee specifically because the dog was not spayed, he says he was never questioned.

“When I renew my licence, why did nobody say anything then? My question is why didn’t you take her then, or give me a fine then? Now that she’s in custody it’s suddenly an issue.”

Keith Scott, CEO of the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA — a separate agency from the City of Hamilton’s Animal Services, where the dog is in custody — said there is little flexibility when it comes to the pitbull laws.

“They are very strict,” he said. “Animal Services is obligated under legislation to seize those animals and to either euthanize them, or as in almost 100 per cent of the cases, the animals are spayed and or neutered and then we find homes for them out of province.

“As I understand it, there is no leeway. If you’re caught with an illegal animal, that’s the way it goes.”

The Spectator was not able to reach Animal Services for comment Sunday night.

Adnum argues there are animals that they have trouble finding homes for — and his dog was a beloved member of his family. The dog was currently living with his girlfriend, Lelania Hines, 29, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.

He says the dog was a comfort to her and helped her with balance. Daily walks ensured Hines got her exercise.

“This dog has a good home and a family that loves her dearly,” he said.

“I’m going to put up a fight, a fuss, just give me the chance to do the right thing.”

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