DLCC/BANNED AID Fundraiser A Hit!
By Selma Mulvey, Membership Coordinator and Co-Chair of Events,
The Dog Legislation Council of Canada
The Dog Legislation Council of Canada (DLCC), one of the five members of the Banned Aid Coalition that fights against Breed Specific Legislation held a special fundraising dinner, The Bully Ball, at the historic Royal York Hotel in Toronto on March 18, 2006.
I had the pleasure of coordinating the Bully Ball and must say that the support we received was not only encouraging but also overwhelming.
I have been asked if any 'important' people attended the Bully Ball. In my view, all of the approximately 150 people who attended were important because they came out to support us in our battle to reclaim our rights as citizens of a constitutional democracy.
Mr Clayton Ruby, one of the most prominent lawyers in Canada and counsel for Banned Aid, addressed the guests at some length. He outlined what has been happening with the case against the Ontario Liberal Government’s breed specific Dog owners’ Liability Act thus far in terms of the cross examinations of those who submitted affidavits on both sides of the challenge. He sounds very confident at this stage. He said it could take anywhere from a few days to a few months to receive a ruling after the hearings and there is no way to predict how soon a judicial decision will be announced. Hearings will be conducted on May 15 and 16 in at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto.
Mr Ruby also mentioned that in his opinion, the current provincial government is unable to differentiate between a dog and an apple. He received a standing ovation after his discussion of the case. We were thrilled that he was able to take the time to attend and speak at our event and I was honoured to meet someone I have admired for decades.
Canadian hockey legend Don Cherry sent his daughter Cindy to the dinner as he was in Montreal for Hockey Night in Canada. He and co-host of the popular Coaches' Corner show Ron McLean sent a tape wishing us well and hoping we are successful in overturning the ban. Don has a dog from Barbery Coast AmStaffs in Dartmouth, NS (Cathy Prothro's kennel).
Two full tables of CKC Executive members and Directors came to the Bully Ball and we appreciate the ongoing strong support which the CKC has shown for the challenge.
Sonny Allinson, Manager of Communications for the CKC, acted as our celebrity auctioneer. The whole audience started laughing when Sonny got a call on his mobile phone (allegedly) from Ontario's Attorney General Michael Bryant! It turned out that he wondered why he hadn't been invited and wanted to know how he could learn to tell a dog from an apple!
We invited Rufus, the BIS winner at Westminster this year, but his owner Barbara Bishop reluctantly sent regrets. They were already booked to go to Louisville, Kentucky for the big show that weekend. Barbara said to tell everyone that she will be sure to make the next event and she graciously offered to help us in any way possible.
The New Democratic Party of Ontario purchased a table to help the cause but did not send any guests. Instead, they advised us that we should seat whomever we wished at their table. We appreciate their generosity and the fact that they endorse our organization.
Members of all five Banned Aid organizations were present: the Dog Legislation Council of Canada, the Golden Horseshoe American Pit Bull Terrier Club, the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada and Advocates for the Underdog. There were also several non-pet owners in attendance who recognize the threat to democracy inherent in breed banning and want to help to have it overturned.
Guests included breeders, handlers, veterinarians, judges, groomers, dog trainers, behaviourists, and others from the dog world, many involved with breeds that are not presently proscribed. There were entrepreneurs, people from SPCA branches and private rescue organizations, artists, writers, media types, scientists, students, stockbrokers - in other words, a very diverse group with a common goal.
Kelly Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief of Dogs in Canada, attended with photographer Bill Whitehead who took photos all night in a very discreet manner. Thanks, Bill, for not blinding us with a flash!
The silent auction was fun and exciting. Items on offer included original artwork, antiques, jewellery, books, dog-related things, housewares, prints, textiles, knicknacks, gifts of services, etc. We had things donated from Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, California, North Carolina, New York and Oklahoma. Don Cherry donated many pieces for the silent auction, all of which were great fundraisers for the cause. Thank you Don!
The live auction was fun and fast. Sonny had everybody laughing and bidding!
A beautiful photo of Rufus in the ring at Westminster, taken by Kelly Caldwell and framed and printed to museum standards caused some lively bidding. Cathy Prothro, President of the American Staffordshire Terrier Club of Canada and Treasurer of the DLCC, was the winner of that special piece
Bruce Owen, well known international all-breed judge, donated a Royal Doulton figurine for the auction which was snapped up by a long time collector and representative of the SPCA.
William Secord of the renowned Secord Gallery in New York sent us a lovely framed Landseer engraving from 1885 (Jack in Office) as well as a copy of three of his own books which he kindly inscribed. These items generated a great deal of interest at both the live and silent auctions. Sylvia and Dan Barkey of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier Club of Canada were high bidders on the engraving.
DLCC Officer Dawne Deeley, of TsarShadow Karelians donated a jacket owned by her father, Harley-Davidson legend Trevor Deeley. There was a lot of excited bidding on that item.
The anonymously donated 1979 Fender Stratocaster and Vibro Champ amplifier were one of the popular items at the live auction.
Carole Stewart of Coco's Healthy Pets in Toronto put together an extravagant basket for our live auction.
Entertainment was provided by Club Django, a wonderful band who play the 1930s music of Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli. Everyone enjoyed their foot-tapping music which was perfect for the event.
Many guests travelled to get to the Bully Ball. LeeAnn O'Reilly, President of the DLCC, flew in from Corner Brook Newfoundland. Cathy Prothro came from Dartmouth Nova Scotia. Guests arrived from all over Ontario - Sudbury, Hanover, Bradford, Alliston, Burford, Dorset, Toronto, London, Dorchester, Hamilton, Burlington, Acton, Brantford, Peterborough, Ottawa and other municipalities.
This was a night to make new friends and renew old acquaintances and it was great for members of the DLCC who are spread across this nation to finally meet face-to-face. It is such fun to meet people you know quite well for the first time!
The event also forged bonds between the purebred dog fancy and the non- purebred dog fancy in Canada. It presented an opportunity for people from both groups to mingle, chat and discover that they have much more in common than they suspected.
The event generated a profit of over $35,000 (£17,500) for the Banned Aid legal fund.
Thanks to everyone for their outstanding support for the constitutional challenge to the Ontario ban, which is a threat to dog ownership regardless of breed. Without this commitment from people in all walks of life with all breeds, we would not have been able to mount this challenge at all. With your help we will show the world that we can win it.
l To donate to the fund or for more information, please visit: http://www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org http://www.bannedaid.com