Skip to content

Max the German Shepherd loses ‘dangerous dog’ appeal

Whatever Max did may never be known because his appeal was heard behind closed doors
Max and a ‘mini-me’ are shown in this supplied image

Max, one of two German Shepherds recently designated "dangerous dogs" by Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society poundkeeper Cindy Ross, must continue wearing a muzzle each time he leaves the house.

Max lost his March 20 appeal before the city's dangerous dog committee.

In a decision made behind closed doors and announced by the city this week, the committee ruled that Max must also be securely tethered whenever he leaves the dwelling-place of his owner, Tossa Fairservice.

Fairservice also owns Blue, the other German Shepherd declared dangerous by Ross on Feb. 26.

“While both of my male Shepherds were deemed dangerous dogs, I am only appealing that designation on behalf of Max," Fairservice told SooToday.

"The other dog in question has been re-homed outside of the city," Fairservice said.

"I feel the designation is not appropriate for Max who is a sweet, beloved family dog. The dangerous dog designation, should it stand, significantly reduces Max’s quality of life.

"Being required to wear a muzzle and be tethered while inside a fenced-in yard limits his ability to exercise and play," she said.

Max's 'dangerous dog' designation also means:

  • he must be contained within an area securely enclosed by a locked fence of an appropriate height, or an area enclosed by other means so that he can't come into contact with members of the public
  • a sign, no smaller than five inches by seven inches, must be displayed at all entrances to the property upon which the dog is kept, bearing words and a symbol that warn there is a dangerous dog on the property
  • whenever said dog is not within the boundaries of the owner's premises, the dog must be muzzled and on a leash that doesn't exceed two metres in length

Whatever Max and Blue did to be designated dangerous dogs may never be known because the appeal hearing was closed at the request of Fairservice.

Fairservice cited Section 9 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, which states that a tribunal may be closed if "intimate financial or personal matters or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing, of such a nature, having regard to the circumstances, that the desirability of avoiding disclosure thereof in the interests of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be open to the public."

The meeting was chaired by Ward 4 Coun. Marchy Bruni.

Ward 3 Coun. Ron Zagordo also attended.

Another committee member, Ward 5 Coun. Matthew Scott, was absent.

The committee heard evidence from Fairservice, as well as Suzanne Bird, Cam Pucci and Stephanie Blaney.

A letter from Leah Theriault was also accepted as evidence.

The committee's decision is considered final.

What's next?

If you would like to apply to become a Verified reader Verified Commenter, please fill out this form.


David Helwig

About the Author: David Helwig

David Helwig's journalism career spans seven decades beginning in the 1960s. His work has been recognized with national and international awards.
Read more