Bruce, the NI ‘pit bull type’ – long (but urgent) post!

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    Bruce, the NI ‘pit bull type’ – long (but urgent) post!

    For those of you who have been following the story of Bruce, the Staffordshire seized as ‘type’ in NI it has now come to crunch time.

    Bruce had been ordered by the court to be destroyed on Monday, 6th July. For those not familiar with Bruce’s story ther is a brief summary and heart-wrenching video here:

    Bruce has an offer of a rescue space in Eire where pit bulls can live legally. Bruce’s only remaining chance – and it is a very slim chance – is a mass letter campaign to try to persuade decision makers to allow him to leave the UK.

    There is very little time left to try to save Bruce. Please put pressure on descision makers by writing in support of Bruce.

    Home Secretary – Alan Johnson

    email – or

    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 letters but here’s a template letter…

    Please write today. There is so little time left.

    quote :

    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

    and Northern Ireland Ministers

    Peter Robinson

    Martin Mcguiness

    Gerry Kelly

    and Jeffrey Donaldson – e-mail:

    and Tony Hill, Mayor of Northdown Borough Council

    This can only work if enough people write but if enough letters land on enough desktops perhaps we can make a difference.

    More templates and contacts here:

    For vets:

    For media and other welfare organisations

    LATEST UPDATE – STOP PRESS:  Bruce’s execution has been postponed! He is still due to be killed. We don’t know when so, please, keep emailing, keep cross-posting, keep writing!

    Thanks All!


    The latest news is that Bruce’s barrister has applied for a judicial review. I don’t know if it has been granted yet but counsel has promised that Bruce won’t be destroyed untill every legal avenue has been explored.

    This means that Bruce won’t die on Monday but he is still condemened and his life hangs in the balance. It vital to keep up the pressure and keep emailing/writing. We may get little or no notice next time.

    Our emails to NI ministers are getting brushed off with referals to Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    I’m trying to find some sympathetic NI politicians that we can write to who might help pin down Robinson, Kelly and McGuinness. See below:

    Please email the following regarding Bruce. They are mps in the area Bruce was taken from. Please forward everywhere!

    more urgent contact details

    North Down constituency has six MLAs (think each constituency has six elected)
    MLA = Members of the Legislative Assembly

    Alex Easton
    Stephen Farry
    Peter Weir
    Leslie Cree
    Brian Wilson

    Alexander Easton DUP ???

    Stephen farry ???

    Peter Weir DUP

    Leslie Cree UUP

    Brian wilson???

    or facebook pages

    Here’s Peter Weir

    Here’s Stephen Farry MLA

    Brian Wilson

    Thank you!!!


    New bruce video. Please crosspost, guys!


    i cant watch the videos they just make me cry :'( i have mailed everyone that you have posted and i hope that i have helped at least a little.


    Another update:

    The Irish News ran an article on Bruce today. 😀

    Northern Ireland Assembly members are describing their inboxes with words like “inundated”.  😀 

    Statement of support from the KC:

    quote :

    We do not understand why a pit bull type dog (based purely on its looks) in one part of the UK is regarded as more of a danger than the same dog would pose in another part.

    No reponse yet from the RSPCA or USPCA so lets push them hard:



    Keep the pressure up … !

    New song by Maria Daines, for Bruce


    Latest Bruce news…

    Here again with a new vid too!

    RSPCA join in the criticism:

    quote :

    Statement on pit bull type dog in Northern Ireland – 10.7.09
    It is wrong that an entire breed of dog should be banned purely on the basis of its genetic make-up, without any consideration of an individual dog’s characteristics and temperament.

    The Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997 was introduced in England and Wales so that the automatic death sentence on all pit bull type dogs was lifted. If Northern Ireland had adopted this amendment, many family pets identified as being pit bull types would be allowed to live out their life with their owners in accordance with the law. They would not be forced to spend their final days in kennels before being inevitably destroyed.

    The RSPCA continues to campaign for the government to reassess its current dog legislation and shift emphasis from the four legs at the end of a lead to the two legs at the other. We want irresponsible owners to be held accountable for their actions, not their dogs.


    i was sent this:

    Hi Kerrie,

    Thank you for drawing this to our attention by copying us in on your message to Mr Johnson

    I would like to point out that VetNI is the secretariat for the profession and does not employ any veterinary surgeons, however Bruce’s case has been brought to the attention of the veterinary associations in Northern Ireland.  VetNI does not offer comment on specific cases particularly if they are still under consideration by the courts, and cannot speak on behalf of every individual vet in the province, however most practitioners in Northern Ireland would be supportive of the BVA policy ( which endorses the Government’s aim of protecting the public from dog attacks whilst opposing any proposals which single out particular breeds of dogs rather than targeting individual aggressive dogs.

    Kind Regards,


    Jo Gibson

    Secretary General, VetNI   


    Yep, I had the same too!  But we sure are keeping them busy and Bruce’s story is gaining momentum and keeping current.  Keep the letter going in  ;D


    Global protests planned!

    quote :

                                                                                          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: and/or so that we may record this historical moment in our fight for justice and publish these touching moments for the world to see.


    The latest update …

    “The ‘Save Bruce’ email campaign started just over a week ago and I’d like to recap over what has been achieved so far by YOU.

    The campaign has spread around the whole world. I have personally been fielding emails from Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, Portugal, Spain, France, Holland and Wales. Campaign organisers have also received support from Argentina, Italy, Scotland and elsewhere.

    The volume of the response has been huge. Northern Ireland Assembly member McFarland’s office said they had been “inundated” with emails. David Brown of Northdown Borough Council said they had been “inundated” with emails. If these people have been inundated then so have all the other targets including the Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, etc.

    The story has attracted enough attention to be covered by CNN, The Irish Times and, at least, two radio stations (not to mention the dog press, K9 Magazine, Dogs Today, etc., etc.)

    The campaign has prompted statements from The Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, the National Canine Research Council and the RSPCA.

    Three politicians (so far!) have come forward to offer both help for Bruce and help to prevent this travesty from occurring again.

    Hundreds have joined social networking sites and the Bring Bruce Home petition has added over three thousand signatures in the last seven days bringing the total to over 12,000.

    Protests are being planned in America and elsewhere and I guarantee that none of this would have happened – none of it – but for the people, like you, who have taken time to sign the petition and write the emails to the dozens of contacts put forward.

    Well done to everyone. We are getting through. We are being heard. Right now, I imagine, Northdown Borough Council et al are fervently hoping that the outcry is going to vanish as quickly as it appeared.

    But that’s not going to happen.

    Please help keep the pressure on. If you have written to the suggested contacts and not yet had a reply then please write again. And again”.


    Candlelight vigils are being held around the world for Bruce, the alleged pit bull type in Northern Ireland.

    On 23rd July peaceful vigils will be held in New York, Dublin and London.

    In London the vigil will be held at 9.00 – 10.00 p.m. (evening) outside the Northern Ireland Office in Millbank, SW1. If you are within striking distance then please come along and support Bruce’s cause.

    Come on, guys! Lets save Bruce.

    For those who can’t come (perhaps you have commitments or are just too far away) you can still join Bruce’s Virtual Vigil by holding vigil at home and sending pics to


    If you would like to attend the London vigil please email John at

    Since the vigil is within the restricted area around parliament he needs to keep police informed of expected numbers. If attendance exceeds estimates then we may be prevented from congregating.

    Thanks everyone – appreciate your support at this crucial stage.


    There has been a HUGE legal development for Bruce.

    Everybody knows that Northern Ireland doesn’t have an amendment to allow ‘type’ dogs to live. The Dept. for Agriculture and Rural Development even reiterated this point in written answers to the Northern Ireland Assembly as recently as last Sept.

    quote :

    “Such dogs are destroyed unless their owner can prove that they are not of a banned type”…008/080926.htm

    It turns out….

    They lied.

    Northern Ireland does have its own version of the amendments and has done since 2001. They just forgot to tell anyone!

    Forgot to tell Ballymena when they set about their dog massacre. Forgot to tell County Antrim, too, when they set about their own massacre…

    quote :

    “The first thing you have to be aware of is that the Amnedment to the Dangerous Dogs Act, which allows pit bull ‘type’ dogs to be registered and rehomed, does not apply in Northern Ireland” said Nigel Devine (Antrim Borough Dog Warden)…06/outrage.htm

    Bruce now has a valid legal defence to argue in his favour to compliment the public campaign, thanks to the diligence of campaigners who have painstakingly unearthed the complicated jigsaw of legislation.

    But how many dogs have died because they were denied their rights by a State that would rather just kill them than seek justice?

    Full story here:…te-on-deathrow/


    From London, outside the Northern Ireland Office in Millbank, SW1 – 30 second sample video:


    Here’s the second video.

    Here is the 3rd video:

    Maria Daines made a video of the candlelit vigil too …

    “Bruce remains in custody and under a court order of destruction so we can’t say things are going well.

    However, in the face of hopelessness, DDAWatch have discovered a legal argument that may prevail but now we wait for a court date before that argument can be tested.

    In the meanwhile it is imperative that we keep the pressure up and make sure that Bruce’s support is widely noted where it counts”.

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