[ SHOWGSD-L ] *** from today's paper ***

  • From: "Ed Callesen" <edcallesen@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <Showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 16:31:37 -0400

wow... 



Ont. dog owner fined $14,000 for online breeder bashing


By Cheryl Cornacchia, Montreal GazetteJuly 27, 2009Comments (13)


MONTREAL â?? An Ontario woman has been fined $14,000 after being found guilty 
of libelling a commercial dog breeder online.


Ontario Superior Court Judge Michael Galligan heard last week that Lorie Gordon 
of Brockville, Ont., made the comments about the poor health of her black 
Labrador retrievers on an Internet pet forum.


The judge ordered Gordon to pay $10,000 in damages and $4,000 in court costs to 
James, Charlene and Nicole Labombard, the owners of the Shawville, Que.-based 
Paws R Us Kennel.


Galligan ruled the comments Gordon posted online between July 2004 and April 
2005 at www.pets.ca and another popular pet websites were defamatory.


But Gordon said on Monday she will appeal the decision with the help of 
donations from animal-rights advocates.


"I wrote they had sick dogs, which is true," she said.


Luc Barrick, the Ottawa lawyer representing the Labombards, said Gordon and 
several other witnesses, including representatives from Montreal's SPCA, 
attempted to portray Paws R Us as a puppy mill.


"They are trying to say a commercial breeder is a puppy mill and they are not," 
Barrick said. "There are puppy mills out there but my client is not one of 
them."


Alanna Devine, director of animal welfare at the Montreal SPCA, said she was 
disappointed that the judge ruled against Gordon.


Hundreds of puppy mills exist across Quebec and limited legislation makes it 
difficult for inspectors to shut down the operations, she said.


Marko Kulik, one of the owners of the Montreal-based website www.pets.ca where 
Gordon posted the online comments, said he was shocked by the decision.


"I feel bad for her," said Kulik. "I don't know if she was right or wrong but 
all she wanted to do was to prevent others from having the same experience."


Gordon's posts about the two dogs she got from Paws R Us â?? a black Labrador 
retriever that had to be put down because of severe hip dysplasia and a 
replacement dog that was diagnosed with epilepsy â?? generated hundreds of 
comments on www.pets.ca before they were removed, he said.


Last week's decision was one of the first to rule on Internet defamation.


In Quebec, a superior court judge ruled earlier this month that officials in 
the Montreal-area town of Rawdon were right to shut down a website to stop 
anonymous users from posting derogatory online comments about the mayor and 
police chief.


In the Ontario case, Galligan wrote Gordon's online comments were more damaging 
because "the Internet is instantaneous, seamless, interactive, blunt, 
borderless and far-reaching."


The "impersonal, and the anonymous nature of such communications may itself 
create a greater risk that the defamatory remarks are believed," Galligan said.


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