Caiman Caught in London


London, Ontario residents recently found something more interesting than ducks and beavers at their local reservoir – a five kilogram common Caiman, relative of the Alligator.

Locals had spotted the Caiman over the weekend, but Animal Control were unable to catch it.

Area resident John Stephan had heard about the creature, and decided to have look for himself while walking his Shih Tzu, Gunner, near the reservoir last evening. The film crews were apparently a dead give away that something out of the ordinary was going on.

From the London Free Press

“I asked what was going on and I was told there was a small crocodile or alligator in the pond,” he said. “There had been sightings and it had been filmed.”

Stephan decided to look for the creature on the south side of the pond, “because I noticed it was reedy over there.”

When he got to the reeds, he followed a slithery trail in the muck until he found an alligator sunning itself on a bed of weeds.

Stephan is apparently quite the amateur crocodile hunter, because his first reaction on spotting the caiman wasn’t to run screaming in circles (my probable reaction), but rather to simply reach down and grab it.

“It wasn’t moving,” he said. “I came up to it from behind, reached down and grabbed it with my bare hands.”

“I think it was a bit listless because of the cold. But when I picked it up, it struggled to free itself. I wasn’t going to let go, though. I’ve got big strong hands and I kept a tight grip on it.”

Stephan walked with the caiman, a relative of the alligator, about 75 meters to an A Channel truck, where he asked television reporter Nick Paparella to get some duct tape and tape the mouth of the creature shut.

The Caiman was later “identified by an exotic wildlife specialist as a “spectacled or common caiman”. It’s been speculated that someone bought it as a pet, and turned it loose in the pond when it grew too large.

*Shortly after the Caiman was caught, Sarnia Animal Control Officer Brad Loosley arrived on the scene and insisted that the Caiman was actually a Pit Bull.

“Check out those locking jaws!”, a frothing at the mouth Loosley exclaimed to bemused television crews. “That’s a Pit Bull, alright. The beady eyes give it away”.

When Loosley was informed that reptile specialists had identified the creature as a Caiman, he scoffingly replied “Those guys aren’t experts on Pit Bulls – me, I’m a Pit Bull expert. I’m an Animal Control officer, dammit. Bow to my authority”.

Loosley then noticed Gunner, Mr. Stephan’s Shih Tzu, and attempted to nab Gunner with a snare pole. When asked what on earth he thought he was doing, Loosley shrieked that Pit Bulls come in all sizes, and that Gunner was obviously a miniature, long haired Pit Bull. “Oh, sure – they look like family pets”, a wild eyed Loosley was heard to exclaim. “Until the day they snap and savage your ankle, and then it’s all over, buddy”.

An A Team technician then wrestled a hysterical Loosley to the ground and duct taped his mouth shut, commenting that he ‘seemed a little bit irate, and was ranting something about being denied his due measure of death dealing. He seems a bit nuts, honestly’.*

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You call THAT sad?

I’m all upset this morning, because of THIS blog posting —

In case you can’t be bothered to click it, it shows this photo, with the caption “Saddest Dog in the World”.

This dog isn't sad, it's ARTISTIC

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Monday Morning Frenchie Photo Fun

Tessa and Sailor say "Shut up, and make with the cookies".

Tessa and Sailor say shut up, and make with the cookies

I’ve been mulling over my growing hatred for anyone who says that they can “understand the reasons behind breed bans”. This, coupled with my increasing suspicion that most of this hysteria can be blamed on the media, has left me a rather grumpy person lately.

In case of grumpiness, spend ten minutes watching puppy play with bottle cap.

In case of grumpiness, spend ten minutes watching puppy play with bottle cap.

I was going to post a big, long, unhappy rant about stupid people and the stupid things that they say, but instead, let’s look at some photos of happy Frenchies. It’s better for my blood pressure, and it’s probably more fun for you, the reader.

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Pammy Makes New Friends

Pammy in the sunshine

Pammy had an adventure this afternoon – she traveled to our friend Kelly’s house, where she made some new four and two legged friends, chief among them Luther and Heart!

Luther, of course, is daddy to Bunny’s most recent litter – Po, Vela, Jacques, Hugo and Paco (formerly known as Peanut Butter). Heart is our very own Heart of Gold puppy, born just about one year ago. It’s always nice catching up with Miss Heart and seeing how she’s doing (and finding out how much trouble she’s been getting into). Apparently, Heart’s new favorite hobby is glaring at the miniature horses, and jumping onto Kelly’s dining room table (mid meal) to steal food.

Heart and Pammy

Luther was quite taken by Pammy, but we had to break it to him that she was still jail bait, so he’d better back off with the amorous advances. Pammy fell head over heels in love with Winston, who she didn’t seem to regard as a sentient being, but more as a really large, warm throw rug. She also came nose to nose with her first kitten, an experience she shrugged off as ‘eh’.

Pammy and Winston

All in all, a busy day for a small puppy!

Lots of photos after the cut, or on Flickr.

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The dogs are safe – for now

Media release:

Dear Members of Council,

The City of Sarnia is arranging for the release of the three mixed-breed dogs that were detained on the basis of having similar characteristics to a “Pit Bull” as outlined by the Dog Owners Liability Act (DOLA).

Following the detentions, the dogs Capone, Maddie and Carter were examined by an expert of the owners choice and one of the City’s choice.

Both examinations found that the dogs were not “Pit Bulls” nor do they have the appearance or physical characteristics of the “Pit Bull” breed.

While the dogs were detained, extensions were given to the euthanasia of the dogs to allow for the examinations.

The City wanted to get the necessary information to ensure the right decision was made and that is now the case.

Following discussions with the owners’ lawyer, the dogs will be released to their owners subject to them being spayed and neutered in accordance with the recommendations of the owners’ expert.

The city is satisfied that the release of the dogs back to their owners is the right decision and will work with the owners to ensure that the recommendations are followed in the release.

Lloyd Fennell
City Manager

We can’t any of rest easy, however. The law which allowed – encouraged! – this stupid, money sucking, owner and dog traumatizing circus o’ stupidity still stands, and until it’s knocked down, none of us are safe.

You’re not even safe if you’re just traveling through Ontario, on your way to someplace else, as this letter posted on the DLCC website, from former Ontario tourism minister Jim Bradley, makes abundantly clear.

Ministry of Tourism and Recreation
9th Floor, Hearst Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2E1
Tel: (416) 326-9326
Fax: (416) 326-9338

File Reference Number: XXX

April 7, 2005

Dear Ms. XXXXX :

Thank you for your e-mail messages about the Ontario government’s new legislation banning pit bulls. I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns, and I apologize for the delay in responding to you.

Ontario’s Public Safety Related to Dogs Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005 became law on March 9, 2005, and it amends the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. The new legislation will come into effect on August 29, 2005, banning pit bulls and their importation into Ontario. The new law also places restrictions on existing pit bulls and toughens penalties for the owners of any dog that poses a danger to the public. Pit bulls already legally resident in the province before the date the law comes into force may remain legally in Ontario, subject to certain conditions, such as compliance with leash, muzzle and sterilization requirements. Accordingly, law-abiding owners of existing pit bulls in Ontario need not give up their dogs.

Importing pit bulls into Ontario will be prohibited after August 29, 2005. Pit bulls not legally resident in Ontario prior to this date will be subject to seizure, and persons found to have imported a pit bull into Ontario will be in violation of the law and may be subject to fines and/or jail. There are no exceptions for tourists, including those simply passing through Ontario with their pit bulls, apart from a limited exception for individuals participating in a recognized dog show. You can find further information about the legislation on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website at:

Ontario greatly values its visitors from Canada, the United States and abroad. We are proud of the many world-class tourism attractions and experiences in Ontario, and we are working hard to provide a safe and welcoming province for visitors and residents alike. For more information on traveling in Ontario, please visit, or call toll free 1-800-Ontario (1-800-668-2746).

Again, thank you for advising me of your concerns, which I will share with my Cabinet colleague, the Honorable Michael Bryant, Attorney General of Ontario.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Bradley

You’re not safe in Ontario, no matter what breed you own, and no matter how much you want to believe that this law has nothing to do with you. It is, quite simply, a concerted effort to curtail our rights to own the dogs of our choice, and to exterminate the dogs that the puppet masters find ‘unacceptable’.

Sarnia is still on my ‘do not visit list’, and I suggest they stay on yours, too. In fact, that might apply to the entire province, if this kind of stupidity keeps up.