Here is a court ruling about a pug named Finley

Here is a court ruling about a pug named Finley
Here is a court ruling about a pug named Finley

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1. Tent camps

More tents line the berms along University Avenue in Halifax. Credit: Suzanne Huur

“Halifax Regional Council has approved nine new sites for potential tent cities, in what one councillor called “a terrible choice” after a lengthy debate on Tuesday over where the city’s homeless should go,” reports Suzanne Rent:

Bill Moore, executive director of HRM’s community safety office, presented the homelessness update at Tuesday’s Halifax Regional Council meeting. There are now 85 people living in HRM’s four designated sites: the University Avenue verge, the Barrington Street greenway, Lower Flinn Park and Green Road Park.

According to a report by staff, the number of people living in the currently designated camps is now 300% over capacity.

Moore said there is space at the Halifax Forum and the Barrington Street greenway, but said there is a need for more designated locations. He said there are currently no spots in designated areas that they can send people to.

The nine new locations in Halifax and Dartmouth are:

• Bayers Road Windsor Street Park
• BiHi Park
• Chain Lake Park
• Cogswell Park
• Glebe Street Park
• Halifax Common berm
• Geary Street Green Space
• Bissett Roadpark
• Point Pleasant Park

Click or tap here to read “’Best of Worst Options’: Council Approves Nine Sites in Halifax and Dartmouth for Encampments.”

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2. Municipalities and healthcare for transgender people

Dr. Hilary MacCormick, co-author of a new research paper on transgender health care, anesthesiologist in the Department of Women’s and Obstetric Anesthesia at IWK Health and assistant professor at Dalhousie University. Credit: Contributed

We’ve pulled two July 3 articles by Yvette d’Entremont from behind the paywall: “New report explores what Nova Scotia municipalities could look like” and “Research reveals health care barriers faced by transgender and gender-diverse people in Canada.”

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3. Right of way

Hannah Harrison. Credit: Johnny CY Lam

Dr. Hannah Harrison, Associate Professor in Dalhousie University’s Marine Affairs Program, and Nicolas Winkler, marine researcher and photographer, have produced a new podcast series, Right of Way, exploring coastal access in Nova Scotia.

I am listening to the first episode as I type this. It is very well produced and presents a thoughtful and well researched discussion. I am already learning about legal cases that I was unaware of and am following both the coastal access issues and the courts. I look forward to listening to the entire series when I can give it my full attention.

Harrison and Winkler discussed the podcast and their coastal access project with the Halifax Examiner last month. That article can be found here.

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4. Finley the Pug

Another pug (not Finley). Credit: Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

“Finley did not choose the pug life. Unfortunately, the pug life he has chosen now makes him a proxy in a domestic dispute between the plaintiff and the defendant.”

Thus begins the ruling by District Court Judge Raffi A. Balmanoukian, who was dealing with the aftermath of Tim MacDonald and Nicole Hart’s divorce regarding the couple’s dog, Finley.

The couple separated in 2019 and “shared custody of Finley until June 2023; their divorce had been finalized three months earlier.”

As is customary in a divorce, the couple had legal documents detailing the division of assets and debts, the house, furniture and bank accounts. But, Balmanoukian notes, “Finley is not mentioned.”

Balmanoukian gets into the details of a relationship that doesn’t strike me as unusual — when one of them took Finley to the vet or something, that person paid the bill. They both seem to care about the dog, but then MacDonald took Finley to Hart to live with her permanently, but three days later he tried to take him back. She refused.

Balmanoukian looked at “screenshots of text messages, of varying temperature and maturity, of arguments over who paid what, of threats to warn the plaintiff’s landlord about pets on the property, and ending with a literal ‘see you in court.’”

Oh, and there was another dog, Ham, that no one cared about. Ham somehow ended up with MacDonald’s parents, and no one’s going to sue over that.

It’s all messy, but I was happy to hear that in Canada, the case law surrounding pet ownership after divorce revolves around another Nova Scotia Small Claims Court decision, MacDonald v Pearl from 2017, involving Daniel the Terrier. (This is a different MacDonald, since this is Nova Scotia, where half the population is named MacDonald.) And that decision is now being cited in courts across the country.

Ultimately, Balmanoukian assigned Finley to Hart, but then admonished the divorced couple:

I’ll add one final note. This decision will be released on or around what would have been, unrealistically, my golden retriever Gibson’s 19e birthday. I was introduced to that magical race by a former partner at the beginning of this century; good can come from anything if you take the time to look. Although Gib has long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he and his late half-brother Colin made life better. Their legacy continues to do so. I hope they would have approved of this decision.

The parties in this lawsuit have gone their separate ways; however, they both have an unbiased, unconditional love in their lives in the form of Ham and Finley. The fact that they are property in the eyes of the law does not change that. The parties can learn a lot from them. I hope they do.

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5. Women’s health

Levels of breast density. Credit: Dense Breasts Canada

I work with a lot of women. All of my full-time employees, except myself, are women, and that gives me a much-needed broader perspective on the world and the news than I would have otherwise. I literally learn something from them or rethink something every day.

Yesterday, Yvette d’Entremont attended a meeting of the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Health, but she told me that there wasn’t much new discussed and that the focus on dense breasts was discussed in much more detail in Suzanne Rent’s March 21 article, “Advocates call on Houston government to support bill on dense breast screening.” So I’m referencing that article here and urging everyone to read it again, or for the first time if you haven’t read it yet.

But the committee did refer to d’Entremont’s December 19 article: “Halifax Sexual Health Centre says demand for services is ‘excessive’.”

In our private staff conversation, Rent noted that the paper was “yet another example of women’s health being sidelined.” And I think about that a lot now. I’ve long known about medical studies that use only men as sample populations, and other ways in which medicine is biased toward men. But it’s clear that the focus on men goes even deeper than that, into government policy decisions and the allocation of money.

There’s the old adage that if men were getting pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. That could be extended to pretty much anything: “if men were X, then we’d take it seriously.” Or in this case, if men were dealing with high rates of breast cancer, then intensive breast screening would be readily available.

Maybe we should not only listen to women, but also give them the tools they need.

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No meetings


Professional Committee Standing Committee (Thursday, 10:00 am, City Hall) — agenda

Regional Advisory Council for River Basins (Thursday, 5:00 PM, City Hall) — agenda

Advisory Council for African Descent (Thursday, 6:00 PM, HEMDCC Meeting Space and online) — agenda


No meetings

On campus



Alan Syliboy: The Journey So Far | A Retrospective (Wednesday, 11am, Dal Art Gallery) — through August 11


PhD research: Microbiology and immunology (Thursday, 1:30 p.m., Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — Kayle Dickson will defend “Phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene modulates infection and inflammation in in vitro and mouse models of urinary tract infection”



Afternoon talk (Wednesday, 12:00, Gallery 2) — Curators Alice Shirtliffe and Nina-Simone Kellman discuss their group exhibition, THE NUDE


Afternoon talk (Thursday, 12:00, Gallery 1) — Emma Chapman-Lin and Emma MacCabe discuss their exhibition Swept Away and Gathered Once More

In the harbour

00:30: NYK constellationcontainer ship, sailing from Fairview Cove to Southampton, England
06:00: Eagle IIcontainer ship, arrives at Pier 27 from Mariel, Cuba
06:00: MSC-Shristicontainer ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Boston
07:00: Emerald Princesscruise ship carrying up to 3,679 passengers arrives at Pier 22 from Sydney for an 11-day cruise from Quebec City to Boston
10:00 am: John J. Carrickinland vessel, and Leo A. McArthurtugboat, sailing from McAsphalt to Sarnia, Ontario
10:30: SFL conductorcar transporter, arrives at Autoport from Emden, Germany
13:30: MSC-Shristi sailing for the sea
22:00: SFL conductor sailing for the sea
22:00: Eagle II sailing for the sea
23:45: Emerald Princess sailing for Saint John

Cape Breton
04:00: AlgoScotiaoil tanker, departs Government Wharf (Sydney) for Corner Brook
11:00 am: Algoma sailorbulk carrier, sailing from Aulds Cove Quarry through the causeway
11:00 am: CSL Tarantaubulk carrier, moves from Port Hawkesbury anchorage to Aulds Cove quarry


I’ve been working all weekend putting together highlights of the first 10 years of Examiner articles, and yesterday I spent a good part of the day working on an editing project, and I’m old.

I want to say that I am tired and that it is a quiet news day anyway. Instead of rehashing topics that are becoming less and less important, I am going to make a morning of it and take a nap.

Then sue me.