COLUMN: Perry Bergson — Feb. 3, 2014

Perry Bergson
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I knew that I was going to have a few tough days on Jan. 24 when I returned from a company trip down to Moose Jaw.

Not long after I sat down at my desk, reporter Tyler Clarke handed me a story about a dog that had gone missing and ended up at the SPCA. It was adopted out to another family despite their efforts to locate it.

Tyler’s story was well-researched and he went out of his way to speak to both sides.

Since some people are incapable of seeing the big picture and are going to suggest we are anti-SPCA, I’m going to remind them of the dozens of stories we wrote on the facility last year and the fact that we run a picture every week of a pet that needs adoption. That suggestion is a complete non-starter, even before I mention that one of our staff members here actually sat on their board.

As a dog owner who always considers animals to be part of the family, I was deeply affected by the search for the missing dog and their inability to get it back.

I know how badly I would have been hurt to see my dog disappear.

It’s clear that parts of the story were omitted, perhaps on both sides, as they tried to put their best foot forward.

Leanne Roberts may been trying to spare the feelings of the people who were searching for their dog, which was noble.

Since I always like to state my conflicts of interest early, here they are.

My dog was a rescue animal from the Humane Society in Brandon back in 1999. I have supported them with donations over the years and have made donations to the SPCA in Prince Albert after moving here.

Leanne, who is quoted in the story, is one of the members of their executive team that does vital work here.

Part of that job is rejecting wannabe dog and cat owners who don’t meet their specifications. You make a lot of enemies protecting the animals in your care.

You also have to what you consider to be right for the animals in every case. You can question their decision but you can’t question their motivations.

They are animal lovers.

I was left questioning some other motivations, however. I was once again struck by how cruel people are from the safety and anonymity of their own keyboard as they commented on the story on our website.

It’s a delicate balancing act for me as I try to determine what should and what shouldn’t be accepted. I want people to have their say but I want it expressed like we’re all sitting together at the dining room table having a civil discussion.

I forever wonder why people can’t just state their opinion without name-calling.

I got frustrated sitting on my couch watching these comments rolling into my laptop so I finally put a comment on the website under my own name. Here it is.

“EDITOR'S NOTE: If you wish to comment on this story, that's great. You can question the SPCA's policies, but I will not allow personal attacks on the SPCA staff, who do important work in this community. I recognize, as do they, that not every decision they make is going to earn them fans. But if you can't discuss this like adults, your comments will be deleted. If your comment is deleted and you are unhappy, I can be reached at or by calling 306-765-1302 on weekdays.”

That, of course, was followed by more of the same kind of comments.      

One lady was incensed that I rejected her comment, which I deemed unnecessarily cruel to the SPCA. She quickly sent a poison pen email to the Daily Herald to express her outrage.

Here’s what she wrote.

“Why is it u ask for comments? because on a few ocxasions now i leave one that is purely fact based with no nasty language or anything and it never gets posted... U could follow the example of (another website) because as long as its not racial or filled with nasty language they always post our comments....def will not support the herald any longer and def send out a social media raspberry to ya!”

Grammar aside, there is a sense of privilege and entitlement in her email.

Well, guess what? The Internet may have no shortage of vile comments but my little corner of it is going to be different. If you’re ripping apart people or organizations in this community because you are unhappy, you’ll have to do it elsewhere.

Prince Albert doesn’t need that.

Do I regret that we ran the story? No, it was a tale that needed to be told.

Maybe people will look after their dogs a little more closely. Maybe the SPCA will re-examine their policies to see if they can be changed at all.

Maybe the people who post comments on our website will begin to understand that angry, insulting sentences won’t see the light of the day.

I have hope for the first two. I have none for the third, and that’s the saddest part of this story.



• • •


I’ve had some people ask so it’s time for me to share some news from my little part of the world. And this time seems as good a time as any.

In a column that ran on Sept. 16, I detailed our white shepherd Luke’s emergency trip to the vet. He rallied from near death and was walking the next day.

We lost him on Nov. 21. He was 14 years and eight months old to the day.

Despite failing health in the last couple of months, he had a final walk in the last hour of his life and passed away on his own with my wife and I by his side in our house.

March 21 would have been his 15th birthday.

I would be happy if you didn’t ask me about it in person just yet because I’m still pretty tender. I loved that dog, my first-ever pet, to a degree that surprised me and he loved my wife and I just as fiercely.

He was a smart, loyal, unforgettable companion and I’ll miss his wagging tail, crooked smile and unswerving devotion.

The pain is gone buddy. Run free.



Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at


Organizations: SPCA, Prince Albert, Humane Society Daily Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Brandon

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