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Cheers & Jeers

Cheers: to trying to keep the peace. In Hamilton, Ont., the maximum fine for problematic barking dogs has risen to $25,000 for repeat offenders — the fines start at $75. That city receives nearly 600 complaints every year about yapping canines, The Toronto Star reports. A city official says Hamilton’s strategy could set the standard for other jurisdictions. We’re not so sure. You ever tried to get a dog to pay for anything?

Jeers: to yet another glass ceiling. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada said last week that two thirds of clinical research into heart disease still focuses on men, even though women are more likely than men to die or have a second heart attack within the first six months after a cardiac event, and despite the fact that a retrospective study found that early signs of impending heart attack were missed in 78 per cent of women. Heart disease, like Alzheimer’s disease, is not the same in men and women. It’s time to surgically remove gender bias from medical research and treatment.

Cheers: to speaking up. Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke made the news last week for announcing he’s gay. Clarke said he was compelled to speak out after receiving threats from someone who insinuated they could use Clarke’s sexual orientation to somehow shame him publicly. “Who I am and how I go about my personal life is no longer up as a punching bag for me politically,” Clarke said. The only shameful thing in this scenario is that there are still people intolerant enough to think being gay is shameful, and that a politician’s sexual orientation need have anything to do with his career.

Cheers: to bark and bite. A St. John’s judge pulled no punches when a man was convicted of animal cruelty last week. John Michael Corcoran’s pit bull was found dead in a suitcase, having been starved and deprived of exercise over months to the point where its body had no practically no muscle, fat or bone marrow left. Judge James Walsh told Corcoran to have his toothbrush packed when he is sentenced on April 26. “Mr. Corcoran, I can tell you, I’ve been here (serving as a judge) over five years and I’ve seen some pretty horrific stuff, and this is ranking up there (with the worst),” Walsh said. “How you ever let it get to this point is beyond me, absolutely beyond me. It’s inexplicable.” The details of the court case — reported by The Telegram’s Rosie Mullaley Feb. 2, were so disturbing that some people discussing it on social media said they couldn’t bring themselves to read it. “Those who deliberately abuse, hurt and neglect animals can go to hell as far as I’m concerned,” one man tweeted.

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