B.J. Wilder

Amherstburg Firefighters Association donates to boxing club



By Ron Giofu


Members of the Amherstburg Fighting Island Boxing Club pour their blood and sweat into every training night and every fight.

Now, they need a new mat in their sparring ring because of that blood and sweat, as well as the rips and tears.

The Amherstburg Professional Firefighters Association was at the boxing club last Wednesday night and donated $500 towards the new mat. The current mat has been there the entire ten years that the boxing club has been located in the former Scout Hall at the corner of Victoria St. S. and Simcoe St.

Firefighter association members B.J. Wilder and John Bondy were at the boxing club last Wednesday making the presentation to Joe LeBlanc and Ken French. Wilder said the association fundraises all year and makes donations to causes and people in order to give back to the community.

Amherstburg Firefighters Association members John Bondy and B.J. Wilder (left) present a $500 cheque to Joe LeBlanc and Ken French of the Fighting Island Boxing Club. The money will be put towards replacing the canvas and mat in the boxing ring at the club.

“We’re contributing to them getting a new apron,” said Wilder, whose daughter boxes out of the club.

LeBlanc, who owns the club as well as coaches the fighters, was thrilled with the donation.

“We’re ecstatic,” he said. “This is a nice chunk of change. We’re in need a new canvas. We’re in desperate need.”

The current canvas is ripped and patched with duct tape with LeBlanc adding there is “a lot of blood and sweat, for sure” on it.

“It’s kind of rotting away on us,” he said.

Once the club raises enough money – total cost is about $1,800 – for the mat and the canvas, members of the Fighting Island Boxing Club will install it themselves.

The Fighting Island Boxing Club invites members of the community to like its Facebook page or join its group.

Dangerous dog designation dropped


Town hall sign

By Ron Giofu


A dangerous dog designation that was levied against a local German Shepherd has been dropped by town council.

The dog got loose from its collar and had an “interaction” with another dog in August and, after an investigation, saw it designated by bylaw enforcement officer B.J. Wilder. The hearing, held before town council last Wednesday evening, saw it dropped in a 5-1 vote with only Councillor Diane Pouget being opposed.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was not at the hearing, as he was attending an Essex Power board meeting.

“It’s the right decision,” Laura Joy, lawyer for the dog owner stated after the hearing. “Amherstburg is very lucky. They have good representation.”

During the hearing, Joy said her client was victim of “a terrible tragedy” in 1995 that has left him with medical conditions necessitating the need for an alert dog. The dog, named Ninja, would have had to be muzzled in public, wear a red dog tag to identify her as a dangerous dog and the town would have had to be notified if there was a change of address and/or ownership or if the dog had died.

“This dog is like a Disney dog,” Joy told council. “This dog took a frozen duck and saved it.”

The interaction between Ninja and the other dog didn’t leave “even a hint of a bite,” Joy added.

Joy said there are letters from neighbors, a veterinarian and staff at Wings Rehab Centre which vouch for the dog being a peaceful dog.

“Even material eye-witnesses are supporting Ninja,” she said. “My client’s mental and physical health is dependent on this beautiful animal.”

Wilder said Ninja entered the road allowance and had an interaction with another dog. During the investigation, Wilder said Ninja’s owner was very cooperative.

“No one is saying it’s a mean or aggressive dog,” Wilder said of Ninja. “The obligation on the town is not to take any chances.”

Wilder said he can’t speak to an animal’s intentions and the restraints were put in place to mitigate any possible incidents in the future.

“I’m not qualified to say if a dog will do it again but I have to put measures in place to ensure it won’t happen again,” said Wilder.

Councillor Jason Lavigne wasn’t convinced that Ninja should be qualified as dangerous, believing it was a case of one dog leaving its front yard and approaching another dog.

“I’m a little concerns that when two dogs approach each other, we could end up designating every dog in Amherstburg a dangerous dog,” said Lavigne.

Councillor Rick Fryer said after the meeting he believed the dangerous dog designation “was something that shouldn’t have been done.” He added that as an alert dog, Ninja was acting as it was supposed to.

Pouget said safety of the residents is most important and that is why she voted to maintain the designation.

“Our job is to make sure we keep our residents safe and I think this is what B.J. is trying to do with the dangerous dog designation,” she said.