Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dog attack report by breed - March 2014

Since publishing the 2013 end of year statistics for disfiguring and fatal dog attacks, we've seen a veritable full court press of frantic pro pit bull propaganda in the media. Unfortunately, disfiguring and fatal attacks have continued unabated, and, not surprisingly, pit bull type dogs are, this year, as last year, and so many previous years, the undisputed leader in the grisly race to claim the most deaths and injuries.

72 year old grandmother mauled by pit bull while gardening

At just over 2 months into 2014, pit bull type dogs have committed 100 serious attacks on humans. 76 of the attacks resulted in disfigurement and 6 of the attacks were so horrific that the victims died.

At the bottom of this page is a chart which lists the 5 most dangerous types of dog, based on the number of serious attacks on humans recorded in North America since 1982. One can see at a glance that pit bulls are the worst offenders, but because this information covers several decades, what isn't obvious is how much worse the pit bull problem has gotten in recent years. Despite - or perhaps because of - the millions of dollars poured into marketing the pit bull as a family pet, the number of horrific, violent attacks continues to rise, and hapless pit bull owners claim to be shocked each and every time.

In a little over a year since the December 2012 data was published, pit bulls have attacked many hundreds of human victims, claiming 40 lives, while attacks from other breeds have been relatively rare. For instance, during the period that pit bull type dogs mauled 40 human victims to death, the next most deadly type of dog, the Rottweiler, claimed 2 lives. The quantitative difference between the number of disfiguring and fatal attacks committed by pit bulls and those committed by all other breeds is telling. 

What's even worse, and something that is severely under-reported, is the level of pit bull violence against animals. Last year tens of thousands of innocent animals were cruelly killed by pit bulls. Dogs (including working seeing eye dogs and other service animals), cats, miniature ponies, goats, alpacas, baby seals and various types of birds were all slaughtered in the past year in numbers that shock most people. The adage "quantity has a quality all its own" takes on a certain ominous significance in this context. 

But it's difficult to blame the pit bulls for doing precisely what hundreds of years of purposeful breeding has given them the drive, the instinct and the inclination to do. The blame lies with those who promote them as safe family pets, spreading dangerous misinformation such as the nanny dog myth, and insisting that pit bulls are "just like any other dog". 

In 31 years there is not a single record of a fatal or disfiguring attack from an Irish Setter - good owner, bad owner, well trained, untrained, chained, not chained, it doesn't matter. Not a single fatal or disfiguring attack. Most dog breeds have a very low incidence of such attacks, such that they fall into the "once in a blue moon" or "freak accident" category. But an American is seriously injured by a pit bull every few hours on average. 

This data illustrates the illogical nature of anti BSL activism. We find the recent stealth anti-BSL politicking going on to be highly unsettling. It's been calculated that one is 2500 times more likely to be killed by a pit bull than by a labrador retriever, but proposed anti-BSL legislation seeks to make it a crime to differentiate between the two.

Top 5 offenders at a glance

The full March 8th report compiled by the animal people can be viewed here

27 comments:

  1. Sobering and excellent work as always.

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  2. Excellent, informative article. It amazes me that people can look at these numbers over and over, and still discount the seriousness of the obvious conclusions.
    I know that you cannot mention every animal attacked by pits, but I think that cows require a nod. I lost a full grown Watusi last year to a single pit. The damage that these dogs do is horrifying and cannot be adequately conveyed with words. This 1000 lb cow was ripped to shreds. She also hyper-extended her knee and ruptured some discs in her back. The thought of what these dogs can do to a human is terrifying.

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    1. Hey Farmer Jane, if this is the only article you are going to base your opinion of Pit Bulls on, you are that ignorant person who would believe anything statistics "prove". Do I believe these statistics? Yes. I am not ignorant either. Do I come to the conclusion that we should genocide all pitbulls solely based on these findings? No. I come to the conclusion that OBVIOUSLY there are just more pitbulls than any other breed of dog. I believe that all people need to be more aware of the importance of spaying and neutering in ALL breeds of dogs and also training and raising ALL breeds of dogs. I would highly recommend you take an hour out of your day to watch the first episode of Love My Pitbull by Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer on the Nat Geo channel. I don't believe you will come to love the breed like I do just by watching this show, but you WILL be more educated and informed about a dog's psychology in general, and also this specific breed.

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    2. Wow, Sydney thinks that a stupid, staged TV show is all you need to lose your ignorance on pit bulls! He/she also thinks that because pit bulls ARE the number one dog in the mauling stats that "OBVIOUSLY there are just more pit bulls than any other breed of dog." I can't even begin to dissect that amount of stupid.

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    3. The real ignorance is blaming a whole breed. I own a pit bull and my pit bull was attacked by an off leash dog at the park. It was traumatizing. The owner of the dog didn't even try to get his dog off of mine. My dog had to undergo surgery. Pit bulls were considered a family dog years ago. It's so sad how people misuse them because of their strength and then the ignorance that it's the breed.

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    4. No, the real ignorance is being unable or unwilling to connect the dots, and somehow being unable or unwilling to understand that the breed created specifically to commit atrocities against innocent animals is the absolute worst mauler of all domestic dogs today.

      Up until the 1980s, pit bulls were never, ever considered a family dog, and it takes a special kind of stupid to believe that these unpredictable torturers were ever "nanny dogs".

      The problem with pit bulls is not their strength - there are much stronger dogs that don't cause any trouble. The problem with pit bulls is that they have a track record of sudden, random, unpredictable violence, and it's getting worse over time.

      I know all too many people whose well-behaved well-treated pit bulls suddenly did what centuries of breeding gave them the inclination to do, that is, to suddenly launch a savage, sustained attack on a vulnerable loved one.

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    5. EVERY animal has the ability to have a sudden, random, unpredictable, violent tendency. The IGNORANCE of the breed is so sad. Sorry to hear of your misfortunes but any animal is capable of attack NOT just pit bulls.

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    6. Try to pay attention here Mimi. The fact that any living thing could theoretically turn violent is an irrelevant bit of trivia that is completely beside the point. The fact is that, generally speaking, they don't. Normal dogs seek equilibrium with their environment. The torturer breeds are wired rather differently.

      If you insist that the hundreds of years of breeding that it took to create a monster was all for naught, and that there are no innate differences between different types of dogs, then please explain
      something (I'm sure you'll do no such thing; if anything you'll just toss out another totally irrelevant talking point):

      There has not been a single disfiguring or fatal attack by an Irish setter in 32 years, which is the amount of time serious dog attacks have been tracked. It doesn't matter if they were well treated, poorly treated or abused. It doesn't matter if they were trained or untrained, chained or not, inside dogs or outside dogs, neutered or not. Zero fatal or disfiguring attacks.

      In sharp contrast, someone is injured by a pit bull every few hours, and someone is killed by a pit about every 7 days on average.

      Large retrievers outnumber pit bull type dogs, and yet the number of pit bull attacks is obscenely huge compared to the number of attacks by large retrievers.

      The simple mind might say "it's bad owners", but someone who is willing to think and connect the dots would say "hmm, large retrievers were bred to retrieve downed birds with soft mouth, while pit bull type dogs were created to torture and kill, and I'll bet that is why pit bulls torture and kill more than all other breeds combined".

      It's really not that hard to grasp, except for brainwashed pit bull worshipers.

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    7. HA!..Mimi said the EXACT same thing that an article I posted today said. God, you pit nuts are so frickin predictable.

      http://sruv-pitbulls.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/any-dog-in-cincinnati.html

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  3. When I met my neighbors friends pit bull named Buddy, I wasn't scared of him because he was a family pit bull that lived with two kids around my sons age. I thought that only the pit bulls that were trained to fight, abused, and neglected attacked animals and people. I wasn't a big news person, so I had only ever heard of two people in my life that had been attacked by pit bulls. Besides my neighbor friends pit bull named Buddy was so sweet he would allow my neighbor friends grandbaby to crawl all over him without any reaction. Then one day my neighbor friends son who had a seizure disorder had to go to the hospital. She had no one to feed, walk, or take care of Buddy. So of course I offered. I brought Buddy to my house and took care of him. The first day everything was great. He seemed fine with my family including my six year old son Justen. Buddy really took to me and would follow me everywhere I went in the house. On the second day Buddy and I were in my bedroom and I decided to go see what Justen and some of his neighborhood friends were doing in the living room. When Buddy and I walked out of my room, the kids were all kneeling around the coffee table building Legos. Justen's back was to Buddy and I as we stood about two feet behind him. Buddy was calmly sitting next to me as I glanced over my sons shoulder to see what he was building. And with no warning Buddy went from his seated position to jumping on Justens back and knocking him to the ground. For a second it almost looked like he was playing because he was wagging his tail. But Buddy had my sons head in his mouth. I remember screaming, "He's attacking him." I did the only thing I could think of and grabbed Buddy's thick collar and pull with all my weight. But Buddy was so strong it was like trying to pull a boulder. I could see my little boy trying to cover his face and I felt so helpless. After some time I choked Buddy long enough  to let go. But when Buddy lifted his head, I fell backward, lost my grip, and Buddy latched onto his head again. This dog wanted my son dead. I got up, grabbed his collar again, and pulled. I was able to choke him again to let go and my son jumped up, ran for his life, and locked himself into the bathroom. I quickly secured Buddy and ran to the bathroom and had to convince Justen to unlock the door. When he opened the door I saw the whole right side of his head, hair, and white polo shirt soaked with blood. There was a large chunk of his face between his eye and scalp that was gone. I took his shirt off and quickly pressed it against his head while the neighbors who heard mine and the other kids screams called 911. Justen ended up having reconstructive surgery that night not only to stitch up the missing chunk, but also to large lacerations on his scalp. He also suffered a concussion. Buddy ended up being euthanized. The surgeon asked me what kind of dog did this. I told him it was a family pit bull. the surgeon looked at me and said, "Pit bulls are not family dogs. I have since then devoted my time to researching pit bull attacks and telling my sons story in hopes to raise awareness about the statistics that show that family pit bulls maul too. I was ignorant to those facts and not only did my son pay the price for it, so did his little friends that had to witness it. I have learned to forgive myself because I had no clue of the pit bull issue. And there are others out there that might not know either. And maybe if sharing my sons story and making people aware of the difference between fighting breeds and other dogs, then maybe I can help parents understand that it's not worth your child's life.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story. What an awful and traumatic thing to happen! Kids are a huge target for dogs. The assumption is that dogs and kids are cute together, but remember always - these are wild animals. Certainly don't leave your kids with a babysitter with dogs or bring a strange dog into your home if you have kids. Male dogs are much more likely to attack than females and male intact dogs are even more likely to attack. Pit bull is a breed and not a type and the debate about abuse, neglect, genes, the stats of what percentage of pit bull types make up the dog population is ongoing because there are not reliable statistics, but if you look at the pictures of dogs that have killed people recently the great majority look like pit bull types to me. However, in recent news stories an Akita, Alaskan Malamute and even Shiba Inus have attacked or killed kids in their own families too. The odd thing I found is from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's there was only one death resulting from a dog that might have been a pit bull. The pit bull type problem is on the rise most likely, I think, because they are being bred to fight, abused and neglected in record number. Regardless of the reason the pit bull type is currently the most dangerous type of dog, but also keep in mind the more people do to educate themselves about all the factors the safer they will be. I'm a huge advocate of mandatory neutering laws, stricter licensing and penalties for aggressive dogs as well education and everyone sharing their stories and perspectives and getting to the bottom of the statistics. If you are on one side or the other of the pit bull debate keep an open mind to the other side and most importantly don't overlook the many factors that contribute to dog attacks in addition to the type or breed of the dog.

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    1. I hear people say "pit bull is a breed" or "pit bull is a type" depending on which point they are trying to make. But the key factor IMHO is that regardless of how they are named, pit bull type dogs are descended from the livestock torturer dogs of the old UK, which is key to understanding them.

      You are correct that there are occasional attacks from non pit bull type dogs, but they are relatively rare.

      If one were so inclined, they could find the sole fatality from a Great Pyrenees over the past 32 years and say, Look, Great Pyrenees have killed also! This proves they are no different from pit bulls!" But a more thoughtful analysis would take into account the huge disparity in the sheer volume of attacks. A single death in 32 years is hard to extrapolate from. It could fall into the category of freak accidents. On the other hand, we're seeing a fatal pit bull mauling (of a human) about once a week on average. That is a huge difference, and ought to put to rest any notion that Great Pyrenees and pit bulls represent anywhere near comparable risk.

      In the spirit of keeping an open mind, I welcome the inquiry into the causes of the increase in dog bite fatalities. The most obvious reason is that prior to the 1980s, pit bulls were not family pets. The dog fighters kept them contained, so that pit bulls only attacked other pit bulls. In the 1980s, the Animal Farm Foundation, Best Friends et al ramped up their huge effort to promote these purpose bred fighting dogs as family pets. The steep rise in human fatalities began at the same time, and even now, if you remove the attacks by pit bull type dogs, you'd end up with 1960s levels of serious dog attacks.

      To blame dog fighting for the rise in pit bull violence, as if it were some new development, rather misses the point. The entire purpose for the creation of this type of dog in the old UK was to commit atrocities against helpless animals. When bull (and bear) baiting was outlawed in 1835, these dogs were re-purposed to tear each other apart, which they did with great drive, determination and desire, easily making the transition from torturing livestock to killing each other.

      As far as the statistics go, one thing we do know is that dog attack, particularly pit bull attacks, are severely under reported. There have been a number of cases over the past year where someone has died of trauma from a pit bull attack, which made the news, but the attack itself, from days prior, had never been reported. When the victim finally died, it was reported. So we have to wonder how many near fatal pit bull attacks have gone un-reported. We do know that there is a code of silence among pit bull promoters to keep these things quiet, as evidenced by these sorts of blackouts, or misleading stories where a pit pit bull attack is blamed on a wild animal or an unknown stray dog.

      The epidemic of pit bull attacks on animals is heart-breaking, and goes practically unreported. Pit bull type dogs routinely maul to death dogs, cats (0ften on the victim's own property, or in a home invasion killing), alpacas, sheep, miniature ponies and other helpless animals, tens of thousands of victims per year. I know about a dozen people whose pets were mauled by pit bulls and the stories never made the news.

      Clearly, the only time a dog attack is guaranteed to be reported is when it results in a human fatality, so that is where we can view the tip of the iceberg and extrapolate from there.

      When we look at the stats for disfiguring or fatal dog attacks on humans in North America, we see clearly that pit bull type dogs are hugely over-represented, with a share of the attack totals which is far out of proportion to their actual numbers.

      Acknowledging that reality is the first step to a solution IMHO.

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  5. Hi Jake, thanks for your comments and information. I'm still trying to understand the definition of "pit bull" as you define it. Like you said, it's difficult to find information that isn't biased in one form or another on this issue. Do you think this is accurate? "The most narrow and perhaps most accurate definition of the term “pit bull” refers to just two breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff). Some people include the Bull Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Bulldog in this group because these breeds share similar head shapes and body types. However, they are distinct from the APBT and the AmStaff." Are you including all of these and perhaps more as pit bulls?Forgive me if this is annoying and tedious, but I've found you're comments well researched and I'm trying to be specific because you've said that pit bull types are hugely over-represented (which I agree with by looking at the dogs - they seem like "pit bulls") but I've found quotes that pit bulls are anywhere from 5 to 40% of the dog population. I agree with you that pit bull types seem to be vastly over-represented in maulings based on what I see of the dogs, but not many people get their dogs DNA tested. Are the dogs DNA tested before they are included in these stats? If it's just an eyeball test, how accurate do you think that is? If laws restricting or eliminating the pit bull type or pit bull are going to be enacted what kind of test would you suggest to determine what a pit bull is. Do you have a DNA requirement of some kind?

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    1. Commercially available DNA tests, while wildly unreliable to begin with, do not have pit bull DNA in the data base. These companies do not want to be responsible for ruling any dog in or any dog out of situations that might arise from non compliance with local law or impact housing. You could test every dog at PIT Pride Parade and not get a single positive result, every dog in the world and not get a positive result. Please google the Mars Wisdom Panel for verification of this information. DNA testing for pit bulls is simply not done. Extreme pit bull advocacy gives the percentage as 7.2% of dogs in the United States being pit bulls in a document created for Best Friends Animal Society to present in Maryland. The document was paid for by the Animal Farm Foundation through their subsidiary the NCRC. See footnote #6 page 2 of the Economic Impact and Tax Implications of Tracey v. Solesky. I think the estimate is high but who am I to argue with Jane Berkey, she paid John Dunham and Assoc to write this "analysis."

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    2. Hopeful one, I'm not sure what's hard to understand here. There's nothing esoteric involved. I'm thinking that perhaps you're not familiar with the relevant history, which is understandable given the amount of misleading information out there.

      Simply put, pit bulls are the descendants of the livestock torturer/pit fighting dogs of the old UK.

      If we want to talk about names, we can do that, but there have been a lot of confusing name changes. As I understand it, the first instance of the pit fighting bulldog terrier mix was called the staffordshire terrier (staffy, staffybull) When dog fighters brought them to the new world, they dubbed them the "american staffordshire terrier" (amstaff). And an akc registered amstaff can be automatically registered with the ukc as an "american pit bull terrier" (apbt). But aside from these 3 names, there have been other names given: "st frances terrier", "new yorkie", "american terrier" among others. The american bulldog is an apbt derivative.

      I think we try to make things more complicated and end up confusing ourselves by specifying all these different names for pit bull type dogs. amstaff fans claim amstaffs are very different from staffies, apbts or ambulls, claiming that amstaffs are much better dogs etc. staffy fans make the same claims, as do apbt and ambull fans for their respective favorites. But I have not been able to find any real difference in attack patterns based on which pit bull variant is involved. The one key finding that stands out is that the majority of the serious attacks come from pit bull type dogs.

      Your question about dna is interesting, but sadly, the current state of the art does not provide a means of identifying breed. A DNA sample can provide positive identification of a specific dog, but as far as determining breed, even the best canine DNA testing companies state very clearly that their tests can not be used to determine breed.

      You might find the Terrier Man's take on canine DNA tests interesting: Doggie DNA tests?

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    3. http://www.daxtonsfriends.com/canine-myths-2/#pit_bull_not_a_breed
      “THE “PIT BULL” IS NOT A BREED”
      The Myth:
      “There’s no such breed as a pit bull.” “Pit bulls aren’t a breed; they are just a ‘type’ of dog.”
      The Reality:
      The term “pit bull” in lower-case letters refers to three closely-related breeds. The original breed was the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a dog bred for pit fighting in the 18th and 19th centuries in the UK. After importation to the U.S. in the late 19th century, they continued to be used for fighting, but were bred to be taller and heavier. These larger cousins were then registered in the UKC as “American Pit Bull Terriers” (1898) and in the AKC as the “American Staffordshire Terrier” (1936). Note that these are identical breeds under two different names, and many individuals hold conformation championships in both registries. In addition, some of the original, smaller dogs were re imported from the UK and were recognized in the AKC as the original “Staffordshire Bull Terriers” (1935).
      A 2013 ASPCA double-blind study revealed that shelter workers were able to correctly identify dogs with significant ‘pit bull’ blood (‘pit bull’ = the 3 breeds above) 96% of the time, as confirmed by DNA tests. click here to see the study (http://www.aspcapro.org/blog/2013/09/25/bully-this%E2%80%94-results-are-in%E2%80%A6)
      The American Pit Bull Terrier is actually one of the purest and oldest of registered breeds. The second-largest national kennel club in the world, the UKC, was originally founded in 1898 for the express purpose of registering fighting pit bulls. For approximately the first 50 years, a pit bull not only had to be purebred, but had to win 3 dog fights in order to be registered with the UKC. Today, these dogs’ descendants compete to win prizes in conformation, weight pull, and other sports. Thousands have earned the title of UKC Conformation Champion.
      Verdict: The three “pit bull” breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, are just as purebred as St. Bernards, Schnauzers orDalmatians.

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  6. DNA test kits do not test for pit bull DNA, it is simply not in the data base. Please google the Mars Wisdom panel to verify this information. You could test every dog at a Pit Pride Parade and not get a single positive result. The companies producing these tests do not want responsibility for ruling any dog in or any dog out of any complications that might arise from non compliance with local law or housing restrictions.

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  7. I'm asking these questions because I'm interested in how the Breed Ban laws are implemented. I volunteer at a shelter and almost every dog is labeled as a pit mix, but a lot of them don't look like pits to me. It may seem overly picky or like I'm trying to make an attempt to be confusing, but I'm really not. Of course most people see the obvious definitions of breeds such as Poodle, Great Dane, Husky etc but at the pound there seems to be a lot of grey area. Someone showed me what she said was the most definitive test of being able to determine a pit bull breed by sight. In this study by The Wisdom Panel, which she said was the best DNA tester, shelter staff had labeled 91 dogs as pit bull types. The test tried to determine how often they were right. They were right 57% of the time, although they were only completely wrong 4% of the time. Many of the mislabeled dogs were primarily another breed, but 96% of the time they labeled a dog pit bull mix it had at least 25% of the bully breed's DNA. (However, American Pit Bull was not something they were capable of testing for.) What's hard for me to understand is where there is legislation against pit bulls how could it possibly be enforced when there is no way to determine accurately either by eye or DNA test what a pit bull is. I thought I knew what a pit bull was, but the more I look into it the more I'm confused. Everyone has an image of what they look like, but that could be different from person to person. Who or what is relied upon to make this determination? I appreciate learning the history of aggression bred into some dogs, but wouldn't it make more sense to have stricter laws regulating all dogs aggressive behavior rather than get bogged down with a futile task of trying to regulate dogs based on what they look like or unreliable DNA testing? http://aspcapro.org/blog/2013/09/25/bully-this%E2%80%94-results-are-in%E2%80%A6

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    1. @Hopeful One -

      I've checked around with friends who've worked extensively in shelters and AC, and they are telling me that you've got things backwards.

      As we've all seen, the shelters are stuffed with pit bulls, and the shelters are stooping to all sorts of dishonest tricks to try and get them adopted out. They commonly mislabel pit bulls as "lab mixes" or "boxer mixes" - anything but what they are, because most people do not want pit bulls, and the shelters know that.

      Also, you completely confounded the shelter study you refer to. What actually happened was that shelter workers *correctly* identified pit bull type dogs 96% of the time. Which is what one would expect How do you suppose dog breeds were identified 200 years ago? We're talking about pit bulls, not unicorns - It's just not that difficult! But for some strange reason, pit bull activists are the ones who seem to have so much trouble identifying a pit bull.

      I think you're really over-dramatizing the effort required to identify pit bull type dogs. Locales that have enacted pit bull bans have all reported greatly reduced pit bull violence (as one would expect) and there is no sudden rise in lab, poodle or beagle violence to take it's place, as pit apologists like to theorize.

      As far as stricter laws, we're all for holding owners accountable. But isn't your position here a bit like saying we shouldn't single out drunk drivers? Sure, we need to hold everyone responsible - stricter penalties for drunk drivers doesn't mean non-drunk drivers who get in accidents aren't also held accountable.

      But drunk drivers are statistically much more likely to cause traffic fatalities than non-drunk drivers, so stricter penalties were established for them, because they ought to have known better.

      In exactly the same way, torturer breeds are much more likely to attack and kill vulnerable victims than non-torturer breeds, and they require much more vigorous efforts to keep them contained.

      The insurance companies deal with actuarial risk, and that is why so many of them won't cover pit bulls. They hate having to make astronomical payouts for pit bull attacks. it makes no sense that 5% of the dogs should ruin it for the other 95%.

      Thus, when you are 2500 times more likely to be killed by a pit bull than by a lab, it makes no sense to pretend that there is no difference.

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  8. HO, please pick out a dog show to attend, any dog show, they are held in every state, every weekend . They are all judged on a visual identification system. Every dog show ever held has been judged on a visual identification system. Judges not only identify breeds but also minute deviations from breed standard, watch the judges work. Humans are capable of this and do it all the time. You can pick out a Poodle or a Pug, Irish Setter or Wolfhound, Corgi or Chihuahua but you have difficulty identifying a breed that you state is anywhere from 5% to 40% of the dogs in America? The material that you have linked to is very clear that the ASPCA is telling us that their shelter volunteers can correctly identify pit bulls 96% of the time. Dogs are, legally speaking, property and may be regulated for the purpose of public safety. Reactive law waits until a victim has been created, proactive law regulates dogs bred for an activity so violent that it is a felony in all 50 states and all of the civilized world. The criteria for inclusion into the breed/type gene pool was the ability and desire to attack unprovoked and to continue that behavior until death occurs. If the goal is to prevent life changing/life ending maulings then Poodles and Pugs are not the place to start.

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    1. Hi Jake - I was only referring to the shelter I volunteer at which, if it's even close, it's labeled a pit mix. This is in Northern California. If most shelters are indeed adopting out pits labeled as something else wouldn't there be a lot more pit types in the general population than 5%?

      The study says that 43% of the dogs identified as pits were primarily another breed. To get to the 96% the study said that the dog had to have at least 25% of the pit bull type. "Out of the 91 dogs, only 4 dogs had none of these breeds in their DNA, and 57% had one of those breeds as the primary breed."

      So - by this definition of discounting other breeds if there is at least a 25% pit bull type in the DNA - wouldn't the 5% number of pit bull types in the general population need to rise proportionally? It doesn’t seem consistent to say “the shelters are stuffed with pit bulls” and define a pit bull type by only 25% DNA when it’s primarily another breed and then when you quote the killing statistics say only 5% of dogs are pit bulls.

      I believe sticking to the 5% number does a disservice to your goal. A more effective and straight forward presentation is to say simply there are too many pit bulls and they account for the great majority of aggressive dog attacks and killings regardless of their number. If the number is closer to 30 to 40% it would also make a stronger case for mandatory neutering.

      The visual identification of dogs in shows being looked at by judges is a very different matter than the great number of mixed dogs in shelters and the general population. However, the pit bull type visual identification system is 96% accurate to determine dogs with at least 25% of a pit bull type in the DNA so that is a good place to start. If we could prove that the dogs that are primarily another breed but have at least 25% pit bull in the DNA are equally as dangerous as dogs with pit bull as the primary DNA that would make the 96% visual identification valid.

      I don't comprehend the analogy of drunk drivers because they have already committed a crime. I think a more apt analogy would be racial profiling or judging a child who has been severely abused in a violent home with gun shots whizzing by his window on a daily basis. Based on the numbers it would make sense to racial profile certain areas and people and place restrictions on that child because he will be more prone to violence and abuse himself, but this strikes people as wrong to do it and it's illegal. Of course, we are talking about dogs and not people and your point is well taken - someone buying a more dangerous item (pit bull, sports car, gun) should have tighter restrictions and higher standards, if they are going to be allowed to have these things at all.

      I’m wary of pit bulls when I see them and I observe them closely to see if they might show signs of aggression. I’m every more wary of intact male dogs. In my experience unneutered dogs are more of a problem and I always avoid them. My experiences are limited to dog parks and shelters - environments that have some measure and/or mixture of control and socialization.

      Scorched you make a great point - there is no sense focusing our resources on dogs that are not an issue like Pugs and Poodles and many posts have opened my eyes to the need for tighter restrictions on pit bull types. I’d also like to see mandatory neutering for all potentially dangerous dogs except for licensed breeders or service dogs.

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    2. Hopeful one, I think you're getting two different things confused. The number of pit bulls in the dog population at large, and the number of pit bulls dumped in shelters. Truly, these are two separate things.

      I have heard some ridiculous numbers about the percentage of pit bulls in the dog population, but there's no need to spend any additional attention on noise. The best supported estimates I have seen put pit bulls at around 5% of the dog population in the US. Large retrievers are a few percentage points higher, and Labs are the most popular dog in America.

      The percentage of pit bull in shelters is much, much higher than the percentage of pit bulls outside shelters. It's not uncommon for a shelter to have 75% pit bulls.

      As to the analogy of drunk drivers, it's one that most people seem to comprehend without difficulty: A drunk driver is statistically much more likely to cause am accident than a non-drunk driver. A pit bull type dog is statistically much more likely to maim or kill a vulnerable victim than a non pit bull type dog.

      For every argument one could make in favor of pit bulls, one could make an analogous argument in favor of drunk drivers. "my pit bull wouldn't hurt a fly" is right up there with "my drunk driving son would never hurt a fly" Or the old favorite "punish the deed, not the breed" which is like saying "punish the accident, not the drunk driver"

      I'm not sure where you're going with the attempt to wrap the issue of the genetically determined behavior patterns of the torturer breeds in some sort of civil rights argument. Are you trying to imply that pit bulls only attack because they are abused, or trained to fight?

      This is a favorite talking point of the most hard core pit bull activists, but just a tiny bit of fact checking is enough to blow that theory out of the water. I'd encourage you to use your own search engine of choice (I like google) to search for pit bull attacks and drill down on the stories. You'll very quickly see that the most horrific attacks are from well-treated "family pit bulls". And invariably, "it never showed any sign of aggression before".

      Ever wonder why you never hear of dog fighters getting mauled to death by their own pit bulls? Why is it always the naive rescue moms or their innocent neighbors that get maimed or killed?

      I'd be thrilled if you could eventually connect the dots and come to your own conclusion. I think you might find the experience of this former pit bull owner enlightening:
      My pit bull experience

      I wish you well in your ongoing education!

      Delete
    3. Hi Jake, The only numbers I quoted were in the visual identification study I linked to already. You said I confounded the study so I wasn’t sure you read it properly. Your answer would help me understand what you mean when you say pit bull.

      Either

      1. You consider a dog with at least 25% pit bull (or 1% or some other number) a pit bull regardless of primary breed and agree with the success rate of visual identification at 96%

      or

      You consider the primary breed of the dog as the breed and the pit bull visual identification success rate is 57%.

      Yes I see the drunk driver analogy now. I was presuming someone convicted of a DUI. Thanks for sticking with me on that. Sure it’s statistically more dangerous to have a pit bull and raising them "perfectly" is no guarantee they won't snap and kill or maim someone.

      Thanks for the link. I didn’t see the letter, but I saw the facts around it and I presume we’re in total agreement in our reaction to that story. The Pet Finder link was particularly disturbing. In fact, I was just on that site because I was researching the history of the pit bull ban in Denver and whether it statistically helped or not. While that site did not have any stats on Denver it did provide legal histories upholding pit bull bans around the country.

      This is the only thing I found about Denver - http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Denver_fnl%5B1%5D.pdf

      I also found the ASPCA’s view about breed specific laws interesting.

      http://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-on-breed-specific-legislation

      I actually went 2 pages deep on Google, but couldn’t find anything to support BSL laws being more effective than non-breed specific laws. Do you have any data on that?

      Thanks for the kind wish. I wish you well too!

      Delete
  9. Hopeful, you're barking up the wrong tree. You're trying to figure out a way to minimize the pit bull problem by making it seem that most dogs are pit bulls.

    I've been watching your antics here, trying to come off as an honest inquirer while trotting out the same old tired ass pit bull propaganda we've heard a million times before. You're really going off on a tangent when you start talking about shelter dogs with 25% pit bull DNA, and how that's supposed to mean there are lots of pit bulls out there. First of all your statement just seems to be flat out false, as it contradicts everything we have observed. I'd appreciate it if you provided some details about your volunteer experience in shelters that did exactly the opposite of what all the other shelters are doing.

    If you could provide a link to the study you keep referring to I'd be mighty damn curious to take a look at what it actually says.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The link was in a previous post of mine. http://aspcapro.org/blog/2013/09/25/bully-this%E2%80%94-results-are-in%E2%80%A6

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dick Johnson;
    Here is a link to the shelter dogs currently up for adoption where I volunteer http://www.petharbor.com/results.asp?searchtype=LOST&friends=1&samaritans=1&nosuccess=0&rows=10&imght=120&imgres=thumb&view=sysadm.v_animal_short&fontface=arial&fontsize=10&zip=95519&miles=10&shelterlist=%27HMCO%27&atype=&where=type_DOG&PAGE=1

    I agree with you. I now think the population percentage debate is a distraction. I thought putting a million pit bulls (75% of total dogs 1.4 million adopted dogs a year) into the population would be a huge number, but it's only 1/75th of the total dog population. The 25% pit bull discounting other breeds doesn't seem significant in this light as well. Keep in mind I did say that pit bull attacks are proportionally out of whack even at the high end of the estimates.
    What does seem relevant about the 25% DNA test classification and nobody has answered yet is how someone who is advocating for pit bull elimination and/or bans would define a pit bull. Since it was in the test provided to me I was curious if at 25% DNA was generally accepted as the definition.

    ReplyDelete
  12. HA! Mimi's comment reminded me of an article I just posted today. You pit nuts are so predictable.

    The name of the blog just happens to be called Sudden, Random, Unprovoked and Violent.

    http://sruv-pitbulls.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/any-dog-in-cincinnati.html

    ReplyDelete

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