Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Google is your friend

Google can definitely be your friend, assuming you actually want to know what's going on out there. A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and, a 35 second video can succinctly demonstrate the scope and magnitude of the pit bull problem, for those who are paying attention:

Short and sweet: Thanks Colleen!

N.B. there's no need to take our word for it - anyone can verify these results.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

pit bull myths - loyalty

As pit bull fans like to say, pit bulls are special - much more special than any other dogs. (but at other times they claim that pit bulls are exactly the same as any other dogs, leaving one wondering exactly what they really think). When pressed to come up with some particular way in which pit bulls are special, it often boils down to amazement that pit bulls can act like normal dogs. In other words, the things that make pit bulls special are those particular scenarios in which they act like normal dogs - as opposed to killing the cat, scalping the baby, or de-gloving grandma's hand.

A calm pit bull, apprehended after killing its owner

I'm truly puzzled when pit bull fans claim that "pit bulls are the most loyal dogs of all", or that "no breed is more loving with its family" - in view of the bloody record of pit bulls attacking their own family members, one has to question their particular definition of loyalty.

The aftermath of a pit bull attack on its owner

Indeed, pit bulls do enjoy a distinction of sorts, in areas related to loyalty - i.e. suddenly, with zero warning, and apparently at random, attacking, mauling, and (if help is not nearby) killing their owners. After several of the mauling deaths over the past year, investigatiors happened to discover that the deceased had previously been treated for wounds inflicted by their own pit bulls . But the victims kept it quiet and didn't report it, ostensibly to avoid leaking any type of pit bull news that was not positive. The lengths to which some people will go "for the pitties" is remarkable, to put it mildly.

A victim of pit bull attack

On the other hand, if reports are to be believed, the pit bull belonging to Bad Rap activist Darla Napora had never shown any sign of aggression previous to the day it suddenly attacked her. Raised from a puppy with love and care, an indoor pet that slept in bed with her, it turned on her one day with zero warning and mauled her to death. So severe was the attack that Ms. Napora was unable to even dial 911 - a story which we have covered here previously.

Killing the owner is an act completely alien to a normal dog. But in the US, there has been a case of a pit bull killing its owner every few weeks during the past year or so. What's going on? Is it that pit bulls are so big and powerful that a playful bite is deadly? Well, that doesn't seem to add up, because there are for instance livestock guardian breeds which are much larger and much stronger than pit bulls, with higher bite force. But they never kill their human pack, and the flocks under their care are also completely safe - which could be reasonably ascribed to the difference between a type of dog bred to guard and protect livestock, and a type of dog bred to torture livestock.

Livestock Guardian Dog protecting the sheep

No, the problem with pit bulls is not their strength, as we have noted above. They are certainly not the biggest or strongest of all dogs, and they do not have the most powerful jaws. What they do have is a set of genetically determined motor patterns owing to selective breeding over hundreds of years of violent blood sport for those specific qualities which suit them to the business of killing, which amount to a craving for combat. A well-bred, game pit bull will attack the opponent without warning and without mercy, and will continue the attack, ignoring submission signals from the victim, and ignoring pain, regardless of injury suffered. it doesn't matter if the victim submits, tries to run away, or fights back - the pit bull continues the attack to its conclusion, one way or the other. For the pit bull, the act of exercising its characteristic motor patterns is self rewarding.

The forgotten shoe of a badly mauled jogger

This purposeful breeding program has naturally created a number of neurological differences between the pit bull and normal dogs. These differences, not nurture or environment, are the chief factor in the off-the-charts record of serious injuries and deaths to humans from pit bulls as compared to all other types of dogs. A normal dog may bite, but a pit bull doesn't just "bite" - a pit bull engages in a sustained attack which can easily last 20 minutes or more, if help does not come.

For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the article linked below on the subject of pit bulls killing their owners. Whatever your opinion of pit bulls, it should be of interest to see these facts in context, with full source citations.

Without further ado, here is the link - Occupy Maul Street: Darwin attacks

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The story of Morgan the boxer

The story below represents an encouraging trend of late, an idea whose time has come, having been forced on us by irresponsible and sociopathic pit bull owners. What we are seeing, in the face of ever worsening pit bull attacks, is a growing willingness of citizens to defend their beloved animal companions with force.

My husband had just returned from Kuwait, and while he had been deployed, our 8 year old Boxer, Morgan, had been my constant companion, my protector and my best friend. My husband and I had taken Morgan for his nightly walk through the neighborhood when for some reason my husband turned around, and noticed a crouching pit bull moving towards us. He yelled "NO! NO! NO!"


The owner heard this and came running out to call "Lucy" back. "She just wants to play!" he said. I was shaking and my husband was warily silent. I was actually more worried about him than anything. He had just returned from a two year deployment to Kuwait and still at that hyper-vigilant stage common among warriors returning home. We decided right then and there that we would not leave the house without a weapon of some kind. My husband started carrying a knife from that point onward; Sometimes when we started to go on our walks, he would remember that he hadn't brought the knife, and we would walk back to the house to get it.

Pit Bull

This particular night I was cooking supper and for some reason Morgan could just not wait to go for his walk. So my husband decided to take him while I stayed home and finished cooking. He walked out the door but came right back in - he had forgotten the knife! About 30 minutes later, they came rushing in the front door. “CALL 911! Morgan was attacked by a pit-bull! CALL 911!!” I could also hear people yelling outside. (I later found out it was the pit bull owners family threatening to come back and finish the job!)

The scene of the grisly attack

Morgan and husband were two houses from home when this beast ran up from behind and tackled our 8 year old Boxer. This thing got Morgan on his back and started thrashing his neck! Morgan managed to get up and husband yelled, “Run Morgan run!” Morgan ran to a neighbor’s door trying to seek safety. The pit tackled him again. That’s when husband pulled the knife and started stabbing. He was so afraid he would stab Morgan! Meanwhile the owner is punching my husband and yelling at him to get HIS dog off of hers! Husband said the pit was starting to slow down as the stabs were getting to him and it turned around once and glared at my husband. He later told me he saw the devil in the pit bull's face that night.

After emergency surgery

 So, the police arrived and took our reports, and we took our severely injured Morgan to the animal emergency hospital where he spent several days. The Vet said it was the worst attack she had ever seen. The pit bull that tried to kill Morgan later died at the same hospital. It sickened me that they were in the same room!

Recovering from the attack

It was a long and bumpy road but I am happy to say Morgan has survived and is turning 10 this month (November). He has muscle damage though, and suffers horrible nightmares! Although the judge ordered the owner to reimburse us for our vet bills, she has not done so and there is a warrant for her arrest. We bought a new home and left our rental behind for a beautiful neighborhood where the pet owners appear to be responsible upstanding people.

A much-loved, happy boy, lucky to be alive

We don't leave home without a knife anymore. 

We applaud the courage and compassion demonstrated by citizens who refuse to stand by and watch their beloved pets being mauled to death. Recent events have made it clear that hesitation, passivity or indifference allows innocent animals to be mauled to death, while aggressive defense saves lives. In a society where loose pit bulls are becoming all too common, everyone needs to be aware and prepared. It behooves everyone to get whatever effective type of weapon you can legally have, and make sure you have a plan and the will to do the needful, should the worst happen. It could save your life, as well as the life of your innocent pet.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dog attack report by breed - November 2012

As a fitting conclusion to pit bull awareness month, it's time to publish another update to the running statistics on serious injuries and deaths from dog attack.

It comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the problem that pit bulls continue to widen their lead over all other breeds in the grisly race of mauling, maiming, and death.

These statistics, going back over 30 years, are compiled and updated on an ongoing basis by the the animal people . Ever since the CDC stopped tracking breed information in 1998, these reports provide the most thorough information available on the subject of serious injuries and deaths from dog attack.

Here are some highlights -

A quick summary of the top 5 breeds in terms of fatalities over the past 30 years shows that Pit bulls lead the second place Rottweilers by a huge margin; attacks from all other breeds are essentially statistical noise in comparison.

At the low end of the scale, statistically safe breeds - which accounted for 1 death or less over the 30 year period - include: Anatolian Shepherd, Pug, Greyhound, Great Pyrenees, and Weimaraner.

Since pit bulls are absolutely off the chart in the statistics, compared to any other breed, pit bull advocacy groups invariably attack these reports, as well as any other reports that mention breed, since they feel that such specific reports reflect badly on pit bulls, and they want the breed information suppressed. Unable to suppress the information, they instead seek to discredit any sources that mention it. They typically attack the credibility, the methodology or competence of the person or organization presenting the information, and often claim that the media is out to get pit bulls. Merritt Clifton answers for the animal people:

"There is a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that pit bulls are over-represented among reported dog attack deaths and maimings because of misidentifications or because 'pit bull' is, according to them, a generic term covering several similar types of dog. However, the frequency of pit bull attacks among these worst in 10,000 cases is so disproportionate that even if half of the attacks in the pit bull category were misattributed, or even if the pit bull category was split three ways, attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives would still outnumber attacks by any other breed.
There is also a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that the use of media accounts as a data source is somehow suspect. Reality is that media coverage incorporates information from police reports, animal control reports, witness accounts, victim accounts in many instances, and hospital reports. Media coverage is, in short, multi-sourced, unlike reports from any single source."

The animal people have been working to benefit animals and to bring the facts to people who care. Please consider sending them a donation.

You can download a copy of the full report here

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heartbreak: How gentle Bleu died

To close out pit bull awareness month, here is the story of a gentle family pet who didn't deserve the cruel manner of his death. This sort of thing is particularly hard for me to write about, but hopefully we can learn a lesson from this specific death, just one of the many similar sad events occurring daily. This is the story of a sweet, docile Weimaraner named Bleu, who was attacked on his own property, torn apart by a pair of roaming pit bulls and left for dead.

The most frustrating thing about this attack was that these same pit bulls had attacked him previously, but Bleu's owners were at home at the time and were able to break up the attack. The pit bulls ran home, but Bleu's reprieve was only temporary. The pit bulls returned to kill him when was all alone.

This tragedy underscores for me an important rule to protect innocent victims from needless harm, a rule that blogger Dawn James has long has long emphasized: "Never, under any circumstances, let an attacking pit bull leave your property alive". 

Let that sink in.

If the pit bulls had been killed during their first unprovoked attack, they would never have been able to return and kill this sweet boy. Hindsight is always 20-20 in these cases, but if this can serve as a cautionary tale for pet owners in the future, then Bleu's death will not have been completely in vain.

Bleu's owner continues below - 

"My husband found our beautiful Weimaraner, Bleu, just to the right of this blood-stained wall, under a utility trailer. He said when he found him he said "Oh Bleu" and Bleu, still alive, started wagging his little tail. My husband, a tough as nails bastard, still cries when he talks about this."

"Bleu was savagely killed by two pit bulls who live through the woods from us. It was the second time they had attacked Bleu. My husband was able to stop the first attack and he was assured that the dogs would never be let off their chains again. But they were let loose again, and last Friday they killed him on our property. Unbelievably, our county has no law allowing officers to remove these dogs or to even interview the owners. 

The owners of the pit bulls are completely oblivious to our loss, and to the danger these dogs pose for our grandchildren who play - or used to play - in our yard.
The pit bull owners referred to the grisly torture of Bleu as a 'dog fight', and boasted about how their pit bulls had killed another dog - a sweet, docile dog who had no blood on his teeth, which indicated he never bit either of his attackers. 

After I told my story, the pit bull lobby has attacked, slandered and threatened me. They don't want me talking about that fact that two dogs that had been in my yard often over 2 years, eaten with Bleu, been petted by me and my grandson, tore Bleu apart and left him to die in a blood-sprayed puddle behind one of our barns."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My pit bull experience

In observation of pit bull awareness month, we would like to offer this story as an example of a "teachable moment" - a pit bull experience that someone took the time to record, in order to help others understand the problems faced by pit bull rescuers. Like so many similar accounts, hers has largely been kept quiet by pressure from pit bull activists (who typically swarm angrily against any entity that dares to publish an opinion that these creatures, created and bred specifically for a violent blood sport, and currently leading all other dog breeds in the human death toll by a country mile, might actually be dangerous) Although her story has not gotten much traction, we're highlighting it here, for your edification. While there are many who could tell a similar tale, she has told hers particularly well, with meticulous attention to detail.

Sonya Marmeladov did everything right, thinking she was doing a good thing by adopting a pit bull. She followed the guidelines of the pit bull advocacy groups to the letter. She provided a wonderful home and every opportunity for the pit bull to live a wonderful life. She was patient and thorough, determined to help the timid, fearful pit bull regain its confidence, which it did. Her efforts were almost superhuman. Nobody could have done any more than she did to make it work.

Sonya didn't count on the vicious, sustained attack that the newly-confident pit bull launched on her other dog, a sweet, non-aggressive boy who didn't deserve what happened to him. That attack was the last straw, so after coming to the realization that her attempts to rehabilitate the violent and unpredictable animal were doomed to failure, she did the responsible thing and requested that it be euthanized. To her dismay, the local SPCA group refused to put the creature down, instead covering up its violent record and offering it up for adoption to unsuspecting families.

Unfortunately this sort of thing is not so rare as one would hope.

Read Ms Marmeladov's full account here

Read the insightful commentary by dog behaviorist Alexandra Semyonovhere

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pit bull awareness month: This was Rhett

On  May 30 2011, a sweet, shy, docile dog named Rhett was attacked inside his own yard by a pit bull from across the street that had smashed through a gate to get to him. Rhett was a good sized dog, but he was a lover, not a fighter, and he submitted to the pit bull. But pit bulls don't recognize normal canine etiquette, as many bewildered family pets have found out too late. After Rhett lay on his back and submitted, the pit bull continued to maul the vulnerable dog, and before Rhett's owner could come to his aid, he had suffered life changing and ultimately fatal wounds.

Rhett suffered for days, his condition steadily worsening. After his stroke and paralysis, Rhett's human companion made the painful decision to put him to sleep. Like most pit bull victims, Rhett's story never made the news, but we did write about it last year in this article. 

Even though the broken gate has been repaired, the murder scene washed and painted, the creature that killed her dog breathes still, and strains daily against it's screen door, a constant reminder of the injustice of the violation suffered. The sorrow of Rhett's end remains a poignant memory.

"My sister made a little monument for my garden, and I put in on the spot where Rhett was defeated by the monster. I've put plants and wind chimes on this spot, prayed but I can't get over the image of him on his back, and the blood splattered on the wall."

As animal lovers, we all sooner or later know the pain of losing a beloved pet, but when the end is so brutal, senseless and undeserved, the pain is worse.

"Every day, when I walk my other two dogs, there's that spot in the graveyard, where Rhett kept vigil, and I wonder if his spirit is still there, if he keeps vigil for the first owner who abandoned him and broke his heart, or if he's waiting for me."

"I hope that there is a kind of heaven for him"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pit bull awareness month: a reader speaks

A reader (who requested anonymity out of legitimate concern for violence from pit bull activists) related this story about one of her co-workers:

My coworker owned a pit bull, which she described as very sweet - "wouldn't hurt a fly". She often dog sat for a friends large Akita, and the pit and Akita always seemed to be best friends. One night they were out in their yard together and they noticed that their play had escalated to a full on dog fight. The pit was no match for the Akita  who had size and a protective coat on its side. But despite the fact that the pit bull was losing badly, it continued to fight. Her husband had to beat her it a shovel to get it to stop. Once the pit stopped, the Akita stopped.

Japanese Akita

A few years later this same coworker decided to adopt a small, elderly chihuahua mix that someone found wandering in the road. I warned her not to trust her pit bull, but she seemed unconcerned. For a year the dogs lived together happily, often sharing a bed and seeming to enjoy each other. Then one night the pit walked over to the sleeping chihuahua mix and grabbed it around the neck and began shaking it with the clear intent to kill it. The chihuahua was screaming, the pit was silent. Again her husband had to stop the pit bull attack, but there was no shovel handy. He had to punch the pit repeatedly in the head to get it to stop, and he had to punch it so hard he broke his hand. 


The next day my coworker came to work and was clearly still shaken up by the whole thing. She kept saying "you were right, you were right..." She will never own another pit bull. 

Pit Bull

Wise woman.

It's a good thing when someone is enlightened, and begins to take seriously the safety and well being of  their pets, and the pets of others. It's even better when it doesn't require a fatal mauling in order for them to see the light.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Arkansas nightmare: pits kill owner

News coverage of deadly attack

In what has become an almost routine event of late, another pit bull owner was brutally mauled to death by her pit bulls. 45-year-old Deborah Renee Wilson, of Jefferson County, Arkansas, was found by her husband when he returned from a visit with a neighbor to find "a gruesome scene" - the pit bulls tearing his wife apart as she lay bleeding profusely. Calling 911, he immediately attempted to help her, but the pit bulls turned on him and he was unable to render aid.

When animal control officers arrived, they managed to capture one of the pit bulls, while the other, dangerously out of control, was killed. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

A curious fact came to light during the ensuing investigation - the woman had been attacked in the past by those same pit bulls, requiring a trip to the emergency room for treatment.

Read the full story at the link below - 

Pets turn deadly on owner - KATV News:

via Blog this

The conspiracy to kill Timmy

Timmy is a very happy, well-behaved spider who loves walks, belly rubs, and feeding times. He deserves every chance at a normal life in a loving home. But Timmy's life is threatened. His crime? Simply that he looks like a brown recluse spider. 

Please help me. They want to kill me because of my appearance.

"This is racism of the lowest kind", said Carol Deluise, director of the National Arachnid Research Council. "These docile creatures have gotten a bad rap because of bad owners, and a media that seeks sensational headlines. Brown recluse spiders are no different from any other spider." She continues "In reality, nobody can identify a brown recluse spider; technically, there is no such thing. And anyway, all the statistics point to garden spiders as the biggest biters." 

June Berkeley, director of the Arachnid Family Foundation,  says "These spiders were bred to be really great with children. They were originally called nanny spiders and were often used to look after children in Victorian England."  She adds, "that was their primary role until recent times, when bad owners started abusing them, and forcing them to attack. The only reason they ever attack is because they are so loyal to their owners. Arachnid temperament tests show that brown recluse spiders score higher than garden spiders!"

Dolly Kane, a Ft Myers-based activist who focuses on human rights issues for Brown Recluse spiders, spoke with us, saying "Even if one of these babies was provoked so badly that he did accidentally bite someone, the fact is everyone deserves a second chance. Before you go condemning and hating these innocent creatures just because of their appearance, take a good look in the mirror." She concludes "If you really want to make a difference in the world, stop hating and educate yourself! Find out about the good side of brown recluse spiders. For instance, they don't have locking jaws as everyone assumes. Go volunteer your time with rescue. Your views will change."

Sally Zeller, herself bitten by a brown recluse spider last year, says that she doesn't blame the spider for the attack. "All I can figure is that It must have been spooked by the new aquarium. But hey, stuff happens. I forgive him for biting me, and I've moved on with my life. Why can't everybody else do the same?"

Megan Dumpolz spoke out passionately "I am so sick and tired of my baby being judged because of his appearance. It's time to stop the violence, and it's time to stop the haters!' She explains "It's never the spider, it's always bad owners. You take a spider, you lock it up, abuse it and make it fearful, guess what, it's going to bite, Sherlock! I am so sick of all the whining 'waaa, the spider bit me and I lost my hand' Well boo freaking hoo! Things happen, get over it. If you can't handle a real spider, then shut up and sit down"

Finally, a blogger/spider activist known as "Tyrant Bob" threw down the gauntlet: "Any of you ignorant racists who claim brown recluse spiders don't make good pets, well, let me tell you, if we ever catch you, we're gonna give you what's coming to you andl lock you up in a dungeon full of brown recluse spiders, what do you think about that?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

RIP Quincy - Guide dog killed by pit bulls

RIP Sweet girl

On March 19, 2012, Bruce Cole, and his guide dog, Quincy, were victimized by two loose pit bulls owned by Jameison and Whitney Harney. Mr Cole was very sensitive to Quincy, having worked with her for years, and immediately knew that she was in trouble, but being blind, could not help her. I can only imagine the horror of the situation where a blind person knows that his guide dog, who means the world to him, is being attacked by pit bulls, and he is helpless to do anything about it.

Cole shouted for help repeatedly. Eventually someone driving by got out of the car and managed to stop the attack, but then drove off without offering any further aid.Cole then called 911, and Harney, the owner of the pit bulls, came from his house, heard Bruce saying that his guide dog had been attacked, and called him “a (expletive) liar,” which can be heard on the 911 tape.

Jameison and Whitney Harney w/ one of the pit bulls that attacked Quincy

As Cole made his way home with a traumatized Quincy, Jameison Harney began shouting angrily at Bruce. At no time have Jameison or Whitney Harney apologized, offered to help or expressed any concern at all for Cole or Quincy. Jameison Harney was and is on probation for felony drug charges. 

Quincy did not exhibit any symptoms for several days, but seemed shaken. The veterinarian thought it best to monitor Quincy’s condition and no office visit was scheduled.

Quincy became increasingly unsteady, losing the use of her hind legs. Cole took her to Beneva Animal Hospital on April 9, where tests revealed that Quincy had two fractured vertebrae and a bacterial infection.

Quincy died on May 4th.

Visit the Quincy Cole Facebook page
See for further updates on the case

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pit bull atrocities - the gentle victims

An Texas family in East Montgomery County awoke to a horrific scene early Thursday morning, and discovered 15 of their sheep were dead or dying, having been brutally mauled by a pair of pit bulls that were allowed to roam the neighborhood.

Can any who call themselves animal lovers not be saddened and enraged to learn of such gentle creatures forced to suffer so, at the hands of purpose bred killers?

A wolf, a coyote or a mountain lion might kill a sheep out of hunger. But well-fed pit bulls seem to torture their victims for the pure joy of it, tails wagging, leisurely tearing apart their gentle, long-suffering victims.

It's saddening that these sheep were so brutally and cruelly torn apart in the one place they ought to have been completely safe. Even worse, although the family that kept the sheep had been victimized by the same pit bulls on previous occasions, there has been no legal relief for them. The marauding pit bulls are still running loose, and the owner of the pit bulls is not facing any charges.

Read the article at Craven Desires (warning, graphic images of pit bull victims):

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Susu's last day

 On the night of June 21, 2012 Susu, a elderly chihuahua mix, breathed her last. After having been given the cocktail which would put her to sleep, she passed away in the arms of a kindly stranger who had taken pity on her. In that sense Susu was more fortunate than many elderly dogs, whose owners abandon them at the shelter as if they were worn out toys, rather than the sensitive, feeling creatures they are.

Susu had been dumped by her owners, perhaps simply because she was old; perhaps because she had advanced arthritis. In any case, Rancho De Chihuahua was her final stop, and RDC co-founder Joy Nicholson was the kindly stranger who held Susu in her last moments.

Joy's observations of the little dog's last days:
"The amazing thing about Susu is how doggedly she looked for her family. Our property is about 3 acres, and is not level, but on wobbly, painful knees, with little sight and very, very little hearing, she searched endlessly for them, walking through every inch. She would sense my presence, ( I think through smell) get very excited, 'run' towards me, then realize I was not who she was looking for, and then turn away and continue her search. When she got too physically tired, she would lay down, and I would go pick her up ( she hated to be picked up, and would buck, bite, and salivate) then she would lay, very depressed, until she slept. The other dogs scared her, so we always kept her alone, which she preferred, but didn't 'like'. When she woke, she would want to search again. Immediately. Any time of day or night. She would turn endless circles, and cry, trying to find a way to get out and search. Her happiest moments were the first 1/2 hour of each search--she would navigate to the fence, then carefully, with an upraised tail, walk the fence line, back and forth. Her tail would sink lower and lower as she got tired, and she was unable to find her people. Still, she wanted to walk. She seemed to believe that if she kept walking, she would eventually find her people, and everything would be okay."

I have to wonder where her family was during this time, and what they were doing. Did they love her? Did they stop loving her when she got old? Were they thinking about her at all? Susu could seemingly think about nothing else except finding them again. 

Joy continues:
"Susu was on Rimidyl, which seemed to help with her pain. And her ability to walk further did increase with less pain, but the emotional pain got worse, not better, when she couldn't find her people."

As sad as Susu's death was, the fact is that dogs put down at the shelter generally come to an even less pleasant end. It varies from place to place, but 50 to 80 percent of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes in shelters will ultimately die for lack of someone to adopt them. An older dog has virtually no chance at all but the least crowded shelters. An older dog with considerable health issues, like Susu, will suffer greatly for the few days spent at a shelter before the euthanization takes place.

Joy recalls Susu's last hours:
"I gave her a tranquilzer ( Acepromazine) in her breakfast treat, and when it set in, I brought her to our vet. She slept the whole way, looking at me, but not in any apparent distress or fear, and seemed very relaxed--the most relaxed she had been. At the vet, we gave her a little more tranquilzer, waited until the injection fully 'took' and she was completely under. She did not open her eyes, wake, struggle or seem to have any signs of distress when she was euthanized. I was touching her the whole time, and lightly petting her face. Susu did not like to be touched, so I kept it very light in case she was feeling it--just enough to let her know she wasn't alone--but not enough to irritate her.) She went to sleep and did not wake up.

She should have been euthanized with her people holding her. We couldn't give Susu much in life, but I do think her death was a peaceful one."

Many of us have been guilty in the past of letting the vet or someone else handle the details when one of our pets is put down. Let's resolve to do this, at least: If and when the time comes that our pet must be put down, let's not dump the poor bewildered baby off somewhere and wash our hands of the whole affair. Let's be with our pets in their final moments, and hold them as they leave this world. Let them feel love and compassion, rather than fear and loneliness. I believe It really makes a difference. 

"One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats its animals." -- Mahatma Gandhi 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pit bulls and shelter bankruptcy

Author Alexandra Semyonova recently made some insightful observations about the problems currently facing dog shelters in the Netherlands. I was fascinated by her observations and feel strongly that we in the USA are heading down the same path. I asked if I could publish her comments, and she graciously agreed.


When I worked at ___ shelter during the Netherlands pit-bull ban, the only pit bulls we took in were collateral catch from drug raids or those confiscated because they'd hurt someone. About three or four a year at most, and yes, all slated to be put down. The dog wing was always one-third to one-half empty except in the summer, when people dumped dogs to go on vacation.

Four years after the pit bull ban was repealed here, various Dutch shelters have announced they'll be going bankrupt soon if the government doesn't put (altogether) millions of extra money on the table for them. I took a look at Dutch shelter sites on June 17, 2012. The average at Dutch shelters is now 78% pit-bull type dogs.

 When the 'humanes' were fighting for repeal of the pit bull ban, there were - in the entire country - about 180 pit bulls waiting on death row as owners appealed destruction verdicts. All of them had hurt someone. You see, the ban wasn’t a witch hunt. As long as they stayed under the radar by not hurting anyone (or anyone’s animal) or making some kind of trouble (such as attacking police during a warranted search), no pit bull was confiscated. 

So in 2008, 180 were awaiting PTS in the whole country, all of which had hurt someone. Now that the ban has been lifted, there are thousands of pit bulls in shelters, almost all of which will be put down in the end because no one wants them. Meanwhile, the humane societies can't help the shelters avoid bankruptcy. They say they don't have that much money, and anyway it's the government's responsibility to pay. This even as the humanes are still encouraging people to get a pit bull. I know we know all this and it's all been said before. It's just that it's crazy-making to watch it happen all over again right under my nose. 

A system which had worked well is now broken

The following refers to my time at ____ shelter, capacity: 85 dogs. We had a system that used to work (before the return of the pit bull). Most dogs that came in were re-homed within three or four months. Some stayed longer. We had a resident behaviorist. A lot of the dogs were taken out (off-leash, in groups) by volunteers about three times a week for a free-run hike in the surrounding woods. Dogs not capable of that had time on a fenced field two or three times a week, if possible with one or more other dogs.

Some dogs only got out-of-cage time with the behaviorist (no other staff or volunteers), and not until s/he thought they were ready to work with him/her without bars between them (at his/her own risk). These were dogs with such serious learned-aggression problems that it was clear the board would give a PTS order, never mind behavior modification. The behaviorist's goal with these dogs was to give them some quality of life during the time they did stay in the shelter. 

 Occasionally a dog would come in that turned out impossible to re-home in an urban area (eg, super rambunctious 120lb Newfie). After eight or ten months of trying, we'd do a shelter exchange. Take a more city-appropriate dog from a rural shelter, send the non-city-appropriate dog over there.

These types of dogs were put to sleep:
  • Dogs with serious learned aggression problems.
  • Dogs that had been re-homed and returned four or five times. 
  • Old dogs with pain problems. 
  • Old dogs without pain problems, but still not re-homed after about six months. 
  • Young dogs with incurable pain problems. 
  • Young dogs with diseases (eg, juvenile pancreatic atrophy in a GSD) that meant about zero chance of a new home. 
  •  Dogs that for any reason seriously bit a staff member or volunteer. 

So dogs got more than a couple of weeks, lots of chances, but weren't kept if it looked like being a life-sentence. Without being no-kill, we tried to be low-kill. It worked. About 1500 dogs a year went through _____ shelter, PTS averaged about 15 a year ( 1% ).

 The rare pits were kept strictly in their cages until the court order came through for PTS. They were always from far away, since shelters operated as secret holding addresses while the court decided. A confiscated pit bull was never sent to its home-town shelter. It was always kept secret that there was a pit in the house at all. This was done to prevent the violent, histrionic break-in rescues that the pit bull lobby sometimes organized.

A grim outlook

In any event, it's clear that this system can't possibly work any more, now that up to 80% of urban shelter dogs are pit-types and shelters everywhere are over-full. I hate to even think about how shelter boards are now making PTS decisions, since the boards have been packed with pit-believers. [BTW, none of them -- not the shelter board members, not the SPCA board members -- have chosen to actually own a pit bull themselves as far as I can find out. They want *other* people to please empty the shelter of pit bulls.] Dutch shelters still do non-local exchanges with each other, but no shelter will take a dog from a private person who doesn't live in the city or town the shelter services. 

I'll be curious to see what happens if various local shelters do go bankrupt and close. All the dogs there at that moment will have to be put down unless some other shelter can take them. It'll be interesting to see whether, after that, we end up with a plague of stray pit-bull type dogs, once there's no shelter for local residents to dump them at anymore. We had an intelligent system in place that effectively made the entire country low-kill to the extent possible. Now it's completely dysfunctional because the SPCAs et al were so anxious to get other people (anyone but themselves) to keep pit bulls.

The shelters are blaming their near bankruptcy on: 
  1. Fewer donations
  2. More dogs coming in and more of those being long-stay dogs
They blame both these changes on the world-wide financial crisis. I don't think this is true. I know that a lot of people have stopped donating because they don't much want to donate to keep mostly pit bulls alive, and because they object to shelters pit-bull pushing as far as adoptions go. No idea what proportion of all (former) donors this would be.

We can also calculate that the sudden rise in dogs coming in is directly related to the pit bull ban being lifted, which has nothing to do with the world crisis. If you removed all the pit bulls from the list of 'adoptable' dogs, only 22% would be left - i.e
, the shelter isn't suddenly full of 78% more normal dogs, which would indicate the world financial crisis maybe does have something to do with it.  It's specifically pit-bull type dogs that are being massively bought then abandoned, flooding shelters and bankrupting them. It makes me angry that the SPCAs fought for the return of the pit bull, but are now saying 'not our responsibility' when it comes to paying for the results.

But of course it is wonderful that they saved those 180 pits that had hurt someone and were waiting to die when the ban was lifted - never mind that now thousands are being euthanized as unwanted every year. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Walk for pit bull victims announced

A walk for the victims of pit bull attacks has been organized for this coming October in Tucson, Arizona. Please come out and support this worthy cause. More information can be obtained here

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dog attack report by breed - June 2012

The animal people have been updating their comprehensive dog attack report, and we thought it might be informative to share the latest stats and take a look at the trends and differences from the report we shared last year. 

The most obvious trend shows pit bulls continue to increase the distance between themselves and other types of dogs, widening their lead as the number one killer. Since last year's report, 25 Americans were killed by pit bulls and close pit mixes, bringing the total to 226 mauled to death by pit bull since Sept 1982. 

This continues the upward trend in violent pit bull attacks over previous decades. Rottweilers were responsible for 2 deaths during the same period; most breeds caused zero fatalities, and a handful of breeds each caused a single fatality. 

Pit bulls and close mixes also increased their huge lead in non-fatal attacks on humans with 230 documented attacks causing serious bodily injury since last year's report. Unfortunately a great many, perhaps most, pit bull attacks go unreported, so what we're seeing here is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg.

It's important to consider not only those who died from pit bull attacks, but also those who have suffered life-changing injuries, maiming and disfigurements. Just because someone survives a pit bull attack does not make everything fine. The physical and mental damage from a mauling stays with a person for the rest of their life, adversely affecting the quality of that life.

When a pit bull attacks it is typically not a quick fatal bite, but rather a prolonged mauling, pulverizing and macerating of whatever part of the victim it happened to clamp down on. If a pit bull attack victim cries out for help and others come to his aid, it is possible to cause enough damage to the attacking pit bull to pause or redirect its attack, giving the victim a chance for emergency treatment. If help does not come, the pit bull continues to maul the victim, tearing flesh from bone, and after 20 minutes or more of this torture, the victim mercifully loses consciousness. Death follows after further mauling, blood loss and tissue damage.

Here are highlights of the 30 year study of serious dog attacks -

You can download the full report here

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Nanny Dogs?

I always cringe when I hear the "nanny dog" propaganda being dutifully regurgitated. The idea that a breed specifically created to maul other dogs to death in the pit - to attack with zero warning, to bite down with maximum force and never let go, to continue biting and tearing regardless of injury suffered - could have ever been entrusted with the care of small children, is simply astonishing, defying all logic. The nanny dog myth has been thoroughly debunked here and elsewhere, but the compendium of brutal surprise attacks on innocent children by these so-called "nanny dogs" should drive home the point even more clearly that these creatures are dangerous and unpredictable. 

There will always be fool-hardy individuals who play Russian roulette and giddily exclaim "Ha ha, I'm still alive!' "See, everything's fine, I know what I'm doing!" To tell someone in the grip of such a fever that they are taking foolish risk is usually pointless, as they will dismiss your concerns, but the bloody aftermath of a failed turn at the game provides a stark testimony of what was at stake.

Whenever I see a photo of a baby with a pit bull I think of the Russian roulette player. Unfortunately, the parents in such cases are holding the gun not to their own heads, but to the head of their own child. Naturally, a number of these children will survive the Russian roulette, emboldening the parents, and enhancing their disdain for the concerns of others. Such parents will often say "The baby was in no danger because I was right there."

If the pit bull suddenly attacks, it makes no difference whether the parent is there or not. Parents of children suddenly attacked by "the family pit bull" have found out the hard way that the pit bull will continue shredding the flesh of their child, tail wagging, undeterred by blows from a baseball bat, hammer, shovel, or crow bar. By the time they can inflict enough trauma to stop the pit bull attack, the child's frame has been irrevocably damaged, often fatally.

Please, read the following article by blogger Vintage which reviews "nanny dog" attacks on children. It is well researched and quite informative. I hope the reader will take the time to consider the information presented.

craven desires: Nanny Dogs?:

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