Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pit bull activism - unpacking the lies

Unraveling a typical example of the deception peddled by pit bull activists

My attention was recently directed to a study from a site called which claimed that pit bulls were much less dangerous than some other breeds.

At first glance, it might seem to the typical man in the street that their allegations are legitimate. But if we begin to look a little closer, it all falls apart rather quickly, and you find yourself asking, "If pit bulls really are all that safe, why do they have to resort to lies to try to convince us of that?"

Their presentation is indeed long on propaganda and when closely examined, falls apart. Let's visit the propaganda page:

Couched in the veneer of pseudo scientific lingo, the site attempts to make the case that pit bulls are one of the least dangerous dog breeds of all. The reader is expected to believe that Malamutes are the most dangerous breed of all, and that Chows, Saint Bernards, Huskies, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Mastiffs are all more dangerous than pit bulls.

How can we square that with known facts about serious and fatal dog attacks?
For example, refer to this list of of attacks by breed over a recent 7 year period in North America, for which there have been fatalities:

We see that pit bulls account for over 3 times as many deaths as all other breeds combined, and nearly 5 times as many maiming or disfiguring attacks as all other breeds combined.

So how did the pit activists come up with such wacky numbers? Well, they employed a number of dishonest tricks here, all the while pretending to be unbiased statisticians.

For instance, when counting attacks, they used the time period from 1979 to 1998, when pit bulls were rare. But then when counting pit bulls, they used the a very optimistic estimate of the most recent pit bull ownership figures.

The effect is to produce an artificially low number of pit bull attacks per capita. Obviously this is dishonest. Instead of cherry picking variable for their equation from two different eras, they should have taken both variable from the same time period.

Note what they did with Chows - they inexplicably reduced them from 1% of the dog population (per animals24-7) to 0.1%, which made Chows appear 100 times more dangerous than they are.

As you can see, their goal here is not to inform, but to hoodwink. We leave the discovery of additional deceptions as an exercise for the reader.

"There are lies, damned lies, and statistics" -- Mark Twain

References - - statistics

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