Friday, September 5, 2008

South Australia for the fail

Two breeds make up 25% of dog bites in South Australia.

Before I even state which breeds they are, I think it's silly that this claim is made: "It would seem that both of these breeds are particularly unsuitable in the home environment when young children are present,"

This is the same tired rhetoric pit bull and Rottweiler owners hear time and time again. It's as silly as claiming that other breeds are more suitable with young children. Any relatively sound dog managed properly is suitable with young children. Even relatively sound dogs managed improperly can decide a pesky child needs to be reprimanded. That does not make their entire breed unsuitable for homes with children.

Let's also look at how this study data is portrayed. The article is not reporting the individual statistics for each breed but lumps two breeds together. I can only guess they do this to make the numbers sound a lot more exciting than they might be.

The two breeds account for 25% of reported attacks or 42 bites. All were inflicted on children. Twenty required hospitalization (which isn't saying much without detailing what hospitalization means). Combined, the two breeds make up about 11% of the dog population. Other breeds in the top six were Rottweilers, Border Collies, Bull Terriers and German Shepherds. More importantly, those 42 bites? They happened over THREE years.

With a population of 1.6 million, it seems unreasonable to argue there is a Kelpie & Jack Russell Terrier biting epidemic. Forty two bites inflicted upon 42 kids over a period of three years does not impress upon me that parents in South Australia should be concerned a) about dog bites or b) about Kelpies and JRTs mauling their kid's face. Two hundred bites a year isn't anything to cry home about either. Put another way, 200 bites a year translates into .00125% of South Australia being hospitalized by a dog. Now, maybe 1.6 million people a year are bitten by dogs in South Australia but don't need to go to the hospital. In which case, I'd say South Australia sucks at being talented dog owners and probably deserved to be bitten (kidding. sorta).

It's great they're promoting education, but ultimately, there isn't a dog bite problem in South Australia nor should people be concerned about any particular breed being more likely to eat their baby.


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