Friday, March 27, 2009

Pawtucket RI Serious News: Dog near baby

Seriously huge news out of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, people. WPI has this to report - Police remove a pit bull from a home

The subheading tells us why: Couple in Pawtucket had dog near baby

Now, if I wanted to lampoon a silly law (like banning dogs who look a certain way), I might very well title my article this and use a subheading as inane as "Dog panted near baby" or "Dog walked by baby" or "Couple had dog near baby".

I can't laugh too much, because the truth is pretty sad. Pawtucket banned pit bulls and set up regulations for Rottweiler owners in 2003. If you are caught with a pit bull, your dog can be summarily executed (unless you appeal and prove you will move your dog out of Pawtucket permanently) and you can be fined $250 or possibly be imprisoned for no more than 30 days. Existing dogs were grandfathered in, but that has obviously not deterred people from owning or "harboring" dogs who look like pit bulls. It probably hasn't reduced dog bites, either.

The dog in question is obviously scared, you can see the whites of her eyes and she's doing everything in her power to avoid the camera while also saying "GO away, please, I'm scared". I don't know how she is around her own people or around children, and no way should any dog be at the same level or unattended with any infant, let alone one a few days old. I'd wager these are not the classiest of folks owning this dog, but that doesn't necessarily make them horrible people, bad parents or bad dog owners.

I don't have my hands on any of Pawtucket's dog bite statistics, but I'll make an educated guess: Less than 0.05% of people in Pawtucket are bitten by dogs yearly and probably less than that (or I'll even go up to a whopping 1%) of the total number of dogs in Pawtucket bite. I'd even guess that 99% of the pit bulls in Pawtucket don't bite and didn't bite before the ban went into effect. Those aren't just made-up numbers but the percentage points you commonly see when computing how many people get bitten by dogs in a given region and how many dogs actually bite.

Take home point: Most dogs don't bite. When they do, bites are generally minor. Millions of pit bulls live out their lives without biting anyone. Banning a look does not solve a fundamentally human behavioral problem.


amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amanda said...

well they should just lock me up since i trust my pitbull with the lives of my three toddlers .... they can ride on her while shes eating or take a bone from her mouth

Blair said...

Greetings! Please see the recent Providence puppy electrocution and please disseminate this vital public service to preclude more tragedies. Many thanks.



Just so you know, I confer with Con Edison's Stray Voltage and Public Affairs Units and contribute to Wet Nose Guide and New York Dog Chat.

Blair Sorrel, Founder

Contact voltage is a chronic hidden hazard that can readily victimize an unsuspecting dog, walker, or both. No dog lover could possibly observe a more horrifying scene than witnessing his beloved pet instantaneously maimed or tragically electrocuted. When you exercise your pooch, please exercise greater prudence. Common outdoor electrical and metal fixtures may shock or even kill your vulnerable dog. And depending upon the current, the walker will be bitten and like poor Aric Roman, suffer permanently. But you can, indeed, self-protect.

Just start to adopt this simple strategy — EYEBALL THE BLOCK, AND AVOID A SHOCK. Take a few seconds and make your trajectory toward generally safer, free standing, non-conductive surfaces, ie., plastic, wood, cardboard. Intuit your dog’s cues and if it’s resistant, change directions. Work site perimeters may be live so try to elude them. If necessary, switch sides of the street or your hands when leading to skirt hazards. If you traverse the same route, you may memorize locations of potential dangers. Carry your pooch when in doubt. Consider indoor restroom products like PottyPark when external conditions are chancy or RopeNGo’s hardware-free leash and harness. And don’t rely on dog booties as a palliative as they will actually put your pet at even greater risk since the dog can’t tell you they’re leaking! To learn to more, please see StreetZaps. A safer walk is yours year round if you are willing to open to your eyes and mind to it.