Monday, April 20, 2009

Bay City Times, another newspaper bringing back the stupid!

Michigan based "news agency", The Bay City Times, thinks Michigan should ban pit bulls. This is because The Bay City Times is unable to do basic fact-checks but is capable of using fear-mongering and inflammatory language.

According to the article:

Dogs have mauled four people to death in Michigan since September. Just last week, sheriff's deputies killed on the spot three vicious dogs - described as a Australian shepherd-blue heelers mix - suspected in the death of a 41-year-old Huron County man. In September, a Rottweiler killed a 4-month-old girl in Warren. A day later, two American bulldogs attacked and killed two people in Livingston County. In 2006, a Hamtramck couple's two pit bulls killed their 6-year-old daughter.
Whoa, way to mislead readers! There have not been four fatalities in Michigan since September, unless they meant September 2007. There has been one dog bite related fatality in Michigan this year. One. In 2007, there were three (two from the same dogs). And you have to go back to 2005, NOT 2006, for that Hamtramck fatality where pit bulls were involved.

Here's the breakdown:
April 2009: Man killed by three Australian Shepherd-Blue Heeler Mixes
September 2007: Two people killed by as many as 10 dogs (American Bulldog, Boxer, Shepherd mixes)
September 2007: Infant killed by Rottweiler
April 2005: 6-yr-old killed by two pit bulls

This is some egregiously BAD reporting, not to mention a poorly written editorial. One would think the editorial board would edit their own opinion pieces. Of course, if they can't figure out the difference between a 7 and 8 or a 5 and a 6, then I'm not surprised they can't write an effective editorial.

If this is the reasoning (three other attacks by different breeds) for Michigan to ban pit bulls, I can't help but wonder if the editorial board at Bay City Times skipped class when fact-checking and statistics and, I don't know, basic logic were being taught. Or if they even attended class. The lack of thought put into this article is astounding, really.

According to the Bay City Times, breed bans aren't a novel idea and, in fact:

That great nation of dog lovers, the United Kingdom, outlawed "bully" breeds in 1991. The Canadian province of Ontario, our neighbors, banned the breed in 2005.
The UK Dangerous Dog Act is a lesson on failure - dog bites are up, hospitalizations from them as well. Pit bulls are still found easily in the UK. Why would you emulate a country that has been unable to fulfill the purpose of the law (reduce dog bites, eliminate 4 breeds of dogs) in gee, 18 years? Ontario has successfully killed 4,000 dogs for resembling one of the 3 breeds banned after August of 2005 (pit bulls born before August 2005 were grandfathered in, with requirements). Copying the failed tactics of the UK and Ontario is silly and, bluntly put, stupid.

There is a lot more to this editorial, but I can't bear to get into it. Suffice it to say that it promotes paranoia, fear-mongering and discrimination. All of which is upsetting, frustrating and disappointing to see.

Anyway, take home point is such - Bay City Times: lacking merit, integrity and basic google-fu skills. Shame, shame, shame on you.

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