Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sioux City representatives are a little loopy!

Crazy words from Councilman Jim Rixner out of Sioux City, Iowa:

"Pit bulls tend to become more dangerous as they age, especially in the last years of their life," Rixner stated. "Given the logic we keep spinning, the proposed ban, in fact, increases the risk of attack in the coming years."
I have heard many silly statements about pit bulls (and dogs, in general), but this has to be one of the sillier.

First, there is absolutely no evidentiary material to support the claim that any dog becomes "more dangerous", particularly in the "last years of their life." I mean, none. Zilch. Nada. If anything, older dogs have nubbier teeth, are slower-moving, and generally spend most of their time drooling, farting and, most importantly, sleeping. The geriatric pit bull with arthritis is hardly battle-ready for a terrorist campaign against the neighborhood.

Second, Rixner's use of the term "logic" should truly be preceded with "stupid" or "baseless" or "fallacious". It would thus make his statement true.

It is also creepy that Rixner and company are promoting turning on your friend, family or neighbor for having a dog who *looks* like a pit bull.

After that 60-day period, the city will start a campaign to encourage people to report pit bulls in their neighborhoods. Animal Control officers will follow up on those reports and would seize pit bulls that have not been registered and licensed. Those dogs would be euthanized.

Wow, glad my 9.5 year old pit bull and I live elsewhere, far, far away from Sioux City.

If you want to send polite correspondence or to inquire whether Rixner is actually serious about his claims, contact information is as follows.

As always, we welcome your phone calls and written correspondence. You may send letters by e-mail to the full or mail to City Hall, P.O. Box 447, 51102, or call 712-279-6102. Individual City Council contact information is as follows:

Mayor Mike Hobart
PO Box 447
Sioux City, IA 51102
712-899-6130 (cell)
712-258-1882 (home)

Mayor Pro-Tem Jim Rixner
PO Box 447
Sioux City, IA 51102
712-490-0245 (cell)
712-258-7855 (home)

Councilman Aaron Rochester
PO Box 447
Sioux City, IA 51102
712-253-4547 (cell)
712-226-4675 (home)

Councilman Dave Ferris
PO Box 447
Sioux City, IA 51102
712-279-6136 (work)

Councilman Brent Hoffman
PO Box 447
Sioux City, IA 51102
712-251-5344 (cell)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Banning pit bulls when they don't attack

In Buckner, Missouri, pit bulls are banned. A couple with two pit bull mixes interested in moving into the area would like the ban repealed or, at the very least, an exception made.

Let's all gasp in horror at the incident leading to the expulsion of all Buckner pit bulls - a puppy described as a pit bull bit a tricycle. Yes, there was a kid on the three-wheeled device but come on! No one was hurt, the dog could have been more interested in the rubber tires of the bike and it wasn't as if all pit bulls in a 5-mile radius were eating children left and right.

Oh yes, Buckner is the same town where a Bull Mastiff severely mauled two people in September of 2007. Bull mastiffs have not been banned (nor should they, of course).

Fascinating logic out of Buckner!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Breaking news story - pit bulls cause global warming

Because I felt like it, that's why.

Oh victorville, why must your reporting be so shoddy?

In Victorville, California, a 15-yr-old girl is attacked by a loose dog described as a pit bull.

The article is one of the most viewed stories for the little Daily Press.

Flash down to paragraph 13 for this gem: This is the 70th dog bite reported in Victorville this year and the first dog bite by a pitbull in about three years, according to Hester. Animal Control typically receives 100 reports of dog bites in Victorville every year, she said.

Three years, people.

Out of curiosity, I did a search of The Daily Press' website for more "dog bite" stories, hoping to learn about the 70 other dog bites in the area. I guess Floofie-poo-gle and Lab-a-canoodle bites just aren't as interesting - no other dog bites were reported in that particular paper. I did read a lot about a pit bull attack in 2004, a vicious attack on a child by three non pit bull dogs (who are called in one article a GSD mix & Boxer mix, in another two Chow mixes...) BUT with the necessary "five years ago a pit bull at my tree" news bit inserted, and nothing on any of the other 70 dog bites.

And people say there isn't a media bias? Pshaw.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Omaha and dog shootings

The Omaha Humane Society is going to train police officers on how to handle dogs they encounter on calls.

Other stuff on this subject:

In November of 2007, an activist took out an ad in the newspaper warning residents their dog may get shot by police. Also in that article, it noted that there were only five dog deaths by police gunshot in 2005 (when Colleen's 2 year old Lab mix was shot to death). Five. Fast-forward to 2007-2008 and there are, what, 39?

Some of the more egregious Omaha Police Shootings (b/c I'll grant that, sometimes, the only recourse is to use lethal force on a highly dangerous animal). This doesn't include the Lab mix or the German Shepherd mix being shot to death (I couldn't fine news articles on them). I could only find news articles on a few of the cases, and those were the ones where dogs were erroneously identified as pit bulls. The damage is done when only one out of fifty news sources correctly identifies the dog (with pictures, to boot).

August, 2008: A dog incorrectly identified as a pit bull mix who was shot and killed by police. The dog, a Heeler/Boxer/mutt with vaccinations and apparently licensed acted aggressively when police entered the home w or w/o invitation (that part is disputed). The dog caused a minor laceration to one officer. The response? The six-year-old pet was shot to death. You can see clearly from the video, especially when they show a side angle of the dog, that he is a mutt - pure and simple.

June, 2008: A dog incorrectly identified as a pit bull was shot and killed by Omaha police on the dog's property. The police officer noticed that a Jeep on the dogs' property was not up to date. So, he unlocked and opened the gate and entered the property. Two dogs, a Boxer mix (Chewy) and a pit bull ran out toward him. The officer claims the dogs were acting aggressive, the owner disagrees. Regardless, the Boxer mix was shot twice and later euthanized b/c of the injuries. The pit bull was not harmed. Interestingly, the humane society actually issues citations for allowing dogs to run loose, even though the dogs were in a fully enclosed yard...on their owner's property. Mind-boggling.

November, 2007: A mixed breed (no, not a pit bull mix) was shot at three times, one of the bullets actually hit him in the head. One bullet lodged into the owner's vehicle, another into the neighbor's home. The officer entered the property without permission to investigate a stolen vehicle. Neighbors all claim the dog was friendly. The dog survived.

October, 2007: An off-duty Omaha police officer shoots a Husky three times until the dog died. The dog was running loose but was not actually acting aggressively. The shooter was safe inside his home when his wife called stating she was frightened of a dog outside of her car (i.e. she was safe in her car). Instead of contacting animal control, the man immediately grabbed his gun and shot the dog three times.

I'm glad Omaha police are receiving training on how to handle dogs. I'm sorry it has taken 39 dead and wounded dogs to do just that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pit bull ordered to attack, does not comply

From the title of this article, you would think that the entire swat team needed to be called in due to the complications created "by" a pit bull.

The story is about two irate teenagers, one who ran from the police, the other - his girlfriend - who got so mad she dragged the poor family dog into the debacle. In a brilliant attempt at The Stupid, the girlfriend tried to get the dog (a pit bull) to attack officers. The dog just sat there, probably like a total dork.

So, here we have a story about a couple of kids being dumb, running from the police, and a dog who just sits there and does nothing. Yet the title of the article? "Newark arrests complicated by pit bull". Well, no. The arrests were complicated by two dumb kids. The end.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A case of Asking for Trouble

Here we have a case of Asking for Trouble.

In Michigan, a woman and her husband decide to take pictures of the intact, loose pit bull on their front porch. In a genius move, they neglect to a) lock their door or b) block their pet door where their cat is permitted to come and go at will. The dog ends up entering the premise, attacking the cat and, when the woman intervenes she is bitten by the cat or dog (she claims the dog, but the picture of the wound doesn't really show a striking dog bite wound).

Here's the rub: People let their cats loose all the time (the dog is accused of killing other cats in the neighborhood). It's okay for their cats to shit in my yard, taunt my dogs and roam the streets killing other animals or getting killed by vehicles. But when a dog gets loose and attacks a loose cat, Holy Terror Batman, call the Death Squad!

I'm not saying this woman's cat deserved to be attacked nor am I saying this pit bull is owned by a responsible person. But it is rather silly to make this out to be anything other than a mishap made possible by people who snapped pictures of a loose dog on their porch instead of blocking their pet's cat door and by an owner who seemed incapable of simply confining their dog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Police shoot two Labs during botched drug bust

I know this doesn't involve pit bulls or other maligned breeds nor does it really have anything to do with BSL, but it is a disturbing story out of Prince George County, Maryland where two Labrador Retrievers were brutally shot to death by police raiding the home of innocent Mayor Cheye Calvo, his wife and mother. According to the family, one of the Labs was actually running away before being shot to death. The Calvos were guilty of nothing.

Supposedly, PG police had a "no knock" warrant allowing them to bust down a door with guns blazing. Turns out they didn't.

Given the aforementioned malfeasance by Prince George’s County officers, it should come as no surprise, then, that authorities didn’t even have a "no-knock" warrant when they raided Cheye Calvo’s house, despite claims to the contrary by department spokesmen at the time of the incident. In fact, according to the Washington Post, "a review of the warrant indicates that police neither sought nor received permission from Circuit Court Judge Albert W. Northrup to enter without knocking," and that "Northrup found probable cause to suspect that drugs might be in the house and granted police a standard search warrant."
That’s right; not only was the assault on the mayor’s house immoral, it was also illegal.
Less than a year ago, Prince George County police made a similar mistake, raiding the wrong address and killing a confined dog in the backyard.

Police shooting dogs isn't anything new. Just yesterday, I posted this story yesterday involving a confined dog being shot by police in the head mere feet from the showering owner.

The linked article provides other examples of humans and dogs being victims of the "war on drugs" and the heavy-handed policing tactics now used.

All three cases show a desperate need for proper training on how to handle dogs and maybe some sensitivity training on how to handle families whose beloved companions have been brutally killed. While being safe is important, a sobbing individual who just wants to cradle their dying dog is hardly a menace to society (I can't see when I cry or breath very well, let alone try and take out an entire swat team).

What's scary is this: You and I are not exempt from drug raids. Our civil liberties and rights have been so eroded that a "crimestoppers tip" could result in police breaking down your door with a "no knock" warrant and shooting your dogs. Or your kids. Or you if, out of utter fear, you tried to protect your property. Confiscating drugs is all fine and dandy, but a few pounds of pot (or any drug) is not worth the deaths of humans or dogs. It just isn't.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shooting a dog you know is secured

Out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, comes the report of an officer shooting and killing a dog.

Two officers were let into the home by children (is that even legal?) searching for a suspect no one at this home actually knew. They were warned that a dog was in the bathroom where Deanna Gonzales was taking a shower. When the officer opened up the door of the bathroom, s/he was bitten once on the wrist. Instead of closing the door, the dog was shot and killed when he (understandably) lunged again...all the while Gonzales was inches away showering.

In this report, the dog is called a pit bull.

But in another, the dog is labeled a Labrador Retriever - pit bull mix.

So, we have a case where officers didn't seek adult permission to enter a home, knew that a dog was secured in a bathroom, entered the bathroom anyways, shot a dog in the head when he freaked out and bit an intruder (dogs don't know cop from burglar) and then didn't have the foresight to shut the darn door. Fascinating.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

when american bulldogs are called pit bulls even though they aren't

Out of North Toledo we have this story of a two-year-old dog attacking his owner.

The first line reads Toledo police shot and killed a pit bull Tuesday evening as the animal attacked its owner in North Toledo, authorities said.

Two lines later? Mr. Lindsay was talking to his wife when the 2-year-old male American bulldog...

Now I know every Joe Blow and their mother confuses any dog with short hair and muscles for a pit bull, but there is a pretty significant physical difference between your average American Bulldog and your average "pit bull" (who, for all intents and purposes, is an American Pit Bull Terrier). The biggest is that one weighs like 110 pounds, the other weighs 50 (or, if you are Miss Mina, Ruler of all that is Canid and Good, you weigh 38 lbs. On the dot).

when dogs get confused for pit bulls and don't attack

Out of Colorado...this just in!

Rocky Mountain News reports the story of a man who shot two dogs b/c they looked like pit bulls but were actually not. According to this report, the two American Bulldogs attacked another dog, so the owner of the other dog waited a few minutes, got his gun, traipsed around the neighborhood (cuz he was afraid for his safety...interesting) and then shot the two dogs, killing one and injuring another. The article makes the shooter out to be a hero who was just patrolling the hood, trying to protect its denizens from dog-mauling fiends from hell.

The truth? No one was injured. No dog was attacked. The two American Bulldogs were guilty of "taking an aggressive stance" and, instead of calling animal control or the humane society, Clint Jewell grabbed his gun, tracked down the dogs and shot them. Also, he thought they were pit bulls, which according to Rocky Mountain News, is a notoriously aggressive breed, ergo this dude was totally a-okay for shooting them (that's implied, btw).

All of this could have been prevented if the owner of the two dogs had just repaired a hole in her fence. Simple stuff, really.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grand Island, NE - where no news is news

Let me count the ways in which this Grand Island Independent article is rather silly.

Before that, it is important for me to convey that I think dealing with an aggressive dog is scary. I would be upset too if a couple of dogs nipped me. The owner of these dogs should probably reconsider her cable method of restraint and perhaps consider a kennel or, even better, bringing the dogs in as companions, not lawn ornaments.

Okay, now that the serious stuff is out of the way..

When I was in 8th grade I tried to impeach the treasurer of the student council. I got 32 signatures. Then I learned there wasn't an actual impeachment process, that what I did was really mean (I made her cry, eep), and that there were much better ways to handle my personal problems with the treasurer (she was evil). Imagine the headline, though - Teenager's attempt at overthrowing student council treasurer thwarted!! It would have been riveting! Alas, unlike a neighborhood squabble about two dogs, MY very important news never made it to print. Sad.

This article is 900 + words long. Actual story should be : Soccer parents garner 26 signatures that mean nothing. Also, they don't like dogs who look like pit bulls. Or who are pit bulls. Or who may have consorted with pit bulls. Dogs who nip but don't break the skin of joggers are also to be shot on sight. Best quote of the day would be from Sheriff Watson on why this is a silly case,"I think a lot of this is because it's a pit bull"

The basis of the signature gathering was a so-called bite by two dogs. I've been bitten by dogs. This has always resulted in bloodshed and puncture wounds and me shaking my fist at the guilty party (who NEVER appears contrite, little bastards). I have also been nipped by dogs. This has always resulted in no bloodshed, sometimes a tiny bruise, and me still shaking my fist at the guilty party. The bite described in the article is a nip - no breaking of the skin, no bloodshed, one bite from each dog and then they were off on their merry way. Should not have happened, of course, and that is where the stupidity of the owner shows.

My suggestion to the signature gatherers: Get a hobby. Collect pennies or stamps. That will keep you safe from the hordes of rampaging pit bulls.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Let's outlaw pit bulls!!!

Allen Park, Michigan is on a mission to outlaw pit bulls. Why? Well, Councilmember Beverly Kelley's dogs were attacked by two pit bull mixes. Ergo, ban pit bulls. This is a very logical response, of course. I was tripped up by a pink chair, so now I just stand around uncomfortably, keeping a wary eye on all potential chair-attacks. (Okay, I don't really do that).

The two attacking dogs are a Labrador Pit Bull mix and a Rottweiler Pit Bull mix...maybe. There aren't any pictures of the dogs (which wouldn't be all that useful anyways) so we're not sure who's correct.

Maybe if Allen Park would take complaints of loose dogs seriously, this needless attack would have been avoided. The owners of the two dogs continually allowed her dogs to run loose.

But a pit bull ban? That's a silly response to a dog-dog attack between two really large dogs and two really small dogs. Not to mention it's a ludicrous response to two mixed breed dogs attacking other dogs.

Mangling a story to sensationalize

In March of 2007, a 16-yr-old student, Kodjo Yenga was stabbed and beaten to death by other teenagers.

This is how the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald) reports the story:

LONDON - School had just ended and Kodjo Yenga was walking home along a tree-lined London street when a gang of angry youths blocked his path.
One held a snarling pit bull terrier that strained against its lead. Chants of "Kill him!" erupted from the mob.
The teenagers, some of whom still wore their school uniforms, seized Yenga and one stabbed him in the heart. Witnesses heard members of the gang laugh as he lay dying in his girlfriend’s arms.
You can't help but think of Kodjo as a young scholar who was strolling the oak-lined boulevard with his beloved girlfriend in tow when, out of the seedy alleys of London emerged a mob of murderous teenagers. Perhaps murderous teenagers aren't quite dangerous enough, so the snarling devil dog is thrown in for good measure.

The actual story, while still tragic, isn't exactly the AP's version.

Kodjo and his girlfriend, Cookie, weren't walking home after school - they stopped for dinner at the house of Cookie's mom. Afterwards, they took Cookie's pet dog for a walk. They were approached by one juvenile hellspawn who picked a fight. Kodjo said the standard "let's take it outside over there" where Kodjo was suddenly accosted by several other hellspawn teenagers who beat and stabbed Kodjo several times.

Why did the fight start? Oh, you know that "snarling pit bull"? Well, the fight was actually over Cookie's pet dog - an apparently placid Staffordshire Bull Terrier. There was no pit bull gnashing his teeth, straining to tear into Kodjo. The hellspawn teenager wanted the dog and Kodjo said no. So he was stabbed twice in the chest, beaten and left to die in his girlfriend's arms.

In the grand scheme of things, especially in the grand scheme of this story, the fact that the pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier is transformed into a snarling pit bull is a minor inconvenience. Still, it is yet another example of how tough the media is on pit bulls.

If you care to know (and you should), two of the five attackers were sentenced to a minimum of 15-yrs in prison. The remaining three were sentenced to 10 years in a detention prisoner. The youngest attacker? Thirteen at the time of the murder. The oldest? Sixteen at the time of the murder.