Sunday, September 28, 2008

A fallacy of BSL

In the UK, American Pit Bull Terriers (and three other breeds) are banned. Dog bites have increased significantly since the implementation of the law.

Here's a recent case of the sad realities of BSL. There is a young man who permits his bull mastiff to run loose. This dog is very dog aggressive. He attacks an "illegal" pit bull being walked by his owner - rips open the dog's throat. Guess what? Pit bull is deemed illegal by the Department of Agriculture. Fascinating.

Bull Mastiff has now attacked another dog tethered outside of a pharmacy (a good reason not to leave your dog unattended while you shop).

Now authorities are heck-bent on finding this bull mastiff's owner! First, though, they have to waste money on prosecuting a citizen who had the audacity to walk a "pit bull" on leash. Then maybe they'll find the owner of the highly dog aggressive and dangerous bull mastiff.
BSL: Hardly Working!

Monday, September 22, 2008

When the news lies

Title of article: Dog attacks pet and owner

Now, I'm not one to belittle anyone's frightening encounter with a potentially aggressive dog. This story, though scary and easily preventable, is nothing more than a story of a frustrated dog getting loose from a chain and pinning another dog - no bloodshed, no bite wounds, nothing. I suppose I should be thankful the title isn't Rampaging Pit Bull Mauls Pensioner and Dog.

Title of article: 3 dogs attack FW man

Okay, here's the scoop: Three dogs running loose. Old (sassy) man walking is "suddenly" bit by one. Once. On the wrist.

Yep, that's the story. One dog bit him. The wound inflicted appears rather minor, when you see the three dogs in question. Not attacked, not mauled, not tried to kill the man.

It's mind-boggling that anyone is arguing these dogs who somehow manage not to eat the cameraman in the backyard were on some satan-sacrificing rampage.

Loose dogs in a pack act differently than on their own property, for sure. At the same time, after seeing the news video, I'm slightly more inclined to believe that this man provoked this attack with his own outlandishly loud reaction to these loose dogs. I don't think the dogs snuck up on him to bite him on the wrist. I think he saw them coming, screamed bloody murder at them, shook his fists and stomped aggressively and one dog bit him. When he screamed and ran, they followed. But I have to tell you: If three large, aggressive, dangerous dogs want to bite you, they aren't going to let a small stick stop them.

I'm glad they aren't immediately euthanizing the dogs. I sure as heck hope the owner fixes the whole in the fence and stops leaving his dogs alone in the backyard.

Friday, September 12, 2008

West Liberty is a little crazy

West Liberty, Iowa is looking to ban pit bulls because of three -yes, three - incidents involving two "pit bull specific breed dogs". One dog accounts for two of those three incidents. No human was injured. In fact, no one was harmed, animal or human.

The city isn't even bothering with a grandfather clause
, because the logistics were going to be too difficult for the city to handle.

This is because West Liberty does not require anybody to license their dogs.

Here we have a city that wants to ban dogs who look a certain way based on the behavior of two dogs who never actually bit anyone or anything. Wait, not based on the behavior of the two dogs, based on what they look like! Then they won't grandfather in current pit bulls b/c "it's too big to handle" due to a lack of licensing.

And a pit bull ban is going to be easy to handle? Lawsuits are very cheap, I hear. So is enforcing a law that often increases the costs to animal shelters and the strain to their holding capacity.

West Liberty has a leash law. They have a vicious dog ordinance. Enforce them, for cripes sake.

Contact West Liberty - let them know, politely, that there are alternatives and that they don't have a pit bull or dog biting problem in West Liberty.

City of West Liberty
409 N. Calhoun Street
West Liberty, Iowa 52776
Telephone: 319-627-2418
Fax: 319-627-6523
City Manager:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lincoln, Nebraska - where the news is slow

Media spin time!

"The quiet of one dead end street in Lincoln was disrupted earlier this week after a Pit bull got loose in their neighborhood."

That's right, folks - the quietude of California Court was severely startled into a cacophony of clamoring screams when a pit bull got loose. The dog had the audacity to walk in the neighborhood without an owner present! Miraculously, he didn't eat anybody.

But he could have: "
One resident who did not want to be identified says she is especially concerned about the danger the dog could have posed if her grandchildren were outside."

Yes, be wary of loose dogs. No, a story of a loose dog being caught by Animal Control is not newsworthy.

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.


Monday, September 1, 2008

When eyewitness accounts fail

And why BSL can also fail - if people cannot honestly tell the difference between a lion and a large dog, how on earth can we trust these same people to tell us who is a pit bull and who is a lab mix?

Out of the UK: Escaped lion turns out to be Marmaduke.