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« Another reason everyone should care about BSL | Main | Yeah, what she said »

January 19, 2007

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Caveat

Jurisdictions which implement BSL experience spikes in dog bites and attacks. In Ontario, provincially, bites are up significantly since the ill-advised ban was brought in, as much as 73% in some cities.

Obviously, if you eliminate a breed, you will have fewer bites by that breed. As for mixed breeds, it's a crap shoot - no one knows what kinds of dogs they are.

Winnipeg, Manitoba saw a spike in bites after they implemented their ban. Kitchener, Ontario saw an initial spike but their bites have now leveled off to pre-ban numbers.

It is of interest that in those cities and others which have banned breeds, the subject breeds have always been under-represented in bite stats compared with others.

The uncommitted tend to move to other breeds but I also think bans give the non-dog savvy public a false sense of safety around dogs. They believe the hype and think all the 'bad' dogs are under control or in cases such as Denver's, dead.

They think that there are friendly breeds and nasty breeds rather than individuals, again thanks to the media, who don't report serious bites and attacks by supposedly friendly breeds, or if they do, it's always presented as anomalous and receives only local coverage.

Whichever breeds are most popular will have the most bites recorded, using the law of averages.

The majority of bites are less serious than a minor kitchen injury but databases don't record severity. The only outcome that is certain is death, which is why the media and self-styled experts tend to focus on that, as if it were possible to prevent such a statistically rare outcome by banning a breed or perceived breed of dog.

Gwen Lebec

The obvious question to ask is why public officials care more about pit bull bites than lab bites? Duh! Because of the seriousness of the injuries. By just checking empty numbers you are more obtuse than they were. To determine whether or not the ban is successful you need to analyze whether or not the number of serious injuries have been reduced. More critical thinking is needed here.

Brent

Keep in mind Gwen, that only about 2% of all dog bites in Omaha were of the "serious" variety -- most of them likely because of the size of the victim (young child) vs the type of animal involved.

It's funny that Omaha tracks the data on the severity of the bites, but when you ask them to provide it, they are never willing to do it.

The seriousness of dog bites is not a breed-specific issue there.

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