I've been refraining from writing about this for awhile....but like cancer, you can't just ignore a problem and hope it goes away.
Several months ago, a new website launched called dogbites.org. I'm not going to provide a link, as I'd rather not give them any undue web traffic. Most of you are probably aware of the site already.
I want to make a note about the site. The site claims to be a "public information website with support of the following":
- Distinguish which dog breeds are dangerous to have in our neighborhoods.
- Help enact laws to regulate ownership of these breeds.
- Help enact laws that hold dog owners criminally liable if their dog attacks a person and causes serious injury or death.
There are several major problems with their premise. Nowhere in their mission statement do they say that their goal is to improve public safety. Their goal is completely dedicated to enacting laws against breeds of dogs. As such, they spend no time or effort researching laws and policies that would actually improve public safety. And even if they add "safety" to their list of objectives, their site continues to be based very much on emotion and media articles...not real world information like what types of policies actually work.
I'm always suspicious of any "group" that is completely anonymous (with the exception of their founder being outted) and nearly all comments on the site are anonymous. And I also find it interesting that a site that says they're dedicated to public information is so diligent about sensoring opposing viewpoints. Seems they don't want certain facts to get in the way of their opinions.
Most websites/blogs/etc have a bias. I, of course, have mine...which was developed after doing a ton of reading and learning about all the information regarding breeds of dogs, dog bites and city policies. It's also probably not much of a coincidence that my view and opinion happens to be shared by most of the nation's leading experts in the field (all of whom have a stance on this issue born out of facts and not out of bias). However, I've never made it a point to censor any comments on the blog (with very rare exceptions of spammers and rantic lunatics). I figure that the way to truly create knowledge and effective policies -- policies that have positive effects for both human and dog populations -- is through open knowledge and conversation.
What's interesting is that most "dog people" would support them in their 3rd goal of holding violating dog owners criminally responsible if their first two goals were founded on a real premise. Unfortunately, their premise of enforcing breed bans, regardless of whether it makes policy sense or not is tragically flawed.
I would be hesitant to put much credibility in any site that remains purposefully anonymous, has blatant mis-information, and doesn't allow any dessenting dialogue. I will continue to not withhold rational discussions from my site -- because I feel confident that the facts (both science and policy) will prevail.