It was a busy year for me personally -- and as such, I did less blogging here than I have in most past years.
But in spite of that, thank you to everyone who continues to come back to this site day after day, week after week and share some of the posts, thoughts that are relayed here and also engaging in the dialogue.
As we look back at 2013, I'm going to highlight the 10 most popular posts of the year -- based on information from Google Analytics.
1) (Almost) Horrifying Video highlights why human behavior is so important in judging dog behavior -- In maybe the largest landslide ever, this post was by far the most popular of the year. It features a video of a child and dog interaction where the dog (in this case a Rottweiler) gives every warning signal imaginable that it is distressed and not enjoying the interaction while the child interacts with the dog while the parents laugh at and film the interaction. It's painful to watch, but a good reminder of how the role of the humans in dog/human interactions is crucial to the story when these interactions turn negative.
2) Dog Attack Fatalities - 2012 Final Report -- every year this is among the top-read posts. In the post we try to look at causal circumstances that led up to the attacks for a more accurate look at why these rare tragedies occur.
3) More misinformation, deceit and attempts to mislead by Merrit Clifton -- Clifton has long been a hater of 'pit bulls' and continues to use false data to try to justify his hatred. This blog post broke down another Clifton article that not only used false data, and misleading data, in the article, Clifton also showed the fallacy of his own dog bite data set.
4) New study points to many factors related to dog bite fatalities -- this post from December highlights a new study that looks at contributing factors in dog bite related fatalities over a 10 year period. It's well done, and will hopefully change the conversation from decades-old studies that focused on "breed" and not animal husbandry issues.
5) The Results of Breed-specific laws in Aurora, CO - Aurora, CO appears to be considering a repeal of its law targeting specific breeds of dogs. In the years since the law was passed, the number of bites in the community has increased 67%, and 1200 dogs have been killed directly because of the ordinance. The results of breed specific laws are consistent -- with no increase in public safety, and a lot of dead dogs.
6) Understanding Cause and Effect when it comes to Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws -- At present, almost no major animal welfare organization supports mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) laws. Most people prefer to spay/neuter their pets, and the reason most people don't is because they cannot afford it. Providing access to low cost spay/neuter services has proven to be an effective solution to this problem, where MSN laws have shown to be completely ineffective, and deadly for the dogs (and cats). In spite of the evidence, a lot of people still seem to support MSN because they "hope" it will work, in spite of the evidence that it will not.
7) Rethinking Shelter Dogs and Social Influences -- thoughts from the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference -- This overview of Kim Wolf's presentation featuring how poverty, lack of pet-friendly housing and resource deserts (among other issues) are highly influential to putting pets at risk in our nation's shelters.
8) The Common Denominators - a look at three, tragic, fatal dog attacks in one week and the common factors in all of them.
9) KC Pet Project logs 12 months of No Kill Success -- our organization here in Kansas City celebrated 12 months of No Kill Succes. As recently as 2008, the city shelter only saved 38% of the animals coming into it. However, with new leadership and committment (and a LOT of hard work by an amazing staff and volunteer group) we celebrated 12 consecutive months with a 91% live release rate.
10) Omaha's breed-specific law "successful" at increasing the number of bites -- more breed-specific law failure -- this time in Omaha, where the number of dog bites has gone up 21% since the city targeted 9 breeds of dogs five years ago. The results are consistent with all other failed attempts at targeting breeds in the name of public safety.
Thanks to everyone who has read, commented and helped inspire this blog over the past year. Here's to more positive change in 2014.