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« Auburn Football Player bitten at game on Saturday | Main | Fear Mongering at its finest »

November 27, 2007



Doug, you wrote,

"Ok again being a lay person, is it possible to breed a dog in such a fashion to cause in-bred defects?

If yes, then it stands to reason that its possible for in-bred pit bulls to cause issues."

Yes, any INHERITABLE condition can be...well...inherited. You can breed obedience titled dogs every which way but loose, and you'll still have to train their offspring in obedience. Again, you continue to fail to differentiate between qualities that show some inheritability, and those which are do not ( least...we have absolultely zero evidence supporting that notion).

Doug also wrote:

"The above statement would probably take every dog out of 90% of the inner city homes."

(laughing with you) You might be right. :-)

Here's the thing, though. When it's the incompetence of the human that's making a dog aggressive, then why are the dogs blamed? Why are their genes blamed? Why are the dogs restricted? Why are the dogs killed?

My (successful!) specialty in re-training aggressive dogs is PRECISELY why your arguments about 'pit bulls' don't hold true. When even dogs so aggressive they've been scheduled for euthanasia can be turned into reliable family pets, then the theory they're "inherently dangerous" is made moot.

I'll tell you about a 'pit bull' I trained. It came to me because it had attempted (even succeeded at least once) to bite staff at the shelter where it was housed.

The dog had been left chained in its yard after the family moved away. When neighbours realized no one was coming back, they called the local humane society.

The dog presented all the classic signs of a chained dog. Fearful. Poorly-socialized. Territorial. Aggressive. ...The classic profile.

Someone at the shelter (who apparently knew of me) called me up one day, and asked if I'd take her.

I was told of her aggression, and showed her file, with all the red flags that indicate attempted and successful bites. I was also told she was especially aggressive towards men.

Long story short, six weeks later she was adopted by a man. He contacted me a year later to thank me (again) for helping her, and said she was "the perfect dog." I don't think he truly believes she was ever aggressive. She, and all the other aggressive dogs I've successfully re-trained, prove that incompetent PEOPLE make aggressive dogs, and nothing more.


Great job with that dog. Always good to see a dog find a loving home.

1 dog saved 100,000 to go. your account...."Incompetent PEOPLE make aggressive dogs, and nothing more" and if Pit Bulls are Strong in nature and great for fighting, would it not make since to place tighter controls on the people who can own these dogs, because there are so many "Incompetent PEOPLE" in this world.

Stop....Already know your response...if you are going to do it for one type of dog you need to do it for all.

If that was the case then it would not pass most city counsels.

And then we are back to "Incompetent PEOPLE" owning dogs which are built for strength and fighting who then have the potential to be vicious if they are raised by Incompetent People. Sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy to me.

And by your accounts this sounds like "Incompetent PEOPLE" are everyone who has not completed the 1 hour on-line course on how to be a dog trainer, or know of a Qualified Dog Professional (who passed the 2 hour on-line course or watched 1 season of the dog trainer show or was a professional dog walker for more than 2 years).

So this brings us back to square one:

"Incompetent PEOPLE" leads to a higher chance of dog attack/kill.
Owning more than one pit bull leads to a higher chance of the owner being killed.
Owning a pit bull leads to a higher chance of someone being shot by police, because more pit bulls are shot by police than any other dog (waiting on stats) ergo you stand a higher chance of being accidentally shot by the police if you are around pit bulls.
Owning a pit bull which was obtained from the pound leads to a higher chance for an aggressive dog, if it was not vetted by a dog professional. With pound ownership you have no idea what the dog was exposed to as a puppy. And just because the dog looks good behind bars does not mean he won’t be aggressive (By the way what is the standard approve protocol for determining dog aggression?)


Your venom for anyone who knows more about this subject than you do is almost palpable.

You (jokingly...of course) called me a "dog walker". You suggest that someone can do a one-hour, online course and be considered a competent dog trainer.

What you repeatedly fail to "get" is that 'pit bulls' are dogs. They're genetically indistinguishable from Poodles, Pomeranians, and Pulik.

You've apparently never read anything about the amount of training that goes into creating a "fighting dog". If it doesn't begin when the puppy is very young (many dog fighters claim they begin training as early as six weeks!), there's a good chance the dog will never be very good at it.

Of course, any poorly-socialized not know how to get along with others very well.

You know, when children are isolated from society, they develop all sorts of aberrant and anti-social behaviours. When children are taught to fear every stranger, you get kids like the ones in the Ruby Ridge incident. (Er...maybe that's not fair. You get kids who blindly behave fearfully and/or aggressively towards strangers.)

There are plenty of muscular dogs. 99.9% never attack, even in "incompetent" homes.

You harp and harp and harp on my use of the term "incompetent" when what it refers to are those owners who don't raise their dogs to be good canine citizens. They may fail because they're ignorant, or they may because they're apathetic, or they may fail because they're malicious. Whatever the reason, the exact same dog an incompetent owner raises to behave aggressively will not behave aggressively in a home with a person who doesn't encourage those behaviours.

I simply recognize that the fault, dear Doug, is not within our dogs, but within ourselves.


I think you are confusing venom with humor and humor which makes me laugh first anyone else is a plus.

Ruby must be watching Dennis Miller to get a reference that far out there. By the way (if I remember correctly) the reason the boy was shot by the ATF agent was because the agent shot at his dog and the boy raised his gun.

I harp on your term "incompetent homes" because just because you throw your dog on a leash outside your house, or you pull your dog away from another dog, or you try and keep your dog away from strangers, or because your dog never saw a brother before and goes nuts, does not mean you have an "incompetent home" only to Goodpooch standards. I think that is the typical home in the US.

Just because I drink about 10-14 Beers a week does not make me an alcoholic. But by self appointed alcohol professionals it does. 1 to 3 beers during the week for dinner, 4-5 at the Friday night Poker and another pitcher or so watching football on Sunday's. And you have an "incompetent home".

Ok I agree with you the fault is people and not dogs, but once again....when incompetent people choose to own a "potentially" dangerous dog, like a pit bull bad things can happen.

When they own Poodles, Pomeranians, and Pulik you get a different king of dangerous dog. I am not seeing any Google alerts of Poodles being shot by cops or pomeranians biting the ears off a horse.


I'll ignore the last sentence because I'm that kind of person, ie, no need to pick out every example of idiocy that I read.

'Dangerous' dogs are created, not born. A dangerous dog is just that - regardless of size, shape or colour.

You know why you're not seeing Googlebots on those other shapes, so I'm not wasting my time going through all that again.

This is getting boring.

So, who did you contact at Tufts, Doug? I want to know if it's someone with whom I'm familiar. It sounds more like someone from another Uni, with whom I'm also familiar.

Got a name?


Doug, you said "Ok I agree with you the fault is people and not dogs, but once again....when incompetent people choose to own a "potentially" dangerous dog, like a pit bull bad things can happen."

The question you still haven't answered is why it makes any sense whatsoever to pass an overly inclusive, breed specific law that affects many more people who are competent dog owners than ones who are actually "incompetent" owners. You have yet to answer why tying up animal control resources on spay/neuter, muzzling etc of dogs and dog owners that aren't a problem and taking resources away from dogs that are problems would make anything better. At this point, you have continued to avoid the question and are just arguing verbage without ever coming clean with how if owners are the ones responsible for the behavior of their dogs, why it makes sense to focus on the breeds of dogs instead of the type of owners.


You're kidding, right? Of course no one's ever been mauled by a Poodle. (giggling) No person has ever been killed by a Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, or miniature Dachshunds. (laughing) Police never claim they "had" to shoot any kind of dog other than a 'pit bull'. (wiping tears away)

Are you freaking kidding, Doug?!? Even a basic Google search (which you seem so fond of) could find that kind of info:

For a short time, I kept an (admittedly incomplete) running list of non-'pit bull' biting incidents, including several police shootings.

People have been KILLED by dozens of dog breeds including Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Dachshunds (including the miniature ones), and Cocker Spaniels, to name a few.

By the way, Doug, I'm not aware Dennis Miller has discussed the Ruby Ridge incident, nor do I "watch" him (whatever that means). However, my understanding of the case is, the father kept the children in fear of strangers approaching their remote property. He instructed them that if anyone showed up when he wasn't there, they should shoot...which they did. (What? You didn't find that in your Google search?)

Anyone who ignores inappropriate behaviours in their dogs, much less allows them to become dangerous to themselves and others, is...I would think...the very definition of the term "incompetent".

A successful bite is never the first sign of aggression in dogs. It's the last.

Didn't the alleged details of the case with the woman and her poorly-reared 'pit bulls' teach you anything? How about the Labrador Retriever who mauled the owner's grandson so savagely, the two-year-old needed treatment at two area hospitals? What about the Golden Retriever mauling so brutal it caused the attending physician to call it the worst dog bite injury he'd ever seen? The boy whose nose was bitten off by a neighbour's Dalmatian? The Australian Shepherd who attacked four people before a police officer (one of the bite victims) was finally able to shoot it? They're all the result of bad ownership, but when 'pit bulls' do the exact same thing, the "reason" is their genes?

Uh, huh. Good luck with that reasoning.


I will be have close to a month off for the Holiday's. Seeing how I will have extra time on my hands I plan, on conducting some of my own research.

I will conduct my research to include 2 counties in Florida for 2007.

The number of dogs/breeds which were put to sleep by the local dog pounds.

The number of dogs/breeds which were picked up free roaming or due to complaint.

The number of dogs/breeds which were dropped off.

The number of dogs/breeds which were adopted out and then had to be returned.

The number of dogs/breeds which were shot by cops.

The number of dog bites by breeds (reported) plus the number of dog bites by breeds which needed medical attention.

The number of dog fighting events which were broken up by police and the breed of dog used.

Let me know if I left anything out.

And please, I do not want to hear anything about "you can't possible know what a dog's breed is just by looking at it" unless you are a dog professional (i.e. dogwalker).

The law of large numbers should prevail and weed out any outliers.


All us "dog walkers" out here (coughing while saying "loser" under my breath) see how you've nicely skewed all the information you're arbitrarily choosing to collect.

Otherwise, you'd simply look at municipal dog bite statistics and hospital records. They won't be slanted by silly, unscientific things like...oh...I don't know...police officers who fear every 'pit bull' but not vicious Labs or Beagles; and the fact that irresponsible dog owners are more likely to dump their dogs at shelters, whereas people who are responsible and/or have acquired their dogs from ethical sources do not abandon them to shelters; and the fact that several shelters have policies of killing all stray 'pit bulls'; and the fact that, currently, it is unusual to train...oh...I don't know...say...Golden Retrievers as fighting dogs.

...Really scientific there, bud. When you said you were an engineer, you must have meant the "domestic" kind, right?

Virtually 100% of men who get prostate cancer wear shoes. This doesn't mean that shoes cause prostate cancer.



Be sure to include the population of dogs by breed so you know whether the numbers are weighted due to breed populations or because of other factors. Also, and this is especially important for your dog bite numbers, make note of other potential factors such as new dog to the home, chained dog, etc That will be really important (because if you only track statistics by 'breed' you'll never find any other correlations).

Also, at the end of the day, I'm not sure what you'll find that will be useful. Police shooting dogs is always a really "useful" stat because a) it doesn't account for breed prejudices that might cause a police officer to have an itchy trigger fingre vs other types of dogs and b) pretty much validates what any dog person will tell you that there is an irresponsible dog owner component at play because, let's face it, the police are very unlikely to shoot my dogs because they're very unlikely to be at my house for any reason. Also account for any animal shelter whose policy is to put down certain dogs based on their type -- as there are some shelters that will instantly put down certain types of dogs based on human bias again.

At the end of the day, you'll probably find that you don't have enough data to draw any conclusive evidence on anything other than pretty much all of the stray dogs, and all of the bites, and definitely the dog fighting, and all of the dogs shot by police were owned in one way shape or form by an irresponsible owner. You will likely even find a larger problem with "pit bulls" than other "breeds" because a) there will be more of them than other "breeds" and b) that more irresponsible owners are attracted to 'pit bulls' than other 'breeds' because of their reputation (for the same reason Doberaman's were the most common breed in these instances 20 years ago but you seldom hear of them being a problem now).

You'll still not have answered the question of why going after responsible pet owners with breed specific legislation instead of focusing all efforts on irresponsible pet owners will make anyone safer in any way shape or form. But go knock yourself out.


I promised myself I wasn't going to do this, but -

I'm not sure what the hypothesis is with respect to the anecdotal evidence (can't call it 'data', it's too subjective) you plan to collect, Doug. I mean, what would any of that prove?

You must first establish how many dogs overall live in the area, which would mean you'd need high licensing compliance. If they have it, great, if not, you'll have to guess.

You also need to decide what you mean by 'breed'.
a. Do you mean breed of dog, which is only verifiable through a kennel club certificate (traceable through a tattoo/microchip)?
b. Do you mean supposed breed of dog, verifiable through veterinary records which aren't very useful because vets just record what the owner guesses the dog to be.
c. Do you mean 'shape', ie, any dog with prick ears, a bushy tail, long muzzle is a 'german shepherd'?

This will make a huge difference to the quality of your informaton, although it will be totally useless for forming any conclusions. Trying to guess a dog's 'breed' is much too subjective.

Next, you need to establish whether BSL is in force in the areas you'll examine. If it is, that will be a factor in owner handovers, dog killings, dogs not being adopted through shelters, complaints from neighbours, etc.

I don't know what your point would be re: the police shooting dogs but I think you may be surprised by the results. All a lot of dog killings would indicate to me is that there are either sadists on the force or the police are not trained to deal with dogs when executing warrants and don't contact animal control to remove dogs before entering premises. Again, I'm not sure what you would be trying to prove here.

Also, since the police are notoriously afraid of dogs when on duty, partly because of the lack of training they receive and because most are not particularly knowledgeable about dogs in general, they will shoot dogs more often than say I would, since I'm not afraid of dogs, understand dogs and am able to defuse situations with dogs. Of course, in the event of a professionally attack-trained dog this would be very difficult if not impossible, however, contrary to common wisdom, there are very few of those dogs around.

The police are victims of the advertising campaign conducted by the media, so I suspect they are more likely to shoot a non-threatening medium-sized dog with a smooth coat and whip tail than they are to shoot a truly menacing dog of a different type. This may be why so many purported 'pit bulls' are shot in the back as they are running away.

You should look at the data Brent dug out it was pretty impressive.

I'd be interested in seeing anything you do manage to collect, just out of interest.

I'd also like to know who you contacted at Tufts.


Thanks Brent I will look at as many factors as I can - throw them all into Excel and then publish the link. The data will dictate what conclusions can be made (if any).

If I am not mistaken this is the same approach which the CDC study was based on. They also ruled out dogs which could not have the breed identified. I believe this study is also over 20 years old.

Depending on the additional data required, I might seek the help of a local reporter to help track down the info in the story, I will also make sure any conclusions I (we) make will be just on the data and not what his/her editor wants to slant the story to.

As far as trying to identify the breed, I knew everyone would jump all over this. Come on people. If we can figure out who is 1 % Indian in order to collect casino money, I am sure we can figure out what the basic breed of dog is and if we are a little off – so what, you have to draw the line somewhere. Its either this or nothing at all. This is why Engineers get things done and scientist spend all day long in the lab drinking coffee. In “engineering” we have a saying, you can have the best idea in the world but if you can’t implement it, it’s worthless. And something is better than nothing even if its wrong you learned what not to do.

Yes it would be nice to hire a staff of Kennel Club professionals (or dog walkers) to go out to every shelter and gather the ashes of every cremated dog to be brought back to our lab for DNA identification back to its lineage and then go out to every hospital and get pictures of every dog bite and try and match the teeth marks about against known bite profiles of purebreds and mixes. But what we got is a dad of two kids who has a little extra time on his hands and who is trying to win an argument with a bunch of cool aid drinking, granola eating tree huggers (some of you anyways).

By the way in my state (Florida), we are not allowed to have any new BSL, laws. There are only two counties which have BSL and they are not near me. And yes those BSL laws are about as useful as tits on a bull.


Your bias will mess up your results. You're wasting your time. What is your hypothesis?

Who did you contact at Tufts? Third time I've asked.

You think 'breed' is important. It's a red herring, one of the best of the past few decades. It's something people who know nothing about dogs can relate to and believe they understand - it's a hook.

Look at the circumstances, you'll see a pattern.

CDC was based on news reports. In many cases there were no death certificates. It was co-authored by H$U$. It's useless for the purpose the media has applied to it. Duh. They haven't read it and if they did, they wouldn't understand it.

Furthermore, almost all of the 'breeds' could not be identified - partly because reports were from the media, partly because very few people can tell one breed from another, especially when in those cases, the victims were dead. The review had nothing to do with bites. Duh.

The 'breeds' were just guesses at shapes - a big brown dog with uppy ears - must have been a GSD.

You won't find any DNA that will help you either in living or dead dogs. More science fiction for the masses.

Whatever, this time I'm finished with this. I don't feel like scrolling through pages of comments to read blather.

My Dad is an engineer, a leading engineer worldwide, now retired. He'd laugh out loud if he felt like wasting his time to read how you fancy yourself as one of that group.

Obviously, you don't know any actual scientists either - who'd a thunk it?

When, and if, you are allowed to view reports from AC, etc, you will have to sign a confidentiality agreement and I imagine any identifying info will be redacted. The last thing they want is some semi-literate wannabe bothering people in their jurisdiction.

Just saying.

Toodles, I have work to do.



You have got to be from Canada, eh?

My dad can beat up your dad.

The data will dictate what conclusions can be made, like I said - if any.


ok let ask you this I have owned two 5pd yorkies and both were killed by pit bulls. the first one we went to park to watch grandkids play took my little yorkie with me and a man with was there with a pitbullnot on a lead.when I got out of my cari asked him if his dog would hurt mine he said nohe woundnt hurt flea so I walked over to swing seats and just sit mine down he was on lead and was going to sit down on ground and the pittbull came up from behind use and just bite and killed my dog.for no reason.ok so I get me another 5pd yorkie new nebories move in next door with two pitbullsso I was really watching they were in a fenced in yard but I dayoneof them jumps the fence and acttacks my dog for no reason no barking at each other growling or anything just attacked her I was lucky that time she just got her leg hurt they put that one up for adoption and it left .I asked them again please keep your dog away from mine .well need to say I was getting in car to go somewhere and out of no where that pitbull ran up to my little dog and grabbed her and shook her and killed her .my heart is still broke over such meanness that was in no way prevoked .doctor bill was 700.00 but she died anyway.please explain to me why they just like to kill other dogs.and what is the law on such a horrid crime both those dogs murdered a small little creature for the fun of killing is my opinon on pitbulls does the law say the owner of the killers should pay hospiltal bill and cremation and replace my dog or take pity on pitbulls because they are so misunderstood .

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