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« BSL/MSN in San Francisco (Part 2 of 4) | Main | BSL/MSN San Francisco (part 3.5 of 4) »

March 19, 2008



Okay, I'm curious. When I read, "Severe Bites dropped 33%," I naturally have to ask what is the objective process for determining "severity"?

Very, very few regions attempt to differentiate between minor bites and severe bites simply because doing so is inherently subjective and, from a municipal data-gathering perspective, requires the statistician/data entry person to have access to the medical details of the case (or, at least, the conclusions of those who determine severity, and must have had access to the victim's treatment records, in order to draw such conclusions), which isn't typically determined (in severe dog bite cases) until some time after the incident.

Which begs the question how dog bite data is entered, in the first place? At first report? At confirmation by authorities? Are details independently confirmed or is the victim's account considered enough?

Just looking at the gross figures, little has changed, in terms of 'pit bulls' and bites:

2005 - "Pit Bull" Bites: 76 (7 Severe)
2006 - Pit bull bites: 67 (12 Severe)
2007 - Pit bull: 79 (11 Severe)

Overall, bites remain about the same.

What's surprising to me is that 'pit bulls' are apparently in the top spot. (It does happen, but it's not the norm.)

Okay, I'll admit I'm exhausted but unless I've been rather sloppy, I'll note that in 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively, NON-'pit bull' dogs were responsible for 77.1%, 78.1%, and 74.2% of all bites...the clear majority.

I'll further note that non-'pit bull' dogs were responsible for 82.5% of the "severe" bites, in 2005, then magically drop to only about 60% by 2007.

K9 Coach

I have to comment that the numbers posted by the previous commenter make so much sense... yet the way it's presented it "looks" like the majority of "severe bites" are pits.

Its just unfair. Sure there are bad pits, but there A LOT of other bad dogs as well... just as there are bad people that come from really good families without any great explanation.

Media makes things look the way they want them to look, despite the true way the math works out in the study.

Sad really.


Personally, I always like to point out that non-'pit bull' dogs cause the most bites, attacks, and fatalities, because the premise behind nearly all breed bans is a certain kind of dog (or dogs) is "inherently different" than all others. They're "inherently dangerous" in ways others dogs simply aren' what's often said. This was the rationale in Ontario, for example. Yet 'pit bulls' weren't anywhere near the top of the bite stat's in Ontario, and the overwhelming majority of bites, attacks, and fatalities are attributed to dogs which aren't considered 'pit bulls'. But banned they were, nonetheless.

It kills that whole "breed apart" justification. Most dogs who bite, attack, and kill are not 'pit bulls'. So when you ban 'pit bulls' (or other kinds of dogs) the majority of biting dogs will still be able to carry-on, as usual. (Of course, a dog's breed doesn't cause it to learn aggressive behaviours, nor does it prevent it. And at least 99.9% of all dogs, including 'pit bulls,' will never be involved in an attack at any time in their lives. But that's another discussion.)


Yes, Marjories, I often ask "How does infringing on the rights of a minority (in the absence of any wrongdoing) have a significant effect on outcomes? How does even exterminating the minority, the old 'if nobody fesses up,the whole class stays late' approach, have any impact on the majority of bites, attacks and fatal maulings?

Without knowing the population of KCMO, I'd say they are about average in terms of bites - a grossly overblown issue thanks to media and gasbag politicians trying to score points with the uneducated.

Unfortunately, while I wish it were possible, I very much doubt that fatalities can be reduced by much, no matter what steps are taken. There are so few now is my point.

Serious attacks, ie, those requiring multiple stitches, surgery and even inpatient hospitalization, are also very rare and there will always be people who either don't know, or don't care about how to prevent their dogs from becoming dangerous. There are also those who misguidedly associate across-the-board antisocial aggression/neophobia as desirable for 'protection'. This speaks to a lack of education. A professionally trained guard dog is one of the safest dogs around - because he's trained. The magic word.

Garden-variety nips and scrapes, while not a big deal imo, can probably be reduced through education of children, dog owners and service workers on how to behave around dogs and avoid being nipped.

I don't understand why stupid ideas such as breed bans and mandatory sterilization, neither of which have been shown effective for many reasons, are considered easier than just getting some good info out there and enforcing any existing bylaws on a zero-tolerance basis.


Word on the street is KCMO AC is stepping up their witch hunt for unaltered pit bulls...I guess they don't feel they've killed enough of them.

S. Kennedy

Just so we can feel better, and since it's the truth, in a current bsl case which will remain not named, the evidence does not even correlate with the shelter data at all. And I suspect that in most other cases if it went to court trial with the appropriate experts, their data would fail as well, esp the SF data. SB861 (current CA law) can still be challenged in state court. But the AB1634 being pushed now may override it if it were to pass. I don't think it will pass. But one never knows. And just for the record, don't try to file a lawsuit in SF while ARs control most animal things, same sex marriage is ok, but guns are not; and even judges are on their side. The Feds may have a law soon which will require them to track animal cruelty crime. But HS is all for it, so don't know how effective it might actually be. If an AR will sacrifice an animal (pit pup doused w/acid)and then say "dogfighters" or "bad owners" did it, go figure.

S. Kennedy

LOL--Caveat--why breed bans are easier? Because they rely on emotion and appeal to that sense in people. Politicians think it makes them look good. Newspapers get more stories. Anti-bsl is basically factual-logical. Not enough drama. Might be just a "tad" too steep for the majority of non thinking population. Of which there are scads.


Nowadays, stray dogs have created terror in all place. The dog catchers community should be more preventive.


I suspect that in most other cases if it went to court trial with the appropriate experts, their data would fail as well, esp the SF data. SB861 (current CA law) can still be challenged in state court.


There is a big BBQ and Blues festival in Columbia in October. It would be pretty awesome to have a meet up, drink some drinks and eat some good BBQ.

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