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« When a little bit of information goes wrong | Main | A fatal dog attack, bad reporting, and the media »

December 18, 2008




As anon noted, the total number of dog bites has been decreasing over the past 3 decades in North America -- and outside of last year, which was an anomoly, fatalities have not increased either over the past few decades.

Which leads me to your site. I'm aware of Dog Trax. There isn't much for research on your site - -and there wasn't much for research in your initial press release either. It certainly seems a little, um, suspect, that your "research" would happen to lead toward a "solution" that you just happen to be selling. How convienient.

It's a shame when people who really aren't top researchers claim to be top researchers - -especially in spite of having no actual research on their site.

My sincere hope is that the cities you pitch this to pay real attention to what you're selling and don't waste taxpayer funds for this.

digital dissertations

Blogs are good for every one where we get lots of information for any topics nice job keep it up !!!

Tamara Follett

Hi, Brent --

I was disappointed with your response. I expected more objectivity. More courtesy would have been nice, too.

//// It certainly seems a little, um, suspect, that your "research" would happen to lead toward a "solution" that you just happen to be selling. How convenient.////

Everything on our website is free to the public. We are "selling" nothing. I originally intended to charge a minimal amount for my e-book, "Dogs of Fury: The Solution to Vicious Dogs", but decided that I could not --in good conscience-- charge for a book that could save people's lives. As opposed to other authors.

At some point, we sincerely hope that the significant expenditures in time and money used over this three years for field research, development of an enterprise-class database, and publishing of two evidence-based best-in-class websites will be repaid through $25/month subscriptions to the Dog-Trax database by municipalities. We used a for-profit business model for our social enterprise to ensure that the organization would eventually be self-reliant and sustainable without requiring charitable funding. We think that’s a good thing.

So, yes, we are hoping someday -- after a year or two of running proof-of-concept pilots and having the data analyzed by an independent researcher -- to charge $25/month to townships that use the database. But the database is free throughout Beta Trial, and everything on the site will always be free to the public.

//// It's a shame when people who really aren't top researchers claim to be top researchers - -especially in spite of having no actual research on their site. ////

Ours was investigative research -- interviews “in the trenches” –- at dog shows, obedience/agility trials, boarding kennels, vet/groomers’ offices, breeders’ facility inspections, hands-on experience assisting in the building and proofing of every kind of containment measure out of every kind of material, doing even more rescue/rehabilitation/rehoming of aggressive dogs, watching aggressive dogs interact for hours and hours and hours while we were on the phone conducting interviews, under-cover work for finding out how irresponsible owners evade accountability, attending town meetings, talking to Emergency Room nurses, phone surveys, and so on. (The acclaimed book, “The Puppy Report” by investigative journalist Larry Shook was written using the same research methods.)

We conducted three years of grueling investigative journalism and field research, (I don`t know why you would say this is not “actual research” -- are archeologists at digs not conducting actual research?), and the results have been reviewed by peers and experts alike, including:

--- Dr. Ian Dunbar, one of the foremost Animal Behaviorists in the world
--- Adam Goldfarb, the HSUS Dangerous Dog Issues Specialist
--- Bill Bruce, mastermind behind the ground-breaking "Calgary Model" of Animal Control, (Bill is currently considering running a pilot of our database)
--- Ledy Van Kavage, international speaker, corporate attorney for the ASPCA, and Chair of the American Bar Association’s Dangerous Dogs Steering Committee
--- Canada Post, (experiencing a dramatic increase in postal carrier dog bites)
--- And numerous animal rescue groups, dog owners/breeders/trainers, victims, witnesses, Animal Control agencies, veterinarians, groomers, kennel-operators, police, postal carriers, meter-readers, ...and the list goes on and on.

And not one of these experts disputed any of our conclusions, although Ledy, Bill, and Ian had constructive feedback that helped refine some points. Our expert panel was generally enthusiastic and supportive regarding the tools, guides, and methodologies that we had developed, and across the board they were impressed that we were making them available for free.

//// As anon noted, the total number of dog bites has been decreasing over the past 3 decades in North America… ////

Well, we don’t really know, since the CDC hasn’t done a comprehensive study for a decade and there is no centralized database tracking system that would tell us exactly how many bites have occurred. Even then, the CDC estimates the numbers of bites based on media reports and reporting of dog bites at hospitals, both of which we found to be unreliable sources.

Our own experience was that the vast majority of bites go unreported because society as a whole does not yet realize that small bites often lead to big bites, (i.e., a dog that has learned that an act of aggression achieves its objective will resort to using its teeth to achieve success in the future, typically with an increase in the intensity of aggression exhibited as confidence is gained).

I myself didn’t report a bite as such many moons ago when I broke up a nasty dog fight and ended up in the Emergency Room to be stitched up, (I reported it as an injury sustained in a fall).

We found that veterinarians, groomers, boarding kennels, and trainers were experiencing an increase in dog bites which they rarely reported as such because they didn’t want to alienate clients. We also found that many victims did not report minor bites until after a more serious bite had occurred.

Finally, it was also our experience that people have less free time now and are thus socializing and training their dogs less, and that this is likely contributing to the observed increase in dog bites. But again, without a centralized repository of dog bite information, accurate data is not attainable.

Thus, our research was no more and certainly no less “scientific” than Karen Delise’s research, obtained by her own admission through scouring old newspaper articles, etc. (And we know how accurate the media can be.) In comparison, we got our information “straight from the horse’s mouth”.

So, Brent, can we start over again? I’m Tamara from Dog-Trax North America, and thanks to our self-funded and largely unheralded efforts, for the first time in history we can finally offer legislators and decision-makers a comprehensive, science-based, expert-approved alternative to breed bans. Please help spread the word!


Kind Regards,

Tamara Follett, President/CEO
Dog-Trax North America

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