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« Let me officially introduce -- Boomer | Main | Weekly Roundup - Week ending 1/04/09 »

January 03, 2009



"3) Educate people that dogs that show aggression either a) should be euthanized or b) worked with with a trainer to cure the aggression issues"

I just want to say that working with a trainer will not "cure" aggression issues. An aggressive dog can be managed but will never be cured. A trainer who frequents PitBull-L has a saying that I live by: "Temperament trumps training". I think those are the three most important words relating to dog ownership.


Certainly some (if not all) types of aggression are very much learned behaviors - -particularly when it comes to things like possession aggression (which is probably the most popular kind of behavior). Certainly any learned behavior can be "unlearned"...

But for the sake of argument, make the word "cure" to "manage"...


I certainly don't think that aggression comming from protecting something, as in food is a means of euthanazia. This behavior can certainly be mannaged. If not :cured:. For example, one of our dogs used to be food aggressive, protecting, and fighting over food. We have over come that with supervision and trianing, in so, we now allow our SIX dogs to free feed. With no fights, or any signs of aggression.

The fact is, most people with aggressive dogs, or gaurd dogs that become agressive towards them, they do not find a trianer, or put the dog down. It's a much easier way for them to just Dump the dog somewhere. And this is where you get all these stray at large dogs, who attack.

I think if you are BELOW poverty level, and even care for you self, and family members, there is no reason for you to own a pet. If you can't even provide food for your family, how will you provide vet care, training, socialization, and normal pet care? It's quite impossible.


Wow this is such a nice post. So Informative! Thank you for posting this!


In the Kelli Chapman case, the coroner ruled that the death was not dog related


In the Kelli Chapman case, the coroner ruled that the death was not dog related



Can you confirm that? I wouldn't be at all surprised, but I thought the coroner had determined the death to be by the dogs...there was another similar case around the same time in Central Illinois where the cause of death was declared a drug overdose -- but that wasn't the case for Kelli Chapman as far as I know. If you can confirm, I will most certainly update that.


Brent, I have searched all over trying to find where I had read that. I can't find it. I keep a running spreadsheet on dog fatalities and had specifically noted that this one was later ruled not dog related. Maybe I did confuse it with the other case. I will keep looking and if I can find anything, I will let you know.


TY Brent...and most of all, thank you for outlining 'what can be done'. So many stats get splashed about (1) w/o explanation or thorough breakdown - as you have done and (2) w/o pointing out how these incidents could/should have been prevented. There is a lot to be learned with this information. Good work.



I think you may have crossed the two stories. There was another young female, 22 year old Amber Strode, that was initially reported as killed by two pit bulls -- but later reports found that she had died of a drug overdose and the dog bites were post mortum.

Her story, and Kelli Champman's story both appeared the same week -- so you could easily be have the two mixed up a bit. If I'm wrong and you find the link, I'll be more than happy to make the correction.

Krislars -- thanks for the positive feedback. I think that there is always a LOT more to these cases than just some hyjinks dog -- and if we just focus on the dog part, we've missed 95% of the story.


I think it's unfortunate we continue to buy into this notion that there is a dog bite problem. I too keep track of dog bite fatalities and also publicized dog attacks. Part of me feels this is just silliness - dog attacks are not common and dog bite fatalities are exceedingly rare. The other part of me wants to show people that any dog with teeth can cause damage.

I think dog bites and fatalities will continue to occur as long as we continue to allow carnivorous predators into our homes. I am not dismissing the importance of education nor the complex issues that tie into dog bites or fatalities. That's all good stuff. But given the statistics, no one really needs to be concerned about getting mauled by a dog or killed by one. The 70+ million dogs in this country have done a decent job of being tolerant of most people. Incredible, really.


Thanks for all the time and work you put into this site, Brent, both in this post and throughout the entire year.

23 fatal attacks this year. And yet they get SO much publicity. It's really ridiculous.


Excellent study, Brent. And ditto -- thank you for all of your efforts and hard work. You have set up a valuable site with extremely significant documentation. Excellent reference material for those interested in FACTS.


Brent, thank you for bring up the poverty angle....

This kind of leads into my way of thinking with DOL...

This also goes into why places like Calgary is so different with there Neutral Dangerous Dog laws....and why you can't compare Calgary with places like Washington DC or Baltimore....or Denver for that matter.



Don't let your perception of Calgary distort what's real. While the average HH income in Calgary is very high, the cost of living there is extremely high. It is a large city (population right at 1 million) and has problems just like any other large city. In 2004, it was estimated that 13% of the population of Calgary lived below the poverty level (US Average is about 12%).

Certainly Canada, as a whole, has more social programs than the US for the poor, but let's make no mistake, Calgary has its neighborhoods and areas, just like any other large city.


I'm pleased to see that 2007 was a blip, as I expected it to be.

We were lucky in Canada this year, with no dog bite-related fatalities at all that I've been able to uncover. We usually average one or two annually.

Calgary has all the problems of any fast-growing city - stress, crime, gangs, drugs, poverty. Canada isn't a perfect place by any means. Yes, our cost of living is quite high compared with many parts of the US.

I agree with Rinalia - dog attacks are rare, fatalities are almost unknown in terms of the number of dogs there are. Most bites are inconsequential. Those who are making money or promoting an agenda are the only ones capitalizing on the issue.

Seriously, can you imagine a human population of 80 million (roughly the number of dogs in N. America) having such a stellar record? Then imagine they can't read or write and don't understand laws or language.

I maintain that dogs are what humans should strive to be like. What a peaceful world it would be.


Brent, glad you brought the issue of looking at the events leading to a serious/fatal attack up. The operative term is a DBRF is VERY VERY rare.....something that seems to be totally lost on the general public. Look at it this way...there are 300,000,000 population in the US. In this case 23 people were killed by DBRF in 2008. The average for people killed by lightening in a given year is 87. You are essentially 4 times more likely to get struck by lightening than killed by a dog. And a lightening strike is considered very very rare.
Yet people still look at DBRF and scream for BSL. They are not interested in statistics, numbers or anything else. They KNOW that pitbulls are dangerous. As we see in comments posted when a serious attack occurs, the same vehement claims are made that only these dogs are dangerous. The whole thing is not a logic or rational issue, it is an emotional one. And somehow that needs to be addressed.
In reviewing dog bite reports, the events leading up to a bite are almost always human related. Breaking up a dog fight is top on the list. CDC just did a recent study looking again at the number of dog bites. They report similar numbers as the one they did in 1994. However, the numbers are down for children. But it is noted that a bite is more likely in a dog owning household, and more so in a multi-dog household. I do not think it is as much an aggressive nature of the dog as it is people being totally clueless about dog behavior. Another study did just that, looking at what people understood about dog behavior and child interaction. The conclusion.....very little. Parents really do not have a good understanding of dogs or how their child interacts with that dog.
We have a long way to go to get folks to understand that banning a breed is not going to solve a perceived problem. But we are going to have to take a different approach that trying to convince people with the numbers.


You are more likely to kill YOURSELF than be killed by a dog. A child is more likely to be killed by their own PARENT than a dog. More people die from slipping in the bathroom (Travolta's son, RIP :-(. And as far as impoverished/high crime areas go, you're more likely to be killed by a cop than a dog! (I'll give you that most people get themselves into that situation but numerous people are killed each year from bad search warrents, high speed chases or mistaken identity.)



I do think it's pretty amazing that people will use the DBRF numbers and point to a certain percent of the attacks being 'pit bulls' as justification that 'pit bulls' were somehow natural born killers or some such thing. Never mind that most estimates put the number of pit bulls out there somewhere around 8-9 million dogs, and only 10 or so were responsible for such an attack. If they really were such natural born killers, don't we think that more than .00015% of them would be responsible for such an attack?



Your all right...the current BSL, use that stuff for scare prevent the real problem....the punk kid next door from buying a pit bull and not caring for it correctly....

But you can not wave lightning strikes or bee attacks in front of the city only needs to do a google search for Pit Bull Kennels and look at the web sites which come up....if that does not scare the average family into not wanting that type of dog moving in next door...I am not living in America.

Which is why if you target the owner, first with respect to their past and then judge them against what dog they want...we can do away with the old style BSL.



So how many "pit bulls" Killed humans this year?

not that many..

Now tell me, how many HUMANS killed HUMANS this year?

hmm.. looks like its time to ban humans.. .

Doug- i work at a boarding facility. I see hundreds of "pit bulls" through out the year. All of which are social, trained, and belonging to loving, caring owners.

Why dont you google AMERICAN PIT BULL HEROS.

Since GOOGLE and THE MEDIA is SUCH a reliable source for you.


Doug says: Which is why if you target the owner, first with respect to their past and then judge them against what dog they want...we can do away with the old style BSL.

What on earth does that mean?


In regards to some of Doug's comments -- don't get me wrong -- there's a lot of incorrect logic in most of his posts. But I have long wished there were some way to particularly PROTECT the American Pitbull from the bad people. THEY are the reason this breed is so over bred, abused, fought, neglected, and chained. Banning certain people from adopting certain breeds, tho, is a kind of BSL, which has already been established to be ineffective and irrational.

The types of people Doug is referring to, perhaps should be banned from owning dogs, regardless of breed.

Still, if there were some way to protect the APBT from criminals, low lifes and irresponsible owners, I would have to be for it.

Just so it's understood -- it does NOT logically follow that pits should be killed in order to protect them from bad people!

Please get me back on track if I am off it!


Becky, your heart is certainly in the right place. I agree. There are SO MANY Times I just wish there would be a string of busts involving some other type of dog and they could just move on to something else -- pit bulls have paid their time. But the reality is, I don't want any breed of dog to suffer like this.

I have a new foster dog that was a part of a hoarding case from a man that was forbidden to own dogs in the state of Kansas because of animal cruelty -- however, was able to own them in Oklahoma. We HAVE to get these people who are constant and habitual abusers -- and protect all breeds from them...not just the ones they're now using.

K. J.

It doesn't matter how small or large, if the dog was bred for fighting/guarding, or to sit in the lap of royalty, dogs are animals. They are pack living, den dwelling, prey chasing, scavenging carnivores. They will kill each other. They will kill their own young. It does not mean that there are not great dogs out there that are perfect family pets, but just like a certian percentage of the human population is unstable. So are some dogs. There are sight and sound sensitive dogs, insecure and fearful dogs, dogs with brain disorders that are not diagnosed for years.
But just like if Grandpa came over and napped on the sofa, and the granddaughter touched his hand and startled him, and his reaction was to leap up and choke her for several seconds --- well we wouldn't make a lot of soft excuses for grandpa, we would put him someplace where he could not hurt anyone. I am not comparing dogs to people really, because I wouldn't put grandpa down, but being a mom and a dog trainer, I know great dogs who are euthanized every day in our local shelter for no other reason then there are not enough homes. Dogs who wag their tails when you startle them awake.
So as we imprison the dangerous and unstable people in our society, so should we elemenate the unstable dogs, and quit killing the ones who are so genetically sound that you could cut their leg off, and they wouldn't bite. Startle or not, kid or not, fishy situation or not. Stable dogs are very discrimanatory; they know the difference in good ol uncle Al that you invited in to watch the football game, vs someone trying to break in, or banging at your door and shouting.
If your dog is being "protective" and bites your uncle -- well let's just say he is not a canine mental giant, or he is practicing his Dahmer monologue for the next Chihuahua movie.

Just my very experienced opinion,

~ K

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