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« Dog bites vs dog attacks -- What determines the difference? | Main | Los Angeles Mandatory Spay/Neuter -- Year 2 »

January 08, 2010


Death Knight PvP

Even aggressive dogs don't like to bite!

I used to be a cable contractor, and I had a job installing internet at a customers house, and their outside cable connection was 6 ft in the are, right above as far their crazy dog's leash could reach.

I'm comfortable around pets, so I said don't worry about it, even though he was lunging at me, trying his hardest to just get a piece of me...or so he thought.

I had to use a latter, just to get over the dog, and just as I was finishing up, coming down off the latter, the dog's collar broke and he was loose.

You should have seen how hard he had been trying to attack me for 10 minutes, now as he stood there shaking, he had no idea what to do! He was more afraid than I was.

My point is, dogs know they intimidate people, and they do it almost for fun. I have no doubt this guy was scared out of his mind with two big possibly aggressive dogs who didn't want him riding his bike on the street.

But his actions, as well as the courts are both pathetic. Seriously, grow up! Nothing happened!

What if that guy pulled out a gun and shot the dogs, then the owner? Maybe he should be sued for what he could have possible done.

Sorry to be so long winded, but people need to take more responsibility for their own actions, and not always be looking for the next way to get a free ride by suing someone.


This incident raises a number of questions in my mind:

* As a man, I'm embarassed for Mr. Gardiner. Most men (especially the older ones) reading this will likely know why, but, for the rest, this is not the behavior of someone who strides through the world with confidence and who could serve others as a guardian or protector if called upon to do so. Mr. Gardiner is, in fact, what was referred to in a freer time as a pansy. This is a difficult way for a male to live, especially in those moments when he is alone with himself.

* Dog owners, especially owners of the more intimidating breeds, have a special responsibility to the public and their animals to keep them restrained, confined and managed. If Mr. and Mrs. Minard lose their dogs to the prevailing climate of "safety above all else", they might as well have euthanized them themselves. Harsh words, but so is the truth about this matter.

* The judge in this case seems to have relied on the judgment of the trainer who declared the Minard's dogs dangerous. None of us were there for the assessments, so we have no idea which "trainer", whatever that term means these days, was the better qualified to get it right. What we do know is the judge erred on the side of the least positive evaluation. To our host's point, it seems unlikely this would have happened were Mr. Gardiner to have been confronted by 2 excited, territorial standard poodles or border collies.

The lessons from this incident for the Minards and the rest of us who choose to own powerful breeds are obvious.

The lessons for Mr. Gardiner are beyond the scope of this blog.

The lessons for the judge and those of you in his constituency (because why would he or she concern him/herself about the rst of us) are, to me, what matter: educate this fellow as best one can about the apparent lack of justice in his justice. If that doesn't work, organize, agitate, and throw his sorry ass out of office.


In answer to your questions: Yes, the breed of dog definitely played a part in this. It may have been the same with other large breeds, like mastiffs, maybe GS, not sure.

I think it should be obvious on how 2 different trainers reach 2 very different conclusions: Dogs react to peoples' body language, attitudes, and approach towards them. One trainer is interested in the dogs, the other has already assumed they are dangerous.

Was the man on the edge of the dogs' property? Was he challenging them w/ his bike and squirting water while they were on their property or at the edge of their property?

I do not condone allowing dogs to be loose. But we have to learn to understand dogs' behavior. Whether or not we want them or like them, we live amongst them. We need to be educated.

Finally -- agreed w/ Ted on the judge's ruling. I believe in this case, justice can only be served by more evaluations.


"Dog owners, especially owners of the more intimidating breeds, have a special responsibility to the public and their animals to keep them restrained, confined and managed. If Mr. and Mrs. Minard lose their dogs to the prevailing climate of "safety above all else", they might as well have euthanized them themselves." No, no, no and no. The bottom line is that dogs being off leash in public is not punishable by death, regardless of whether or not the dogs are subjectively labeled "intimidating".

And, really, it is beyond the scope of this particular incident to even get into the question of leash laws and socialization, but Brent, I think your recent post on that topic is quite relevant.

Monika Courtney

Common sense has been lost in this country. It is a society of paranoia, walking around is stray jackets and looking to create hardships and bullshit instead of being reasonable, in tune with the reality and fair.
America. Land of Paranoia, No Freedom and Arrogance. Animals are constantly victimized by a system out of whack and gone amok. Oblivion to animals is predominant and rules. Sad place to be a wild horse or a dog or anything for that matter.

PAMM - People Against Mad Mothers/Men

Monika, I'm with you. Everytime I hear "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" I want to laugh, cry and then puke. Mr. Gardiner isn't the only pansy...its an epidemic.

Chef David w/ Team Pit-a-Full

Agreed. Ultimately, the owner is responsible for the dogs running loose... but, with no attack or biting, its a simple charge of running at large/ leash law infraction.
As for the second trainer finding the dogs dangerous... we've all seen how corrupt our judicial system is.
The second trainer was BOUGHT by the prosecution. Its a no brainer.

Chef David w/ Team Pit-a-Full
Desert Hot Springs, California

Eric Lucier

Reading stories like this infuriate and sadden me at the same time. I get angry at the person's perpetuating the "bad dog" myths, and I am saddened by the end result of what is going to happen to the animals. The owners should be reprimanded for sure (not punished like goddamn murders) but putting the dogs down for doing what? Barking at a guy on a bike?

I like the OP had jobs as a kid delivering news papers. I have been chased by every kind of dog you can think of, even the little itty bitty ones. If these dogs were min-pins would they be facing death? No. It would be a funny story on another website about some vagoo riding his bike and shooting water at the dogs.

My thoughts, prayers, and hope are with these two dogs and their family. I hope somehow, someway they are given clemency in this situation but I won't be holding my breath for it.


"The bottom line is that dogs being off leash in public is not punishable by death, regardless of whether or not the dogs are subjectively labeled 'intimidating'."

But it might be, Julie, for the Minard's dogs, as the article makes clear. And holding your hands over your eyes as you chant, "Um, no, no..." won't change that.

The decision to own one, much less multiple, "pit bulls" carries a special duty to protect the dogs from the public and, as we see in this case, the public from the dogs. Whether this "should" be the case couldn;t possibly be less relevant.

I'm a volunteer adoption counselor for my local shelter. I talk almost every weekend to good-hearted people who want to "take one of these misunderstood pit bulls" home and confine and manage it as if it were a schnauzer.

When I meet someone like this, I tell him or her, "If you allow your new dog to be off-leash in your backyard, even just to pee, you are likely to be perceived by your neighbors exactly as if you'd loaded a revolver and left it on your porch for the neighbor kids to play with. And whether your new dog, like the one you're looking at today, is a 'wiggle-butt sweetheart', or whether you believe breed bigotry is 'not right' doesn't matter. If your neighbors think their children are safe from your new dog because it's always confined or tethered, it's unlikely we'll see you back here. If that's not how you want to manage a dog, let's look at this collie mix over here."

Sometimes the potential adopter leaves after he or she hears this, thinking, I'm sure, "Who is this guy to tell me how to take care of my pets?". When that happens, I play with and/or walk the rejected dog for a few minutes before I put him away. And often, as I put him back in his stall, he looks me in the eye and says, "Thanks, dude. Those nice people might have gotten me killed".


And THAT folks is why pit bulls have a stigma and so many die in the shelter. Thanks for saving him from what MIGHT happen to ensure certain death in the shelter.


Ah, Michelle. How much you think you understand, and how little you actually do.

Any potential adopter of any powerful breed, much less a "pit bull", has a responsibility to the dog (Got that? To the dog.) those who opt for cute puppies and chocolate labs don't. That you don't get that is irrelevant. That other readers of this blog at least give that some consideration is what matters.

And my shelter adopts out more pits in a month than most do in a year. 6% of them come back. I guess we really do ned to have you over for a consult, don't we?

I'll give you the last word, Michelle, and end my contribution to this thread here. Use this awesome power for good.


I don't think I need to respond much further that to say YOU are the only one that tried to put this on the owner. And use the "pit bull" as an excuse for what this jackasses are doing. You're the one that brings up the irrelevant. And when I first tried to adopt a pit bull I met someone just like you - and in turn decided against the breed. As luck would have it I now own two of my own.

I've help save thousands of pit bulls by ensuring they have homes available for them. You have NO idea what I've done, obviously. I'm sure you do great work in your field...but succumbing to and perpetuating the hysteria is not helping.

Char B.

Hi - I am the admin for the Facebook page to save Shelby & Riley, the 2 pit bulls in question ( Thanks very much for posting a link to the petition.

This actually happened in Nov. 2008, in Dec. of 2008 the dogs were confiscated and ordered destroyed. They have been on death row since then, 2 years. A very important part of this scenario that the courts seem to be ignoring is Mr. Gardiner's behavior towards the dogs when he saw them "approaching" him. I have not seen this addressed in the testimony's, not even by the "experts". Mr. Gardiner assumed these dogs were approaching him in an "aggressive" manner, but what is Mr. Gardiner's expertise in dog behavior? Obviously, from his own behavior he has very little knowledge of even the basics. This is a case of breedism from the very start with Mr. Gardiner's assumption that the dogs were aggressive because they are pit bulls.

Also, the dogs were not just out and about running at large. They had escaped from their kennel, when he realized they were gone (less then 10 minutes) the owner called them and they IMMEDIATELY returned home. The owners then reinforced the kennel with concrete and Shelby & Riley never escaped again. The fact that Shelby & Riley both immediately returned home when called shows they are well trained. We all know that our pitties can be escape artists - their getting out of the kennel/yard is something that could happen to anyone.


Ted, altho you probably won't return here, (well, you'll probably sneak back another time or 2) I must comment on your inappropriate and UNinsightful remarks to Michelle. I won't let it stand that she is the only one to have defended her stance. Not that she needs it.

You know nothing about her, what she does, and what she has accomplished. You know nothing of her knowledge of dogs and their behavior.

As for me, I will state that if you believe confining and tethering a pit bull is the proper way to 'manage' and provide a good home, you really don't 'get it' and I am sad for these dogs that you place.

And I am sad about the dogs who were, are, and will be put down by a shelter that steers folks towards other breeds when potential adopters do not want to confine and tether their dog.

If you knew anything about Michelle and the rescues she works with, you would know that these people go many steps beyond your 1.

They neither carelessly adopt pits out to unknown people and families, nor do they turn people away who are interested in saving a dog because of its breed.

They go many many steps beyond this to ensure the dog will be properly cared for and MADE A PART OF THE FAMILY, and NOT confined and chained.

I am no expert on dogs or their behavior. But there is one thing I tell every single child (and their parent) at every chance: NEVER go near a dog that is chained, no matter how well you know the dog. And if a dog is always confined to his fenced yard, NEVER try to approach this dog, no matter how well you know this dog.

Ted, unless there has been some kind of huge misunderstanding, your remarks sure came across as ignorant insults.

I am very sad to learn about these dogs being on death row for 2 long years. THIS is the problem and THIS is the injustice.

This should have been settled 2 long years ago.


Sorry, what I forgot to add here, TEd, is that Michelle and the groups she works with work extremely hard w/ potential homes, helping people learn to integrate the dog into the family as a member of the family. And there's a lot of leadership, common sense and teaching that goes into that. And as you should know, attacks by dogs who are genuine family members are extremely rare.

The same cannot be said for dogs (of any breed) that are confined and tethered.


These poor dogs should not suffer because their owner is irresponsible and careless.

As for these people who are not around and completely clueless while their loose dog is attacking/menacing/just trying to play with a stranger who happens to be walking by, what in the h*ll are they thinking? My dogs aren't pit bulls, but they are never out of my sight (unless they're inside my locked home when I leave.) Not even when they're going out in the yard to go to the bathroom. Not even for five seconds.

As someone whose dog has been attacked twice to the point of needing vet care by loose dogs (once a Rottweiler and once a pit bull, if that matters) I am really tired of irresponsible owners.

But kill the dogs? No way! Fine the owner, give a warning and hope it was a one-time fit of cluelessness/idiocy/selfishness that won't happen again.



Behavior (viciousness) generally has a larger enviromental factor (such as socialization & training) than genetic factor, therefore, it's difficult (and inaccurate) to generalize behavior to an entire breed or type of dog.

The reason we have breed bans is that politicians are looking for a quick fix without examining the effectiveness of the fix. When responding to constituents concerns, politicians have a responsibility to not just "do something" but to do something that WORKS to help make the community safer. Over and over, breed bans (and other breed specific regulations) have been shown to be ineffective and/or less effective than breed neutral alternatives.

You're correct about some of the common factors, but you fail to acknowledge that these factors are in involved in attacks by ALL breeds. These factors are not unique to "pit bulls" & their owners, nor are these factors addressed by banning a particular type of dog. To address these factors for all breeds, it's important to acknowledge that owning a DOG comes with responsibility.


lori, I am sure I made some good points, but the liberal media, lost my post...or it was my fault posting while drinking.

Owners must control their dogs. Especially pit bulls.

The judge had two professional people give thier views on the agressive nature of the dogs.

Based on this, the man who was threatened by the dogs, the owners lack of success as securing his dogs and the fact that they are pit bulls and if they ever do get out again and kill someone its going to be the judges ass.

He did the right thing by putting these dogs down.

besides if these dogs ever get out, they are more than likely going to attack. They have been in Jail for two years. Not socializing and maybe being know what goes on in prison.

Owners need to be responsible.

How many times do we read of the fanatics on web sites that say parents need to have all their kids taken away when the let one wander off and be killed by a pit bull.

Well the same goes true for dog owners who let their dogs run off.

Thankfully the law is on our side.


Bob, I did delete your one comment because it was mostly in response to another comment that I thought was completely out of line so I deleted it -- and then yours didn't make sense any more.

Yes, owners of dogs need to be responsible and held accountable. The good news is that the majority of dog owners are and most dogs are not aggressive (regardless of what breed they are). So as long as we keep our focus on those few owners who are doing it wrong, we can make an impact and make things better for everyone.

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