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« KCDA on the Radio Tomorrow | Main | 11 Day old child killed by dog bite »

February 19, 2010


Social Mange

Dr. Atherton should be embarrassed by his lack of breed knowledge, especially not knowing that there is no such thing as a "pit bull". He has a mutt, just as Lucey's family has a mutt.

The good burghers of Salina should be embarrassed to waste taxpayers' hard-earned dollars on this unfounded, unjust, inhmane, ineffective and fiscally irresponsible exercise.

Is this not double jeopardy?


If I were Lucey's owner, I'd contact the manufacturer of the DNA test. They'll take a good swipe at the city to protect their product's integrity, and I'm sure they have the money and lawyers to fight anyone who wants to question their test's quality and reliability.

It's amazing how DNA tests are reversing criminal cases left and right, but to these ignorant fools it has absolutely no credibility. These people are on witch hunts and they won't be satisfied until there is a huge body count to show for their efforts.


The trouble with comparing a breed ID test with a human DNA test is this: you can not accurately predict what a suspect will LOOK like from a human DNA sample. How wide (or narrow) will their nose be? How tall (or short) will they be? What color with their skin be? Most appearance traits have multiple genes that interact together to produce the final appearance of each body part. (SIDE NOTE: There's an interesting podcast about race identification by DNA over at RadioLab:

Human DNA tests can only tell you does a specific subject's DNA exactly match the DNA that was left behind at a scene.

We're asking doggie DNA tests to do the former -- tell us what a dog looks like (breed). While there may be sound science behind the dog DNA tests, I'm pretty sure that it's not fair to compare the reliability of an exact match / no match (human) DNA test to the kind of "marker pattern" test that breed ID tests are.

(Because I have a science background, I've looked for some scientific papers on exactly how the manufacturer has determined a marker pattern for each breed, but I've yet to find one that satisfactorily describes the method -- most likely because they are protecting their intellectual property.)

S L Haas

"Vet" is not the term I would use for that idiot . . . the city council doesn't have anything better to do with it's time and money, I could use help with my home to-do list. Leave the poor dog alone!


And check out this quote from an original story on this situation (

"Salina veterinarian David Atherton offers the Wisdom Panel test to his customers curious about their dog's characteristics. He said he thinks the test has validity.

"If I was going to have a beloved dog taken away, I would demand it," he said."

This sounds very suspicious to me. He SOLD these in his office because he thinks they have validity and now they don't? What's going on here?


Anyone who says they "can tell by looking" and their opinion on a Pitbull overrides a DNA test needs to demonstrate fully their qualifications. For example, give them 1000 vaguely Pitbull type dogs of various breeds/mixes and tell them to pick out the Pitbulls. Then we'll see how they score in comparison to the DNA tests. After all, we're talking about killing dogs which have not harmed anyone ever. Shouldn't The Deciders at least have some proven qualifications?


YB -- it's worse than that. This guy would argue after taking the test that he was right and the DNA tests are wrong.

Amber, nice catch. It definitely does sound suspicious -- and at this point, he has both sides paying him money on this.


Correct me if I am wrong, but is there a veterinary association anywhere in the world that has endorsed breed specific legislation? Or considers it's members pretending to be able to score 100% correctly playing the pick-the-pit bull game (for monetary gain what's more)to be acting ethically?

H Houlahan

I've long ranted that these alleged breed ID tests are a marketing scam.

It would be easy to prove their accuracy with blinded trials subjected to peer review -- IF they were accurate.

The sellers' websites are pretty close to having the Miss Cleo "for entertainment purposes only" disclaimer. Coy, they are. Coy.

So yeah, I think it's entirely fair to say that the tests aren't accurate -- even though the reasons for saying so are utterly bogus.

I would certainly never fault anyone who buys his or her dog's life with these "test results" -- but this case illustrates the perils of playing this card.

All is a sideshow, as you point out, distracting from the central circus of declaring dogs "dangerous" based on appearance OR DNA.



If there is any veterinarian association that endorses breed specific legislation, I'm not aware of it. The AVMA certainly does not...and I've often wondered why they do not get more upset by their licensed vets being open to killing dogs in this way.


I think most of the tests are bunk--frankly because they have such shallow breed pools (50-80 breeds) that they can't possibly catch most breeds. The Wisdom Panel test has a much deeper breed pool (157 breeds I think?) and thus, seems to do a pretty decent job.

In the case mentioned in this article, the vet had a known 1/2 lab mixed with something else (I still don't know how he knows for sure it the sire was a Weimeraner or a Vizsla) -- and the DNA test came back as the dog being 1/2 Lab, 1/2 other stuff. So it's not complete bunk. We've seen quite a few of the test results here...and while some of them come back with something unexpected deep back into their history, most come back with more or less what you'd expect.

And yes, it is all a circus distracting from the sad reality that no one seems to be asking the really important question here "is the dog really a threat?" -- which all signs point to no.

Inca's Mom

Sounds to me like he had egg on his face for misidentifying the dog as a pit bull and is trying to save face. I wish all his clients would dump him. What if their breed of dog is next?

I agree that DNA testing is not all it is cracked up to be. My friend's dog looks like he could have pit and meets much of the visual criteria that Denver uses to identify a pit, but she had two tests done and he came back with no pit in him. He's a 70-75 lb. dog whose first DNA test showed him to be mostly Chihuahua and next Dachshund mixed w/ shepherd and hound. His vet thinks he's got Rhodesian Ridgeback in him (which could account for the hound). No pit, but I'm sure if he lived in Denver or Ontario he would quickly be seized.


I think the city of Salina should have charges pressed on them for cruelty to animals. You can not kill a dog just because it is a pit bull. That is BS. Just because the are pit bull doesnt mean they are a danger to society! Read the breed discription ! Killing any breed without a attack or reason for threat should be considered cruelty to animals and should be prosecuted ! Just because your ignorant to the breed doesn't mean your right! Punish the deed not the breed.


pretty sure that what they need to realize here is going back into history dog breeds are made from other breeds. so when doing dna testing of course many breeds can show up even if you have a papered Lab or Vizla. It took breeding different dogs to get the specific breed and then it was taken from there. I hate how people can be so naieve. let this woman and her dog be. Salina dont you have bigger things to worry about? SMSH....... id say just move

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