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« PETA now seeks to kill animals not in their care | Main | Weekly Roundup - Week ending 3/28/10 »

March 27, 2010



Lee -- it is a false argument to claim that these organizations are made up of people who care only about animals and not about people. The organizations listed have produced libraries of literature on creating safe communities.

What these groups have, is a depth of knowledge about canine behavior, and what it is that causes them to bite and attack (and hint, it's not a "breed" issue).

Victims, while no doubt their situation is tragic, do not have the expertise necessary to understand WHY something happened. It'd be like a bridge falling down and killing someone and letting their families design a new bridge. We'd never do that, we'd call in a team of experts and engineers to design the bridge - -because they have the expertise to know how to do it right.

The same is true in animal legislation. The people with the knowledge of canine behavior should be the guides on policies to impact new laws that can help keep us all safe.


Of course there are always many sides to a story: more than two. But there are NOT always equal sides to every story and not every side is valid. This false notion is the current downfall of our national media which always seeks to quote an opposing view, even when there isn't a legitimate one.

Evolution, for example, is a scientific fact. The belief that humans co-existed with dinosaurs is not. To quote the latter as a "counter" to an article about evolution would be journalistic malfeasance.

In the same way, journalists that quote DBO or C. Merritt because there allegedly must be two equal sides, with equal truth, are practicing journalistic malfeasance. How many articles do we need explaining how false and dishonest the DBO/Merritt/PETA crowd is before "journalists" stop taking them seriously and stop quoting them?

It's not "bigotry" or "totalitarianism" to deride those who believe nonsense, and to seek to expose their lies, in hopes that they will lose credibility.

Some people should be publicly derided for blabbering nonsense. Lee77 asserts that organizations that oppose BSL "value dogs more than everything else". This is a statement not only untrue and unsupported, but manifestly UNtrue and laughably stupid (we'll set aside the craptastical insult that dog advocates don't care about the safety of humans). Actually: the only group I'm aware of that probably DOES value animals above anything else is PETA, which supports BSL and the ultimate extinction of "pit bulls" .... but maybe that fact will make Lee77's head spin. Along with the fact that pretty much the whole country is "paying attention" to the anti-BSL argument, since the laws are dropping like flies.

As for Shyster's red herring: I suppose there are some who call for "banning" DBO and Lynn's minions, but for the most part anti-BSL forces extend them a courtesy they don't grant to us... and certainly not to our dogs, which they want to ban (or kill, if the threats and posts made on FB pages linked to C Lynn et all should be taken seriously). Most pit bull advocacy sites allow at least SOME degree of anti-pit bull posts and only block the outright trolls as they expose their hatred and derail the conversation. Someone better explain to me why this is WORSE than what the DBO sites do when they allow NO contrary posts.

Anyway, I for one am not inclined to apologize if someone whose beloved pets are threatened because of stupidity, venality, hatred and ignorance DOES express a wish that the people making the threats could be banned from public discourse. Which of course they won't... FB won't even delete pages advocating outright violence against pit bulls


Do you have any sources that have statistics that show the data on to be inaccurate?


John, if you look on the left scroll bar, under categories, there will be a couple of links there "Dog Bite Fatalities 2010, 2011, 2012" that you can compare my end of year reports with hers. You'll note that in many cases there are dogs of unknown breed that she labels as "pit bulls". Or she includes all American Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Cane Corsos etc as "pit bulls". Or if one media source refers to them as pit bulls, she'll keep that breed ID even if later sources declare them something else.

Even if the data was accurate, dbo ignores all of the other factors in dog attacks to make them about breed. There was a sad situation a few weeks ago in Miami where a child wondered outside unattended while his parents were using marijuana and cocaine and wandered up to some puppies and was attacked and killed by an adult dog that was guarding the puppies. DBO's entire dialogue was about the breed of dog involved (there were discrepancies in breed ID) and about the city's breed ban, but little talk about the fact that the child was unsupervised, the parents had been known to be a risk and to be drug users, and were high on drugs at the time. It's a tragic event, but caused by human ignorance....not dogs :(


John: there are about a dozen well researched sites showing the problem with DBO and Clifton Merritt stats. you could look it up.

In addition to Brent's own fine work, here's one:

Now if your response is: this is biased because it's produced by someone with an agenda, I'll be able to categorize you in the DBO crowd that dismisses all of the NCRC research and anything published by anyone associated in any way with NCRC or AFF

Unlike Colleen Lynn, of course...

Scott L

ok, so i have read lot of the comments here ( and the original blog) but one thing you all missed (Brent too) is that Colleen Lynn had this planned for over a year before she ever started dogsbite.bulls%#T. ok, so she got bit (not attacked) on June 17, 2007, ok so why did she register a blogger name of bitbypit in April 2006. so what i want to know is, how many pitbulls did she have to sneak up on (or antagonize) till she finally got one to bite her? 1 year and 2 months worth? either way, near as i can tell she is a freakin liar, so anyone that believes anything she says is just as ignorant as she is.

Cindy Ballard

Point out one post on that isn't fact. You can't, but go ahead and try.smh


Actually Cindy, it would take forever to do this.

Lynn repeatedly mis-identifies breeds in her write-ups. For example, if even one news story calls a dog a pit bull, she calls it a pit bull, even if local authorities later determine the dog to be a non-pit bull.

Lynn's lack of knowledge of breeding, genetics and canine behavior are painstakingly bad. She insists that American Bulldogs, Boxers, and many mastiff breeds are all "pit bulls" because they are "closely related". Yet, all dog breeds are closely related, sharing upwards of 99.8% of their DNA. But to support broader hysteria, she has routinely grouped these breeds together all as "pit bulls" to over-inflate her "statistics".

Because she has almost no knowledge of canine behavior, or canine genetics, she has no ability to determine the actual causal factors in attacks even when they are painfully obvious. She doesn't understand environmental factors, gene mutations, signs of improper socialization or any of the other multitude of factors.

She routinely cites sources like Merrit Clifton and Alexandra Semyanova while ignoring the depth of peer-reviewed scientific data that has been published on the subject simply because she doesn't agree with the peer-reviewed science -- claiming that it has all been paid for by dog fighters and the 'pit bull' lobby or some other conspiracy theory.

The site basically reads like the type of site that is written with just cursory knowledge about the subject in which she writes....which is what it is.


I've been told that, because I defend Pit Bulls, I must be getting something out of the breed. The only thing I have ever received from Pits is love and plenty of kisses. I volunteer at a shelter and, though I work on the second level with the cats, I often go downstairs to visit the many dogs that we have housed (it is a no-kill shelter, except in cases of extreme sickness with no cure or aggression to the point of real danger). We have adoption days, where dozens and dozens of dogs and cats get adopted. And who is always left behind? The little Pits, because people believe that things that liars like those at write about them. People stared at me like I was crazy when I stepped into a play-pen filled with Pit Bull puppies. One woman even commented that they were about to see a mauling, but all I got was a lap full of six wiggling, happy puppies.
I was the first person to even so much as pet them all day. and other websites like it need to be stopped. More Pits are put down in shelters than any other dog, just because of what they look like.
It needs to stop.
Thank you for your article- hope it spreads so people can learn the truth about these wonderful dogs!

Scott L

Cindy Ballard. I can't, really?? do your research before you open your piehole. not to mention the FACT that she changed her story many times. did you by chance even check the link i put up? 1 years and 2 months before she ever got bit, (and yes she only got bit) she had a blogger name of bitbypit...WHY??? oh and just because you are so informed, heres another link for you to have a look at and if you cant take the time to learn the truth, i feel sorry for you along with all the other Media trained morons out there.


Nice read. I actually posted a response on an article at blog.dogsbite and was never posted. My guess is they didn't like my response.

As far as Pitbull breed being dangerous there are breeders that breed downright dangerous dogs that have bad temperaments this is an issue not just with Pit breeders but all small-large dog breeds.

Only thing I pointed out on dogsbite is that most attacks occur when it's 2 or more dogs that are unsupervised and they act in a pack mentality.
Not saying there hasn't been deaths by single dog attacks.
Dogs are distant relatives to wolves and operate in a pack like wolves do. If the owner isn't around chances are one dog begins attack others will join.
This is how they operate in human setting as well.

I've grown up with Pitbulls and they can be unpredictable at times. I'm sorry but this is true. My current AmStaff is the best temperamented Pit I've ever had and I've seen him go from happy tail wagging "tail wagging doesn't always mean playful of course" into fully dialated pupils and attacking a cat in split second changed. I'd never own another breed dog but fully admit they can be unpredictable at times.
I've seen him walk past dogs, cats never even glance at them but every once in awhile he will go at them. This has been my experience with all my Pits. Only 1 that actually got aggressive with me but did not bite just growled at me.


thank you for this information. I am writing a research paper on how pit bull shouldn't have the rep that the media gives them and this helps me know not to us that website for my paper.

nikki snowden

👍 Brent!!

David Clarke

I live in Middletown,OH. About a year ago a woman was killed by her daughters pit bull whom she was very familiar with. Just out of the blue. I recently did a search for dog bite fatalities and ended up on your favorite web site "dogsbite. org. So based on your article and most of the posts afterward, are you stating that all the cases that dogsbite. org cites, with pictures of victims, with links to actual news stories, are all fabricated? Are you saying the dogsbite. org just makes up their statistics? I read several of the links and watched some of the news videos and I'm pretty sure the ones I read and viewed are true. I dont take a stand either way as I dont believe that Pits are natural born killers and that (as you mentioned) there are potentially dangerous dogs of all breeds, but I do believe without any shadow of a doubt that Pit bulls are big enough and strong enough to make short work out of most people if they so choose to and based on any statistics that I could find, they have been known to "chose to" from time to time. In my humble opinion and I "dont have a dog in this fight" you and your followers are the bias party. I bet you wont post my entry! If you have any credibilty you will post some links to some credible statistics that disproves dogsbite. org's claims. I would like to see them so can come to an educated opinion of the subject matter. Thanks



The person who runs dogsbite. org (DBO) allegedly was bitten by a pit bull. Although police reports show discrepancies in her reports of the actual events of her alleged bite, I do think that point alone should at least rule her out as a completely unbiased source.

And yes, I will publish your comment, because I think honest dialogue is good (and your comment at least seems to be in that vein). She would not afford people with views counter to her own the same luxury. I feel like my position can withstand scrutiny, she apparently does not feel the same.

Obviously DBO's stories and links are (for the most part) real. However, there is a fair amount of cherry-picking that goes on. ie, she almost never posts articles of attacks involving non-pit bulls (although they obviously do happen). Also, there are many cases in which media reports may differ in the breed of dog involved in the attack. In cases of discrepancy, she always links to the report citing "pit bull" because it supports her agenda. She also lumps many breeds of dogs as "pit bulls", such as many mastiff breeds, American Bull Dogs, etc as "pit bulls" -- again, to support an agenda.

Meanwhile, it is extremely important to note the writer of DBO is not an expert in dog behavior - -it seems, in fact, that her loan experience with dogs is having been allegedly bitten by one.

Therefore, she has no ability to discern other factors in these stories that are causal factors in the dog bites. Without any ability to discern real causal factors related to real canine behavior, she reaches the conclusion that "pit bulls are bad". However, if you talk to real experts in canine behavior (such as leaders of the organizations mentioned in this blog post, who are real experts), they reach the opposite conclusion.

But please, don't take my word for it. Read around and reach your own conclusion. But here are some links to academic articles on the subject - and know that these were published in peer-reviewed journals, so have the credibility of having endured academic scrutiny (which neither DBO, nor this site do):

Behavioral differences among breeds of domestic dogs: Current status of the science:

Here is a link to a write-up by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior on the results of that study:

Co-Occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog-bite related fatalities 2000-2009 (this one also includes challenges in media identification of breed):

Also, you may want to read this blog post I wrote about another academic study that was written about dog behavior in dogs removed from litters too young. I'm unable to find a link to the study online (the link in the original blog post is broken) but I have a copy of the study and there is are a lot of credible sources to this type of information:

I guess the net result is that canine behavior is a very complex construction of nature vs nurture, including upbringing, training, (or lack of) and current handling of the dog. DBO does not have the knowledge, expertise or lack of bias necessary to make these judgments, but the real experts do -- and these experts completely disagree with DBO's opinion.


Probably worth mentioning that the fatality in Middletown involved a dog that had quite a bit of debate over the breed of dog involved as dog wardens and the dog owners disagreed on breed of dog. It is a shame that so much emphasis was put on the breed of dog in this case (which was mostly irrelevant) and not on what may have caused the attack.

Although the dog's owner makes some disturbing comments here about interactions between her two year old and the dog:

- as a society, we are expecting too much from dogs if we expect them to tolerate "being sat on, laid on and smacked in the face".

Also worth mentioning, that the owners reported having the dog since it was 6 weeks old -- two weeks younger than most experts say is the earliest a dog should be removed from its litter:

Cherie Bishop

The people that follow that site are all nuts. I have a page on Facebook that is geared towards the bully breeds and the other day, one of my posts gets attacked by all these crazy people. I even had one woman post a picture in the comments of a child's face from being mauled, supposedly by a pit bull.

Fred Barnard

Odd that there are no comments here that disagree. Where is the other side? I am not breed specific, but am attack specific. So when someone sent me to your site, I wrote the following to her. -- My questions remain, and I notice most of these sites avoid quantifying statistics. Thus, are not comparable (?).
I wrote
"Interesting - and I don't doubt the article, but many of the "best of the best" (below) organizations also have their own agenda, and I wonder, does this mean her stats. are "wrong"? Maybe she is just a voice in the wilderness?

Congrats for you for sending me info rather than firing a derogatory remark.

So I am looking at what stats these sites have on bites by breed or any other stats of type.
I am actually not against specific breeds but against over-breeding and allowing dogs that have mauled or killed to be "rehabilitated"

OK I looked at a few, and see what you mean, so I'm not going to go through them all. (though I did notice that a number of them led to the exact same text). But I do find this disturbing. 1) comparing dogs related deaths to other kinds of death in terms of numbers.

And -- Comparing a dog to a "hot stove" -- something we need to teach our children to be "careful around". I would never have that kind of "hot stove" dog in a house with my children. And, it's kind of a shame that people have to teach their kids to be "safe" around dogs.

"If you can teach a young child to not touch a hot oven, then they can at least understand "caution" around dogs. It is this type of irresponsibility that is making people LESS safe, not more safe."

** American Dog Owners Association
"Breeds Implicated in Serious Bite Injuries
In a range of studies, the breeds found to frequently appear in lists of dogs implicated in biting incidents were German Shepherd Dog,, mixed breed,pit bull-type dogs Rottweiler, Jack Russell Terrier, and others (Chow Chow, Spaniel, Collie, Saint Bernard,20 and Labrador Retriever.

If only the cases that resulted in very severe injuries or fatalities are considered, pit bull-type dogs are more frequently identified.

This may relate to the popularity of the breed in the victim’s community, reporting biases, and the dog’s treatment by its owner

(It "may" relate)?

** American Humane (Society)
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2014 — Every year more than 4.5 million Americans, more than half of them children, are bitten by dogs. As part of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 18-24, 2014) Coalition, American Humane Association, the nation's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting the welfare of animals and children, encourages adults to teach children how to avoid dog bites and learn the importance of pet owner responsibility.

"Studies have also shown that the greatest percentage of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children and unsupervised newborns."
American Kennel Club (AKC)

** American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

about 4.7 million people—are bitten by a dog each year. The vast majority of these bites (about 83%) don’t result in injury, and no medical treatment is sought. About 800,000 individuals, however, half of them children, seek medical treatment for dog bites. Among children 14 years and younger, injury rates are significantly higher for boys (57%) than for girls (43%), and the rate of dog bite injuries is highest among children ages five to nine years. Between 15 and 20 of these annual bites nationwide are fatal.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
If you consider only the much smaller number of cases that
resulted in very severe injuries or fatalities,17,19 pit bull-type dogs are more frequently identified.

** Center for Disease Control
Though the idea of being bitten by a dog is scary, it doesn't mean that it is time to send Fido packing. People who work and live around dogs should be aware of the risk and take precautions. With a few tips, you can learn how to prevent dog bites and reduce the risk of illness and injury.

** Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
"There is no way to guarantee that your dog will never bite someone. But you can significantly reduce the risk."

** No Kill Advocacy Center
(no statistics)


Fred, scroll through the several pages of comments -- there are plenty of people here who disagree. Unlike, I seldom delete dissenting comments as long as they are civil and attempting to create reasonable arguments. I think civil debate is good, and I not seek to make this page nothing but group-think. DBO on the other hand, does encourage group-think.

If you look at the left hand tool bar there are categories for Dog Attack Fatalities by year where for many years I used to track all fatalities by breed and many other factors. It was an interesting exercise, and one that definitely highlighted major risk factors such as high incidents of these cases occurring in impoverished areas, packs of roaming dogs, dogs with a history of aggression, newborn infants being introduced into a home with a dog, owners being fatally bitten breaking up fights between their own dogs and toddlers roaming yards containing dogs or up to chained dogs.

It's just interesting that when you know about dog behavior, you start seeing the same trends you see in real life and you realize that even if a breed may be over-represented in that sample, it is very much a by-product of that type of dog being over-represented (or, over-identified) in these high-risk situations. This is why every single one of the organizations you mention in your comment (all of which have experts in canine behavior) overwhelmingly oppose targeting breeds of dogs with laws as a form of public safety.

Fred Barnard

To learn to ride, I would put my child on a well behaved and trained pony, not an uncut stallion. I just don't understand why someone would want a dog that "might" be unsafe around my child. Even if dogsbite is wrong. I do not think a pet should be comparable to a "hot stove". No argument with breed specific laws, but why are pit bull type dogs so popular? They do have rather a dark history - yes?


Part of the point is that all dogs can be unsafe around children if given the wrong circumstance. I've seen a lot of people put children and dogs in completely scary circumstances. Often it ends fine, other times it ends very poorly. Have you ever seen this video?

If the dog had even just bitten it could have been devastating or even fatal to that child given the size difference. Would it have been because the dog was a bad dog? Or, because the owners didn't respect the dog (and didn't teach their child to respect the dog). I think respecting dogs is a very important skill for parents and children.

I think there are a lot of reasons why pit bulls are popular dogs -- some is because they are great dogs. Some because some people want them because society has targeted them. Some because that is what is readily available at many shelters (due in large part to society targeting them).

Beth Sierra


Sounds like you are in a quest for justice and truth. That's awesome. However...

From the site in question:

"In the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014, pit bulls killed 203 Americans and accounted for 62% of the total recorded deaths (326). Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 74% of these deaths."

"This doesn't include attacks which didn't result in death:

Are those statement untrue?

Regardless of the owner of the site being who you said she is (is irrelevant who she is to this question), I reiterate the question: Are those statements untrue?

If yes, please point to your audience how do you know this to be untrue. I read your articles but there is a lot of hypothesis, suspicion and speculation but nothing really solid. If you want this site taken down for calling them on their b**s**t, we gotta do better than that. Spreading hate towards pit bulls based on lies is never a good thing, and it should be stopped. However, I think we need better evidence beyond some conspiracy theories.



I could go through and highlight several incidents where dogs were mislabeled on her site. I remember a few cases where dogs were originally reported as "pit bulls" and then changed upon further reports that she refused to change, or her propensity to call any number of mastiff and boxer breeds "pit bulls".

But honestly, none of that matters. Because even if her numbers are correct, it doesn't support her conclusion that pit bulls are genetically prone to attacking and killing people. 203 people. While devastating for those families is a relatively small number when there are anywhere between 5-10 million pit bulls in this country. Over the course of 10 years, that would be 20-30 million individual pit bulls.

If there was a genetic propensity to attack and kill, we'd be talking about more than a fraction of a % of dogs being involved. But we're not. We're talking a tiny percentage.

So instead of focusing on the breed of dog, we should be focusing on the circumstances that led to these dogs acting catastrophically differently than the other 8 million pit bulls out there. In that, we find a wealth of other factors, beyond breed, that are conclusive and scientifically valid.

Fred Barnard

I'll have to agree with Beth, and bow out. If statistically all dogs are treated the same - both raised well and raised poorly. Why then, are certain types of dogs counted higher in bite statistics? I still wonder why more folks don't get a dog that does not have a "bite, shake and hold" gene. Also, if these statistics are wrong. Where are the ones you agree with?

Here are two examples of how breeding affects behavior:

Border collies are known for being one of the dogs most likely to bite or nip a human. The reason? Collies have been trained for centuries to herd livestock – a process that involves nipping animals in order to group them together or move them.

Statistics show golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are the two breeds least likely to bite. Retrievers have been bred to retrieve water fowl, the animals are bred to have a “soft mouth” that does not damage the hunter’s birds. This “soft mouth” makes the dogs less likely to bite. In addition, both breeds have been described as friendly, sociable, and non-aggressive dogs that are not wary of strangers.

I don't believe anyone can, based one one dogs behavior, judge the whole breed. And here, a lot of good folks do, by using their own good dog as an example. They don't understand that this is is a non-sequitur argument.



You covered a lot of ground, based on bad assumptions, but let me briefly try to cover three main points here:

1) Populations of dogs are not equal across breeds. There are obviously breeds that are far more popular than others. No one would ever assume that there were as many, say, Akita's as pit bulls in this country, nor as many Chinese Cresteds as Labrador Retrievers. Similarly, it would be a false notion that all had the equal treatment across the board -- and that pit bulls and labradoodles are chained up as lawn ornaments at the same rate. It's a completely false presumption.

2) I think it's really important to note behavior is a complex factor of environment and genetics - but it's also important that in the genetics side that there are crucial differences between "Breed" behaviors" and "bred" behaviors. This is one reason the Border Collie breeders have for years fought to not have their dogs as show dogs because once they start breeding for physical traits, they will lose some of the behavioral ones. This is why the Labs that are used as game bird dogs behave quite differently than the lay-on-the-couch pet variety. It's also why show-ring Huskies look and act much differently than dogs that are bred to Mush.

While people like like to talk about pit bulls heritage as fighting breeds, the reality is that dog fighting has been illegal in this country for 50+ years -- and the UKC separated from dog fighting 100 years ago- thus the vast majority of pit bulls haven't been bred for this purpose in dozens of generations. So the pit bulls people keep as pets today don't really resemble the "game" dogs of a century ago. There's a huge difference. And this is the same thing with Standard Poodles -- which were also originally waterfowl dogs, but now most exhibit few characteristics of the types of behaviors necessary for fetching waterfowl. The importance of "breeding" is why there can tend to be a very striking difference in behaviors within breeds of dogs.

3) For this reason, I strongly agree that you can't judge the behavior of a whole breed off of the behavior of one (or a few) dogs. But that's the point really, that that vast majority of the 8 million-ish pit bulls in this country to not bite, maul and attack. 20 per year do. The dogs that maul are the outliers. The family pets are truer indicator of behavior. And that's the part that people who actually understand dogs, and science, understand.

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