My Photo


follow us in feedly

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Best Of KC Dog Blog

Become a Fan

« Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 12/5/10 | Main | Denver Attny: "Projecting who might sue us is something with some sensitivity around it" »

December 06, 2010



"And Clifton buys into it hook, line and sinker."

??? WTF: Clifton has been baiting the hook and fishing for fear mongering for years! He's one of the people most guilty of the "lies damned lies and (cherrypicked) statistics" nature of dogbite reporting for the last 10 years.

terry pride

Umm, @ *emily -
QUOTE, edited for emphasis:
"Clifton relies only on media reports...
his 'study'... is [in]complete, [an un-]representative sample [and] subject to media bias -- [the media] focus on the dramatic and fear-mongering. And Clifton buys into it hook, line and sinker."

to summarize, Clifton BUYS-INTO the media dissemination of drama, and augments their fear-mongering IMO.

the blog-author does not claim Clifton is a fan or a publicist for the current medical study, which again emphasizes that dogs are more numerous and more-common in a growing human-household popn, but remain about the same percentage of injuries per 100k people as they have been for the past 13-years -

IOW, if anything dogs are safer than they were, because there are MORE dogs in MORE houses, but about the same number of bites need medical attention, and there is no spike in dog-caused fatalities.

a very encouraging report - now if we can just get people to STOP triggering bites, by using rough or punitive "training" methods or tools, allowing kids to harass or ride the dog, etc, we could **lower** bite-risk.
cheers, and happy training,
- terry

terry pride, APDT-Aus, apdt#1827, CVA, TDF


There is definitely a chicken/egg argument with Clifton. I would suspect he "buys into it" because it supports what he's "baited his hook" with...


@Terry: that may very well be what Brent means, but the phrase "bought into it hook line and sinker" has a connotation of being duped. Clifton is a promulgator, not a dupe, of the media mythmaking


Like Michelle said, it's sort of a chicken/egg situation. Yes, I'd suspect that Clifton/media mythmaking has been cyclical. I'm certainly not willing to give Clifton too much credit for being a sole driving force...


Ah, Merrit Clifton. There's a blast from the past, and he's still hanging around. I'm with EmilyS on this one - Clifton is part of the problem (except, EmilyS, I disagree with your math - ten years???? Check your records, girl! Time flies when you aren't having one bit of fun).

I'm a bit confused as to how "rough and punitive training methods" are causing dog bites, Terry. I would argue that when most dogs bite people there have been NO "training methods", rough and punitive or otherwise. The dogs that have come after me in obedience classes have been allowed to rule the roost.

I was listening to the local morning news recently, where the anchors tend to be a bit punchy. One anchor said, "Next, we have another story about the lastest thing that can kill you". I think that pretty well sums it up - I think dog bites/fatalities fall into the "sensationalized/sexy/headline-grabbing things that can injure or kill you" category, while the things that are truly dangerous tend to get ignored - like ladders, and out-of-shape old men thinking they can clear a foot of snow off of their driveways - because they're boring.

Far more infants/children are killed by people forgetting them in vehicles (to cook due to heat), parents/grandparents backing over them in the driveway, and climbing on furniture and pulling it over on themselves than by dogs.

I jokingly suggested the government should require back-up assist and rear-view cameras on all vehicles and sure enough, there was an article in the paper the other day that the government was considering requiring rear-view cameras on all vehicles starting in 2014 because careless grandparents and parents back over 44 children every year. 44????? Do ya think people could just look behind their cars before they back out???? And they used the same argument, "If it saves one life, it will be worth it". To WHOM? Certainly to the car manufacturers. Next they'll need a law requiring people to actually look at the danged camera screen!

From now on I'm keeping my ridiculous thoughts to myself!

J. Smit

Merritt Clifton is an extremely reliable source. As are American insurance statistics. Can the fighting/baiting breed fans maybe for once stop ad hominem arguments and address the real issues -- namely that almost all the severely maiming to killing attacks are done by a particular type of dog? Not only on humans, but also on other dogs.

Why is it that the baiting/fighting breeds fans can say what they like about Labradors, dachshunds, god-knows-what-all, and get little defensive response -- while anyone who states the facts about dogs bred for killing ends up being personally attacked?

Another thing that galls me is the utterly imbecilic argument that since kids sometimes die by balloons, it's then perfectly okay if some also die by pit bull type dog attack.

Balloons, slippers, ladders, they weren't designed to kill. Pit bull type dogs were. There is very good reason to have legal controls and limits on things that are designed to kill.


First of all, J. Smit, "God" is spelled with a capital G.

Do you recall "pit bulls" killing and maiming people prior to 1980? The breed has been in this country since the late 1800s. It was incredibly popular in the 1920s through the 1940s, as were all the terrier breeds. And yet suddenly, from out of the clear blue sky, for no apparent reason at all, dogfighting became a "problem" around 1980 and "pit bulls" turned into killers overnight, after a century of a relatively placid existence primarily as people's pets.

Think about it.

It's not a one-dimensional problem.

No one said it's (paraphrased) "perfectly okay for children to die from a pit bull attack" (please tell us where someone wrote that on this blog). What's NOT perfectly okay is for cities to impose restrictions on me and my dogs when a dog across town that belongs to a drug dealer and sort-of looks like a "pit bull" attacks someone.

Insurance statistics are reliable? Really? We keep reading that one-third of all homeowners claims are dog bites (ALL dogs, not just "pit bulls"), yet every single insurance agent I speak to (including my own agent and my neighbor, a State Farm agent) say this is nonsense. My neighbor has paid thousands of claims in a nearly 30-year career. Dog bite claims? Four. Count them on one hand - four.

People don't get attacked for talking about dogs being bred for killing and we do not throw other breeds under the bus, but the truth of the matter is any dog can bite and kill. As my husband is fond of saying, most breeds of dogs were designed to kill or help kill something. Dogs used to have a utilitarian purpose. What makes us angry is when other people don't think we're smart enough to know our own dogs. If I have a problem with a dog I'll take care of it myself. If someone isn't smart enough to take care of a problem dog themselves, there are criminal laws and civil courts to deal with that issue. Imposing more restrictions on my dogs isn't going to save anyone from a dog bite.

We do have limits on dogs. There are leash laws. There are dangerous dog laws. Isn't that enough? Apparently not, for yourself and people on City Councils everywhere.


Again, I'll note for you, that according to this research report, there are roughly 9500 hospitalizations each year from dog bites.

Clifton's "reliable" data features less that 2700 cases over the past 25 years - -less than half of 1% of all hospitalizations. It would be a statistically irrelevant number even if the numbers were a real random sample and not based solely on media reports. This doesn't even take into account that Clifton's 2009 report featured more pit bull attacks since his 2006 report than total dog attacks, which would, well, be impossible.

Meanwhile, if you can find any insurance reports on breed-specific pit bull attacks, please share them, because none of the companies I've ever called have the data.

If pit bulls were designed to kill they must be the most horribly designed dog ever - -given that there are some 5-8 million pit bulls in this country and maybe a dozen, max, are involved in any type of fatal incident. It seems it may make sense to look at the commonality of those 12 incidents to figure out what went wrong, than to project the 12 incidents onto the other 5-8 million dogs out there as an indication of their temperaments.


And, as KMK notes, no one here, ever has claimed that other types of dogs should be banned or even restricted -- or said that a dog killing someone or another dog is ok.


"If pit bulls were designed to kill they must be the most horribly designed dog ever - -given that there are some 5-8 million pit bulls in this country and maybe a dozen, max, are involved in any type of fatal incident" I'm stealing that one, too!


I want to know how the drug dealers train pit bulls to guard the drugs.

Mine won't guard their own darned food dish.


KMK, I kind of laugh about this one too. It seems like nearly every day in my google alerts there is a story about a pit bull being stolen from someone or from a shelter....they're not much for guard dogs if they can't keep themselves from getting stolen.


silly people!: in Denver, the handicapped drug dealers will now be training their guard dog pit bulls to be service dogs and also to attack. It's that easy.


Unless the handicapped drug dealers are illegal aliens, because Denver is a sanctuary city! :-)

Praise God and pass the heroin!

Tom Aaron

Very much enjoyed the article. Thank you.


"Pit bull type dogs were (designed to kill)" -- Because you make up hysterical rantings and call them "facts" about "dogs bred for killing" is why you're attacked.


Here are my thoughts on the study. There is no dog bite hospitalization epidemic, just statistical artifacts.

David Fruits

I've been bit by labs, retrievers, german shepherds, chihuahuas. Never any of the hundreds of pits I've handled. I should make up a new statistic. Pit Bulls are the safest dog in a double blind study.

David Fruits

J. Smit, do you honestly support the repeal of the 2nd Amendment? You think Pit owners are a rough bunch. Wait until the gun and bible crowd come after you.

animal injury claim

An animal injury claim for compensation could also arise if you are attacked by a dog in the street. In Ireland we have the “Control of Dogs Act” which legislates that any person allowing their dog to cause harm can be brought before the courts and made to pay for the damage

The comments to this entry are closed.