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« The significance of the upcoming new book, "Why Dogs Die Young" | Main | Weekly Roundup - Week Ending 9/18/11 »

September 15, 2011

Comments

Brent

Emily,

Yes, dogs share about 99+% of their genetics -- that is why genetic "markers" are the ones that pinpoint their differences. That's the point. Dawn's infamous youtube video was done 3 years ago -- and used a swab test. At that time, there wasn't a single swab test that had AST's in their database. Without AST's in their database, there would be complete cause to realize that the results would come back "odd". A lot of progress has been made in isolating these markers, and there are now tests that have ASTs in their database. I understand "skepticism", but I think dismissing them as being completely flawed based on an early test that didn't have the known breed in the database is foolhardy.

EmilyS

Karen, I have made no accusations or assumptions. Indeed, you are repeating here exactly what I have said that AFF/NCRC is saying: "pit bull" is not a breed because many people (who BTW know nothing) call lots of dogs "pit bulls".

Now you may not like the logical conclusions I draw from your statements, but I stand by them. The AFF/NCRC statements aid/abet the Cliftons/Lynns of the world by supporting THEIR contentions that any dog identified as a "pit bull" is indeed a pit bull and is properly counted as such in the biting statistics. The statements are also counter to 100 + years of history in which "pit bull" only meant the APBT. Which IS a breed of dog (assuming you believe in breeds, which isn't entirely clear to me).

I have the utmost respect and appreciation for your work... sadly I think you are diluting its value. Because as you say the dogs you so carefully and diligently research are mostly NOT identifiable as a breed... then why are you promoting a notion that DOES associate them with the name of a breed?

Rather than acquiescing in bad history, bad politics and bad language, why don't you advocate for the point that matters: there is NO "breed" correlation in bite statistics and the perpetrators should be called what they are: dogs of unknown breed or mixed breed dogs. Isn't that the whole point of your research?

kmk

I think there's a country song in here someplace - "A person who was hit by a train when the dog they were walking took off after its owner (who was on a bicycle) and pulled the dog walker in front of an oncoming train".

Yikes.

Hey, what IS Merrit Clifton's agenda, anyway? I've been trying to figure that out for at least 20 years now.

Karen Delise

Emily, is astounding that you would ask me, “why don't you advocate for the point that matters: there is NO "breed" correlation in bite statistics and the perpetrators should be called what they are: dogs of unknown breed or mixed breed dogs.”

This is EXACTLY what I advocate; this is the conclusion of all the research promoted by NCRC. It is the mantra of NCRC and AFF. It is the cornerstone of all our dialogue, points of view and research.

And Emily, I’m sorry but “pit bull” may have once been associated with a particular breed (APBT) by those with knowledge of dogs, but today, common vernacular has bastardized the word to mean something totally different. I’m sorry, but we have lost the term to those who know nothing about dog breeds (the majority of people) and we cannot get it back. We need to let it go and expose it as a term used by novices that include a wide variety of breeds and mixed breeds.

And Emily, you asked “Because as you say the dogs you so carefully and diligently research are mostly NOT identifiable as a breed... then why are you promoting a notion that DOES associate them with the name of a breed?"

How am I doing this? I would love to know how I can be perceived as doing this since my every waking moment is dedicated to NOT promoting any notion that would harm “pit bulls” or any breed of dog.

Pit Bull=APBT

"PB+APBT -- while Karen addressed this, I think there's a huge difference between making a statement that is, undoubtely, how breed specific legislation is enforced in this country, and actualy endorsing that practice."

They are endorsing the practice of using the term Pit Bull to mean whatever dog they feel like. Check their Facebook page. They are calling any dog with a blocky head, short hair and a big chest, a Pit Bull. Well, actually they call them "pit bull dogs," to try and appease those who still care about the breed (it doesn't). Just look at this album: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150279725207076.328441.51042412075 a good portion of the dogs in there are American Bulldogs, there are a couple of Staffords (SBTs), a few mixed breeds and a few Pit Bulls that are all being put under the blanket term "pit bull dogs."

Here's a comment from "Sarge" AKA Kim Wolfe, who put the album together:
"I love how different all these dogs look! Such diversity! Really illustrates the point that these days "pit bulls" are not a singular breed of dog; they're an increasingly large group of purebred and mixed breed dogs!"

Why do you insist on using the term "pit bull" in all of your literature if you don't actually care about Pit Bulls?

AFF, and other groups like it, are playing right into the hands of those who drive BSL. If Pit Bull advocates can't tell a Pit Bull from an American Bulldog, how is the general public supposed to be able to do it? If the advocates can call any dog a Pit Bull, so can the public. Now every dog that bites, no matter what the breed is, can be called a Pit Bull and the newspaper that reports the story can quote right your website, AFF. And in the end the dog that suffers from all of this nonsense is the American Pit Bull Terrier, the only breed that can TRULY be called a Pit Bull.

Karen Delise

To Pit Bull=APBT

Ok, yeah, I see it is important to you to spend your time going over AFF's site to find something that you don't like, certainly that seems to be more important to you than to address the Clifton "study" or all the other horrendous things that are said and done to "pit bulls."

What a colossal waste of time; the more we argue about breed the more we don't talk about all the other important things that influence how dogs behave and how we treat them.

Unlike you, I try not to find fault with people who are working damn freaking hard caring about and helping dogs. AFF clearly states their mission is to help ALL dogs that are "labeled pit bulls," not just APBT (which seems to be your only concern).

The "pit bull" has many enemies, and I assure you, if you think the best use of your time is picking apart AFF, I really don't have time for you.

And for the record, I am not going to speak for AFF, but, for myself, I am not at all interested in "appeasing those who still care about the breed."

I'm interesting in saving and helping dogs, regardless if anyone thinks they are a "pit bull" or not.

kmk

The biggest gripe I have with the term "pit bull" has nothing to do with anything here...and Brent can probably back me up on this. Or not, LOL.

There have been dog attacks in the Kansas City, MO metro area where the dog(s) was described as a Rottweiler, then a mastiff mix, then a boxer mix, and then suddenly, it's a miracle - the dog is a "pit bull".

there was a dog-related fatality on the Kansas (Kansas City, KS) side several years ago (victim actually died of a heart attack). The breed of dog morphed several times before it was declared a 'pit bull'. There was a "pit bull" held in the city shelter as evidence while the prosecutor tried the alleged owner (TWICE) for involuntary manslaughter. First trial ended in a hung jury. The second trial was successful, although I do not know how. I believe the "owner" is serving three years in prison.

the owner did own one dog, but wasn't living in the house at the time (although his dog was living there), and the offending "pit bull" was allegedly a stray he was feeding.

I'm still not convinced the dog in the shelter was the dog involved in the attack. And what happened to his own personal dog? Never heard the end of that story. Several people saw the "pit bull" in the shelter and said it was quite friendly. ????????

I also just dealt with YET ANOTHER dog confiscation in KCMO - a man had his Bullmastiffs and Rotties confiscated on grounds of illegal 'pit bull fighting'. At some point the rocket scientists involved recognized, they weren't being fought, so they went through several gyrations to try and justify keeping the dogs, including mandatory speutering for pit bulls (except they weren't pit bulls), "illegal breeding" (he had a hobby permit with the state), and then "over the pet limit" (oopsie, property is zoned ag, limit does not apply).

I'm tired of "pit bull" being used as an excuse to stir up emotion and harrass and prosecute otherwise law-abiding people.

Pit Bull=APBT

Of course I care about all dogs, but that doesn't mean that I don't also care about Pit Bulls! Would you call out a GSD person for not caring about other dogs because they focus on GSDs? Would you call out a Golden person for not caring about other dogs because they focus on Goldens? Would you call out a Greyhound person for not caring about other dogs because they focus on Greyhounds? So why are you calling out a Pit Bull Advocate for focusing on his favorite breed? I am a Pit Bull advocate, so I want the term Pit Bull to continue to mean something! I don't want it to be watered down by groups like AFF.

Also, I didn't just pull a quote from the depths of their page. My first AFF quote was right from the description on their Facebook page! AFF is not a Pit Bull advocacy group, so why do they insist on using the term "pit bull" or "pit bull dog" in their literature? I think AFF does great work with the dogs they take into their care, but I also think they are harming the legitimacy of Pit Bull Advocates and the work that we do by watering down the term "pit bull."

"I'm interesting in saving and helping dogs, regardless if anyone thinks they are a "pit bull" or not."

So you are a Dog Advocate. That is admirable, but not the same thing that I am. My main focus is on Pit Bulls. Does that make me a bad person?

Lis C

"Doesn't anyone find the Voith study suspect due to the fact that the dogs tested were of unknown ancestry and there is no way to prove that the DNA test results were actually indicative of the genetic breed makeup of the dogs? Unless I missed something....."

I was at the Tufts Canine & Feline Breeding & Genetics conference this weekend. They said that the Mars Wisdom Panel, when run on a blood sample rather than a cheek swab, gives over 90% accurate results when used on dogs of known ancestry.

When you mix breeds, you don't know what you're going to get in appearance and temperament, and the combinations can come out looking like some other breed entirely. For instance, mix a Sibe and a hound, get basic Sibe conformation and coat, but the saddle pattern/coloring from the hound--instant "German shepherd mix" to someone who doesn't know the dog's ancestry. And the owner who adopted a "GSD mix" might be very resistant to hearing that it's really a mix of two breeds very different from that.

Pit Bull=APBT

Very good point, Lis C. That is an other reason that I think it is important not to call a dog a Pit Bull unless you can be relatively sure it actually is a Pit Bull.

Jennifer Brighton

Karen, your explanation of AFF's statement is exactly how I understood it in my first reading of it. Anything that bites or causes trouble is labeled a pit bull, because as the public knows, other breeds of dogs don't wreak havoc (insert sarcasm here).

My husband and I joke that although I've become such an advocate for the "pit bull," maybe our shelter dogs don't have any pit in them. Regardless, I know purebred APBTs and AmStaffs and they are more than worthy of my advocacy. As to my dogs, I just want them to be model citizens, no matter what breed they are.

kmk

I was talking to a friend this weekend about this topic, and people tend to assume that the mixed breeds in the shelter are all somehow mixes of purebreds, when in reality many of them are undoubtedly mixes of mixed breed parents, which were also the result of mixed breed parents,etc. While they may exhibit certain phenotypic characteristics of certain purebreds it doesn't necessarily mean that's what's necessarily lurking in the woodpile.

Everything with a short coat that has any muscles at all is "pit bull". Coated dogs are "sheperd mixes". Coated dogs with curled tails are "Husky mixes". Shorter, squatty dogs with a round face and a lot of coat are "chow mixes". Any black on the toungue at all is a "chow mix" although other breeds exhibit dark pigment on their toungue as well. Nondescript dogs with a moderate coat and a long tail are "Lab mixes".

Pit Bull=APBT

'Everything with a short coat that has any muscles at all is "pit bull". Coated dogs are "sheperd mixes". Coated dogs with curled tails are "Husky mixes". Shorter, squatty dogs with a round face and a lot of coat are "chow mixes". Any black on the toungue at all is a "chow mix" although other breeds exhibit dark pigment on their toungue as well. Nondescript dogs with a moderate coat and a long tail are "Lab mixes".'

Very good point. I'd like to point out that despite all of that, you don't see Chow people, Lab people, Shepherd people and Husky people jumping on the bandwagon of every dog labelled a (insert breed here) is one! So why are so many Pit Bull Advocates doing so?

Brent

Because most pit bull people realize that "pit bull" has essentially replaced "American Pit Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier Mix" as the word people use to describe dogs that look like 'pit bull mixes". I've yet to see the German Shpeherd people stepping up to try to own "Shepherds" as their breed....

Jennifer Brighton

I'm not sure it's so much the case of owners jumping on the bandwagon as the public's perception. Every time I take my dogs out and about they are labeled as pit bulls by others. I even had a shelter worker tell another worker my male was purebred. He's not. He's taller and lankier than an APBT (most likely mixed with pointer), but he has the traditional large head so all anyone sees is that.

If you deny they are a pit mix, then people think you are trying to "hide" their breed. There is just so much negativity about the breed, it puts responsible owners on the defensive and therefore those of us who have lovely dogs want to show the public that their perception is skewed.

As to German shepherds, I've noticed a huge surge of shepherds in my area. I'm sure if they rebound in the public's opinion as vicious dogs, those owners will loudly decry their vilification, or jump on the bandwagon, so to speak. And most Chow owners I know, which aren't many, are fully aware that others are frightened of their dogs because of their supposed fierceness as protectors. I'm sure they, too, would advocate the breed if it ever came to that.

It's just unfortunate that pit bulls are such a trend as the bad dog of the day.

Jack

"This is directly copied and pasted from AFF's Facebook page:
""Pit bull" is not a breed or breed mix, but an ever expanding group that includes whatever an animal control officer, shelter worker, dog trainer, politician, dog owner, police officer or newspaper says it is."

This statement is not saying that this is true or accurate, but points out the misinformation spread by ignorant and sloppy reporting by these parties, and the dilution of the meaning of the breed designation as this misinformation comes into popular acceptance. Or something like that!

Fran C.

Thanks so much for this information. I am from Ontario and whenever there is a debate this is the Joker the Ontario media calls to "give the other side".

Caveat

"Pit bull", certainly here in Ontario, is not a breed of dog. It is a legal term that combines and renames three distinct purebreds - the AmStaff, Staffy Bull and APBT and further adds any dog that is substantially similar in appearance and physical characteristics.

There is absolutely no such thing as a "pit bull". It is a slang, street term for a mutt that somebody thinks looks like an APBT. People have to get this.

Most of the dogs reported as "pit bulls" here in Ontario look nothing like the very rare (here) banned breeds. In this province, a Cane Corso IS a "pit bull" if somebody wants him to be. Ditto any other breed not registered with the CKC, AKC, UKC or ADBA. And, obviously any medium-sized, short-haired mutt. In fact, there is nothing in our law that excludes lookalike purebreds, although they haven't tested that yet.

It's a witch hunt, pure and simple. A "tool in the toolbox" as the Attorney General of the day said during the debates. Speaking of tools.

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