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« Failure of breed-specific policy in the UK | Main | (Almost) Horrifying Video Highlights why human behavior is so important in judging dog behavior »

April 07, 2013


Dawn Giannone

Hey Brent, here is a good story I think you will like, not sure if you have seen it already


Thanks Dawn! This is great news. I'm trying to get a copy of the ruling and will post more about it this week once I get a copy.


The death toll for maulings by pits and their crosses is up to 8 in the days since this new year. All other dogs not pits or a pit mix have killed 0. So what will the percentages have to be by the end of the year in order for some of you to begin reexamining your beliefs? It is now 100%. I've asked this question before, over at Bad Rap,and was told they would not change their mind under any circumstance. What about the folks over here?


Dub - this pretty much highlights the problem. You're (more than) willing to rely on anecdotal stories when they support your point of view at the expense of relying on the experience, expertise and science of dog behavior and why tragedies like this happen. Anecdotal stories don't change the laws of canine behavior (and, in fact, almost always support them). Your insistence that incidents trump the depth of knowledge that exists in canine behavior is not only wasting everyone's time, but damaging because it sets many dog owners up for failure because they're relying on false information.


Probably also worth noting that in the most recent case you're mentioning, the dogs weren't actually pit bulls, but a different breed. But I'm going to assume you're not going to let that bit of trivial information change your viewpoint either.


If I have three apples and two of them are bruised, a whopping 66.6% of apples I have are bruised. If there are 80 million apples and only two are known to be bruised, how significant is my 'statistic'?

In a great book that everybody should read entitled How to Lie with Statistics, this opening paragraph sums up the problem with relying on news reports for 'data' quite nicely (and hooked me right away):

""There's a mighty lot of crime around here," said my father-in-law a little while after he moved from Iowa to California. And so there was - in the newspaper he read. It's one that overlooks no crime in its own area and has been known to give more attention to an Iowa murder than was given by the principal daily in the region in which it took place."

It continues in the next paragraph:

"My father-in-law's conclusion was statistical in an informal way. It was based on a sample, a remarkably biased one. Like many a more sophisticated statistic it was guilty of semiattachment: It assumed that newspaper space given to crime reporting is a measure of crime rate."

The book was written in 1954, yet people are still doing the same thing.

Debbie Bell

How can anyone say that it was a pit bull service dog, or a pit bull puppy found abused, or a pit bull who saved his owner? You cannot tell pits by appearance, right?

That dog with bird on its head, surrounded by rabbits? How can you say it's a pit?

Beyond Breed mentions "We gave special perks to pit bull dog owners"... sounds like they are being BREED SPECIFIC! How can they tell which dogs are pits?

This week our multi breed rescue could not help 4 homeless/soon to be homeless pits, we could offer placement/foster home or referral to other dogs, but not pits. The "pit rescues" won't even return phone calls or emails. That's because pits in our area are breeding like flies, all month long, so supply far exceeds demand. We cannot make pit owners spay/neuter. This remains acceptable to pit mongers. They do not actually care about pit bulls, just at the original pit men did not care. Preventable suffering and death? "What problem"? ask the pit bully people.


Debbie, why the hysterics?

The point on breed ID isn't that you CAN'T tell what a pit bull is, it's that hundreds if not thousands of dogs each year are mis-identified as such because many have WAY too broad a definition of what a pit bull is.

Meanwhile, look around the country. There are hundreds of pit bull groups working on targeted low cost spay/neuter services for low income groups to help solve the supply/demand issues. The idea that "pit mongers" think it's ok, couldn't be further from the truth. But they're doing it by HELPING people instead of by persecuting them.

Your hysterics are not only inaccurate, but they're unhelpful as well.


The HSUS has a great program called Pets for Life it is running in core urban centres and other disadvantaged areas. It offers neutering, veterinary and training services to dog owners - it is not "pit bull" specific.

I'll bet you never thought you'd hear me say something nice about HSUS, eh Brent?

Fear and hysteria around domestic dogs is beyond boring, not to mention way behind the curve. Most of us who are out here working for fairness for dogs and people, including those who don't like dogs, tend to ignore comments that lean towards hysteria.

The jury is in. Dogs are not dangerous because of their breed or shape. BSL is a flop.

Here's a neat little commentary about opinions and why uneducated opinions aren't worth consideration:


Debbie asked: "That dog with bird on its head, surrounded by rabbits? How can you say it's a pit?"

Well, this is an easy one!
The original photo clearly identifies the dog as a Staffordshire bull terrier. Technically not a "pit" but a breed usually included by name in the "pit bull" bans.

And it's a breed pretty easy to identify.


and BTW: all those studies that prove that vets, shelter workers, ACO's etc etc can't properly identify a dog by breed only prove that... vets, shelter workers, ACO's etc etc. can't properly identify a dog by breed.

This is indeed an argument against BSL.

It is NOT, contrary to the efforts of some, evidence that no one can possibly identify a dog by breed, or that purebred dogs don't exist or that it makes no difference what breed a dog is.

You might expect the advocates for a breed to want to know how to identify the dogs of the breed they advocate for. It constantly baffles me that advocates for "pit bulls" don't seem to want to do this and just accept the notion that any blockyheaded shorthaired dog is a "pit bull" if someone who doesn't know anything says it is.

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