Ordinarily we would not want to post something that we think has issues, insofar as the facts are told, however, in order to show people exactly how things are told, are likely not exactly how the facts went down, we decided to use this case as an example.
First, although anyone reading our blog likely already knows, we have nothing against pitbull type dogs, pitbulls, staffies, or any type of dog actually. But we already know that the poor generic “pitbull” has been long maligned by HSUS and many people in general. Of course some dogs are going to be more animal or dog-dog aggressive than others, and some dogs will not be. We have been the whole BSL route, looked at the legislation written, looked at the Toledo Tellings cases, the reversal, the final case, the San Francisco 861 law, and countless laws across the country in many states, all trying to use a breed type in the name of health, safety and welfare. Colorado, Florida, etc. It never ends.
And of course, we know the history of pitbulls, APBTs, we have worked with experts on dog aggression and APBTs and canines in general.
Now when we look carefully at this story, which apparently does involve some dogs that are called pitbulls in the story (they are pictured in their kennel ) — remember, this is in OHIO, where in some cities, the dogs are considered inherently vicious. The laws may have changed, but to what extent, we have not checked recently.
If you listen to the “news story” what you basically HEAR them say, is that this owner got 3 dogs off of Craigslist, and then he was attacked. No mention is made of the circumstances, what owner was or was not doing, how the friend had time to shoot 2 dogs, how the owner got away from the dogs, why the owner would be with all 3 dogs that he had gotten, how long the owner had the dogs, why the dogs seem to be in one kennel which isn’t big enough really for 3 dogs (or was that just for the picture?), and then how they had time to take all these videos after they already shot the dogs (supposedly), and then they even have a picture of the alleged victim on the ground, and even show the bite wounds on the legs?
Something about this entire scenario seems very rigged. Anyone who knows anything about dogs, does not just obtain 3 “pitbulls” and put them in a 10x 10 fenced enclosure, and then walk inside the enclosure with them, especially if food is involved, for example? [We are not saying food was involved, we are just making an example, and we do not know if the owner knew anything about dogs, or kenneling, or whatever, but it would appear our guess is the owner did not know what he was doing. ]
We would not put 3 dogs, not already known to each other, of any type of medium size together, in such a confined space, without first having tested them separately with food, with more than one person handling the dogs. ALL shelter dogs are usually tested for food guarding, territorial behavior, their response to pain (such as pinching between toes), ability to get near the dog’s face/mouth, sensitivity to same, reactions to touch from behind (where dog doesn’t see person) and other tactics which give an idea as to the dog’s behavior reactions. While such testing needn’t be Sue Sternberg’s “hand” method, some type of testing is used. If you think about it, shelters that have mostly male mixed breeds usually have some form of testing before them put them in pens together. Our understanding in the CA shelters is that about 50% of the dogs never make it past the first testing. And some don’t even get tested based on their “bad” behavior such as trying to attack everything in sight.
“The Sue Sternberg method ….Facilitated by friends in high places (HSUS, the ASPCA, Petfinder.com), Sue Sternberg travels the country, going North and South, East Coast to West Coast, giving her Assess-a-Pet™ seminars to shelter workers, using “demo dogs” from the local pound . . . referring to herself as a doggy Hitler, expressing admiration for the tyrant Stalin . .” see http://amrt.net/tt.htm, which is a critique of the method. According to the critique, Sternberg admits that close to 80% of dogs will fail her test. *It is noted that Livi French who wrote the critique, is against horse drawn carriages in NY, and wants all hens to be cage free. You figure it out.
Plus, quoting form the amrt.ent link, from Ms. French— “15. Whether it’s Assess-a-Pet™ or an Assess-a-Pet™ spawn, and regardless of how appealing its promise of a jump start for “going no-kill,” temperament-testing surplus shelter animals literally to death is an unacceptable tool of the inhumane status quo. It is not the way to create a progressive, enlightened no-kill community. True no-kill, which incorporates humane animal control, is achieved by building a working partnership between and among high-volume, high-kill impoundment facilities; private shelters and humane organizations; reputable breed-specific and all-breed rescue groups and individuals; breed clubs; accredited trainers; and volunteers from within the community, including veterinarians, retailers, elected officials, the media, communications professionals, schools, and dedicated foster-care families, all working together for the single shared goal of ending the killing of surplus dogs and cats by humanely ending the surplus. Aggressive adoption outreach; accessible, affordable spay/neuter services and breeding-control initiatives; creative ongoing public-education campaigns, and a collective will are all that it takes to build no-kill communities across America.”
PD disagrees with “breeding control initiatives” of course, AND with the subtle, but detected phrase used– “single shared goal of ending the killing of surplus dogs/cats BY HUMANELY ENDING the surplus. Notice–it does NOT say ending the surplus, or drastically reducing the surplus– it emphasizes “humanely” ending. Thus we read that more like killing ‘em fast, like Peta, but don’t use the Sternberg method. Of course that’s just our opinion but remember, this lady does not believe horses should pull carriages in NY. Plus “breeding initiatives” indicates that the writer doesn’t understand where shelter dogs come from in reality. Most shelter dogs are not planned or bred for sale with the exception of possibly some bully dogs which are hugely popular nationwide. The lack of actual purebred dogs, highly desirable small dogs, designer dogs and expensive bred dogs in shelters proves this fact.
And while we are not a fan of Christie Keith or her pal the blogger Spadifori that says we need to stick with HSUS because HSUS will change (and Spad has helped Jennifer Fearing of HSUS shut down pet stores, and brags she is an ethical breeder [barf- choke-gag]), we nevertheless will admit that Keith’s assessment of how a “bad” dog could be “good” proves a point. http://tinyurl.com/2k3nxr (story re the “bad” dog+Sternberg testing)
That point is this: if an OWNER KNOWS that his/her dog has bad habits or hates kids, hates other animals, hates people, whatever—- then the OWNER who CONTROLS the dog MUST be able to control this dog where it would NEVER be able to hurt another person or animal, period. Such is the liability one takes on when keeping an animal that has such propensities, period. This does not make the dog great or “not” bad obviously, as bad is a relative term.
Nonetheless, it is a fact that one could take a dog which failed temperament testing from a shelter, and adopt it out. RESCUES in CA are allowed to do this. BUT the key here is that the rescue person must know what they are doing. Many of them do not know what they are doing. So in this case, where the owner was alleged to have been mauled by the Craigslist obtained dogs, it proves some general truth. Anyone who gets a dog from any source, where the dog is completely unknown to the buyer, takes his/her chances. If the buyer is savvy as to canines, that’s one thing. If the buyer doesn’t know what he is doing, then watch out. There are always tons of dogs that could be dangerous simply because the potential OWNER does not know what he is doing. There are dogs that would be dangerous to KIDS because the parents don’t know what they are doing. There are dogs that would be dangerous only because some new novice owners are idiots and didn’t bother to learn anything before wading into territory they knew nothing about.
Oh yeah, and one other thing. A person can be shot with a 22 in the head and not fall, so for a dog to have this same shot is not that much different. We have seen cases of a guy shot 5 times in the gut area, he fell, but could still walk. He was not close to dying.