Anyone that has actually studied BSL and the alleged news stories about dog biting and alleged dog attacks will know this: almost none of the stories or reports actually know exactly what actual breed or breed type of dog was involved, and most of it is conjecture. For any of us who have actual knowledge, experience and legal background as to “pitbull” dogs, we all realize when initially brought to the USA as a breedtype (since APBT was created with bulldog-terrier)– the dogs were not large, and probably more like 35lb.
It is true that initially such dogs were used for wagering but obviously that is illegal. In part due to so many of the dogs later being mixed down with other breeds, it is often impossible to tell exactly what breedtypes may be in a canine’s background, even if the DNA testing is used.
However it is usually agreed that anyone who desires an APBT should know what they are doing, because to be honest, there is a huge responsibility to have any canine that even might be dog aggressive, regardless of breed. Dogs can be dog-dog aggressive, or just cat aggressive, or a combo? While looking at the arguments made as to the dogs and the dog bite stats, etc.— it appears the public mainly focuses on either the breed, or the fear of such animals.
Having done dog rescue for many years, and having seen many types of mixed breeds, and having researched studies done on various safety issues with dogs, it is our opinion that knowledge is probably a key element for all dog safety issues. And when faced with purebred, mutt, mixed, rescued, etc.– there is a difference, if you know anything about dog pedigrees– especially when you have no idea of the lineage.
IF in fact, a dog is dog or animal aggressive–then it is. It is certainly not limited to one breedtype. Any dog that is bred for protection, or any dog that is inherently protective, is just that. While the actual “damage” done by a dog which attacks a human is always considered, it is obvious that some canines might do more harm due to size, strength, possible abuse, and lineage. That alone, however would not seem to be the criteria for eliminating breed types of canines?
Measuring only the dogs which did harm, without knowing how many similar dogs did not do harm is usually ignored? That is just one reason why dog-people fatality stories, which are considered rare– are typically the exception.
Consider the case from Chico CA where the rescuer (who had limited knowledge of APBTs) was severely mauled when she rescued a dog which resembled bulldog-APBT-AND had cancer/tumors all over. Such a dog should never have been rescued to be honest, especially with the unknown lineage. Yet, she offered this dog for adoption? And the dog nearly killed the rescuer, but she was lucky, she survived.
After having read and researched many of the cases out there involving canines and deaths/maulings, it would seem very obvious that nearly all of the cases involve humans who are either very uninformed, dumb, or owners that are complete idiots?
For example, a rescued dog from San Diego Humane Society, about 50lbs, blocky head, but hard to tell exact breed, was knowingly placed with a couple who had a new baby. HUGE mistake from the get-go. THEN the parents, allowed this dog to be in bed with them AND the baby!!!!
Absolutely the most stupid thing one could do. AND then the dog killed the baby!!
So because of the parents’ stupidity, and the rescue group’s allowing the dog to live with a household with a new baby, we can see that situations like this on its face, most people blame the dog? HAH!! Yeah, that dog went off on the baby, BUT had the rescue group and parents not been so stupid, that baby would be alive? This is what happens when naive, uninformed people “adopt” animals and know zero about dogs. We can thank animal activists for that stupidity.
Let’s say there were 50 APBT dogs, and 40 German Shepherds, and 60 Rotties. The current trend is to claim that the bite cases used (for fatalities) is that APBT type dogs are involved? Any mixed breed dog might have unknown lineage. But in reality, the truth is that few of these cases can actually prove true APBT lineage. HOWEVER there is likely no 100% way to know that, as the canine DNA testing is not even considered reliable enough for court? To be honest, a dog that doesn’t resemble an APBT can kill a child just as easily as a different breedtype.
If we are talking about deaths, then we should focus on (1) the people who PICK dogs and become dog owners, but don’t know anything about canines, (2) Rescues that place dogs and don’t know what they are doing, and don’t actually have data on the dogs they take in (3) and about responsibility and SAFETY in dog ownership overall.
UNEDUCATED dog owners are the worst. You would not allow a 3yr old to babysit your child would you?? Or this— young gal is helping a “rescue” babysit 5 large dogs. We are sure the gal was not dog savvy–or she would never have tried to watch 5 different huge dogs in a living room?? YES, YES, YES–she was killed by the dogs!!
AGAIN–that is animal rights activism thinking they know animals and how to rescue them? Idiots!!! Animals are not people but activists want everyone to treat them as if they are people. ..and why would any “rescue” do something so stupid? That’s because many rescues are nothing but bleeding heart dum dums that think they are important but have no brains?
It boils down to (1) little to no knowledge of canine behavior/dog safety, (2) inability to determine dogs that are “iffy” in their character [temperament testing doesn’t always work], and— (3) genuinely stupid people. Not just human error, but gross lack of knowledge and common sense as well.
An astounding amount of people know absolutely NOTHING about dogs whatsoever, then just adopt one without any knowledge of what to do at all.
This is all done on an emotional level, usually from listening to animal activists, and feeling sorry for such animals. Watching animal planet as well.
Considering that dogs killing people is rather rare, regardless of which type of dog, since most of them are likely mutts or mixed breed [ that is, the dog is not a purebred dog which was purposely bred by knowledgeable breeder with proven stock] –it’s fairly obvious that most mutts are not killing anyone.
APPA stats show about 47% of dogs are mixed breed and 62% purebred. There is actually a National Mutt Census,
which indicates the
top 10 most popular breeds found in mixed breed canines:
1-German shepherd, 2-Labrador retriever 3-Chow chow 4-Boxer
5-Rottweiler 6-Poodle 7-American Staffordshire terrier 8-Golden Retriever.
Of these breedtypes, probably the chow chow, rottweiler, amstaff, and GSD may pose an issue if mixed with each other. That the chow chow is even in the group is pretty interesting. The chow is a fighting dog. Rottweiler would not likely mix well with amstaff, and many people consider rotties to be very territorial. (Yes, we know any dog can be territorial but rotties come from the mastiff (Molossus). Basically NOT for novice owners.
At end of this article, one reader indicated that … “what is not mentioned, and may simply be a question not considered as too difficult to resile, is that further back in evolutionary timescales, canines and ursines have a common ancestor – is there a link between bears having 44 teeth and some canines having 44 teeth, rather than it being dismissed as a mere fluke of mutation.” We also saw online (if it’s true) that a lady who thought she owned a big Tibetian mastiff actually owned a bear??
Probably the best thing we can do to help solve people from suffering a dog attack, is education, starting from GRADE SCHOOL. Many dog attacks are from dogs with unknown histories, or pedigree. Parents have little to no knowledge of what they are doing, and animal activists are not helping.
It’s possible it could happen anywhere, but we think that it’s far more likely to happen in lower socio-economic areas where education is often ignored or not considered that important.
We have a prototype of such an education plan which has been used fairly successfully in another state. Education in any area of life is usually a wise choice.
On February 24, a Denver City Council majority will attempt to override Mayor Michael Hancock’s veto of a proposal that would effectively end a ban on three pit bull-related breeds put in place back in 1989. That move has made the Mile High City the epicenter of a debate over what’s known as breed-specific legislation — regulations that treat some types of dogs differently than others. Locally and nationally, advocates and experts are weighing in, arguing over whether such prohibitions make communities safer…or have no impact whatsoever.
What does the science say? There’s no agreement there, either, despite passionate claims on both sides.
Take Paul Vranas, a Denver resident who’s became a major player in the current conversation owing to his central role in a pressure campaign on Hancock and councilmembers to reject the breed-restrictive licensing proposal put forward by District 8’s Chris Herndon. Among other things, Vranas created a petition titled “Denver City Council — Keep Pit Bulls Out of Denver,” which has received loads of media attention and has thus far collected 572 signatures (up from 561 on February 17).
Corresponding via email, Vranas writes: “Since this bill was presented to committee last month, I have been really trying to dig deep to get to the unadulterated truth in the debate. Listening to the expert testimony at the committee meeting and at the council meeting, I was having trouble discerning where the line in the sand was drawn between ‘science’ and someone’s opinion.” As such, he’s conducted what he describes as “a deep dive review of the expert testimony, as well as the scientific studies that were provided, to try to get the truth.” (See the complete summary below.)
In his analysis, Vranas dissects this quote from Dr. Kendall Houlihan of the American Veterinary Medical Association: “While breed specific restrictions might seem to make sense, there’s no credible evidence to indicate they are effective.”
Vranas’s response: “Just because no credible evidence exists to indicate that they are effective, that doesn’t mean that any credible evidence exists to indicate that they are ineffective. The 2014 AVMA study does not say anywhere that ‘BSL is not reliable or effective.’ The farthest that they go is to say that, ‘It is difficult to support the targeting of this breed as a basis for dog bite prevention.’ That is a long stretch to say that it ‘is not reliable or effective.'”
For its part, Replace Denver BSL, a group that’s pushed hard for Herndon’s proposal, cites Houlihan’s AVMA study in a briefing book it created for councilmembers, highlighting this quote: “Owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong breed stigma, however, controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous.” And this one: “It has not been demonstrated that introducing a breed-specific ban will reduce the rate or severity of bite injuries occurring in the community.”
This last line epitomizes a basic disconnect between the way activists for and against pit bull licensing look at research. The former argue that such a statement demonstrates that there’s no proof breed bans work — so why have them? The latter counter by pointing out that there’s no proof they don’t work, and say it’s better to be safe than sorry.
There’s lots of research on the pit bull issue that’s been pulled into the discussion. In its briefing book, Replace Denver BSL cites these four studies to show that breed-specific legislation is terribly flawed:
“Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2000. The authors state: “Enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional and practical issues” and “Many practical alternatives to breed-specific ordinances exist and hold promise for prevention of dog bites.”
“Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed-specific legislation regarding aggressive behavior,” Journal of Veterinary Behavior Clinical Applications and Research, May 2008. The text maintains: “Comparing the results [in a test of aggressiveness] of Golden Retrievers and breeds affected by the legislation, no significant difference was found” and “A scientific basis for breed-specific lists does not exist.”
“Key Findings from a Five-Year Study of Reported Dog Bite Incidents in Colorado July 2007-June 2012,” Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers and Coalition for Living Safely With Dogs. According to the report, “It is not possible to calculate the bite proclivity for any breed without an accurate census of the dog population by breed, which does not exist.” It advises municipalities to “enact ordinances that effectively address bite circumstances and individual dog/owner behavior.”
“The effect of breed-specific dog legislation on hospital treated dog bites in Odense, Denmark: A time series intervention study,” by Finn Nilson, John Damsager, Jens Lauritsen and Carl Bonander, December 2018. The four researchers assert: “This study supports previous studies showing that breed-specific legislation seems to have no effect on dog bite injuries,” “There is a lack of evidence demonstrating a higher rate of aggression in certain canine breeds,” and “Rather than breed-specific legislation, non-breed specific legislation…would have a greater chance of being effective in reducing dog bites.”
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Contrast this material with four offerings frequently mentioned by those who support breed bans like Denver’s:
“Pediatric dog bite injuries: a 5-year review of the experience at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia” by A.E. Kaye, J.M. Belz and R.E. Kirschner, August 2009. Data cited in the report shows that almost 51 percent of dog bites during the half-decade in focus were by pit bulls. Rottweilers were responsible for nearly 9 percent of the bites, and another six were linked to mixes of these breeds.
“Dog Bite-Related Fatalities: A 15-Year Review of Kentucky Medical Examiner Cases” by Lisa B.E. Shields, Mark L. Bernstein, John Hunsaker III and Donna M. Stewart, September 2009. A segment from the abstract reads: ” According to The Humane Society of the United States, more than 300 individuals died of dog attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1996. Children under 12 and elders over 70 years represent the typical victims. Pit bull-type dogs, Rottweilers and German Shepherds constitute the majority of canines implicated in these fatalities.” That proved true in Kentucky as well.
“Mortality, mauling, and maiming by vicious dogs” by J.K. Bini, S.M. Cohn, S.M. Acosta, M.J. McFarland, M.T. Muir, J.E. Michalek and TRISAT Clinical Trials Group, April 2011. Summarized results from a fifteen-year study at a Level 1 trauma center: “Our Trauma and Emergency Surgery Services treated 228 patients with dog bite injuries; for 82 of those patients, the breed of dog involved was recorded (29 were injured by pit bulls). Compared with attacks by other breeds of dogs, attacks by pit bulls were associated with a higher median Injury Severity Scale score, a higher risk of an admission Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or lower, higher median hospital charges, and a higher risk of death (10.3 percent vs. 0 percent).”
“Pediatric Dog Bite Injuries in Central Texas” by Jasson T. Abraham and Marcin Czerwinsk, Texas A&M University Health Science Center in Temple, Texas, published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, July 2019. A summary segment: “One-hundred and two patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age was 5.84?years, and 43.1 percent were preschool-aged (2–5?years). Parental presence was reported in 43.6 percent of cases, and most attacks occurred in the evening (46.8 percent). Injuries often involved the head-neck region (92.1 percent), and 72.5 percent were of major severity. Pet dogs were responsible for 42 percent of injuries, and pit bull was the most-identified breed (36.2 percent).”
Studies on both sides provide fodder for plenty of debate by pit bull lovers and loathers alike. Expect the conversation to only grow louder until the February 24 vote — and no matter the outcome, the debate won’t die down anytime soon.
Click to read Paul Vranas’s analysis of expert testimony and evidence about pit bulls presented to Denver City Council.