Wednesday, December 28, 2011


pro·fil·ing  [proh-fahy-ling] noun

The use of specific characteristics to make generalizations about a person, as whether he or she may be engaged in illegal activity.

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Karin Carter was riding in her golf cart between her property and her son's when she was attacked by six pit bulls. Carter remains in critical condition, near death.

The six pit bulls are owned by her son, Derek Carter.

Fox hounds and other hunting dogs are sometimes owned in packs. It is unusual for anyone to own more than two, or at most, three large dogs, regardless of breed.

SRUV will venture to say that most people who own three or more pit bulls fall into one of the following categories:

  • animal hoarders
  • backyard breeders
  • dogmen (see Glossary for definition)

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Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

Ledy VanKavage, Jane Berkey, Karen Delise, BSL, Marie Helene Tokar
Marie-Hélène Tokar

Thursday, December 15, 2011


According to the National Canine Research Council,
pit bulls are no more likely to show inappropriate
aggressive behavior than are golden retrievers.

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Note: After publishing this post we discovered additional sources referring to the aggressive tendencies of Golden Retrievers in relation to pit bulls. We have subsequently published nearly twenty posts about the Hannover Formula, which are indexed here. While the post below may be incomplete, the details and substance of the post are accurate.
Oct 1, 2012; 21:08 GMT
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SRUV first discovered this claim in a news item carried on WCVB, Boston's ABC television channel. The claim also appeared on the station's internet page.

The TV coverage which first carried the claim was prompted by the annual Pit Bull Awareness Month national campaignThe WCBV spot may have been prompted by outreach from Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) Advocacy Director Kara Holmquist, who is interviewed in the segment.

SRUV first checked the MSPCA web site, where we were unable to find any mention of the golden retriever claim.

Next, SRUV used Google advanced search and framed the entire sentence (as it appears at the top of the page) within quotation marks as the search query. Google returned only four instances of the sentence on the web, none of them from the National Canine Research Council (NCRC), the purported source of the information. The first hit pointed to the WCBV television newscast which originally drew our attention.

The second and third hits (as shown in the screen grab below) are parked domains on, now serving as advertising platforms. All four hits displayed the entire sentence in bold type.

The final hit pointed to Trill, an articulate inner-city blogger who recounts a pit bull attack. Trill's post is dated June 13, 2010. The NCRC golden retriever claim appears on Trill's blog in the form of a comment posted by Yana. Yana's comment is copied in it's entirety here:
Yana said...
According to the National Canine Research council, pit bulls are no more likely to show inappropriate aggressive behavior than are golden retrievers.
October 15, 2011 9:28 PM 
Yana's comment appeared 2 days after the TV segment which first aired Ms Holmquist's golden retriever claim (a full year and a half after Trill's original post), just after the beginning of the MSPCA Pit Bull Awareness month.

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Finally, we checked the purported source of the claim, the NCRC web site. Once again SRUV searched for the entire golden retriever claim. We were directed to two pages within the web site, which are the apparent source for the unsubstantiated claim.

The two pages are similar in many respects; the first is the search results page, and is shown in the screen grab here: 

When the Continue reading link is followed we arrive at a similar page which gives a synopsis of a Spanish study.  A careful reading reveals that NCRC has misrepresented the Spanish study, which was originally published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior (JVB).  According to the JVB (the page can be viewed here), the authors of the Spanish study looked for owner-perceived behavioral problems in the dog population, which in effect measures owners' behavior rather than their dogs' behavior. The NCRC interpretation of the Spanish study is highly suspect, if not laughable.

Furthermore, neither of the two pages on the NCRC web page mention golden retrievers. The direct comparison of pit bulls to golden retrievers doesn't exist, either on the NCRC web page or on the MSPCA web page, and must be considered deceptive. The sentence may exist in other, internal documents, or in someone's imagination. Perhaps the sentence was an elaboration on the part of MSPCA. Or an outright fabrication.

The American public is predisposed to believe our humane organizations and SPCA's. Unfortunately, the unsubstantiated claim discussed in this post has been promulgated by MSPCA as factual. This careless, unprofessional behavior represents a clear breach of trust. We must now question whether the MSPCA has lost their way, and thus no longer has the public interest at heart.  

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Today's pit bull attacks on Google news -- Click here!

Ledy VanKavage, Jane Berkey, Karen Delise, Kara Holmquist, BSL ineffective, Golden Retrievers

Monday, December 5, 2011


The trigger for the attack may have been a “territorial” response.

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Normanda Torres was standing in the kitchen of her family's home on Brian Road in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, when she was attacked by Rex, the family's pit bull.

Normanda was taken to Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, where she remains in critical condition after several days. If she survives, she will undergo surgery for facial reconstruction. Rex was taken to the New England Animal Medical Center (NEAMC), where he was euthanized so tissue from Normanda's face could be removed from his stomach. Had the family not given permission for Rex to be euthanized, he could have been quarantined for ten days and then returned to the family.

According to Lou Berman, a hospital administrator for NEAMC, attacks by pit bulls in which human body parts are consumed by the attacking dog are extremely rare. While Mr Berman may be unaware of attacks of this intensity, they are not at all uncommon. Disfiguring and fatal pit bull attacks on humans are now occurring at the rate of two every three days.* There have been at least 16 human deaths attributed to pit bulls in the current year (Fatal Pit Bull Attacks), and numerous additional attacks which have left the victims permanently disfigured, often with the loss of tissue.

After each pit bull attack there follows a period of trying to understand the cause of the attack;  unprovoked attacks by our animal companions in our own homes are unexpected. Yet there are the inevitable, awkward attempts by pit bull advocates to explain the attack, or to deflect the public's attention from news of the attack.

According to Eric Badger, who serves as Bridgewater's animal control officer, the attack may have been triggered by a "territorial" response on the part of the pit bull. As SRUV has previously noted, the "territorial" explanation offered by Mr Badger is widely employed by pit bull advocates when there is no apparent cause for an unprovoked attack.

At the risk of explaining the obvious, SRUV will note that very few family pets respond to perceived "territorial" threats with unprovoked disfiguring attacks. Such an attack is an inherent risk of pit bull ownership.

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In October the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) launched their annual "Pit Bull Awareness" campaign; this took place within weeks after two children were killed by pit bulls in separate attacks. This annual campaign amounts to a month-long blizzard of pit bull advocacy, with the goal of placing more surplus pit bulls in family homes.

With increasing numbers of pit bulls being placed in family homes by rescues, shelters, and humane societies, the number of pit bull attacks on family members by shelter dogs has climbed to unprecedented numbers. Thirty-two people have suffered disfiguring or fatal attacks by shelter or rescue dogs since 2007, the vast majority of which were pit bulls.*  As these numbers climb, the cost of liability payouts to victims has reached millions of dollars. If Rex was adopted out by a rescue or shelter, that shelter may bear liability for this attack. In addition, the cost of insurance premiums for the shelters balloons. There are other hidden costs of these pit bull attacks, including the immeasurable human cost.

In a recent post SRUV called on MSPCA to cease placing pit bulls in family homes, and to cease all media and legislative advocacy for pit bulls. SRUV suggested that the resources be used instead for legitimate humane causes. Furthermore, SRUV calls upon the MSPCA and other humane agencies to establish funds for the human and animal victims of pit bull attacks. The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, but we hope that the news of attacks like the attack on Normanda, which will occur again today or tomorrow, will encourage the MSPCA to finally act.

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Related posts: MSPCA, Rapid Response
News source: Woman mauled by pit bull  (Enterprise News)
                      and other sources
Today's pit bull attacks on Google news -- Click here!

* Statistical and other information included in this post is from
   More Adoptions Will Not End Shelter Killing of Pit Bulls,
   the editorial feature of Animal People, October 2011, pg 3.

Bridgewater MA pit bull attack; New England Animal Medical Center, NEAMC, facial disfigurement