Friday, July 29, 2011

The Beast Without

Revised: Oct 8, 2012; 16:59 GMT

SRUV would like to note an unusual blog from South Africa, The Beast Without. The blogger is animal behaviorist Mike Wood, DipCABT CABP.

Mr Wood is not a conventional blogger. His posts are rare, long, erudite, and gentlemanly. Reading Mr Wood can be a frustrating exercise for those of us who are certain of our opinions on the subject of fighting breeds; while he freely offers opinions, he rarely takes sides.

A recent post, Pit Bulls: Part 1, serves as an excellent introduction, both to Mr Wood and to his blog. In it the author carefully sets out the issues without being didactic or confrontational. Mr Wood is from South Africa, a country with a humane tradition inherited from Britain and with a profoundly different cultural demographic. Yet there is much to learn from his careful meditations.

Perhaps Mr Wood would consider rehoming to the US?  The debate over pit bulls would surely benefit from this voice of reason.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Gameness: V

Adams leaned down to leave a package by the front door. A pit bull erupted through the adjacent window glass and began attacking him. . . . . 

Police arrived and tried to disable the dog with a taser, which had no effect. The dog then tried to attack bystanders, then lunged at the police officers. It took six shots to kill the dog.

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News coverage of this attack appeared in 5 News Online.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Escape Artists: IV

The man then fled the area in a late 1990s model Ford F-150. Massillon police officers searched the area but could not locate the truck. Casselberry said the pit bull had bitten another dog in the neck and jaw prior to his arrival at the park.

“A few people were standing right there. He didn’t really say too much. He jumped in his truck and took off. The guy didn’t seem like he cared,” Casselberry said.

Source: 'Massive' pit bull attacks pet at dog park

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bit Five Times

Revised: January 13, 2014; 18:53 GMT

A sophisticated rhetorical device has been adopted by pit bull advocates.

I have been bitten by a     (blank)   .

A popular variation is  I know a man/woman who was bitten by a  _(blank)_ .

The blank is filled with the name of any breed, other than a pit bull. A reader who scans the comment sections following news accounts of pit bull attacks will often find this trope.

The most gentle dogs are preferred (golden retrievers), but diminutive dogs (dachshunds, chihuahuas) are also popular choices to fill in the blanks.

This rhetorical device accomplishes several aims at once:
  1. It reinforces other pit bull arguments, for example All dogs bite 
  2. In comment sections, it ignores and displaces the news of the attack
  3. It serves as a homily, reminding us that bites are ordinary, can be endured with humor, and are not worthy of special consideration;
  4. It equates the bite of a pit bull with that of the   (blank) , thereby diminishing the horrors of a pit bull mauling.
The stories are inevitably unsubstantiated.

This writer witnessed an over-the-top performance of this rhetorical device. At a Town Council meeting where BSL was under discussion a speaker gave a tour de force performance, which opened with the following line:
I've been bitten by dogs five times in my life, and not one was a pit bull.
The speaker went on to give a nuanced account of her alleged personal dog bite history.

These speeches always follow the same pattern, and they work on the same level as political speech: it frames the reader's (or listener's) understanding of an issue by framing the language used to discuss it.

How is it that this tactic has come to be so widely embraced by the pit bull community? How do they all know and share this experience? How could so many people who own pit bulls have been bitten by so many dogs that aren't pit bulls?

What were these pit bull owners doing wrong to get bit so often?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Escape Artists: III

. . . . . .the pit bulls were quickly taken home by their owners – a muscular man with brown hair and a tall blonde woman – after Hallman rushed bleeding Bailey to a veterinarian. . . . . . The Maple Ridge SPCA is looking for the owners of the pit bulls and asks anyone who can identify the dogs to call 604-463-9511 or RCMP at 604-463-6251.

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Original story: Pit bulls attack dog at Davidson’s Pool

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sightings: II

Tacos Guaymas on Leary Way, Freemont
Volkswagon Golf in handicapped zone
w/o disabled permit, with two pit bulls, 
window open, July 7, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Daily Camera

Revised: August 3, 2012, 04:41 GMT

To: Boulder Daily Camera Editorial Board
      Boulder City Council; Nederland Trustees

Not About the Breed (July 7) is signed by Clay Evans for "the Camera editorial board". This OP-ED piece is remarkable in several respects. The editorial board has apparently made the determination that pit bulls are not a public safety menace, despite the nine human deaths attributed to them already this year. But even more remarkable is that the editorial serves as a public rebuke to Michael O'Neill of Nederland, who was attacked without provocation on May 29th while on a hike.

Mr Evans writes Does it matter that the friendly dog happened to be a "pit bull"?  This is the first of many inaccuracies in Mr Evans' piece; the friendly dog that greeted Mr O'Neil prior to the pit bull's attack was a black lab, according to the Daily Camera's excellent coverage by Laura Snider (July 4).

Mr Evans' opinion piece is replete with inaccuracies.  One of his most egregious errors is the reference to  the ATTS (American Temperament Test), which pit bull advocates religiously referred to, and still do even though it has been discredited. The test was designed to measure aptitude for schutzhund and has been discredited here. In addition, Mr Evans cherry-picks statistics but fails to mention that pit bulls are accountable for over 60% of fatal maulings while comprising only 3.3% of the dog population.

Mr Evans lifts many of his phrases directly from pit bull advocacy sites, all of which are easily refuted. Evans closes his article with the argument favored by pit bull advocates: that the attacking dog was untrained and aggressive and is therefore not accountable. Evans makes this argument despite the fact that the dog had not previously demonstrated human aggression and was well-cared for.

Like many pit bull advocates, Clay Evans absolves the pit bull, blames the owner, and dismisses the horror of the pit bull attack. This essay by the Daily Camera editorial board must be retracted.

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Related Posts: Los Gatos, Paradise Hills, Kalamazoo

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Restoring the image of pit bulls and challenging breed discrimination.

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If pit bulls are deserving of the extravagant and expensive campaign to improve their reputation, why would the campaign be necessary?

If the campaign to correct its reputation is still necessary after so many years, why then is the breed deserving of it?

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The conundrum above is derived from a previous SRUV post: Tool Box

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Paradise Hills

Revised: April 27, 2013; 18:50 GMT
It just makes it frustrating that, you know,
we see everyone else get theirs

Neighbor Jesse Catahay, on the disruption of mail delivery to Paradise Hills in San Diego. San Diego has experienced at least four major pit bull attacks in the last ten days.

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Paradise Hills entered the national conscience recently when two pit bulls broke through the fence and attacked 75 year old Emako Mendoza in her back yard on June 18th. But this was not an isolated incident; mail carrier Marcia Amat was attacked nearby last November by two pit bulls while delivering mail on Analiese Way. The first dog lunged for her neck while the second dog attacked her from behind. Neighbors came to her assistance and she escaped from the attack with bites to her hands, shoulders and back.

After the attack, the U.S. Postal Service notified residents of Analiese Way that they would not be getting their mail delivered. Amat has been unable to work for the last seven months and is bringing suit against the owners of the dogs.

 * * * * * *   

Amat's chances of winning a settlement were slim to begin with but her recent bewildering behavior has sabotaged whatever chance she might have had. The written transcript of a recent TV news story shows Amat torpedoing her chances by calling pit bulls "super sweet dogs."  Where was her attorney during this interview? Our guess is that he has dropped the case for more important chores, like sorting his socks.

Then the interview becomes breathtakingly surreal. The narrative veers off into wonderland when a neighbor offers a discourse on the disruption of mail service (see quotation above).  In the following scene the victim of the pit bull attack sits at her kitchen table and talks into the camera, telling us that the pit bulls are not to blame for attacking her, rambling on that "it's not their fault. It's the owners,  [and] how they're raised."

This, of course, is immediately recognizable pit bull advocacy jargon: Amat is responding with the ritualized  phrases that SRUV has previously described as the Compulsive Reflex. Are there any pit bull owners or advocates who are unaware of these phrases? We think not.

The interview moves to its conclusion on Amat's driveway. The explanation for this disorienting interview is there for us, in a fleeting glimpse of a frame or two at the end of the accompanying video. In a stunning dénouement Mary Amat stands in the driveway of her home, with her own pit bull.

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Pit bulls for sale in Paradise Hills (Zip 92139)
Related posts: Compulsive Reflex; Discredited Sources

Complied from various sources including 10NEWS.COM

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gameness: IV

The dog bit his face with such ferocity that neighbors had to use bricks to beat the animal unconscious to release its jaws from the child's head.

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