Monday, May 28, 2012

What's Acceptable

 . . . . a 2010 study conducted by the American Temperament Test Society found that pit bulls passed temperament tests 86 percent of the time, placing them ahead of several other breeds.

Lyndsay Anderson, Animal Humane New Mexico

* * * * *
Revised: May 31, 2012 01:38 EST
Revised: June 01, 2012  08:57 EST
NM State Senate
Doña Ana County Commioners
Las Cruces City Council
The Board of Directors, Animal Humane NM
Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane NM

Ms Anderson made the statement above to a journalist, shortly after two maulings by pit bulls in New Mexico, one of which caused the death of a child. Shortly after she made the statement a woman in neighboring Arizona died as a result of wounds inflicted by pit bulls in October of 2011. 

And shortly after that, all within a matter of days, another attack occurred in Las Cruces. 63-year-old Bill Boling was dragged into a ditch as two pit bulls pulled his border collie mix, Carley, in their attempt to dismember her. He stabbed the dogs 60 or 70 times with his pocket knife, then went to his house to retrieve his handgun before shooting them.

The rollcall for May:

  • 5/02 / Mauling death of Clifford Wright by family pit bull
  • 5/08 / Mauling death of Jazilyn Mesa by family pit bull
  • 5/15 / 12 year-old leukemia victim Christian Hobbs is attacked
  • 5/19 / Pomeranian killed at children's soccer game
  • 5/24 / Bill Bolling's collie attacked; Bolling stabs two pit bulls 60-70 times
  • 5/28 / Pit bull injures 88 yo woman and kills pet

After this riot of mayhem a local dog behaviorist, April Oxford, attributed the problems to poor training.

Ms Oxford also claimed that fighting breeds are like children. Your dogs are just like children. You have to teach them what's acceptable, what's not.

Ms Oxford talks as if she's entirely unaware of the recent havoc in her neighborhood. Las Cruces has witnessed all manner of human and animal suffering, and Ms Oxford explains it all away by inferring that the attacking dogs might have been frightened.

Ms Oxford also suggests using an air horn to discourage pit bulls from attacking; an air horn to discourage dogs which continued to attack despite 60 knife wounds?  Ms Oxford has obviously not read the posts in our Gameness series. Ms Oxford has implied that the pit bulls are misbehaving; this is not misbehaviour, it is lethal aggression.

Advocates of fighting breeds have chosen to place their concern for pit bulls above the suffering of humans, and above the suffering of our More Vulnerable Animal Companions (MVAC).  

We ask the media why the advocates of fighting breeds are provided such generous coverage, following a month of unparalleled violent attacks?  Who will speak for the victims? 

* * * * *


Sources for this post:
   ABC7 Pit Bulls Attack Las Cruces Man
   ABC7 Dog Trainer Says Owners to Blame for attacks
   Las Cruces Sun-News: Man stabs, shoots pit bulls after attack
   Doña Ana County: Sheriff's Dept Press Release
   KRQE com: Pomeranian killed at children's soccer game
   KRQE com: 88 yo woman injured and pet killed

Test for Aggression

This post is one of a series of posts on TiHo. For a complete listing of the posts in this series see the TiHo Index.
* * * * *

Hart (1976) describes a form of idiopathic aggression, which is a form of aggression that is not provoked, but is unpredictable and unexplainable. Dogs that show this kind of aggression are often very friendly and loveable pets for the rest of the time.  . . . . The expectation is that the latter form of aggression can not be provoked in a behavioural test, because of its unpredictability.

Behavioural testing for aggression in the domestic dog.
Doreen J. U. Planta, Willem J. Netto.

Retrieved from on May 28, 2012, 00:54 EST. This article has subsequently been removed from the web site. SRUV will email a PDF of the article (10pp 52.4KB) upon request.

* * * * *
Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Personal Communication

Revised: Nov 30, 2012; 17:21 GMT
Revised: Dec 01, 2012; 17:34 GMT
Revised: Dec 02, 2012; 16:00 GMT

This post is one of a series of posts on TiHo. For a complete listing of the posts in this series see the TiHo Index.

* * * * *

On July 7, 2000, the state of Lower Saxony passed the Dangerous Dogs Act (Niedersaechsische Gefahrtierverordnung GefTVO), which mandated testing of specific dog breeds and types. Angela Mittmann refers to the development of the mandated canine temperament test three times in her 2002 doctoral dissertation. Her first reference credits an earlier canine temperament test:
For the development of the test, a test [developed by] the Dutch scientists Netto and Planta (1997) was used and was modified for this purpose (SCHALKE 2002).*
Mittmann later refers to the development of the test in her list of appendices:
4. Appendix: Development of the Lower Saxony temperament tests **
During the 5-week interval when the new law was passed and testing began, the test mandated by the new law was conceived, developed, and implemented.

* * * * *

We have few clues to how the TiHo test was actually developed. Were there trials for the proposed test situations? Were objective canine behaviorists consulted? On what grounds were the final situations selected, and who made the final decisions? We have the reference to the original test (Netto and Planta, 1997) on which the Lower Saxony test was based, but no explanation of the changes which were made. SRUV has commented briefly about the corruption of the Netto test by TiHo and will discuss it in greater detail in a forthcoming post.

We also have a passing reference to the development in Appendix 4: Development of the Lower Saxony temperament tests. This appendix consists of nothing more than a list of the nine members of the mandated committee, two of whom represent bull terrier breeder groups. This committee will also be discussed in a forthcoming post.

The final and most cryptic clue to the development of the TiHo canine temperament test is the reference to Schalke (2002),***  which is mentioned briefly and only in passing. When we turn to Mittmann's list of references we discover that the citation refers to a "private communication" from Dr Schalke to Mittmann. The text of the "private communication" is not included in the dissertation, and we are left to assume that the "private communication" Dr Schalke handed off to Mittmann is the actual final form of the test instrument  which became so critical to German dog laws.

How could a doctoral dissertation for veterinary medicine which includes an unexplained citation be accepted and published? This is what we are left with: a test instrument cobbled together in a smoke-filled room, metaphorically speaking. We have previously mentioned that the TiHo test was an inadequate, poorly conceived test for canine aggression. In fact, the argument can be made that it did not test for aggression, but disguised it. It is the test which effectively absolved the breed-listed dogs in Lower Saxony in 2002, and which was used to malign Golden Retrievers in 2004.

* * * * *

* Für die Entwicklung des Wesenstests wurde ein Test der niederländischen Wissenschaftler NETTO und PLANTA (1997) herangezogen und für diesen Zweck modifiziert (SCHALKE 2002).

** 4. Anhang: Entwicklung des Niedersächsischen Wesenstests

*** SCHALKE, E. (2002)
       Persönliche Mitteilung. Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
       Dr. Esther Schalke
       Tierärztin; Institut für Tierschutz und Verhalten
       der Tierärztlichen Hochschule Hannover

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

Monday, May 21, 2012

Safety and Comfort

Revised Sun May 27, 2012; 00:38 EST
NM State Senate (42 individual members)
The Board of Directors, Animal Humane NM
Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane NM
Las Cruces City Council

SRUV is currently investigating the conflation of Golden Retrievers with pit bulls, which is endemic on the web. A recent statement from Animal Humane NM claimed that
A golden retriever is capable of inflicting just as much damage as a pit bull
This statement was made following the canine homicides of two people in New Mexico, and coincides with our investigation of Golden Retrievers and pit bulls.

SRUV has also written previously about events in New Mexico, following the death of Margaret Salcido on Easter of 2011.*   SRUV and many other members of the animal welfare community commend Senator Sue Beffort for her efforts in behalf of public safety last year. Unfortunately, the advocates of fighting breeds are well-funded and well-organized, and are effective at blocking legislation to restrict fighting breeds.

The canine homicide this week of Maryann Hanula in neighboring Arizona illustrates the human cost of pit bull attacks.  Seventy-three year-old Hanula endured 13 surgeries and suffered for seven months after being mauled last October in Surprise, Arizona. A police spokesman said the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will likely not charge the owner of the pit bulls, because her dogs did not have a history of violence.

A human who murders another human is held accountable, even if he does not have a previous history of violence. Why have we changed the rules to excuse pit bulls?  The advocates of fighting breeds insist that Dangerous Dog Laws (DDL) are more effective and more fair than Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). This is the achievement of the advocates of fighting breeds: that no dog should be held accountable.

DDL takes various forms in different municipalities, but the effect is generally something like this:  if DDL are applied at all, they often require hearings, delays, committee meetings, delays, appeals, delays, and more delays before a dog can be claimed to be potentially dangerous.  Then if the dog attacks a second time, a further round of meetings are convened before the dog is found to be dangerous, and then again before the dog is labeled a vicious dog.

This is only a mild exaggeration, for few dogs that go through this bureaucratic snarl are ever held accountable. A dog may attack repeatedly, and even then the dog is often still considered a family pet, and allowed to remain with the owner.

Who doesn't understand  that dogs which have mauled a 73-year old woman have at that moment established a history of violence, and represents an threat to public safety?  Maryann Hanula endured seven months of agony before succumbing to her wounds; the family is saddled with a lifetime of debt; and the pit bulls that killed her continue to sleep in the safety and comfort of their home.

* * * * *


Compulsive Reflex

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The 11th Subtest

This post is one of a series of posts on TiHo. For a complete listing of the posts in this series see the TiHo Index.
* * * * *

The canine aggression test developed by TiHo is comprised of 36 situations, or subtests. The eleventh subtest is the "Drunken Man" situation. This subtest takes on extraordinary importance, because all of the statements concerning the aggressive tendencies of Golden Retrievers in comparison to pit bulls are derived from the response of a single dog to this one test question.

Angela Mittmann, in her 2002 study of breed listed dogs, describes the "Drunken Man" subtest as follows:
10.  A "drunk" staggers over (a distance of 2 m).
The dog-handler team and the tester pass each other. The handler leads his dog on the side facing the subject. The subject wears a jacket soaked with alcohol, slurs and staggers when walking.*
Tina Johann, in her 2004 study of Golden Retrievers,  describes the same situation thus:
11. The dog is not only signaled visually and acoustically, but [the subtest] also conveys the olfactory impression of a  drunk; the jacket of the test subject is soaked with alcohol. The test person mumbles and stumbles upon passing the dog.**
The dogs were rated on a scale of one through seven. On the TiHo tests, a response on scale level five is characterized thus:
5. Biting (attempt to bite) or attack (attempt to attack: coming closer at high pace and pushing) with growling and/or barking and/or showing teeth.
One Golden Retriever received a rating of 5 on the Drunken Man subtest during Johann's testing. None of the other 69 Golden Retrievers scored above a level two on any of the 35 other subtests.

According to TiHo data, this single dog, or 1.4% of the Golden Retrievers, reached a Scale Level of 5; this was the only situation in which a Golden Retriever reached a scale level higher than Scale 2.

In other words, one Golden Retriever may have "pushed" toward  the Drunken Man while on his six foot long leash and either growled or barked or showed his teeth. Many dog owners would consider this appropriate protective behaviour.

This one dog's response is the sole origin of the The Hannover Formula which continues to echo and ripple across the web. The advocates of fighting breeds have taken the original TiHo statements and altered them to suit their needs; the TiHo scientists have themselves been willing participants in promulgating this deception about the aggressiveness of Golden Retrievers.***

* * * * * 


* 10. Ein „Betrunkener“ torkelt vorbei (Abstand 2 m).
Das Hund-Halter-Gespann und die Testperson gehen aneinander vorbei. Der Halter führt seinen Hund auf der der Testperson zugewandten Seite. Die Testperson trägt eine mit Alkohol getränkte Jacke, lallt und torkelt beim Gehen.

** The Drunken Man subtest is number 11 in the Johann study.
11. Um dem Hund nicht nur optisch und akustisch, sondern auch olfaktorisch den Eindruck eines Betrunkenen zu vermitteln, ist die Jacke der Testperson mit Alkohol getränkt. Die Testperson lallt und torkelt beim Passieren des Hundes.

*** See also: Animal Farm Foundation: No Significant Difference

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Hannover Formula

A golden retriever is capable of inflicting just as much damage as a pit bull.
Lyndsay Anderson, Animal Humane New Mexico

* * * * *

To: Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane NM

In October of 2011 the MSPCA, one of our more venerable animal welfare institutions, hosted their annual pit bull promotion campaign. This campaign came on the heels of two canine homicides. SRUV questioned the wisdom of such a campaign, in view of the fact that two children had been killed by pit bulls in the preceding days. The final post in the series addressed the MSPCA claim that
pit bulls are no more likely to show inappropriate aggressive behavior than are golden retrievers.
Numerous versions of the pit bull / Golden Retriever claim are in circulation among advocates of fighting breeds. The claim made by Ms Anderson (at the top of this page) is unusual in that it is the first time, in our knowledge, that anyone has claimed that a Golden Retriever can inflict just as much damage as a pit bull. This is a disgraceful assertion, especially in view of the fact that she is responding to two recent canine homicides by pit bulls in New Mexico. In her response she defends the breed responsible for the murders while slandering Golden Retrievers.

The advocates of fighting breeds use the pit bull / Golden Retriever equation so often that discussing and refuting the comparison has become awkward and time consuming.  As a convenience to readers we have coined a term, and in the future will refer to the conflation of pit bulls and Golden Retrievers as The Hannover Formula. The name is derived from the Veterinary Behavior Institute in Hannover, Germany that first compared fighting breeds to Golden Retrievers.

Ms Anderson and others who use The Hannover Formula must view the public with contempt, to try to convince us of this absurdity.

* * * * *

On April 30th, 2012, the Baltimore Sun ran a story which referred inaccurately to policies of Animal Humane NM. Shortly after the article appeared Ms Weigle posted a letter on the AHNM website which includes emphatic comments favorable to pit bulls.

Then, in the following days,  two people in New Mexico were killed by pit bulls.

Ms Weigle mentions with pride that the AHNM has placed "hundreds of lovable pit bulls into wonderful homes."  Ms Weigle does not comment on the numerous recent reports of re-homed pit bulls which have been involved in attacks.  Shelters which adopt out fighting breeds and place them in family situations are increasingly subject to extraordinary liability suits which can endanger the viability of the shelter itself.

Additionally, Animal Humane NM sponsors a program, the 505 Pit Crew, which provides outreach with free dog training classes in an effort to divert youth from dog fighting and provide them with the education and tools needed for responsible dog ownership. While this may sound laudable, SRUV suggests that this program and others like it are early-learning tools for pit bull advocacy, and quite possibly is a marketing tool for adopting out the excess pit bulls they shelter. SRUV suggests that it is irresponsible to expose children of school age to fighting breeds.

There will be a time, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, when the scales will fall from our eyes and we will collectively realize that pit bulls are not suitable family pets. Until that happens the advocates of fighting breeds will continue to reassure us that pit bulls are no more aggressive or dangerous than Golden Retrievers.

In the 30 year period from 1982 through 2012 in the US and Canada, two canine homicides were attributed to Golden Retrievers, one of which was caused by rabies and the second by a bizarre strangling accident. During the same period in the US, pit bulls and close pit bull mixes accounted for at least 217 deaths, nearly 50% of the total canine homicides.*

* * * * *


* One Golden Retriever responsible for an attack was rabid. The second accidentally strangled Kaitlyn Hassard, 6, of Manorville, Long Island, on 1/24/06, by tugging at her scarf. Statistics are from Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here.

See TiHo Index for complete list of posts on TiHo.

News Source: Las Cruces Sun-News

See Also: Animal Humane New Mexico

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    Chinese Whispers

    Matisse needs love and assurance from you. You must go and caress this dog. Go and caress him! He needs reassurance. Hug him! You have to really HUG him!

    Dr von Zimmer, dog psychiatrist, Down and Out in Beverly Hills

    * * * * *
    Revised: Jan 16, 2013;16:11 GMT

    Last night we decided to enter a time warp, and found ourselves watching the 1986 Paul Mazursky film starring Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler. The evening's diversion relieved us of the tedium of the week's news (which we'll return to momentarily), and as a bonus we were treated to an evening in the company of the Divine Miss M.

    In the movie, a dysfunctional family (Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler) hires a dog psychiatrist, because their dog Mattise rules. Then Jerry, an alcoholic scoundrel played by Nick Nolte, moves in with the family and instantly bonds with Matisse, and there is no further need of the psychiatrist. The movie doubled as a working holiday, because we were curious to see if the field of veterinary behavior has advanced since the days of Dr von Zimmer.

    * * * * *

    The next morning we returned to a harsher reality; we learned that two children have been attacked in recent days by pit bulls in the state of New Mexico, resulting in one death. The animal control and humane society officials repeated the usual banalities, identical to those uttered so often. So far everything is as expected. But then a sentence leapt from the page:
    A golden retriever is capable of inflicting just as much damage as a pit bull.
    This is a suitable response to the deaths of two children?

    I instantly needed a brick wall to pound my forehead against. In a process similar to the parlor game of  Chinese Whispers,* the original pit bull / Golden Retriever equation (that pit bulls show no more aggressive tendencies than Golden Retrievers) has been repeated by dozens of US pit bull advocacy groups, and with each revision there is a new twist on the construction.

    Tens of thousands of well-intended people, if not hundreds of thousands, have adopted fighting breeds into their homes as family pets. They have been convinced that fighting breeds are no different from Golden Retrievers.

    It's a cruel deception for advocates of fighting breeds to argue that pit bulls are no different from other dogs.  And it is irresponsible for animal welfare professionals to promulgate this deception. All these deceptions lead to mayhem of the kind we've witnessed in New Mexico this week.

    These deceptions would be intuitively clear to Jerry; it's Dr von Zimmer who anthropomorphizes, who doesn't understand the dog, and who misleads the family.

    * * * * *

    News Source: Las Cruces Sun-News

    See Also: Down and Out in Beverly Hills

    * Chinese Whispers -- The game is also known as telephone, grapevine, broken telephone, whisper down the lane, KISU KISU (Tamil "grapevine") Развален телефон (Bulgarian for "broken telephone") gossip, secret message, Le téléphone arabe (French for "Arab phone"), Stille Post (German for "Silent Mail"), Gioco del Telefono (Italian for "Telephone Game"), Telefono senza fili (Italian for "Cordless Phone"), Telefone avariado (Portuguese for "Broken Phone"), Głuchy telefon (Polish for "deaf telephone"), Зламаний телефон (Ukrainian for "Broken telephone"), Глуви телефони (Serbian for "deaf telephones"), Telefonul fara fir (Romanian for "Cordless phone"), Сломанный телефон (Russian for "broken telephone"), Rikkinäinen puhelin (Finnish for "Broken telephone"), viskleken (Swedish for "the whispering game"), viskeleken (Norwegian for "the whisper(ing) game"), Tichá pošta (Czech and Slovak for "silent mail") and pass the message. In the United States, "telephone" is the most common name for the game.

    Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    Commentary: II

    Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed specific legislation regarding aggressive behaviour.
    S Ott, E Schalke, et al.
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
    3: 134-140

    Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony.
    E Schalke, S Ott, et al.
    Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
    3: 97-103

    * * * * *

    Note 5:
    In an unusual publishing event, the two papers noted above were published in the same issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior; Clinical Applications and Research. The authors are associated with the same Institute at the same University. Ott and Schalke are co-authors of each other's papers. In essence, the two papers are designed to work in tandem. Ott sets up the argument and Schalke attempts to prove that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is not justified. Theirs is a transparent, poorly conceived argument with questionable scientific value.

    Note 6: Control Group
    Ott's paper depends on two previous TiHo publications (Mittmann 2002 and Johann 2004) to make a comparison between the aggressive tendencies of dangerous dogs and Golden Retrievers. Ott presents Johann's research on the Golden Retrievers as a Control Group for Mittmann's earlier research on the dangerous dogs listed by the Lower Saxony breed list.
    Ott uses the term Control Group (to refer to Johann's study of Golden Retrievers) at least eight times in a brief, seven page paper. But an examination of Johann's paper reveals that her study of Golden Retrievers was not designed as a control group for Mittmann's study of dangerous dogs (which was completed two years before Johann's study). 
    The literature on the design of control groups in scientific experiments is extensive, and it's clear that Johann's study, designed and accomplished two years after Mittmann's, does not qualify as  either a Negative or Positive Control Group. Ott's pretense that Johann's study of Golden Retrievers was a Control Group is a specious argument, pasted on post factum to enhance the credibility of her own (Ott's) brief review.

    Note 7: 
    Shalke's paper, published in conjuction with Ott's, is intended to provide the answer, or proof, to Ott's question: Is There a Difference?  
    Shalke provides no new findings; the paper provides nothing more than a summary of the findings provided by Mittmann six years earlier. The purpose of Shalke's paper is to restate the arguments against BSL at an important moment in US, German, and Lower Saxony dog legislation.

    Note 8:
    The fact that presumably scientific papers are written to provide arguments for the advocates of fighting breeds will come as no surprise to those who read German blogs and discussion forums. As early as December 2002 the German detractors of dangerous dog legislation were aware of forthcoming TiHo publications, and were poised to use them to weaken or overturn dog legislation. As mentioned previously in these pages, a comment left on the KSG forum* referred to Johann's forthcoming study of Golden Retrievers, with its exact title, a full two years before it was published. In the same discussion, Andreas also celebrated the TiHo publications:
    Das sind doch gute Voraussetzungen für die bevorstehenden Gerichtsverhandlung über das Bundesgesetz und das niedersächsische Hundediskriminierungsgesetz! **
    Andreas' comment appeared within days after Mittman's dissertation was published; it was as if the advocates of fighting breeds had been handed a gift. 
    The recycled arguments made by Ott and Schalke in 2008 provide advocates of fighting breeds with a new cycle of references to continue their opposition to BSL.

      The commentary will be continued in a subsequent post.

    * * * * * 


    * Kampfschmuser Gemeinde, which translates roughly as the Fighting-Cuddling Community

    ** Surely these provide a good basis for the upcoming trial on the federal law and the Lower Saxony dog-Discrimination Act!

    See TiHo Index (above) for complete list of posts on TiHo.

    Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Child is Father

    The Child is father of the Man . . .   
    William Wordsworth

    * * * * *

    We will enter this story in medias res.

    Anyone can find details of the attack on Mi'Kayja Oliver; it's not the details of this everyday pit bull attack that we find compelling.

    What transforms this story from the ordinary into the heroic are the words and actions of Mi'Kayja and her friend Desiree Mitchell. Their courage and dignity during the attack on Friday, the 27th of April transform the story into an account worthy of literature.

    In Desiree's words::
    One grabbed one of the legs and the other grabbed the other leg and dragged her back into the yard. They bit her in the neck, in the back of the neck. Between the legs. On her legs. All up and down her arms. On her face.
    Desiree grabbed the dogs and tried to pull them off her friend. Failing that, she ran into the home of the pit bull  owners and cried:
    I told them that the dogs were attacking my friend. And they said, 'What dogs?' I said, the dogs that you're responsible for.

    The owners hesitated, then finally came to Mi'Kayja's assistance. Natasha Oliver, Mi'Kayja's mother, commented:
    Desiree was brave to try and pull those dogs off of her. She ran and told her parents, 'Dial 911.  They're eating my friend. They're eating my friend.'  She even came and told me. 
    What kind of person sees a child that needs help, that's being attacked, gruesome as that was, and you did nothing? It was your dogs and you did nothing? What kind of person are you?
    My oldest, he's 15. He saw her on the ground, and he broke down and fell. He went into a seizure. He's never had a seizure before.
    When the dogs were taken away, her severed artery spilling blood, Mi'Kayja said what might have been her final words to her mother:
    Mommy, I'm okay, I just need to go to the hospital.

    * * * * * 

    In a previous post, SRUV invited "Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society, Carter Luke of the MSPCA, Gregory Castle of Best Friends, or ANY director of an animal welfare agency" to comment on recent pit bull attacks.
    We have yet to hear a whisper of sympathy for any of the human or animal victims of pit bull attacks, from ANY major national animal welfare agency. This eerie silence indicates a disconnect on a critical animal welfare issue.
    SRUV once again extends the invitation to the animal welfare executives, and to other hyper-advocates such as Ledy VanKavage and Mike Markarian. If these leaders are to deserve the public's respect they must  respond to the attacks in a meaningful way, rather than ignore them as they have. The animal welfare community needs to hear something other than This was a tragic accident. After ten thousand attacks, pit bull attacks are not an accident; they are endemic.

    * * * * *

    News sources: WWLDT dot comWDSU dot com and others.

    See Also: Today's pit bull attacks in the US

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    The New Normal

    In the short time since SRUV first addressed the NH SPCA earlier this week, more incidents involving these dogs have come to our attention. 

    * * * * *

    SRUV recently addressed a series of posts to the New Hampshire SPCA. The subject was the adopting out of fighting breeds. As part of the series SRUV  listed a number of dog attacks, all committed by recently adopted pit bulls which had been placed in family homes by animal shelters and humane societies.

    The current news is once again filled with accounts of attacks by rescued pit bulls.

    One of the more trenchant accounts is of the attack and fatal mauling of a 10-year old Yorkshire Terrier named Zoar. Zoar's human companions, Alda and Rikk Crill of Longmont Colorado, were walking their two Yorkies when a large pit bull charged and ripped Zoar's chest open.

    Animal control ticketed the owner of the pit bull, Courtney Ebert-Hein,  on "suspicion of failure to control an animal and possession of an aggressive animal."  The pit bull "happily greeted animal control officers while still covered in Zoar's blood," and was returned to the safety and comfort of his home. Ebert-Hein, the mother of two children, said her family plans to keep the pit bull. She would like to apologize to the Crills.

    We're sorry Courtney, but in this case saying you're sorry would not suffice.

    The pit bull had been adopted from the Longmont Humane Society three months ago.  Current news also carries accounts of attacks by recently adopted pit bulls in Gainesville, Florida and Elgin, Illinois.

    Liz Smokowski, the executive director of the LHS, said that the pit bull's record shows that she had a good record of playing with other dogs. Ebert-Hein, on the other hand, told officers that she had been warned that the dog had been involved in a fight at the shelter.

    Smokowski also claimed that humane society staff counseled the new owners that the pit bull must remain on a leash. "It is important that you take precautions," she said. "This is why there are leash laws in effect."

    Leash laws? Do these people realize what they sound like when they say stuff like this? Has she been living in a cave? All Ms Smokowski would have to do is browse the internet for five minutes to learn how frequently pit bulls break restraints, crash through windows, invade homes, and break through fences, so they can pursue an attack. She can, in fact, read numerous stories to this effect here on the pages of SRUV.

    This is not the first time that LHS has been in the news. Last year, following a pit bull attack in a nearby town, it was the the LHS director of behavior and training, Aimee Sadler, who cautioned readers that the attack "doesn't mean that people should be wary of all pit bulls."

    On the very same day the Longmont attack was in the news, a pit bull entered a yard and killed a cat in Deltona Florida. The animal control officer who responded to the scene there "found both owners at fault because both animals were unrestrained."  The victim was a cat in its own front yard.

    Is this the new normal?

    * * * * *

    News Source: Pit Bull attacks 10-year old Yorkie; Longmont Times-Call
    News Source: Pit bull enters yard, kills cat, Daytona Beach News Journal

    Related post: NH SPCA

    See Also: Today's pit bull attacks in the US