Friday, March 30, 2012

Columbus, GA

Radical animal rights activists have targeted Columbus with a national misinformation campaign, alleging animal abuse and mistreatment at the city's Animal Control Center.
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, March 29, 2012

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To: Teresa Tomlinson, Mayor, Columbus GA

We read with interest the article in the Ledger-Enquirer, which describes in detail the tactics used by advocates of fighting breeds to attack your city's Animal Care & Control. Similar tactics have previously been employed elsewhere in the country, and have led to the termination of dedicated employees at animal care facilities. 

I'm certain that, after reading the newspaper coverage, many people must have thought as I did: What's Wrong With This Picture? Perhaps you (or others) can add to my list below:
  1. The city gave the dog to Animal Ark Rescue. This was the first mistake in this chain of errors, and it is the most understandable. Cities across the country are under increasing pressure to lower euthanasia rates, and are too quick to pass their animals off to unqualified rescue organizations. The organizations which "rescue" the dogs then take extraordinary measures, often with little oversight, to place them in new homes.
  2. Animal Ark was irresponsible in placing this dog in a home with two smaller dogs.
  3. Animal Ark was, additionally, irresponsible for placing the dog in a home without assuring that he was neutered and inoculated.
  4. The adoptive owner did not fully inform herself of the hazards of adopting a fighting breed.
  5. Animal Ark is demanding the return of the dog.
  6. Katherine Poteat, a local animal rights activist, demanded that the Mayor divulge the dog's whereabouts, and also informed the Mayor that the issue was now in the hands of "The Lexus Project."
  7. The city paid a contract veterinarian for an evaluation and continues to pay for the shelter and care of a dog that has a history of aggression and has little hope of being adopted.
  8. The city has hosted a series of dog-and-pony shows for attorneys and reporters, all of which divert time and resources away from the animals who justifiably deserve them.
All this expense of time and money on behalf of a dog that has been declared vicious? Have we lost our senses?

As we mentioned above, the tactics described in the newspaper coverage have been employed by no-kill extremists before, but we have never before seen  news coverage of any successful resistance to them. We applaud you, your staff, and your city for resisting the extremists and for bringing these bullying, coercive tactics into the public view.

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Source:  Animal rights activists attack Columbus, GA

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Child Protective Services: Pt 2

I felt like my son didn't matter. That, that dog is more important.
Gerald Eaves, in Pit bull attacks 7 year old

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Revised 10pm March 21

To: US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families
      Region 1: Mary Ann Higgins
      Region 2: Joyce Thomas
      Region 3: David Lett
      Region 4: Carlis Williams
      Region 5: Kent Wilcox
      Region 6: Leon R McCowan
      Region 7:  Patricia Brown
      Region 8: Thomas Sullivan
      Region 9: Sharon Fujii
      Region 10:  Steve Henigson
      Child Welfare League of America, American Humane Association, and dozens of state Child Protective Services officials, and others

One week ago SRUV reported on the pit bull attack on the three-year old daughter of Jonathan Diaz, and his subsequent efforts to protect the dog. We also noted that the Diaz case is far from unique. The attacks listed below, all of which occurred during the week since the previous post, represent only a sampling of the attacks on children. In several of the attacks over the past week, the attacking dog had a known aggressive history.

The roll call of pit bull attacks on children is exploding exponentially.  According to statistics gathered over the last 30 years, 61% of the pit bull attacks on children have occurred in the past 10 years;  37% in the past four years;  24% in the past two years.*

SRUV has struggled to understand why pit bull advocacy groups continue to insist that fighting breeds are like any other dog. And why they continue to place fighting dogs in homes as family pets.

Fortunately, all of the victims of the attacks listed on this page survived. Many of these pit bull attacks are disfiguring attacks, with economic costs ranging to the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars; the human cost is incalculable.

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Related Post: Child Protective Services, Pt 1

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

* Statistics are from Dog Attack Deaths & Maimings (Mar 8, 2012), published by Animal People.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Child Protective Services: Pt 1

You have a family that seemingly put this dog over this girl's safety.
John Welsh, Riverside County Dept of Animal Services

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To: US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families
      Region 1: Mary Ann Higgins
      Region 2: Joyce Thomas
      Region 3: David Lett
      Region 4: Carlis Williams
      Region 5: Kent Wilcox
      Region 6: Leon R McCowan
      Region 7:  Patricia Brown
      Region 8: Thomas Sullivan
      Region 9: Sharon Fujii
      Region 10:  Steve Henigson
      Child Welfare League of America, American Humane Association, and dozens of state Child Protective Services officials, and others

The three year old daughter of Jonathan Diaz was attacked by his brother's pit bull.  The child suffered a "disfiguring bite" and received 150 stitches on the left side of her face. This was the second time the child had been attacked by the dog in two months. The pit bull was unlicensed, unneutered, and Diaz could not provide records of inoculations.

Family members told police the child was attacked by a stray dog, and Diaz removed the pit bull from the house to hide it from authorities. "There was a lot of purposeful misinformation that law enforcement received," according to Riverside County Animal Services.

Diaz is currently in jail awaiting drug charges, and has been arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment.The Diaz case may seem to be a rare, isolated event. Sadly, this is not the truth. (See the links below).

According to the March 2012 Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, 52% of the disfiguring attacks on children are by pit bulls, even though they comprise only 3.3% of the dog population.*  Many of these attacks come from well-cared for family pets which have not previously demonstrated aggressive behavior.

Why are tragic events involving pit bull attacks on children escalating?

Public sentiment is in favor of stronger restrictions on fighting breeds, yet pit bull advocacy groups protect these breeds and insist they are suitable family pets. Pit bull advocacy groups intimidate legislators with squads of full-time attorneys and massive public relations campaigns. When it comes to fighting breeds, we can no longer depend on conflicted animal welfare groups nor on legislators vulnerable to the powerful pit bull lobby to protect our children.

We must find another way to protect children in homes which harbor fighting breeds; Child Protective Services (CPS) can lead the way. We urge CPS and Family Service organizations to recognize the existence of a fighting breed dog in a family situation as child endangerment.

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Sources: Father arrested pit bull bites 3 yo daughter (Mar 9, 2012)
              Dog bite leads to child endangerment arrest
              Mom arrested after pit bull attack on daughter (Mar 12, 2012)
              Baby fatally mauled by pit bull

Related post: Letter to Oregon Dept of Child Services

*Statistics are from Dog Attack Deaths & Maimings (Mar 8, 2012), published by Animal People.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

Friday, March 9, 2012

Equal Consideration: II

Revised: March 10, 2012

 This is such unfamiliar territory for us because we've never had an animal attack case of this brutality before as long as I can remember.
Portage County Sheriff John Charewicz

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Recent attacks on our More Vulnerable Animal Companions have resulted in the deaths of horses and ponies in Wyoming and Georgia. Several months ago pit bulls killed 42 pet goats in a single incident. At least four llamas have been killed in repeated attacks in Frazier Park, California. This week three llamas were killed in Wausau, Wisconsin.1

Admittedly, pack behavior is a vestigial behavior that is all too common, but the attacks SRUV refers to are unrelated to pack behavior. Some of these attacks (see Sources, below) involve a single pit bull; others involve entire dismemberment of the victim.

To the casual observer these incidents may appear isolated and unrelated; closer observation reveals that this is a behavior pattern specific to pit bulls, unrelated to the usual factors (ie; neutering, running at large, or abusive care) that pit bull advocates employ to excuse the attacks. There is no proof that such factors outweigh breed when considering these attacks.

The roll call of animal victims of pit bull attacks continues to climb, yet if we listen to animal welfare agencies we would never know these attacks occur. Humane Societies and SPCAs do everything in their power to present pit bulls as victims. Scholars of Animal Law and Human-Animal Relations overwhelmingly do everything in their power to protect pit bulls, while remaining silent on the plight of the victims. In most of these attacks the pit bulls return to the safety and comfort of their homes, and the human companions or guardians of the victims are left without recourse.

Last fall SRUV wrote to the MSPCA, requesting comment after pit bulls killed two children in Massachusetts; these attacks occurred in the week prior to the MSPCA's annual pit bull adoption campaign. The MSPCA chose not to respond. 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 believes that those who work to protect pit bulls and place them in family homes are responsible for the widespread acceptance of pit bulls in our society. These advocates are responsible, in part, for the escalating economic and human costs of these attacks.

We invite a thoughtful reply from Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society, Carter Luke of the MSPCA, Gregory Castle of Best Friends, Randall Lockwood of the ASPCA, or from ANY director of an animal welfare agency. By thoughtful reply we ask that you please forego the conventional advocacy platitudes, such as Any Dog Can Bite or It's not the dog's fault; it's the owner's; these have become tired excuses.

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1 In the period since this was originally posted too many attacks on companion animals have occurred to recount.


  Llamas viciously attacked, community members outraged (WFXS Fos55)
  Pit Bulls Slaughter 42 Goats (NBC 4 Los Angeles)
  Llamas killed by pit bulls in repeated attacks
  Pit bulls attack, kill Spirit
  Pit bulls turn cattle barn into slaughterhouse

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here. This page may also include information from Dogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Information on euthanasia rates is from Pit bulls and Political Recklessness, by Merritt Clifton. Shelter  intake and euthanasia rates are published annually in the July/August edition of Animal People.

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


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Florida: II

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On January 25th, 2011, State Representative Louis R. Garcia, Jr, filed House Bill 4075. It was rolled into Senate Bill 722 and on June 21st, 2011 it was signed into law by the Governor. The bill removed the Dangerous Dog designation from dogs removed from dogfighting operations, and allows them to be adopted out by rescues, humane societies, and animal shelters.

Also in January 2011, newly elected Chip LaMarca took his seat as a Broward County Commissioner. He had won with the support of pit bull advocacy groups and rewarded his supporters by quickly pushing through dog legislation. His new legislation allows violent dogs which kill our MVAC to return to the safety and comfort of their homes.

The press release from Representative Garcia's office reports that the legislation was  ". . .  supported by Best Friends Animal Society, a national companion animal rescue and advocacy group."  It goes on to quote Ledy Vankavage, the senior legislative attorney for Best Friends. Vankavage, as well as other local pit bull advocacy groups such as NCNMHP, continue to lobby against existing laws which protect the public safety.

In the calendar year that began in January 2011, when Garcia submitted his bill and LaMarca took his seat, there were at least 17 attacks on humans by pit bulls in Florida. Nine of the victims were children, eight victims were adults. One pit bull attack was a canine homicide, resulting in the dismemberment and death of Ray McSweeney. There were fourteen disfigurements, all by pit bulls or close mixes.* This does not count the untold attacks, many of which resulted in death, on our More Vulnerable Animal Companions.

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Related posts: Lake MaryLake Mary II; Broward County; Florida Dog Laws

Statistics are from Dog Attack Deaths & Maimings (January 2012), published by Animal People.

Sources: Press Release Jan 25, 2011

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fierce Chihuahuas

Revised: Sept 4 2012; 16:45 GMT
Revised: Jan 17, 2013; 19:47 GMT

We know that Chihuahuas are as capable of biting, or more capable of biting, as so-called pit bulls.
MPP Chen DiNovo, Toronto

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SRUV has previously identified an argument used by advocates of pit bulls in which the advocates compare pit bulls with Chihuahuas and claim that Chihuahuas are more aggressive. They make this claim with apparent sincerity. 

Pit bull advocates seem not to notice how bizarre this argument is. The following examples were all found with a single search of the news, and copied as quickly as we could cut-and-paste them. It is as if a Kremlin propagandist sent out a talking points memo a few days ago, and the pit bull advocates are obediently responding. 

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There are bad Chihuahuas when I'm out for a walk that the owners can't control. I think it has to do with the owners, not the dog.

In fact, studies show that bites from such breeds as chihuahuas, golden retrievers, Labradors, poodles, Scottish terrier, and Shetland sheepdog breeds occur quite often. (MPP Laurie Scott)

Anyone who's been chomped by a Chihuahua . . . knows that pit bulls are not the only biters, and in many cases are not biters at all.

New Democratic MPP Chen DiNovo correctly noted that any canine can bite a person and some breeds are even more aggressive than pit bulls. "Everyone knows it's the deed, not the breed, that's the problem. We know that German shepherds, we know that Labrador retrievers, we know that Chihuahuas are as capable of biting, or more capable of biting, as so-called pit bulls."
     CBC.CA and TheStar.COM

I'e never been bitten by a pit bull. I've been bitten by a Chihuahua, a poodle, a hound dog.

If you speak to veterinarians you will find that they feel pit bulls are incredibly sweet dogs and that the most aggressive breed that comes in is Chihuahuas.

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Google News: Today's pit bull attacks