Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Newark Advocate

NEWARK OH -- After several years of contentious debate within the community, on October 14, 2012 the Newark Advocate published an editorial opinion in support of Newark's existing Breed Specific Legislation (Don't change Newark's Vicious Dog Law).

A year later, on December 7, 2013, the Editorial Board reaffirmed that opinion (Newark's current pit bull law should stand).

Several weeks later, on February 7, 2014, Klonda Richey was mauled to death by two mixed-breed mastiffs in Montgomery County. Richey's death signaled the onset of the bloodiest year in Ohio pit bull history. Three people were killed in fatal attacks and dozens injured.1

That bloody year is apparently of little consequence to the editors of the Newark Advocate, who in 2015 reversed course and published a series of articles unlike anything previously seen in pit bull advocacy. At least six articles appeared over a ten-day period, including a new editorial opinion in support of pit bulls.

In the middle of the publishing blitz, on Sunday, January 11, the Advocate published what appears to be a special insert. The heavily illustrated article, Pit bull owners share the softer side of 'bully breeds' was reprinted by newspapers across the country.2

We have selected three of the many misrepresentations included in the week-long publishing blitz. They appear below with our responses.

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Newark Advocate: There’s never a guarantee any dog won’t bite or harm anyone, especially any animal that’s not cared for properly or abused. Yes, pit bulls have a bit of a rap sheet, but there are many of the breed who are loving and unlikely to harm anyone without good reason.
SRUV: Many advocates of fighting breeds (and the Newark Advocate must now be counted among them) are in the habit of generalizing: because my pit bull has never attacked anyone, it follows that all responsibly raised pit bulls will never attack anyone.

The evidence proves the opposite is true. On Christmas day, 2014, Edward Cahill of Portage, Indiana, was killed by the pit bull he had loved for eight years. At the time of the attack FatBoi was the banner image on Cahill's Facebook page.

A little over a week later 87-year old Eugene Smith became the first 2015 victim of a fatal pit bull attack while he was removing his Christmas tree. Neighbors and coworkers remarked that Mr Smith slept with his pit bull, and often told others how much he loved the dog.

These two men who loved and cared for their pit bulls were killed without cause. The advocates who insist that only mistreated, abused pit bulls kill their owners are not telling the truth.
* * * * *

Newark Advocate: We would never prejudge a person as being more likely to harm someone without solid evidence of a crime or medically diagnosed mental health condition. We’re judged based on our actions, not what could happen.
SRUV: The attempt to treat dogs as if they were human is one of the great canards of the advocacy movement. No group of humans has been selectively bred for over 200 years to fight to the death in pits; if there were such a group they would be treated differently than the rest of us. Pit bulls have been selectively bred to kill and we must treat them accordingly.
* * * * *

Newark Advocate: . . . Rath blames media hype for giving pit bulls a bad name. It’s happened to other dogs in the past — German shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers — and now, it’s happening to pit bulls, he said.
Media hype, as Mr Rath calls it, is disproportionately favorable to pit bulls; witness the series under discussion.

Dobermans may have enjoyed their moment as most feared canine, as have GSDs and Rottweilers. But all the fear and publicity and posturing aside, which dog really is more dangerous? It isn't even close. While Dobermans may be intimidating they've killed only 7 humans in the last 32 years. Pit bulls have now killed at least 308 in the same period; Dobermans just were not bred for killing. GSDs have killed 15 humans in 30 years (in the low 20s if counting crossbred GSDs) and Rottweilers have killed in the low 80s in the last thirty years. This isn't an argument worth having.

Mr Rath also claims that BSL is costly and ineffective. On June 6, 2014 6-year old Zainabou Drame was attacked by two pit bulls. Zainabou was in an induced coma for weeks and will require a lifetime of therapy. The cost of one child's medical care, already over a million dollars after only a half year, will easily exceed the cost of BSL animal control in Newark for a decade. 
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Councilman Jeff Rath has promised to sponsor new legislation rescinding Newark's BSL and he is currently feeling the love of pit bull advocates. Mr Rath and his colleagues should remember that the advocates who have swarmed recent council meetings are a minority of Newark's citizens. In elections and surveys, whenever constituents are free to choose, they have consistently voted by a two-to-one margin saying they do not want to live next door to a pit bull.

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1  See Ohio Reeling from pit bull attacks  (SRUV, Aug 8, 2014)
2  The Softer Side of Pit Bulls has become a cliché of advocacy publishing in recent years. Numerous photo essays and books have appeared which depict pit bulls in soft light with glowing auras, or in studio settings with pastel backgrounds. An example is The Softer Side of Pit Bulls; A Reviled Breed Gets a Makeover   (Time, July 22, 2013). The photos accompanying the brief article are still available online.

The Newark Advocate

Pit bull supporters push against breed-specific law
   January 20, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Pit bulls deserve another look
   January 17, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate Editorial
Rath vows to help pit bull owners fight vicious status
   January 13, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Safety panel session invites pit bull owners' comments
   January 12, 2015 (Mon); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners share the 'softer side' of bully breeds
   January 11, 2015 (Sun); Newark Advocate
Roscoe; An American red nose pit bull
   January 10, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners complain to council about law, officer
   December 16, 2014; Newark Advocate
Official cancels meeting with pit bull owner
   December 5, 2014; Newark Advocate
Activist wants county to stop killing pit bulls
    August 12, 2014; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bulls Must Pass Good Citizenship Test To Get Off Vicious Dog List
   December 17, 2013; WBNS 10TV
Newark council passes pit bull ordinance
   December 17, 2013; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bull Regulations Close To Makeover
   December 10, 2013 (March 4, 2014); NBC4i
Newark's current pit bull law should stand
   December 7, 2013; Newark Advocate Editorial
Don't change Newark's vicious dog law
   October 14, 2012; Newark Advocate Editorial
Pit bulls kills dog
   December 1, 2004; Newark Advocate

Ohio News:
Dog named "Precious" bites woman
   January 18, 2015; WDTN
Pit bull running loose attacks, bites man
   January 13, 2015; Newark Advocate
Man chased, bit by dog
   January 4, 2015; WDTN

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

This page may also include information fromDogsbite and Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends