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.

* * * * * 

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)

* * * * *


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.

* * * * *

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
* * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * * 

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.  

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * * 

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.

* * * * *

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

Monday, October 24, 2011


Revised: July 1, 2013; 14:32 GMT

The owner of the pit bulls can certainly reclaim these animals . . . 

* * * * * 

The owner referred to is Melissa Andrews. Andrews is charged with one count of failure to vaccinate and two counts of animal at large, all misdemeanors. She had been keeping her two pit bulls in her basement.

The two dogs had been quarantined at Forsyth County Animal Shelter after entering a pasture at 3620 Watson Road, Cumming, Georgia on October 11 and attacking Trigger, an American Paint horse.

"When deputies responded to the location one of the dogs was still attached to the horse’s mouth … just literally hanging on," said Forsyth County Sheriff’s Lt. David Waters.

Veterinarian Dr. Lanier Orr was called to the pasture and attempted to close the wounds and stem the extensive bleeding. Trigger suffered for six hours as Dr Orr provided emergency care in the pouring rain, before succumbing to her wounds.

New Dangerous Dog Laws were recently passed in the county, which require owners of Dangerous Dogs to obtain a $50,000 surety bond for each dog as well as build a fenced-in area with concrete floors and a top to prevent them from digging or climbing out. But Dangerous Dog Laws do not effectively remove dangerous dogs from a community.

"The owner of the pit bulls can certainly reclaim these animals. . . " said Lt. Waters.

Laws which allow an irresponsible owner to reclaim pit bulls after having killed a horse do not protect the community. They do not protect humans nor do they protect our more vulnerable animal companions such as Trigger.

Yet advocates of pit bulls and other fighting breeds are strong proponents of laws which return these dogs to the safety and comfort of their homes, even after filling a horse, and leave the victims with no recourse.

* * * * *

Source: Appen Newspapers, Forsyth News

Monday, October 17, 2011


To: The Board of Directors, MSPCA
      The Board of Overseers, MSPCA
      Drake Bennett, The Boston Globe; Kay Lazar, The Boston Globe
      Stephen J Murphey, Boston City Council, At-large
      Robert Consalvo, Boston City Council
      and others

During the month of October the MSPCA is conducting a campaign to "elevate the status of Pit Bulls in our community." A segment aired on a local TV channel, apparently prompted by a MSPCA press release, which featured an interview with MSPCA advocacy director Kara Holmquist. The timing of the campaign is particularly awkward in light of fact that pit bulls killed two children in the week preceding the MSPCA campaign.

The TV segment included misinformation and incorrect assertions, and failed to mention that pit bulls have killed a total of at least sixteen humans this year.  The segment also failed to acknowledge the hundreds of attacks, many of them fatal, on our more vulnerable animal companions. Pit bulls have been bred for centuries for the express purpose of fighting to the death, but pit bull advocates would now have us believe this genetic trait has disappeared.

When it comes to pit bulls, humane societies are engaged in a zero-sum game. Backyard breeders produce a surplus of pit bulls, many of which ultimately end up in humane shelters. Meanwhile, the South continues to export thousands of unwanted dogs (many of them pit bulls) to cities in the north where they are more likely to be adopted. Shelters everywhere are under increased pressure to avoid euthanasia and therefore find it necessary to mount extraordinary campaigns, such as the current MSPCA "Pit Bull Awareness Month," to place pit bulls in family homes.

SPCA's across the country find themselves under similar pressures, and the campaign to improve the image of the pit bull has been an ongoing campaign for years, with the humane societies slowly losing ground to the dogfighters and backyard breeders. Untold resources are devoted to the problem (as can be seen on this MSPCA page), which could otherwise be invested in legitimate humane services. All this wasted treasure does nothing to solve the larger problem.

We urge the MSPCA to suspend all efforts to place pit bulls in family environments. Furthermore, we urge the MSPCA to suspend all advocacy in behalf of the pit bull, including legislative and lobbying efforts in their behalf. Suspending pit bull advocacy programs would allow the MSPCA to redirect resources to new or underfunded programs. A fund for the human and animal victims of pit bull attacks is an idea whose time has come; MSPCA could provide a beacon for other SPCAs by initiating such a program.

The MSPCA has a long and distinguished history of animal advocacy. Your leadership on this issue can lead the way to a safe, less cruel environment for our animal companions and for ourselves.

* * * * *

Related Posts: Natural Consequences, Discredited Sources
Today's pit bull attacks on Google news -- Click here!
Related News Story: WCVB TV5

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gameness: VII

A neighbor then brought Agostinelli a pitchfork, . . . . 

* * * * * *

Bob Agostinelli was walking his dog Shanny, a 28-pound Shetland Sheepdog mix, at Pearl and York Streets when the pit bull charged. I stepped in front of my dog but he went around me and latched onto my dog's tail end, said Agostinelli.

Agostinelli went to the ground and punched the pit bull several times, then stood and started kicking the attacking dog. Several neighbors came with sticks and other items to use as weapons. Agostinelli broke two sticks over the dog's back, with no effect.

Shanny broke from the pit bull, but the pit bull caught Shanny at his throat. A neighbor then brought Agostinelli a pitchfork, which he drove into the pit bull's head. The pit bull held his grip on Shanny's throat. A police officer arrived and shot the wounded pit bull.

* * * * * *

The following comment is one of dozens attached to the story which defended the attacking dog and pit bulls in general:

Posted by OdieBaker1 at 10:16PM
on Wednesday, 10/12/11
Wow! To all you hateful ungrateful people out should all be ashamed of yourselves! I pray that God forgives you all. When I first read this article it mad me furious that people actually consider animal cruelty to be ok...its not! This dog was wrongfully killed! Hello Ottawa Police Deartment....have you ever heard of pepper spray or less lethal munitions?!?!? This dog did not have to be killed or brutally beaten by Lassie's owner! I hope the officer that shot this dog can sleep at night after wrongfully killing a family pet/ a family member/ bestfriend/ a childs pet! My thoughts and prays go out to the pitbulls ownwers! Sorry for your loss and even more sorry that you have to read some of the garbage people are posting.

* * * * * *

Source: The Times (Ottawa)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rapid Response

The incident Monday was not a pit bull issue.

* * * * * 

The article in the Amarillo Globe News (Tuesday Oct 4th, by Yann Ranaivo) followed by one day the death of an 11-day old infant after it was attacked by a pit bull. Ranaivo's piece is well written and stylistically sophisticated. In many ways  it is representative of typical pit bull advocacy articles following an attack.

The article is divided into two parts, which are nearly equal in length. The first half consists of the recent history of dog attacks in Amarillo. According to the article, pit bulls account for three times as many bites as the the breeds with the next-highest reports of attacks.

Then, in a remarkable transition, the article closes the first section with a barrage of undisguised advocacy statements, beginning with the line at the top of the page. It continues:
This was about an animal and an infant. . . . . It could have been any dog that was not properly introduced to the infant.
This transition is one of the more adroit pit bull advocacy maneuvers witnessed by SRUV, and one of the most effective. It not only ignores all the preceding dog bite data: it displaces it and attempts to make it irrelevant.

* * * * *

The second half of the article then goes on to interview three pit bull advocates at length.

* Shannon Barlow, Assistant Director of Amarillo Animal Control
The first of three advocates presented in the article is Shannon Barlow. The incident, as Shannon Barlow refers to it in the line at the top of this page and in the excerpts above, is the death of an eleven-day old infant, which Barlow otherwise fails to mention. Ms Barlow would have us believe that although a pit bull attacked a child and the child died, it is not a pit bull incident.

Readers of SRUV are aware of previous uses of the Any Dog argument used by Ms Barlow. In her efforts to take our attention away from the fact that a pit bull killed a child, Ms Barlow would have us believe that it could just as well have been a Yorkshire Terrier than mauled the infant to death. Theoretically, yes, it could have been any dog that killed the infant, and pigs might fly. The fact remains that it was a pit bull that mauled the infant, one of two infant deaths from pit bull attacks within a week, and one of sixteen fatal pit bull attacks during the current year. Pit bull advocates are seemingly incapable of acknowledging these deaths.

* Cydney Cross, President of Out of the Pits
Ms Cross is called upon to convince us that "pit bulls aren't naturally aggressive." Although the article gives only seven sentences to Ms Cross, she manages to repeat six of the basic refrains of pit bull advocacy. There is nothing new under the sun, and  SRUV will not bore our readers by repeating them. Ms Cross represents one of dozens (if not hundreds) of pit bull advocacy groups around the country. Members of these groups are called upon to defend their breed of obsession after similar attacks, in what is apparently an organized rapid response effort. We wonder what these people do for a living.

* Loralei Zwitt, dog behaviorist and owner of My Dog and Me
The interview with Ms Zwitt is dominated by the canine psychobabble that has unfortunately become more prevalent recently.  Ms Zwitt's comments essentially find an excuse for any poor behavior on the part of a dog. SRUV will remind Ms Zwitt that high-pitched sounds and similar annoyances do not provoke other breeds to kill infants.

* * * * *

As we have noted elsewhere, after nearly every pit bull attack articles similar to this one appear like mushrooms. But Mr Ranaivo's piece is different, in its scope and intent. Few articles call upon more than one or two pit bull advocates. Few articles integrate dog attack statistics to disarm the reader, then dismiss the data so cavalierly. Few articles that follow an infant's death are so callous in presenting pit bull advocacy. Mr Ranaivo is hereby nominated for the SRUV Hall of Shame.

* * * * *

Related post: Natural Consequences
Source: Amarillo Globe News

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Home Invasion: II

It was three times the size of Biddy. The pit bull 
grabbed Biddy with her mouth and had her by the neck.

* * * * * 

Andrea Brodhead was with her four-year old granddaughter when she heard a signal from the house alarm, indicating someone had come in. Then she was confronted by the pit bull.

The pit bull grabbed Biddy, a small mixed-breed terrier, by the neck. Brodhead called 911 while her son Beau, a defensive back for the St. Thomas More high school football team, fought off the pit bull with a stool. They were ultimately able to isolate the pit bull in the house's sun room. Then she just went and laid on my couch like she was accustomed to being in a house.

Virginia Lee, the local Animal Control supervisor, said Lafayette Parish is one of the state's hotspots for dog fighting. It's not uncommon for people to abandon dogs, in particular old fighting dogs, at secluded drop spots around the parish.

* * * * * 

Source: The Republic

Monday, October 3, 2011

John Paul Massey

Revised:   Oct 3, 23:21
* * * * * * *

It's difficult to draw meaningful lessons from the short  life of John Paul Massey. But the enormity of this tragedy is too poignant to ignore.

At the inquest into the toddler's death the Liverpool coroner, Andre Rebello, said that Helen Foulkes had fought "heroically" to save the four-year old. Helen Foulkes is John Paul's grandmother. Angela McGlynn, John Paul's mother, also referred to her mother as a hero.

But with further reading this picture of heroism becomes clouded. Is it possible for the person who creates a dangerous environment for a child, to be considered a hero when the child is killed? Uno, the pit bull that killed John Paul, was owned by Christian Foulkes, John Paul's uncle. Uno and a second pit bull lived in the house with Helen Foulkes, John Paul's grandmother, where the murder occurred.

Christian Foulkes was later jailed for possessing and breeding pit bulls. The grandmother received a suspended sentence for possession of the pit bulls.

This disorienting mashup of circumstance, irresponsibility, and cloying sentimentality is enough to make a reader turn away in despair, but there is more. Britain, where the crime occurred, is a country with loosely enforced (or unenforced) Dangerous Dog Laws (DDL).  The police had been informed of dangerous dogs being bred at the house and had failed to respond.

At the inquest Mr Rebello said:
After death Uno was classified as a dangerous dog within the meaning of the Dangerous Dogs Acts of 1991. Whether Uno would have been present if the police had investigated is speculative and unknown.
An expert dog handler also spoke at the court hearing to claim that Uno may have been trying to move up in the family hierarchy.

Has nature turned? What is the natural order, when a dog expert speculates on Uno's motives for murdering a child, but we aren't to speculate on how that child's death might have been prevented?

Is it useless to speculate on what might have happened if the police had investigated? Should we not wonder what might have happened if the dogs had been removed? Should we not wonder about the miserable lives of Christian and Helen Foulkes, who would keep and breed pit bulls in the same house frequented by a young toddler?

The Foulkes flagrantly endangered the life of John Paul, their son, nephew, and grandson. It's  evident that the Dangerous Dog Laws did nothing to protect John Paul, with tragic results.

* * * * * *

See Also: BSL Scholarship, Dangerous Dog Laws
Source: Liverpool Echo

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Escape Artists: VII

He said he hasn't heard from her since.

* * * * * *

On the afternoon of Aug. 31, 85-year old Joseph Marshall Thompson took Roscoe to his favorite playground, which they've gone to for the past 13 years.

When Thompson opened the back door of his car to let Roscoe out three pit bulls charged him, according to a Baltimore County police report. Police said Thompson was knocked to the ground and bitten and clawed on both hands and legs as he tried to cradle his daughter's dog in an effort to protect it.

Authorities said the pit bulls attacked the schnauzer, tearing its windpipe and biting into its spine and breaking several of the dog's ribs and damaging its lungs.

Thompson said he considered Roscoe the equivalent of a grandson.

The owner is a Caucasian woman in her 20s with light hair who's about 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds.

* * * * *

Source: WBAL TV

Friday, September 23, 2011

Helping Hands

He just stood there with his tail wagging.
He wanted another piece of my dog.

* * * * *
Revised: Dec 15 2012, 15:22 GMT

The citizens of Topeka have a long and distinguished history of protecting their animal companions. Shortly after the first SPCA's were formed in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, the Helping Hands Humane Society was founded in Topeka in 1890. An interesting (and irrelevant) rumor persists that Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were both local dogcatchers in the years before Helping Hands was founded, and a distant relative of Earp's currently sits on the board of directors.

Topeka continued their progressive tradition of humane animal care with the passage of carefully crafted Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the early 1980s. The legislation protected the citizens of Topeka and their more vulnerable animal companions for nearly 25 years.

The situation began to change in January of 2010 when Ledy VanKavage of Best Friends Animal Society spoke before the Kansas Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. In the audience was an assistant city attorney for Topeka, Kyle Smith. Soon after VanKavage's presentation the city formed a committee to advise city council on the repeal of their BSL ordinance, and packed it with pit bull advocates.

The committee included, in addition to Smith, Best Friends law clerk (and VanKavage protege) Katie Bray Barnett. Also on the committee was Stacy Hensiek, the owner of a pit bull, who briefly served as director of Helping Hands during the period of repeal. The committee presented a pit bull friendly ordinance to the city council which was accepted on September 28th, 2010. The new ordinance, in addition to removing the BSL provisions, allows Helping Hands to make pit bulls available for public adoption. Flushed with success in Topeka, Bray-Barnett is working on similar repeals in at least twelve cities.

One of the arguments used by Smith and others on the committee was that BSL was draining the city coffers. Financial intimidation has been a favorite device of pit bull advocates when arguing with cash-strapped municipalities. The Best Friends fiscal impact "Cost Calculator" has been discredited but nonetheless remains an effective intimidation tool.

The primary flaw of the Best Friends Cost Calculator often goes unrecognized. The disregard of the human toll is a moral failure. There are not only the medical costs of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of human and animal victims each year, but the financial liability that municipalities and humane shelters bear are ignored. Recent jury awards in California and Washington have cost municipalities millions of dollars, and the human toll is incalculable.

On September 21, 2011, nearly a year after city council voted to overturn their BSL, a pit bull "came out of nowhere" and attacked Bailey, a Golden Retriever, and latched onto her stomach. Lisa Clark, Bailey's guardian, and several others received cuts and bites to their hands and arms as they struggled to protect Bailey. Animal control officers and police arrived at the scene and captured the pit bull. Bailey was taken to a veterinarian with severe wounds, and the pit bull was transported to Helping Hands Humane Society.

* * * * * *

Source: The Topeka Capital - Journal

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ax3 Redux

The APDT is fully aware that any dog can bite,
 any dog can maim, and any dog can kill.

* * * * *

Readers of  SRUV will recall Michael Linke's memorable phrase Any dog is capable of any act, at any point in time. We thought Mr Linke's phrase so excessively . . . grandiose, that we've given it a kicky shortcut, Ax3.

Now SRUV has learned that the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has coined a phrase that also employs the triple repetition of the Any meme. The APDT claim that  Any dog can bite, any dog can maim, and any dog can kill is, if anything, even more deluded than Linke's statement.

What is it with pit bull advocates and the adjective Any?

And what is it with the ritualized, prayer-like phrases that are meant to convey that there are no differences between breeds?

While Linke's phrase is simply silly, the APDT version is dark, ominous. It speaks to us only of mayhem. Should we fear all of our animal companions? Linke's phrase, a hyperbolic elaboration of the long-time favorite All Dogs Bite, implies that pit bulls are no more dangerous than chihuahuas, which experience tells us is false. The APDT construction, on the other hand, inverts logic by implying that chihuahuas are every bit as dangerous as pit bulls, that they can maim and kill just as readily as a pit bull. The phrase strikes fear into our hearts, regardless of the intention.

With this statement the APDT has, perhaps without fully realizing it, acknowledged how dangerous pit bulls are.

Here is the full passage:
The APDT is fully aware that any dog can bite, any dog can maim, and any dog can kill. A dangerous or vicious dog is a product of a combination of individual genetics, upbringing, socialization, and lack of proper training. The solution to preventing dog bites is education of owners, breeder, and the general public about aggression prevention, not legislation directed at certain breeds.
The APDT has strained to construct an argument against BSL and in so doing has defied reason and ignored their own words. They understand that dogs are a product of, in part, their genetics, but in the next sentence the APDT assigns all responsibility for aggression to the owners, breeders, and the general public.

By this logic, the victim of a pit bull attack (presumably a member of the general public) is responsible for his own injury.

* * * * *

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 32+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

Record 33 fatal pit bull attacks & 459 disfigurements in 2015

Pit bulls killed 24,000 other dogs & 13,000 cats in 2015

2015 Dog Bite Related Fatalities (Daxton's Friends)

Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

Today's pit bull attacks

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

BSL Scholarship

Our collective attitude toward our animal companions began to change with the publication of Peter Singer's Animal Liberation in 1975. The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 and animal law courses are currently taught in over a hundred law schools in the US.

SRUV recently reviewed the scholarship related to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL); we've included a brief bibliography below and more titles can be viewed here and in the relevant scholarly and legal databases.

* * * * * 

Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: Why Breed-Specific Legislation Won't Solve the Dangerous-Dog Dilemma; Hussain, Safia Gray. 74 Fordham Law Review 2847

Canine Profiling: Does Breed-Specific Legislation Take a Bite out of Canine Crime; Pratt, Heather K. 108 Penn State Law Review 855

Dangerous Dog Laws: Failing to Give Man's Best Friend a Fair Shake at Justice; McNeely, Cynthis A.; Linquist, Sarah A. 3 J. Animal L. 99

Panic Policy Making: Canine Breed Bans in Canada and the United States; Hunter, Susan; Brisbin, Richard A. Prepared for delivery at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association.

Dog Bite Injury: an investigation into the effectiveness of regulation, Watson, Linda (Thesis)

Pit Bull Bans and the Human Factors Affecting Canine Behavior; Medlin, Jamey; 56 Depaul Law Review, 1285

* * * * * *

SRUV will not characterize all animal law scholarship, but a look at one paper is illuminating. The following paragraph serves as the opening of Irrationality Unleashed: The Pitfalls of Breed-Specific Legislation (Swann, Kristen E.  78 UMKC L. Rev. 839). The Introduction is titled A Tale of Two "Pitties" and begins:
A young woman struggles with an overfull trash bag in a chilly, hissing rain. Hefting the bag into the trash bin behind her apartment building, she hears weak but insistent mewling. Seven impossibly tiny puppies huddle in the wet detritus behind the container. The woman whistles several times to summon the pups' mother. No dog appears. The listless dogs cannot survive in the damp cold. She retrieves a basket lined with towels from her apartment and . . . . 
This three-hankie tear-jerker qualified for the Law Review?

* * * * * *

What is immediately apparent is the mind-numbing tedium of so much of the research on this subject.  It is almost as if the scholars are repeating the same ideas to one another, over and over. This selection of titles, and the excerpt above, do not inspire confidence in current animal law scholarship.

* * * * * *

Related Material:
Related post: Dangerous Dog LawsDDL
See also: Bioethics (Wikipedia)

Overview of "breed specific" laws, Kenneth Phillips, Dog Bite Law

Statistics 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


Friday, September 9, 2011

Escape Artists: VI

Sept 8th, 2011

About 7 a.m. on Saturday, 41-year old Craig Higgins took his Alaskan Malamute, Belle, to Aptos Junior High School for their usual romp.

Three off-leash pit bulls attacked Higgins and Bella. The pit bulls' owner, who wore a flannel shirt and had a "horseshoe" mustache, was several hundred yards away. Craig received  numerous bites as he tried to separate the dogs.

The pit bulls' owner, who was described as a white man in his late 40s or early 50s, eventually took his three dogs to a silver sport-utility vehicle in the parking lot, and drove off.

"He ran and left my husband there bleeding," said Priscilla Higgins. Craig had more than 20 wounds on his legs and hands that could not be closed with stitches. Craig has been unable to work and the Higgins have had to cover the medical bills.

The pit bulls were described as standard size of 35 to 50 pounds. Anyone with information about the attack please call animal control officials at 454-7303 ext 1.

* * * * * * * * 

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


SRUV recently initiated a series of posts on Dangerous Dog Laws (DDL) with this post. The comments to the post are worthy of note, and are posted below for those who may have missed them.

* * * * * 

Dorothea Malm said...
This is a great series to undertake! DDL have become more prevalent recently, and it seems to be working for all types of dogs excepting gripping/fighting breeds.

The fact that DDLs don't address egregious kinds of attacks like the one described here - launching out of a car to disembowel - clearly shows they can address normal dogs, but not gripping/fighting dogs.
Janelle Jerman said...
Thank you for undertaking this series. I am so saddened and disgusted by the city of Arvada's response to the attack on my Uno. The deputy chief of police told me that animal control could have removed the pit bull who killed Uno after the attack on Kim Greene's dog, but left it up to the discretion of the animal control officer in charge of her case. This is in spite of a THREE YEAR history of complaints and citations (including TWO dangerous and vicious dog citations and a court appearance) over this animal! If the laws that are already in place aren't even enforced with consistency or common sense then how can we keep our companion animals safe? How can a community remain safe from preventable attacks such as this? DDL NEED to have specificity to prevent tragedies like ours from happening again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Claw Hammer

[This post is archived and is no longer supported.]

* * * * * 
Revised: July 17, 2013; 15:01 GMT

. . . most likely caused by a claw hammer found in the vicinity.  
Linda Watson, from a comment on The Conversation

SRUV recently came upon an account of a dog attack while reading the comments under an article. The comment is excerpted here:
I recall one [human] fatality, due to dog attack, where the dog was subsequently found to have suffered a fractured skull, most likely caused by a claw hammer found in the vicinity.  . . . .   In this case, the media focused heavily on describing the dog as a Rottweiler. I needed a laugh and I certainly got it! It was a small black and tan dog of unknown parentage with little, if any, resemblance to a Rottweiler. It will be a great example for use in a media analysis. Now there are polls asking whether Rottweilers should be banned.
This comment is unusual in several respects, not least of which is the incongruous injection of frivolity by a scholar into a description of awful mayhem involving a human death and a dog with a fractured skull.

There are other disturbing elements in this account. We are especially intrigued by the presumed claw hammer attack on the dog, and are seeking proof of when the hammer attack on the dog occurred. Did it occur prior to the dog's attack on the human (and perhaps serve as a contributing factor to the dog's attack on the human), as Ms Watson seems to suggest?

It seems too obvious that the claw hammer attack occurred as a defensive effort to fend the dog off during the fatal attack; surely the investigators would have considered that possibility. A third possibility is that the claw hammer was used by a third party to destroy the dog, following the fatal attack.

We are also curious as to how a "small dog" could be implicated in a canine homicide. When we think of a small dog we think of a lap dog. But some one year old pit bulls are relatively small, and yet are capable of canine homicide.

Furthermore, we're curious about the "polls" which ask if Rottweilers should be banned. Were these polls scientifically conducted, or were they simply digital customer surveys now commonly found beside news stories on the web?

We agree with Ms Watson that this case deserves further study, and SRUV would like to verify the particulars of this fatal dog attack. Please send links to original sources (as opposed to apocryphal accounts) to SRUV.

In an effort to discover the truth of this purported attack, SRUV will publish the results of any verifiable information we receive, regardless of what it shows. In the meantime, SRUV suggests it is unwise for anyone, especially a scholar, to indulge in passing rumors in comment sections. Furthermore, we find that the macabre attempt at humor in this otherwise horrific account is particularly offensive.

* * * * *
Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 32+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

Dog Bite Studies Index

Today's pit bull attacks
   Google News

This page may also include information from Dogsbite & Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good For Dogs

I don't know why I'm still surprised at how illogical 
and contradictory professional pit bull haters can be.
 -- Mike Bailey, comment on The Conversation

* * * * * 

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your work on behalf of our animal companions with

I agree that the comment to which you refer was not our finest moment. It left us longing for a retroactive delete function. We could plead too much coffee but excuses are cowardly.

While acknowledging this, we at the same time take exception to your use of the phrase "professional pit bull haters." SRUV is assuredly not professional, as anyone can see from a cursory glance. SRUV could benefit from your skills not only as a web administrator, but also as an animal welfare professional.

My larger concern is your use of the ad hominem fallacy: pit bull hater. You may be aware that SRUV has considered at length the rhetoric of the pit bull advocacy movement, where hater is a common epithet. To dehumanize individuals in this manner is, as we know from our long histories, a device used . . . . . well, do I need to go on? In the pit bull wars the term haters is used to disparage those who advocate for our more vulnerable animal companions while also advocating for public safety.

You also claim that SRUV, as presumed pit bull haters, are illogical. In reply I could argue  that it is not illogical to argue for the public safety, in view of the fact that pit bulls have killed at least twelve people already (by September 1) in the US this year, and have also attacked hundreds of companion animals and humans. I invite you to read a few SRUV posts to see if we are indeed illogical, or if we can be accused of using  inflammatory rhetoric.

Thanks again for your good work. Regards,

* * * * *

Related post:  RSPCA Act
See also:  Good for Dogs, Mike Bailey

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gameness: VI

They stabbed it 30 times with a knife and bludgeoned it 
to death  . . . .  to stop it ripping Anthony to pieces.

* * * * * 

He had gone to stroke it when it went berserk, locking its jaws on him, tossing him around and ripping open his flesh.

He was screaming for his life but the dog had hold of his neck. I ran home to get two knives. It sat on him, as if to say, 'This is my meat.' It was like a lion. It jumped on him, trying to bite his face, got him to the floor and dragged him in its jaws.

The dog savaged every part of him. You could see through his leg.

* * * * * 

Scott Singleton and his mum Eileen were hurt as they stabbed the dog 30 times with a knife and bludgeoned it to death. Scott's dad Mark said: "If it wasn't for my son and my wife, the lad would have been dead."

* * * * * * * * * *

As reported by The Sun

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Repeat Offender

This post is part of an ongoing series which illustrates how Dangerous Dog Laws (DDL) have failed to protect our animal companions and to protect public safety.

* * * * * * *

July 22, 2011:  Robert Delorasa is cited with dog at large and no license for Deuce, a brown and white pit bull, and one other pit bull.

August 5, 2011:  Deuce escapes his backyard and attacks a small beagle, who survives with wounds to the face, ear, and legs. Delarosa is cited for nuisance animal and dog at large.

August 9, 2011:  Deuce attacks 12-year old Atticus, as he is walking with his owner. Deuce placed on home quarantine.

August 10, 2011:  Deuce placed on quarantine at Weld County Humane Society; Delarosa cited for animal at large and vicious animal.

August 21, 2011:  Deuce released to Delarosa, pending municipal court.

August ??, 2011:  Delarosa moves to a new address.

Aug 29, 2011: Deuce jumps a fence into a backyard, then hurdles a second fence into the dog run of Chief, a six-year old German Shepherd. Chief sustained wounds to his chest, front legs, and rear thigh before Chief's owner shoots Deuce.

Evans Municipal Code, Chap 6.04, Section 180 (Vicious Animals)

* * * * * *

Related post: Dangerous Dog Laws

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dangerous Dog Laws

This post is outdated and has been deprecated.
Links may be vaporlinks.

* * * * *

Janelle Jerman was walking her 2-year-old Yorkie on August 22nd near 62nd Place and Yukon Court, when two pit bulls jumped out of a car window and attacked.

They grabbed Uno and disemboweled him right in front of me.

Three weeks earlier the same pit bull that killed Uno attacked Kimberly Green's West Highland Terrier, Chloe. The owners of the pit bull were also issued a summons last year for having a vicious dog.

Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina said that if it's not a person who was attacked, police don't automatically remove dogs.

* * * * *

City of Arvada comment on Breed Bans
City of Arvada Animal Rules and Regulations
Arvada Municipal Code, Chapter 14, Sec 51 (Dangerous Animals)

ABC 7 News, Arvada, CO

Friday, August 26, 2011


Any dog is capable of any act, at any point in time.
  -- Michael Linke, CEO of the RSPCA, ACT

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

We have all heard the following phrases:
  • Judge the deed; not the breed
  • It's not the dog; it's the owner
  • It's all how they're raised
  • And above all, All dogs bite

When listed together we are struck by just how defensive these phrases are. Following a sensational attack one or more of these phrases are invariably hauled out to defend the breed of obsession.

Following the recent death of Ayen Chol at her mother's feet Mr Linke (the owner of a pit bull) abandoned these overused phrases  and struck out for something more impressive. He came up with the wildly imaginative phrase in the header of  this post. SRUV will henceforth refer to his construction as Ax3.

Any dog, Any act, Any time; Any trebled, or cubed. Mr Linke's statement is an exponentially improved version of the tired old meme All dogs bite. Not only will any dog bite, given the chance, or perhaps even maul you to death, but according to Mr Linke any dog is likely to do, or at least capable of doing, anything, at any time.

I believe Mr Linke's intention with Ax3 is that we shouldn't fear a pit bull attack any more than we fear a nip from a chihuahua. Indeed, this is the way much of the advocacy rhetoric functions: by making specious comparisons that are blatantly dishonest, but insanely effective.

If we further deconstruct Ax3 we might believe that my chihuahua could write a symphony on a par with Mahler's Night Music; she might even write it tonight.

Pit bull advocates have been coming up with similar nonsense for years. SRUV has discussed elsewhere on these pages how pit advocates have used these phrases to frame the debate. It begins with a casual mention, like Mr Linke's statement to a member of the press following the death of a child. Then it spreads and takes hold, like a virus. Other pit bull advocates read these phrases, believe them despite their absolute lunacy, and repeat them. And eventually they are accepted without question.

* * * * *

The Herald SunPoint Cook Weekly, and The Australian, among others.

Statistics in SRUV:
Statistics 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.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Escape Artists: V

I don't give a F***!  
I'm leaving this place and never coming back!
-- Yanett DelRubio, owner of the pit bulls that attacked Juanita Sharp

* * * * * 

Juanita was attacked by DelRubio's two pit bulls on July 25th in Yucca Valley, California. She has endured five surgeries and remains in the hospital.

[DelRubio] skipped town that night of the attack. She left everything she owned and ran.
     -- James Sharp, Juanita's husband

* * * * * * * * * *

Source: Cactus Thorns, Morongo Basin Ombudsman

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Down Under

Any dog is capable of any act, at any point in time.
  -- Michael Linke, CEO of the RSPCA, Victoria

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jackline Ancaito and Mawien Chol left Sudan in 2001. After spending three years in Egypt waiting for resettlement they arrived in Australia in 2004. On the evening of August 17 they were in the home of Ms Ancaito's cousin when a pit bull burst into the home and first attacked five-year old Nyadeng. Four-year old Ayen Chol was clinging to her mother's legs when the pit bull focused its attack on her, and ultimately killed her.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said pit bull terriers had ''lost their licence to exist."

* * * * * * * * * * 

Australian pit bull advocates have proven as adroit as their northern counterparts in the wake of the attack. Dog behaviour specialist Brad Griggs said that governments should abolish breed-specific regulations because pit bulls were not more dangerous than other breeds.

Michael Linke, the Chief Executive Officer of the RSPCA, has warned against any irrational demonisation of the breed. Mr Linke owns a two-year-old pit bull terrier named Dahlia.

Mr Linke went on to characterize Mr Walsh's claim as an  emotional overstatement.  ''Any dog is capable of any act, at any point in time,'' he said.

* * * * * * * * * * 

A few years ago, when people might mourn the death of a child before defending or excusing the murderer, saner voices prevailed. Former RSPCA president Hugh Wirth said that American pit bull terriers were a menace and not suitable as pets. He described them as "time bombs waiting for the right circumstances".

* * * * * * * * * *

Related posts: Premack's Second PrincipleAll Dogs Bite

Sources: The Canberra Times, The Dimboola Courier, and The Newcastle Herald, among others.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Madding Crowd

Eventually we're going to find out if there's anything physically or medically wrong with the dog that may have caused this attack.
     -- Pacifica Police Captain Dave Bretini, referring to Gunner, the pit bull that killed Darla Napora

* * * * * * * * * * 

My first thought about this tragedy was that this was probably resource guarding. The dog had something that his owner was trying to remove from him. 
     -- Trish King, Director of Behavior and Training at the Marin Humane Society

* * * * * * * * * *

. . . It was possible that Gunner was provoked by something getting in the way of food or a toy he wanted.
     -- Scott Delucchi, Peninsula Humane Society

* * * * * * * * * *

The woman fell off a ladder and hit her head . . . .  The dog had blood on it's body because he was trying to nudge her to make her move.... 
     -- Cindy Marabito, author of Pit Bull Nation

* * * * * * * * * *

I am firmly convinced in my own mind that the aggression he exhibited had surfaced before this horrible death occurred (probably when he was about 15 months old) and either was not recognized as aggression, ignored or excused.
* * * * * * * * * *

Tazi is kind of our rock. Right now we need her back. It's what Greg has left right now.
     -- Sandy Robinson, Darla Napora's mother, referring to Greg Napora's second pit bull

* * * * * * * * * * 

They are the most loving animals I have ever had in my life.
     -- Greg Napora, referring to Gunner, the pit bull that killed his wife Darla. Napora plans to bury Gunner's cremated remains in the casket with his wife.

* * * * * * * * * *
Darla Napora
41931 517691     47
her path of destiny = 47 = Internationally known
     -- Ed Peterson Numerology, Numerology for Darla Napora

* * * * * * * * * *

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife . . . .
     -- Thomas Grey, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

* * * * * * * * * *

Related posts:  Like Birds Flying

Compiled from various news sources including the Daily Mail, the Mercury News, the Examiner, the Contra Costa Times, the San Mateo County Daily Journal, and the Sonoma County Press Democrat, among others.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

All Dogs Bite

Revised: August 1, 2012; 02:18 GMT
Revised: December 29, 2014; 18:36 GMT

When advocates of fighting breeds are given the opportunity to speak or are interviewed for print journalism, the phrase All dogs bite is invariably used.

Advocates of fighting breeds claim that pit bulls show no more aggressive tendencies than Chihuahuas or Golden Retrievers. Anyone who views the images below and then compares pit bull attacks to the bite of a Chihuahua or a Pomeranian or a Golden Retriever, is simply mad.

* * * * * * * * * *


The images below are disturbing.

These images and links to graphic images
are not suitable for all viewers. 

* * * * * * * * * * 


* * * * * * *

I suspect that many of the pit bull advocates who use the phrase All dogs bite to excuse pit bulls have never seen images of an actual pit bull attack, like those below which are from Animal Bites in Emergency Medicine (Alisha Perkins Garth, MD; Chief Editor: Jonathan Adler, MD).

* * * * * * * * * *

* * * * *

The following images are taken from the FaceBook page of  Marie Helene Tokar, who was attacked by her neighbor's pit bull. You can view additional images of Marie on her FaceBook page:  Marie Helene Tokar

* * * * *
Additional Images:
Additional images of pit bull attacks are included in Case Report: Pit Bull Mauling Deaths in Detroit, Cheryl L Loewe, MD, et al

* * * * *
Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 32+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

Record 33 fatal pit bull attacks & 459 disfigurements in 2015

2015 Dog Bite Related Fatalities (Daxton's Friends)

Fatal Pit Bull Attacks

Today's pit bull attacks

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.