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