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