Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Commentary: II

Is there a difference? Comparison of golden retrievers and dogs affected by breed specific legislation regarding aggressive behaviour.
S Ott, E Schalke, et al.
Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
3: 134-140

Is breed-specific legislation justified? Study of the results of the temperament test of Lower Saxony.
E Schalke, S Ott, et al.
Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
3: 97-103

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Note 5:
In an unusual publishing event, the two papers noted above were published in the same issue of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior; Clinical Applications and Research. The authors are associated with the same Institute at the same University. Ott and Schalke are co-authors of each other's papers. In essence, the two papers are designed to work in tandem. Ott sets up the argument and Schalke attempts to prove that Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is not justified. Theirs is a transparent, poorly conceived argument with questionable scientific value.

Note 6: Control Group
Ott's paper depends on two previous TiHo publications (Mittmann 2002 and Johann 2004) to make a comparison between the aggressive tendencies of dangerous dogs and Golden Retrievers. Ott presents Johann's research on the Golden Retrievers as a Control Group for Mittmann's earlier research on the dangerous dogs listed by the Lower Saxony breed list.
Ott uses the term Control Group (to refer to Johann's study of Golden Retrievers) at least eight times in a brief, seven page paper. But an examination of Johann's paper reveals that her study of Golden Retrievers was not designed as a control group for Mittmann's study of dangerous dogs (which was completed two years before Johann's study). 
The literature on the design of control groups in scientific experiments is extensive, and it's clear that Johann's study, designed and accomplished two years after Mittmann's, does not qualify as  either a Negative or Positive Control Group. Ott's pretense that Johann's study of Golden Retrievers was a Control Group is a specious argument, pasted on post factum to enhance the credibility of her own (Ott's) brief review.

Note 7: 
Shalke's paper, published in conjuction with Ott's, is intended to provide the answer, or proof, to Ott's question: Is There a Difference?  
Shalke provides no new findings; the paper provides nothing more than a summary of the findings provided by Mittmann six years earlier. The purpose of Shalke's paper is to restate the arguments against BSL at an important moment in US, German, and Lower Saxony dog legislation.

Note 8:
The fact that presumably scientific papers are written to provide arguments for the advocates of fighting breeds will come as no surprise to those who read German blogs and discussion forums. As early as December 2002 the German detractors of dangerous dog legislation were aware of forthcoming TiHo publications, and were poised to use them to weaken or overturn dog legislation. As mentioned previously in these pages, a comment left on the KSG forum* referred to Johann's forthcoming study of Golden Retrievers, with its exact title, a full two years before it was published. In the same discussion, Andreas also celebrated the TiHo publications:
Das sind doch gute Voraussetzungen für die bevorstehenden Gerichtsverhandlung über das Bundesgesetz und das niedersächsische Hundediskriminierungsgesetz! **
Andreas' comment appeared within days after Mittman's dissertation was published; it was as if the advocates of fighting breeds had been handed a gift. 
The recycled arguments made by Ott and Schalke in 2008 provide advocates of fighting breeds with a new cycle of references to continue their opposition to BSL.

  The commentary will be continued in a subsequent post.

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* Kampfschmuser Gemeinde, which translates roughly as the Fighting-Cuddling Community

** Surely these provide a good basis for the upcoming trial on the federal law and the Lower Saxony dog-Discrimination Act!

See TiHo Index (above) for complete list of posts on TiHo.

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