Monday, May 14, 2012

The Hannover Formula

A golden retriever is capable of inflicting just as much damage as a pit bull.
Lyndsay Anderson, Animal Humane New Mexico

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To: Peggy Weigle, Executive Director, Animal Humane NM

In October of 2011 the MSPCA, one of our more venerable animal welfare institutions, hosted their annual pit bull promotion campaign. This campaign came on the heels of two canine homicides. SRUV questioned the wisdom of such a campaign, in view of the fact that two children had been killed by pit bulls in the preceding days. The final post in the series addressed the MSPCA claim that
pit bulls are no more likely to show inappropriate aggressive behavior than are golden retrievers.
Numerous versions of the pit bull / Golden Retriever claim are in circulation among advocates of fighting breeds. The claim made by Ms Anderson (at the top of this page) is unusual in that it is the first time, in our knowledge, that anyone has claimed that a Golden Retriever can inflict just as much damage as a pit bull. This is a disgraceful assertion, especially in view of the fact that she is responding to two recent canine homicides by pit bulls in New Mexico. In her response she defends the breed responsible for the murders while slandering Golden Retrievers.

The advocates of fighting breeds use the pit bull / Golden Retriever equation so often that discussing and refuting the comparison has become awkward and time consuming.  As a convenience to readers we have coined a term, and in the future will refer to the conflation of pit bulls and Golden Retrievers as The Hannover Formula. The name is derived from the Veterinary Behavior Institute in Hannover, Germany that first compared fighting breeds to Golden Retrievers.

Ms Anderson and others who use The Hannover Formula must view the public with contempt, to try to convince us of this absurdity.

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On April 30th, 2012, the Baltimore Sun ran a story which referred inaccurately to policies of Animal Humane NM. Shortly after the article appeared Ms Weigle posted a letter on the AHNM website which includes emphatic comments favorable to pit bulls.

Then, in the following days,  two people in New Mexico were killed by pit bulls.

Ms Weigle mentions with pride that the AHNM has placed "hundreds of lovable pit bulls into wonderful homes."  Ms Weigle does not comment on the numerous recent reports of re-homed pit bulls which have been involved in attacks.  Shelters which adopt out fighting breeds and place them in family situations are increasingly subject to extraordinary liability suits which can endanger the viability of the shelter itself.

Additionally, Animal Humane NM sponsors a program, the 505 Pit Crew, which provides outreach with free dog training classes in an effort to divert youth from dog fighting and provide them with the education and tools needed for responsible dog ownership. While this may sound laudable, SRUV suggests that this program and others like it are early-learning tools for pit bull advocacy, and quite possibly is a marketing tool for adopting out the excess pit bulls they shelter. SRUV suggests that it is irresponsible to expose children of school age to fighting breeds.

There will be a time, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, when the scales will fall from our eyes and we will collectively realize that pit bulls are not suitable family pets. Until that happens the advocates of fighting breeds will continue to reassure us that pit bulls are no more aggressive or dangerous than Golden Retrievers.

In the 30 year period from 1982 through 2012 in the US and Canada, two canine homicides were attributed to Golden Retrievers, one of which was caused by rabies and the second by a bizarre strangling accident. During the same period in the US, pit bulls and close pit bull mixes accounted for at least 217 deaths, nearly 50% of the total canine homicides.*

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* One Golden Retriever responsible for an attack was rabid. The second accidentally strangled Kaitlyn Hassard, 6, of Manorville, Long Island, on 1/24/06, by tugging at her scarf. Statistics are from Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, published by Animal People. To view or download the current PDF click here.

See TiHo Index for complete list of posts on TiHo.

News Source: Las Cruces Sun-News

See Also: Animal Humane New Mexico

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks in the US