Monday, February 16, 2015

Questions For Journalists at The Newark Advocate

The Newark Advocate has long been a voice for public safety legislation which places restrictions on pit bulls. But in January 2015 that policy changed and the Newark Advocate began to advocate for the dogs that kill more humans than all other breeds combined.

What motivated the Newark Advocate to abandon their support of laws that have protected Newark citizens for years? How did this change happen? The public deserves to know.

The Newark Advocate's recent series on pit bulls included at least six articles published over a ten day period. The Sunday, January 11th edition included what appeared to be a heavily illustrated special insert titled Pit bull owners share the softer side of 'bully breeds'.1 The digital edition included multiple videos and the story, written by Emily Maddern, was picked up by newspapers across the country.

The series required a significant concentration of resources by the Newark Advocate. A project on such a scale requires large investments of human and financial capital; it requires extensive planning by the newspaper's management.  Was there outside funding?

The series was an extraordinary effort by a city newspaper to influence their city council on an important public safety issue. A publishing event of this significance raises numerous questions, a few of which are listed below.
1/   Did local pit bull advocacy groups lobby the paper to suggest this series?

2/   Did any pit bull advocacy groups from outside Licking county participate in lobbying the Newark Advocate?

3/   Did any pit bull advocacy groups from outside Ohio participate in lobbying the Newark Advocate?

4/   Did any employee of the Gannett newspaper corporate office provide input or assistance for the series? Did any Gannett employee object to the series? Was any Gannett employee aware of the Newark Advocate's series?

5/   Did any members of city council have any contact with the Newark Advocate regarding this series, other than answering questions during routine interviews?

6/   Did any pit bull advocacy group (local, state, or national) suggest or provide talking points or other content for any of the articles in the series?

7/   Did any pit bull advocacy group or any animal welfare group provide content, or technical or financial assistance for any of the articles in this series? Was the outreach from outside groups solicited by the Newark Advocate? Did the outside input or assistance, if it existed, corrupt the editorial integrity of The Newark Advocate?
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The citizens of Newark, Ohio deserve to know how their newspaper made the decision to reverse their editorial position on this public safety issue, which will adversely affect the city and its citizens in the years to come.

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1   See A Softer, Safer Pit Bull

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" should 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.

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

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

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends

Rath renews attempt to delay vote on pit bull bill
   February 16, 2015; Newark Advocate
Scuffle may have led to dog attack
   February 12, 2015; The Newark Advocate
   There was some dispute Wednesday night about the breed of the dog involved, with some indication it could have been a pit bull.
Three people hospitalized in dog attack
   February 11, 2015; The Newark Advocate
   Initially, the call came in as a dog bite, Bingham said. As first responders were driving to the scene, though, the dispatcher kept adding potential victims to the list.
Newark dog owners hold vigil to support pit bulls
   February 10, 2015; WBNS  10 TV
Pit bull bill on to full council despite delay attempt
   February 2, 2014; The Newark Advocate
Mixed breed, pit bulls, labs bit the most in 2014
   February 1, 2014; The Newark Advocate
The public needs protection from all pit bulls
   Guest column  by Carole Miller
   January 30, 2015; The Newark Advocate
Newark’s third dog bite in a month attributed to pit bulls
   January 30, 2015 (Fri); Newark Advocate
New humane society facility means more adoptions
   January 30, 2015 (Fri); Newark Advocate
Pit bull equality bill heading to full council
   January 27, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Newark Considering Vicious Classification for Pit Bulls
   January 26, 2015 (Mon); MyFox 28 Columbus
Pit bull supporters push against breed-specific law
   January 20, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Pit bulls deserve another look
   January 17, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate Editorial
Rath vows to help pit bull owners fight vicious status
   January 13, 2015 (Tues); Newark Advocate
Pit bull running loose attacks, bites man
   January 13, 2015; Newark Advocate
Safety panel session invites pit bull owners' comments
   January 12, 2015 (Mon); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners share the 'softer side' of bully breeds
   January 11, 2015 (Sun); Newark Advocate
Roscoe; An American red nose pit bull
   January 10, 2015 (Sat); Newark Advocate
Pit bull owners complain to council about law, officer
   December 16, 2014; Newark Advocate
Official cancels meeting with pit bull owner
   December 5, 2014; Newark Advocate
Activist wants county to stop killing pit bulls
    August 12, 2014; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bulls Must Pass Good Citizenship Test To Get Off Vicious Dog List
   December 17, 2013; WBNS 10TV
Newark council passes pit bull ordinance
   December 17, 2013; Newark Advocate
Newark Pit Bull Regulations Close To Makeover
   December 10, 2013 (March 4, 2014); NBC4i
Newark's current pit bull law should stand
   December 7, 2013; Newark Advocate Editorial
Don't change Newark's vicious dog law
   October 14, 2012; Newark Advocate Editorial
Pit bulls kills dog
   December 1, 2004; Newark Advocate