Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fox News Detroit: Pit Bull News

Two Fox Luminaries Succumb

Revised: May 6, 2015; 14:28 GMT

Michigan advocates for fighting breeds circled the state capitol in Lansing on September 17, 2014. The encirclement signaled the launch of a campaign to repeal Breed Specific Legislation throughout the state. The leadoff speaker at the noon rally was Terry Hodskins, who has fostered dozens of pit bulls at her White Lake rescue facility. Program notes for the rally listed Hodskins as a "victim" of Breed Specific Legislation.1

Among the other speakers at the rally were Jon Dunn of Grand Rapids, a Senior Manager of Policy for Best Friends Animal Society, and Animal Control Officer Rachel Jensen, also of Grand Rapids. Jensen earned her 15 minutes of fame several weeks later when she participated in the protest of a memorial to victims of fatal pit bull attacks.2

The rally was co-sponsored by Mi-PACA and Hodskins' rescue organization; the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Courtney Protz-Sanders of Mi-PACA.

* * * * * 

On December 12, 2014, Mi-PACA published the annual summary of their Advocate Spotlight, a roll call honoring Michigan pit bull advocates. The honoree for August of 2014, the month prior to the anti-BSL rally, was Terry Hodskins. Among Terry's proudest moments of 2014 was
. . . the opportunity she and her dog “Diamond” had on Fox 2 news, sharing their stories and defending the breed. Diamond has made more than four appearances. One of the most defining moments of her rescue life was when Huel Perkins called after a show on the news and after fighting with him for years about the subject, he finally said, “Terry you are right. I cannot discriminate against 1% of the breed that does wrong verses [sic] the millions that do right.” The following year, Huel and Charlie Langton, who too was deathly afraid of pit bulls, looked in the camera during a taping and said, “pit bulls can make great family pets.” 
Hodskins and Courtney Protz-Sanders appeared on Fox News as early as 2008. Fox anchor Huel Perkins and Fox News Legal Analyst Charlie Langton have been unable to resist the charm offensive by the two pit bull advocates. And visiting with docile pit bulls in the studio has apparently convinced the two anchors that pit bulls make great family pets.

* * * * * 

At 4:12pm on March 6, 2015, Fox News Detroit broke the story of a domestic disturbance in Hazel Park. The lead sentence for the story follows the now conventional hero pit bull motif:
A 2-year-old pitbull is being hailed a hero after her owner says she saved her from domestic violence.
At 10:41 the following morning the hero pit bull motif was picked up by the local Oakland Press. The story was a three-sentence skeleton account cribbed from Fox TV, but it appeared under an attention-grabbing headline almost as long as the story itself:
Hero pit bull saves owner during domestic violence, faces removal from home due to city ordinance
In the following days the story spread like wildfire, with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of media outlets recounting Jaimie Kraczkowski's harrowing tale of abuse. The pit bull advocates who acted as Kraczkowski's advisors and handlers enjoyed a cozy relationship with Fox News and direct access to the anchors.

On March 6, 2015, (the day Kraczkowski called the police) Protz-Sanders was waiting for an incident that would serve as the catalyst "which could eventually see the law gone from the city,"3 and which would ultimately usher her preemption legislation through the Michigan Senate. Ms Kraczkowski's call provided that catalyst. On May 6th, after three months during which Protz-Sanders carefully ratcheted up the pressure, the Hazel Park City Council voted to revoke their Breed Specific Legislation. Charlie Langton wrote the glowing report on the Fox News web page. Protz-Sanders, with Ms Kraczkowski's timely help, had accomplished the first of her goals.

Questions persist about the accuracy of Ms Kraczkowski's story. As we now know, Kraczkowski gave different accounts to the police and to the pit bull advocates who counseled her and ultimately managed the news. Also, according to the Mi-PACA Facebook page, Ms Kraczkowski pocketed the tidy sum of $9,000 after the incident and reportedly is living with the partner who abused her.

Is Fox News Detroit suppressing news of pit bull attacks?

The urbane Fox News anchor Huel Perkins, Legal Analyst Charlie Langton, and the city of Hazel Park may have succumbed to the wiles of the pit bull ladies, but pit bulls remain in the news. In April a Grosse Pointe Farms woman was seriously injured. Later in the month an Ingram County teenager was attacked. In early May a postal carrier in Alcona County was attacked by a pit bull.

Three days after Hazel Park lifted their ban three people were injured by a pit bull in Forester Township. Ten days later a 20-month old Alanson child was critically injured and airlifted to Grand Rapids. None of these attacks were reported by Fox News or in local media. Nor did Fox report the May 19th judgment of $100 million to Detroit pit bull mauling victim Steven Constantine. Since the March 6th "domestic abuse" incident that led to the revocation of Hazel Park BSL there have been five fatal pit bull attacks in the US.4

According to the MI-PACA Advocate Spotlight, Huel Perkins claimed that only 1% of pit bulls are guilty of attacks. The percentage of pit bulls that attack is open to debate; the salient fact is that pit bulls cause more deaths, maimings, and permanent disfigurements than all other breeds combined. That fact is studiously avoided by advocates of fighting breeds.

Fox claims to present "Fair and Balanced" news. That's not the case when it comes to pit bulls in Michigan.

* * * * *
1   Hodskins' claim to victimhood was not explained on the program.
2   Three Pit Bull Stories to Chew On; Animals 24-7, October 7, 2014.
3   Two more pit bulls face removal as Hazel Park's breed-specific ban controversy rages; Daily Tribune; March 12, 2015.
4   Roy Higgenbotham Jr. (age 62); De'trick Johnson (age 36); Kenneth Ford (age 79); Brayden Wilson (age < 1); James Nevils III (age 5). See Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Primary Source:
Mi-PACA Facebook post of December 12, 2014
   (Cached mhtml version: )

Other Sources:
Man Attacked By Dog [pit bull] Speaks Out About 'Terrifying' Ordeal
   June 19, 2015; 9&10 News
Pit bull attacks jogger on roadway
   June 17, 2015; Crawford County Avalanche
Flint residents say stray dogs are making neighborhoods unsafe
   June 14, 2015; MLive
Pitbull shot dead after fatal attack
   June 9, 2015; Hometown Life
Pit Bull Mix Attacks Edwardsburg Michiagan Woman, Becomes Victim Of Cyber Bullying
   June 8, 2015; The Inquisitr
Pit bull attacks postal worker
   June 6, 2015; Monroe News
Bay City pit bull-boxer mix bites police officer, owner fighting to keep dog alive
   June 5, 2015; MLive
Pit bull attack (Canton, MI)
   June 2, 2015; Hometown Life
Northern Mich. girl hospitalized after pit bull attack
   May 21, 2015; Detroit Free Press
. . . emergency crews took the girl to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital, and she later was airlifted to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.
$100 million 'symbolic' judgment entered in dog attack case
   May 19, 2015; Houston Chronicle
3 injured by pit bull after breaking up fight with other dogs
   May 10, 2015; WDIV Detroit
Hazel Park set to lift ban on pit bulls
   May 8, 2015; Daily Tribune
Hazel Park lifts pit bull ban
   May 7, 2015; WDIV Detroit
Hazel Park lifts pit bull ban after dog saves domestic abuse victim
   May 7, 2015; Fox 2 News
Flint Police shoot, run-over dog with history of biting people
   May 7, 2015; MI NBC News
Mail Carrier Bitten By Dog
   May 5, 2015; WBKB Fox TV (Alcona County, MI)
Family dog shot and killed by neighbor in Canton
   May 5, 2015; Detroit Free Press
Hazel Park plans on denigrating the local veterans Memorial Day parade with pitbull promoters and their dogs allowed to walk in the parade (Letter)
   May 1, 2015; Oakland Press
Pit Bull Put Down After Biting Teenager
   April 24, 2015; WLNS (Ingram County)
Woman seriously injured by dog attack in Grosse Pointe Farms
   April 9, 2015; WDIV Detroit
The Hazel Park pit bull ban
   March 15, 2015; Fox News (Discussion/interview panel)
Two more pit bulls face removal as Hazel Park's breed-specific ban controversy rages
   March 12, 2015; Daily Tribune
Hazel Park neighbors, pitbull owners working together to repeal breed ban
   March 10, 2015; Fox News Detroit
Animal rights group intervening to help hero Pit Bull
   March 10, 2015; Fox News Detroit
Pit bull bites Newaygo Co. sheriff’s deputy
   March 9, 2015; WOOD TV
Hero pit bull saves owner during domestic violence, faces removal from home due to city ordinance
   March 7, 2015; Oakland Press
Pitbull credited for saving owner, but will be removed from Hazel Park home
   March 6, 2015; Fox 2 Detroit
Clinton Township man ‘fights for his life' in dog attack on Clinton River Trail
   February 4, 2014; Oakland Press
Man bitten by pit bull while shopping at PetSmart in Southfield
   January 7, 2015; Oakland Press
Pit bull owners praise breed, fight Waterford ordinance
   February 24, 2013; Oakland Press
Pit Bull: Family Pet or Dangerous Animal?
   July 6, 2010; Fox2 Detroit
In the second video, a panel of guests joins Huel Perkins to debate pit bulls during a special edition of "Let It Rip". Joining him are Michele Watts, whose dog was killed by a pit bull, Terry Hodskins, who is a pit bull owner, and FOX 2 Legal Analyst Charlie Langton.
Protesters voice outrage over pit bull euthanasia
   November 15, 2009; Oakland Press

Other Sources:
Senate Bill 239 (2015) Legiscan
Senate Bill 239 (2015) MI Legislature
Senate Bill 239 (2015) Text

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

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" must 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.


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