Recently I published a post about "free speech" which actually referred to the fact that dogsbite.org had refused my offer to submit dog training articles which I thought might be a good fit for their website. I have written in the past about how children should be trained to behave around dogs in order not to get bitten, as well as writing about how we should train and manage our dogs in order to keep them from biting children.
However, despite the fact that dogsbite.org was not interested in my articles, I still found their recent email with a link to a 911 call concerning a dog bite victim extremely compelling, so I continued to correspond with them, and I also posted a link to that article on their website on my FB page.
Wow...talk about controversy. Both dog rescue and dog show enthusiasts attacked the owner of dogsbite.org with a vengence. This was a couple of weeks ago and I did not have time to do further research before Christmas, so I simply took the post down since I did not want someone being so thoroughly trashed on my Facebook page if I did not have time to do some research to see if it was justified.
But today I had a little time, so I read extensively through their website. Oddly enough, while doing so, I had Animal Planet playing in the background, and today was a full day of "Pit Bulls" all day on Animal Planet (as in episode after episode of Pit Bulls and Parolees).
This article is not about that television show. It is not really even about Pit Bulls.
Today I just wanted to write to you about www.dogsbite.org. If you are offended by someone talking about the percentages of fatal and serious dog bite attacks committed by Pit Bulls and Pit Bull type dogs, then you will find their website offensive. If however, you wish to read, with an open mind, statistics and articles about dog bite attacks, you will actually find the site fascinating and full of information.
I definitely did not find the website "anti-dog", which is what some of the comments on my FB posting indicated I would find. In fact, I found just the opposite. I admit the site is definitely not Pit Bull friendly, they do believe in legislation concerning this type of dog as a method of serious dog attack prevention.
Those who oppose breed specific legislation always use the words "your breed will be next". As an owner of Siberian Huskies, a breed that does consistently stay on the top ten list of fatal attacks, with 2-4 attacks a year on infants (not always in the US, but world-wide), I admit that I am concerned about breed bans. But I am more concerned about people having unrealistic expectations of dogs, and doing irresponsible things that lead to the loss of human life.
On dogsbite.org you will find quotes such as this one:
Pit Bull advocates and humane organizations often use scare tactis to help gain support for their cause. They say if pit bulls are banned today, German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels will be banned tomorrow. The former Dog Warden for Lucas County, Ohio, Tom Skeldon, was the most recognized authority in the US concerning Pit Bull regulations during his tenure. In a 2005 article, Skeldon states:
'"Some humane groups have been manipulated by these Pit Bull factions to where they fight breed-specific legislation using scare tactics like 'your breed will be next.' And for 13 years, their breed hasn't been next."
Reference: Bulldog Approach to Warden's Job Makes Skeldon a Favorite Target, by Dale Emch, Toledo Blade, February 21, 2005
I was given permission to quote from their recent email mailing which has the link to the 911 call, but I am going to give it to you as a link on the DogsBite.org website, so you will have the full story. Despite the fact that I own Siberian Huskies, a breed of dog that must be evaluated and placed very carefully only in responsible homes, I am not afraid to give you factual information about characteristics of different breeds.
Why? Not because I have any need at all to protect Pit Bulls or Pit Bull type dogs that have been involved in such a high percentage of fatal dog bite attacks. I don't. I researched fatal dog bite attacks years before we had the internet, back when the articles could be found primarily in pediatric journals. When I woud go up to Cornell University to Canine Behavioral Workshops, I would always schedule an extra day to spend in their library, to research and copy articles. I care deeply about this issue. I do not believe that protecting dogs who kill people is related in any way at all to protecting dogs in general.
In fact, I believe when we do so, it has the opposite effect. Dogs which make safe pets are discriminated against when we fight laws that could lower fatal dog bite attacks. We may find one day that all dogs over a certain size will be outlawed (try to find an apartment to rent right now that allows dogs over 20 or 30 pounds and you will see what I mean).
Please don't speak before you research. Read articles about fatal attacks. Study statistics. If your heart can stand it, listen to the 911 calls. Then make your own decision on this issue based on common sense. If you have a child or a grandchild, or if your grandparents live in an area where dogs run loose, you may have a different view than someone who lives in a city where few dogs run loose, or if you are someone young and fit who feels safe around all dogs (believe me, though, you are NOT SAFE, especially if you go jogging alone because there are numerous attacks on adults who are not elderly). In fact, I believe all those who walk or jog alone should carry pepper spray and/or a stick as protection against dog attacks.
Please click this link and listen to this 911 call (which, by the way, is not nearly as upsetting as many I have heard). But I think it will touch you, and perhaps make you think more about the fact that we must protect our children....that the life of ONE child is worth much more than the life of a dog, definitely worth more than the rights of allowing irresponsible people to own any type of dog they so desire. I believe in the public's right to bear arms, but I also believe in background checks, and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally unstalbe or people with criminal backgrounds. Unfortunately, we will never see the day when there will be background checks on who can own a dog, so the safest thing to do is to provide, as pets to the public, only the type of dogs that are, as a rule, safe as family pets. Here is the 911 call recently released:
IT IS TIME TO FACE THIS ISSUE HEAD ON. IT IS TIME FOR UNNECESSARY, PAINFUL MAIMING OF CHILDREN TO STOP. IT IS DEFINITELY TIME FOR FATAL DOG BITE ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES, AS WELL AS OTHER COUNTRIES, TO STOP....SINCE THEY ARE, ALMOST ALWAYS, PREVENTABLE. AND KEEP IN MIND THAT THE FATAL DOG BITE STATISTICS ARE SHOWING A VERY TINY SNAPSHOT OF THE PROBLEM, BECAUSE THEY DON'T INCLUDE ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST ARMS, OR CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN PERMANENTLY MAIMED BY DOGS BUT WHO ARE STILL ALIVE. THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THESE ATTACKS EACH YEAR THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, HUNDREDS IN THE US ALONE.
Coming soon...2012 Fatal Dog Bite Statistics.