Posts from the ‘Minimization of Attack’ Category

“Isolated incident”

The term “isolated incident” is often used by pit bull advocates after another terrible pit bull mauling dominates media headlines. A Google search of pit bull attack isolated incident shows over 43,000 results, many involving Level 5 maulings (horribly destructive) and DBRFs (Dog Bite-Related Fatalities). The term is used to compartmentalize the countless predictable tragedies caused by centuries of selective breeding for the fighting pit.

The term was recently used by a West Haven animal rescue group to whitewash the death of Neveah Bryant. (“animal rescue groups had been planning Pit Bull Awareness Day … and say the tragedy is an isolated one.”) The compartmentalization strategy is also employed by pit bull owners to avoid dogfighting and selective breeding as the causation of their containment breaking power, deadly bite style and relentless manner of attack.

You can not blame isolated incidents on one breed of dog. Thats like saying a certain race robbed a convenience store and killed the clerk therefore that whole race is bad. – Janeen Maxwell
Many times, the cities will pass breed bans under the excuse of eliminating dog fighting, but it is almost always in response to isolated incidents of bad pet ownership. – Sarah Sover
Too often today we judge an entire breed for an isolated incident, and Pit Bulls have unfortunately become the most sought after story of all. – Pit bull breeder
This is an isolated incident, there’s something like 34 fatal dog bites a year in this country, this country with perhaps around something like 74 million pet dogs. – Blue
Stories about pit bull attacks are tragic, but isolated incidents. – Random blogger
Dog owners feel it’s not fair to punish an entire breed for an isolated incident. – Pit bull owners
knee-jerk reaction to one isolated incident involving a so-called “Pit Bull Terrier”. – Nick Mays
It’s silly to ban an entire breed based off an isolated incident in the ’80s – Peter Lewis
Afterall one death, as absolutely tragic, appaling and stomach churning as it is, is an isolated incident. – Conners

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“A few bad apples”

After the family of Justin Clinton won a $7 million dollar verdict against the owners of two pit bulls that mauled him to death, user “Rebecca” left a comment at DogsBite.org that was not published. In the comment, she employed the “bad apple” phraseology used by pit bull advocates to minimize and dismiss the horrible death this 10-year old boy endured. Rebecca followed up by saying, but that’s life and it’s not perfect.

There’s always a few bad apples and yes bad things happen but sorry to say but that’s life and it’s not perfect … Or it wouldn’t be life …. – Rebecca
Courts have also rejected arguments that because the law targets docile members of the pit bull breed in addition to aggressive ones, the law is unconstitutionally overinclusive. Essentially, a few bad apples spoil the bunch… – Rebecca F. Wisch, Animal Legal & Historical Center
The idea of banning a breed of dog because of a few bad apples is like suggesting a race of humans be banned because some of them got out of line. – bmfg99
Dogs are a lot like people. Most are good, and there are some bad apples. Bad apples can come in any shape and size… – PHillian
Any dog can be bad. Like people, there are always a few bad apples – but humans know the difference when they commit a crime. – avegas

“Perfect storm”

A “perfect storm” is used to describe a hypothetical hurricane that results in the worst possible damage imaginable. Author Sebastian Junger coined the term after learning about the confluence of three different weather-related phenomenon called the “perfect situation.” A “perfect storm” typically strikes once in a century — truly a rare event. We believe Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the ASPCA, was the first to use the term “perfect storm” to describe a fatal pit bull mauling. He did so in a 2006 article by Malcom Gladwell. Lockwood’s presumptions have a basis in fatal pit bull attacks from the 1980s and have little if any relevance today. Further, the rate of fatal pit bull attacks in the United States today occurs on average every 19 days. Hardly once in a century.

“A fatal dog attack is not just a dog bite by a big or aggressive dog,” Lockwood went on. “It is usually a perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions—the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation. I’ve been involved in many legal cases involving fatal dog attacks, and, certainly, it’s my impression that these are generally cases where everyone is to blame. You’ve got the unsupervised three-year-old child wandering in the neighborhood killed by a starved, abused dog owned by the dogfighting boyfriend of some woman who doesn’t know where her child is. It’s not old Shep sleeping by the fire who suddenly goes bonkers. Usually there are all kinds of other warning signs.” – Randall Lockwood

After the publication of Gladwell’s piece, other Nutters began using the phrase.

Dr. Randy Lockwood of HSUS called it “…a perfect storm…”, and I have to agree. A fatal dog attack is the result of a conglomeration of many things, all joining up in one perfect storm that goes directly against thousands of years of physical and social evolution.  – Jim Crosby (See: The Crosby Analysis)
She added that the dog’s breed isn’t the most important factor. “Usually it’s a perfect storm situation, with a lot of things that lead up to the attack,” Hetts said. – Suzanne Hetts
Extensive research and investigation has conclusively identified the ownership/management practices that are at the root of the rare, but perfect storm when a dog becomes dangerous. – 00kat00
Pit bulls already are known to be an aggressive breed, and the tethering makes them more defensive of their turf, experts said. “It was a perfect storm,” said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services. – Marti Ryan
In many cases, the dogs that end up killing have a history of bites prior to the kill, and in some cases, there are NO prior offenses of aggression and the perfect storm of events has formed and thus, an unexpected bite or fatal bite. – Leigh Siegfried

“Dogs had begun scrapping”

This phrase stems from professional whitewasher James Crosby, who left a comment at a DogsBite.org blog post about the fatal attack of Mary Bernal. Crosby not only blames the horrifically violent incident on the victim and the victim’s sister-in-law, he also minimizes the attack by referring to it as the “dogs had begun scrapping”. Thus it’s perfectly normal for a dog scrap to result in one human being killed and another severely injured. Learn more by reading: The Crosby Analysis.

This attack began before the day of the attack. Relatives were visiting for a month and had a small dachshund. The dachshund had received substantial attention, supplanting the dog Taz in many interactions. Just prior to the attack Ms. Bernal had picked up the dachshund because the two dogs had begun scrapping. When Ms. Bernal yelled at Taz and snatched the dachshund away, Taz went after the little dog. Bernal held the dog up and screamed. Taz’s first bite was to Ms. Bernal’s hand, where she was holding the dachshund. Her screaming intensified, triggering further action by Taz. Ms. Bernal went down and Taz continued attacking the screaming, thrashing woman. Ms. Macias stuck the dog repeatedly with a shovel, intensifying the attack. – James Crosby

“The story doesn’t add up”

A well-trodden response after a serious or fatal pit bull attack by Maul Talkers is, “The story doesn’t add up.” The intention is to minimize the attack by suggesting that something other than the pit bull is responsible for the gruesome crime. Likely parties to blame are the victim or the parent for leaving the child unsupervised. A derivative of this phrase is, “The facts don’t add up.”

“We will not take responsibility for something that we believe our dog did not do.” The owners of the pit bull chose to keep their identity disclosed. They say Dziadul’s story doesn’t add up. – Pit bull owners
Why would anyone leave their child unattended, strapped in a highchair, while they are off in another room? Why couldn’t the child go with them? Something just doesn’t add up in this story. What was going on that was sooooo important that the child was left unattended… – Marsha
Why didnt the mother hear the boy crying when it first happened in the bathroom.then the baby got drugged outside,and you mean to tell me the mother didnt hear the baby screaming and crying..and why didnt the mother call 911 instead of calling a neighbor?..something not adding up here. – Dimitri Thierry [Learn more about this story and the “Save Bear” campaign]

“Media sensationalism”

Maul Talkers use the term “media sensationalism” to minimize serious and fatal pit bull maulings. Their intention is to allege that the attack is “no big deal” and is merely a matter of media sensationalism. According to Google News Archives, the term was adopted in the mid 1980’s when the first round of U.S. cities began adopting pit bull laws. The term is also closely related to: media hysteria.

Media should stop the sensationalizing about pit bulls
$2.95 – Chicago Sun-Times – NewsBank – Aug 10, 1987
But since it was a pit bull, the media milked it for all they could. … media start providing more of the truth about these dogs, and less
The Controversy Over Pit Bulls
Pay-Per-View – Los Angeles Times – ProQuest Archiver – Jul 11, 1987
Your editorial “Muzzling the Pit Bull” (July 1) was pure sensationalism. … The time has come for the media to stop …
Council to get Pit Bull Measure Without Staff …
$2.95 – Sacramento Bee – NewsBank – Aug 28, 1987
Other speakers said the ordinance and others like it were becoming popular because of unfair, sensational media coverage
Pit Bull Politics Raises Howl in S. Florida
$2.95 – Miami Herald – NewsBank – Jul 4, 1985
Sensational media attention, they contend, unfairly makes every pit bull seem like a land shark, a four-legged biting machine. …

“Lightning kills more people”

Pit nutter Adam Goldfarb, who heads up the Pets at Risk program at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), likes to point out to media members as often as possible that one is more likely to be killed by a “bolt of lightning than by a dog“. A Google Search of “lightening kills adam goldfarb” yields numerous results.

Shortly after Goldfarb’s statement was picked up by media sources, a respected member of the human-animal bond community, Dr. Alan M. Beck, wrote a letter that was published in Animal People Sept 09. Beck’s letter addresses many issues including how Goldfarb’s statement minimizes serious and fatal dog attacks.

Dog attack deaths & risk of lightning

In an article in my local newspaper today, a spokesperson for a major humane organization, in an attempt to minimize the risk to the public from dog attacks, is quoted as saying that more people are killed by lightning than dogs.

The National Weather Service said there were 27 lightning deaths as of this date in 2009, 28 in 2008, and 45 in 2007. This reflects the success of efforts to reduce the numbers of deaths from lightning strikes, which have historically killed an average of 73 Americans per year.

The highest number of people ever killed by dogs in one year in the U.S. was 33, in 2007. The average in this decade is more than 20, about double the average of the preceding two decades. Thus the death tolls from lightning and dog attacks are converging.

The humane society spokesperson failed to point out that even though lightning deaths are rare and becoming fewer, we still do whatever we can to minimize the risk, e.g., clearing public swimming pools during electrical storms, suspending golf games, installing lightning rods, and doing public education.

Attention to any public health risk is influenced by severity, the impacted population, and the economic interests of those affected.

Minimizing rabies has a huge veterinary and pharmaceutical establishment supporting it, so we respond to the disease despite its extremely rare occurrence in the U.S.

Minimizing dog attacks has no such economic support, so we minimize their importance by minimizing perception of the occurrence, even though fatal and disfiguring dog attacks are hundreds of times more common in the U.S. than human cases of rabies.

As they say at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, it is naïve to think disease is simply the presence of a pathogen.

Alan M. Beck, Sc.D. Professor & Director
Center for the Human-Animal Bond
School of Veterinary Medicine
Purdue University

“All dogs are unpredictable”

Much like “All dogs bite,” and “All dogs have teeth,” this phrase is used by Maul Talkers to flatten the dangerous dog breed issue by placing all breeds on the same dangerousness scale. This phrase, however, is especially misleading as unpredictable aggression is a proven genetic trait of the breed, and pit bulls are widely known by members of the public to unpredictably attack.

In Colorado Dog Fanciers v. Denver, which has withstood numerous legal challenges, the court noted fourteen separate areas of differences that pit bulls exhibit than other dog breeds including: strength, manageability of temperament, unpredictability of aggression, tenacity, pain tolerance and manner of attack (e.g. the pit bull bite style).

All dogs are unpredictable! Not just pit bulls! You ask why I would want to own a pit bull (which have been called the ‘nanny dog’ by the way)…Let’s see, they are good with children, they are very loyal, and just want to please. – Anonymous
ALL ANIMALS ARE UNPREDICTABLE. IVE OWNED A PITBULL FOR 7 YRS NOW AND THE ONLY THING HE AS EVER DONE IS LICK MY 4 GIRLS TO DEATH AND KNOCK THEM OVER PLAYING. – Nothing2little

“All dogs have teeth”

Just like the phrase, “All dogs bite,” the phrase, “All dogs have teeth,” is used by Maul Talkers to flatten the dangerous dog breed issue by placing all breeds on the same dangerousness scale. All dogs have teeth; therefore, all dogs have the propensity to KILL goes the theory, despite the fact the pit bulls kill more human beings than all other dog breeds combined. For instance in a 3-year period (2006 to 2008), pit bulls killed 52 people. All other breeds combined killed 41.

ALL dogs have teeth and can bite – Sample anti-BSL letter
Here’s a newsflash—all dogs have teeth. All dogs have the ability to bite and cause damage. – Pit nutter
All dogs have teeth, and ALL DOGS BITE… dont blame the pit bulls. – Pit nutter Diane Huges
“This is simply canine behavior not a breed specific behavior,” said Ron Cole of San Francisco. “All dogs have teeth. All dogs can be potential lethal weapons.” – Pit nutter Ron Cole

“Pomeranians kill too!”

Maul Talkers like to point out the single instance since the Big Bang when a pomeranian dog killed a 6-week old baby. The pomeranian phrase is used to minimize the massive number of victims pit bulls have disfigured, maimed and killed since the late 1970s.

Pomeranian Kills 6-Week-Old
GirlSeptember 21, 2001
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A small Pomeranian dog killed a 6-week-old baby while the infant’s caretaker briefly left the child unattended to warm a bottle of milk, authorities said.
The relative, who was caring for the infant girl, found her head buried in the dog’s mouth Saturday night, sheriff’s Deputy Cruz Solis said. The girl died of head trauma at an area hospital, he said.
The baby’s name was withheld because her parents were out of the country and had not been notified, Solis said.
The relative has not been charged. Animal control officers took the dog.
Pomeranians are a breed of miniature canines that have a foxlike face, pointy ears and long, fluffy hair. The deputy said Pomeranian attacks are rare.
“Obviously it doesn’t take much to kill a 6-week old baby but it’s not something that happens with that breed,” Solis said. – igorilla.com