Posts tagged ‘cherry-picking the evidence’

“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

“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

“Can you identify a pit bull?”

This phrase and its related themes are frequently voiced by Maul Talkers. The gist is that members of the public allegedly cannot identify a pit bull, despite the massive amount of press coverage (yielding 400,000 search results) of the Vick dogs and groups such as Best Friends and Bad Rap continuing to parade these pit bulls in front of the public via TV shows and more. Pit nutters go to elaborate lengths to trick members of the public into believing that they cannot identify a pit bull by creating “Find the Pit Bull” websites as well. A far more realistic Find the Pit Bull Test is located at DogsBite.org.

Variations include: 1.) Do you even know what a pit bull is? 2.) A pit bull is not a breed of dog, and  3.) Would you know a pit bull if you saw one?

pitsanddobs: “3rd Do you even know what a Pit Bull is? Would you recognize one if you saw one? Probably not most people can’t.”
Erik Hess: “First of all, a “Pit Bull” is not a breed of dog…”
Generic Pit Nutter: “If you wouldn’t know a pitbull if you saw one, you’re not alone.”

“You cannot trust the media”

Maul Talkers frequently condemn their critics by claiming a media bias against pit bulls and that one “cannot trust the media.” Google News Archives shows that the term cropped up in the early 1990s after television reporter Wendy Bergen staged a dogfight in her 1991 four-part series, Blood Sport about dog fighting in Colorado. The “cannot trust” term, however, has only been recently (2009) adopted by Maul Talkers.

CB, you seriously can’t trust articles like that. The CDC doesn’t track dog bites by breed, and they never have. For one thing, they don’t trust eyewitnesses to be able to accurately ID dog breeds..
–snip–
If you want true, factual information about any of this – this breed, dog bites, dog behavior – sadly, you cannot trust the media to tell you the truth. You’re going to have to do some research yourself, and maybe even go out and meet a pit bull… – kmarie

“Educate yourself!”

This term is frequently used by pit bull advocates to condemn persons who speak up about the inherent dangers of pit bulls. The term is expressed in a variety of ways, such as: Get educated, Do some education, I am an educator and Educate yourself. The mauling thread following a May story (Pit Bull Attacks Dog, Owner in Elliot City) is a classic example. The terms are used 15 times, here are just a few examples:

  • “You really need to get educated on dogs before you say anything”
  • “All I ask is you do some education on the breed”
  • “Should we ban the human. Come on people, get educated!”
  • “Get educated people, Petey from the little rascals was a pit bull”
  • “I am an educator with a masters degree and I own a pit bull!”
  • “Stop name calling and get some education!”
  • “This comment blog has turned into “educated” pit bull owners and breed experts trying to convince the “uneducated” non breed experts”

“Dachshunds are more aggressive”

After a study was published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science in 2008, which showed that “sausage” dogs were the most aggressive breed, Maul Talkers took to the streets clamouring victory. The ridiculous study — which in no way measured the severity of the bite — is often used by Maul Talkers to show that dachshunds are more dangerous than pit bulls. It must be noted that the majority of pit bull owners are strongly anti-small dogs and particularly dislike Dachshunds.

I’ve found little dogs are more snappy… My Shih Tzu would bite you a lot quicker than any of the other dogs, and my bully will lick you to death, or knock you over leaning on you for a scratch…. my sister had 2 little ankle biters, and one of them would bite you if you even tried to pet it…. Of course, that means I’m PRO big dog, anti little dogMollie’s Nana

Every dachshund I’ve ever met has been mean. I’m sure there are nice ones out there…but I’ve yet to meet one in my personal experience, and I work with dogs everyday as a kennel assistant! It’s always the little breed dogs that are the meanest IMO. – Anonymous

In the 27-years that Merritt Clifton of Animal People has been tracking serious and fatal dog attacks, pit bulls caused serious bodily harm to 1,451 persons, maimed 777 and killed 153. Dachshunds on the other hand, caused serious bodily harm to 5 persons, maimed 5 and killed 1. The victim killed was an 81-year old invalid woman and the attack involved a pack of six dogs, of which at least two were dachshunds. (See: Attacks by Packs of Dogs Involving Predation on Human Beings).

“An ‘attack’ with no bite”

The distorted logic, if there was no bite, there was no attack, is employed by Maul Talkers to minimize injuries suffered by victims even when the injuries result in death. For instance, after Plainfield AC officer Theresa Foss was knocked to the ground by a pit bull causing fatal head injury, the National Canine Research Council wrote on their website:

However, it was eventually disclosed that the dog did NOT inflict any bites. Without a bite, it is not accurate to classify this as an “attack.” It is certainly not unheard of for excited dogs to knock people over; therefore, it is entirely possible that this was an over-exuberant (non-aggressive) dog and not a dog intent on inflicting injury. – NCRC

A separate incident that resulted in death due to serious head injury after being knocked to the ground by an “exuberant” dog involved letter carrier Hao Yun “Eddie” Lin.

“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