Posts tagged ‘confirmation bias’

“Really nice dogs”

Following up on a submission by KaD last week, “[Pit bulls] are really nice dogs if you’d just give them a chance,” we now focus on the first part: “really nice dogs.” Variations, such as “really good dogs,” “really great dogs” and “really sweet dogs” are found ad nauseum online. However, “give them a chance” is the heavy hitter term due to the endless number of unwanted pit bulls sitting in shelters awaiting death (If only the public would give them a chance!). The term, “really nice dogs” and its variants are often used by owners after their dog violently attacks and by breed enthusiasts as a propaganda tool.

Lesson #1 — Parents often learn through their kids...
Dad: “So how was school today?”
Johnny: “It was Ok. Oh, a lady came and talked to us about being kind to animals. She brought her dog. That was the best part!”
Dad: “Really, what kind of dog was it?”
Johnny: “It was a pit bull named Sampson.”
Dad: “A pit bull? Were you scared?”
Johnny: “Nah. He’s a really nice dog. I got to pet him and give him a treat too.”
Even if Dad decides to call Johnny’s teacher out of concern, the message will just be reinforced. Sampson is a nice dog. – Pit Bul Propaganda Promoter
People that, like you and I, want a well-behaved family companion in an urban or suburban setting. They go to training classes, hire a private trainer, and do anything to proof to “everyone” that a pit bull or Amstaff can be a really nice dog. – Messed-up “Bullies” Don’t Always Belong to Thugs.
She and others in the Alta Vista area neighborhood can hardly believe that a pit bull running loose could lift her gate off its hinges, enter her back yard, kill her tiny dachshund, and then be reunited with its owner … Lauren Olivas said her live-in boyfriend owns the dogs … “She’s actually a really good dog,” Olivas said of the female involved in the killing. “When I heard there was a dog attack, I knew it was her.” – Lauren Olivas
the mailman who delivers on this route, and another neighbor, are swearing up and down that the dog was a really nice dog. So how can the public trust all the testimony of all the pit bull owners who claim their dog is a really nice dog? Some of the worst mauling cases involve dogs whose owners and family swear the dog was great. – Anonymous
they turn on people based on how there treated.! & actually beast was a really great dog this was the first time he ever did something like that now tell me just over one mistake do you really think he should be put down – West Side Milinos
Following a vicious dog hearing in December, the pit bull involved, Cali, was deemed “vicious” and was taken to the Warren Animal Shelter …  “She can be a really sweet dog.  – Animal Control Officer Heidi Garrity
Sterilize all pit bulls now and let the breed die out. There are too many kids around with a half a face after someone’s, “it’s a really sweet dog” has ripped their little faces apart. Pit bulls are not essential to the biosphere continuum. – People First-Dogs Second
However, Sgt. Wiggins said when the officer could not fend-off the dog, he made the decision to fire his gun at it … “The dog was a great dog,” said Junior’s owner, Tony O’Hare. “He would never hurt anybody; he was just a real sweet dog.” – Larry Carver

“Use them as pillows”

After the horrific dog mauling death of 21-month old Monica Laminack by her family’s seven pit bulls, relatives told investigators that the toddler often played with the dogs and would “use them as pillows” while watching TV. Google Search results show that Laminack’s relatives are not unique. The term, “use them as pillows,” yet another disturbing pit bull myth rife with dangerous propaganda, is spread across the Internet by numerous Nutters (See related myth: Nanny dog). Authorities anticipate charges against the adults who were home “napping” while the seven pit bulls tore little Monica apart.

He said relatives insisted the toddler would play with the dogs and even “use them as pillows while watching TV.” – Nutter family
keep the dog ditch the husband he sounds paranoid i have pit bulls and when my grandchildren come over they use them as pillows to watch tv – Karen B
I think its awesome how most of these points to ban the breed are based on social stigma and not personal experience. I love my loyal loving cuddling friendly pit bulls. They let kids pull their ears, ride their backs, use them as pillows. – Anna Jones
Who does this cowhead think he is? Pit bulls r the most sweetest, kindest, & the most gentlest breed of dog there is. Wut other dog breed would just lay there & let children climb all over them & let a person use them as pillows without attacking. – Teresa Cornwall
Same. I used to have 2 pits. They were the sweetest dogs ever. They let u use them as pillows! – ElviraTepes
Blame the deed not the breed! There is no such thing ad a bad dog only bad owner. I own 5 pitbulls and 1 American bulldog and they all let my children jump on them pull tails pull ears (yes I discurrge my children from doing so) they even let my children use them as pillows. – Tipsy
ANY DOG CAN ATTACK … these dogs are the most LOYAL nad protective that I have ever owned … my 8 stay inside at night and are outside at least 6hrs a day,they sit in the floor when we watch a movie or the kids will use them as pillows while watching T.V – luv my pit bull
My aunt has owned three pits, and when she went on vacation, we would watch them. I used to use them as pillows when I was younger, and they had no problem with it. – FlyersEnforcer
The APBT’s in our family were always like having a nanny around we could ride them and use them as pillows to take a nap with and when outside playing they were always right with us on guard protecting us – sw_df27

After publishing this post, a user sent in the below information to show that pillows aren’t always innocent fluffy objects used to lay your head upon. Pillows, however, do not kill people spontaneously, without specific direction from those who use them.

  • Daily World, The (Aberdeen, WA) – March 27, 2013 — Man says he ‘committed a father’s worst sin,’ pleads not guilty to shooting — Michael League called 911 early Sunday to report he’d “committed a father’s worst sin,” authorities said.League, 69, told police he took his .22-caliber Ruger pistol and shot his adult son and daughter in the head as they slept in his Puyallup home, court records show.He allegedly used a pillow to muffle the sound of the gunshots so as not to wake his wife and two young grandsons, who also were asleep in the house.
  • Clear Creek Courant (Idaho Springs, CO) – December 5, 2012 — Investigator: Elmgreen confessed to killing father,  Judge finds probable cause at preliminary hearing — During a preliminary hearing in Jefferson County Court on Nov. 30, a homicide investigator testified that defendant Kenneth Elmgreen admitted to killing his elderly father and then attempting suicide.Evergreen resident Elmgreen, 53, was arrested in early August on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree arson and two counts of crimes of violence.Last Friday, Jeffco sheriff’s Investigator Kathleen Battan testified that Elmgreen said he used a pillow.
  • Bismarck Tribune, The (ND) – October 3, 2012 — ND murder suspect scheduled to change plea — DICKINSON (AP) – Trial has been canceled and a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for a North Dakota man accused of killing the mother of a child he believed was his daughter.Dirk Huber of Belfield had pleaded not guilty to murdering Nicole Radebaugh in her apartment bedroom in August 2011. He was scheduled for trial beginning Oct. 15. Court documents show that he will appear in court to change his plea instead.Authorities allege that Huber used a pillow to suffocate Radebaugh.
  • San Francisco Chronicle (CA) – July 20, 2012 — Woman charged with murder – Bible possibly a weapon — A woman smothered a romantic rival with a pillow and beat her – possibly with a Bible – while chanting religious passages as part of what she called an exorcism, a prosecutor said Thursday. Karla Kuhl, 35, of El Sobrante has been charged with murdering 58-year-old Patricia Medeiros, said Contra Costa County prosecutor Harold Jewett.Sheriff’s deputies responding to an early morning medical call on June 5 found Medeiros dead in her home.
  • Herald-Dispatch, The (Huntington, WV) – February 8, 2012 — Man accused of trying to kill daughter, Father allegedly used pillow in an attempt to suffocate girl, 11 months old — HUNTINGTON — A local man found himself behind bars Tuesday, charged with trying to kill his infant daughter.Authorities charged Larry James Thomas, 40, with felony attempted first-degree murder, along with misdemeanor domestic battery and carrying a concealed weapon without a license. Criminal complaints describe Thomas as a convicted felon wanted out of Boyd County, Ky.The incident with Thomas’ 11-month-old daughter happened just after 11 p.m. Monday.
  • Dickinson Press (ND) – November 8, 2011 — Officer: Pillow used to suffocate Radebaugh; Huber pleads not guilty to Belfield homicide — Nov. 08–Dirk J. Huber is believed to have used a pillow to kill his former girlfriend after allegedly arguing over the paternity of her daughter, officials said during his pretrial conference in Dickinson on Monday. The 41-year-old pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering Nicole Lynn Radebaugh, 39, by suffocating her in her Belfield apartment in August.
  • Associated Press Archive – September 14, 2010 — UK reporter sentenced for fake mercy killing claim
    A veteran British TV reporter has been sentenced after he admitted making up claims he killed a former lover who was dying of AIDS. A judge gave BBC journalist Ray Gosling a 90-day suspended prison sentence for fabricating his confession and wasting 1,800 hours of police time.The 70-year-old Gosling drew media and police attention in February when he said on a BBC TV documentary that he used a pillow to smother his dying lover in his hospital bed.
  • Grand Rapids Press, The (MI) – January 13, 2009 — Life sentence ‘what I deserve’ — GRAND RAPIDS — Against the advice of his lawyer, 41-year-old Andrew Neal pleaded guilty Monday and accepted a lifetime in prison for murdering a woman he called his close friend. “It’s what I deserve, your honor. There is no excuse,” Neal told Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan after admitting he used a pillow to suffocate Mashonda Griffin, 35, in her Wyoming home, at 2940 Union Ave. SE, on Oct. 27.

“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

“Just a ‘lap dog'”

To emphasize positive traits depicted by pit bulls, Maul Talkers often say that the animal is just a “lap dog”. As an anonymous poster from the Craven Desires blog points out, any dog that wants to be “right on top of you” is possibly displaying dominance, which is “anything but cute or sweet”.

They are wonderful cuddlers and love nothing more than a belly rub. In fact, most pit bulls think they are lap dogs! – Pit bull rescue central
I’m really a lap dogPit bull positive
This breed needs to be taught to sit and greet people calmly as it’s natural inclination will probably be to climb into their lap, put a paw on each of their shoulders, and attempt to wipe their face off with it’s tongue. Attempts to convince a full grown pit bull that it is too big to be a “lap dog” … – Pit bulls on the web
Another behavior that pit nutters constantly rave about is how their dogs just want to be “lap dogs“. “Oh, if you’re sitting down, he just wants to be right on top of you.” No shit, Sherlock. That’s also dominance behavior, and it’s anything but cute or sweet. – Anonymous

“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

“Your dog provoked the attack”

Just as Maul Talkers blame children for provoking a pit bull to launch an unbridled attack causing severe and fatal injury, they also blame dogs victimized by pit bulls. On My3cents.com, the owner of a victimized dog makes a plea for help only to have a pit bull advocate blame her deceased dog for the incident:

Not saying it is so, but perhaps the now-deceased dog provoked the attack by the pit bull? If so, it would be why the police ‘failed’ to take action against the pit bull owner. – Ghost of Doc J

“Your dog was unleashed”

After Jacqueline Harris’ dog, named Louie, was captured on camera being mauled by two pit bulls, the pit bull owners fled the scene. Harrison was bitten trying to save her dog. None of the dogs were leashed at the time, but Louie was attempting to flee the pit bulls after they spotted and bolted after him. Pit bull advocates blamed the incident on Harris (Note: There is an excellent chance that Iceman80 is a lying pit nutter).

Iceman80: Ms. Harris wants everyone to think of her and her dog as victims, when she was as much to blame as the pit bull owners. Yes, the pit bulls should have been on leashes.(I am not a pit bull fan, and I don’t understand why anyone would want one as a pet) If Ms. Harris really cared about her dog, she could have been more protective by keeping the garage door closed. Leaving a small dog unattended, and unprotected in an open garage isn’t too bright.
Jeri: Yeah, and she should have had a fence and a moat around the garage! – Jeri

“The child provoked the dog”

Pit bull owners and advocates frequently claim that a child teased or taunted the dog prior to the serious mauling. The most common phrase, however, is, “The child provoked the dog.” A Google Search shows over 36,000 results for the term: pit bull child provoked. The term is not limited to children. In an NJ.com article about Maria Zaldana, “70-year-old must have provoked pit bull attack,” pit bull owner Jason Reid makes this claim:

The co-owner of the dogs, Jason Reid, showed up at the Associated Humane Society of Newark facility Saturday and told D.J. Infield, the manager and chief animal control officer, that Maria Zaldana, of Jersey City, must have provoked the dogs, Infield said today.
–snip–
Zaldano suffered a partially torn scalp, numerous puncture wounds and the skin was torn from the left side of her face and her right knee and calf.

“The child taunted the dog”

Similar to the phrase, “The child teased the dog,” is the taunting claim voiced by pit bull advocates following a serious pit bull mauling. This “blame the victim” technique minimizes the seriousness of the victim’s injuries and literally declares: “What did you expect?” In the incident involving Vincent Marchese, commenter “Fail” even states, “MAYBE he got what was coming to him.”

Their point was that he had been to that fence before. The neighbors had stated that kids had taunted that dog previously. Read the article before making stupid comments. MAYBE the kid isn’t compeltely innocent. MAYBE he taunted the pitbull. MAYBE he got what was coming to him. If I taunt a dog, or for that matter a person, I would be aware there are consequences. – Fail

“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