"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Police Respond to Vicious Dog in Baltimore City

Great story from Modified K9 Blog:

Here at Mk9, we receive a lot of emails and messages about Pit Bull and Pit Bull type dogs. News reports and stories from all over. From both sides of the spectrum as well. The good, and the bad. When we find the ones we believe will do good to help further the education of the general public, we "Share" them with hopes that people will be influenced, and motivated to see Pit Bulls and their owners for what they are, and not what the Media would make them out to be.

Today, we received a rather interesting story from a gentleman in Baltimore. It was a story about a Vicious Dog call, and the Police Officer who answered it. The interesting part is, the gentleman who sent the story IS that Officer who answered the call. So here is the account, from the source;


I'm a Police Officer in Baltimore City. I am originally from Wilkes-Barre, and I am a fan of your organization and Pit Bulls. Today I received a call while on duty about a vicious dog chasing kids. When I came on the scene, I noticed people yelling out their windows at the dog. I followed the dog into an ally to see how it was acting. Going on my own approach, being a dog lover, I got out of my car and called the "vicious dog" over to me. The dog came over with it's tail between it's legs and panting. I grabbed my water bottle and the dog sat down next to me and began licking my pants. I started giving the dog water. I brought the dog over and waited for the pound to show up. My partner was not a fan of dogs and was startled by my approach. I suggested to him that this dog cannot be put down, and should be taken to a shelter. We took it upon ourselves to take the dog to the shelter, and transported it in the back seat in the back of our patrol car. Then I decided that I wanted to keep the dog, and spoke to the shelter about the steps to take to adopt it. The dog was originally kept outside and was filthy, and now it just might have a new home. I know you like positive pictures so I have attached a few. Have a great day and keep up the good work!

Officer Dan Waskiewicz
Baltimore City Police

When we heard this story we could not help but SMILE, and maybe do a tail shake or two! :)

Then we got to thinking more about it. How awesome is this story! Not only does it have a happy ending to it, but there are also some major applause points:

Instead of assuming the dog to be vicious and shoot it dead, (as we see so many times before) he analyzes the situation, and sees a nervous dog that needs help.

Instead of letting animal control pick up the dog, and let it disappear, or be put down, he personally takes it to a shelter, IN HIS CRUISER!!!

Finally, he offers the pup a new forever home!

So we at Mk9 would like to say Thank You! Officer Dan, for taking the time to be patient and give a dog a chance. And step outside the stereo types and see this for what is was. A loose dog who was nervous, and needed someone to help. Not someone to yell at him and assume him to be dangerous.

Here is "Bo" with his new family. A perfect picture of a perfect ending or an amazing new beginning.

Photo by Dan Waskiewicz

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pit Bulls by the Numbers

A look at the facts surrounding faulty pit bull ‘statistics’

(photos by Melissa Lipani) (Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)

What do you do when you read a news story that claims pit bulls make up only 5 percent of the dog population but account for a third or even half of the dog bite related fatalities? Where did these numbers come from, and are they accurate? Here, we examine the truth behind these commonly quoted studies and what the other side is leaving out.

Some of the most frequently cited statistics come from the Center for Disease Control’s Special Report on fatal human dog attacks between 1979 and 1998. The report attributes a third of the fatalities between 1981 – 1992 to “pit-bull type dogs,” but what the other side fails to include is that the report comes with many warnings about its “statistics”:

• First, let’s look at where the CDC and other studies get their information: You guessed it – largely from media accounts. Of course, the media reports on pit bull-related incidents far more than those involving other types of dogs, a fact clearly detailed in the Canine Research Council’s publication, “The Pit Bull Placebo,” and the ASPCA’s “Pit Bull Bias in the Media.” Another commonly cited source, the anti-pit bull website Dogsbite.org, also sites studies that use press accounts to compile their numbers.

• Aside from the fact the collection methods were faulty, the CDC study notes that guessing a dog’s breed is just that, a guess. And what’s more, people are influenced by a dog’s reputation and may attribute breed to a dog involved in an incident based on that rather than any real knowledge. To quote the report: “… to the extent that attacks by 1 breed are more newsworthy than those by other breeds, our methods may have resulted in differential ascertainment of fatalities by breed. … [B]ecause identification of a dog’s breed may be subjective (even experts may disagree on a breed of a particular dog), DBRF [dog bite related fatalities] may be differentially ascribed to breeds with a reputation for aggression.” It gets muddier from there, considering that “pit-bull type dogs” are not a breed at all but a type encompassing several breeds and mixes that resemble those breeds. This means you have a very loose category of dogs that it’s easy for people to miss-identify.

• Sites like Dogsbite.org like to claim that pit bulls only make up 5 percent of the total dog population in the United States and are therefore “attacking” at a much higher rate than other dogs, but the truth is that there are no accurate statistics kept on the total number of dogs in this country, let alone dogs by type. The CDC clearly states this on its website: “There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.” And while it’s anyone’s guess exactly how many pit bull type dogs there are in this country, it’s clear from looking around most cities, neighborhoods and shelters that dogs labeled as pit bulls are far more common than 5 percent.

• Of course, there are even more factors to consider. The CDC study begins at the same time pit bulls’ “Evolution of a Bad Rap” started. Prior to that, according to “The Pit Bull Placebo,” pit bulls were nowhere to be found on bite lists. “In a 10-year span, from 1966 – 1975, there is only one documented case of a fatal dog attack in the United States by a dog which could even remotely be identified as a ‘Pit bull,’ ” writes the book’s author, Karen Delise. (And there are no incidents to date of a spayed/neutered indoor family pit bull ever having killed anyone.)

• It’s also important to note which types of dogs are listed as responsible for bites or fatalities changes over time, depending on which types of dogs are popular for negative functions, such as guarding, at that time. The CDC report also discusses this: “[B]reeds responsible for DBRF have varied over time. … As ascertained from our data, between 1979 and 1980, Great Danes caused the most reported human DBRF. … [S]ince 1975, dogs belonging to more than 30 breeds have been responsible for fatal attacks on people, including Dachshunds, a Yorkshire Terrier, and a Labrador Retriever.” (It’s also key to point out that you are more likely to be killed by lightening than a dog, and dog bites are at historic lows.)
• The CDC report concludes that many factors contribute to whether a dog bites or not and recommends breed-neutral laws that focus on owner responsibility and individual dog behavior rather than breed-discriminatory legislation.

What’s the take home message of all this? It’s important to question statistics related to how many pit bulls there are in the United States and how often they bite for all the reasons listed above. And, if you’re in need of some positive statistics, consider this: Temperament evaluations by the American Temperament Test Society give American Pit Bull Terriers an extremely high passing rate of 82.6 percent. The average passing rate for the other 121 breeds of dogs tested was 77 percent. Pit bulls share their homes with all types of people – from celebrities to senators to everyday families like you and me. They work as search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs and service dogs, and they are our faithful companions and best friends.

Download the PDF

Related reading:
StubbyDog – Resources
BADRAP Monster – Myths
Pit Bull Rescue Central – FAQ
ASPCA – Pit Bull Bias in the Media
National Canine Research Council – the problems with dog bite studies

National Pit Bull Awareness Day – Every Day!

(Reprinted from StubbyDog.org)

Last October for National Pit Bull Awareness Day, we issued a call to action so that everyone could help make a difference for pit bulls in their community. Now, as part of our Campaign of 25,000, we’re saying, “Let’s make every day pit bull awareness day!” Here are some things you can do:

1. Participate:
• Volunteer at local adoption events or information booths, where you can talk to the public about pit bulls and hand out educational materials and StubbyDog resources. To find pit bull rescues in your area, click here.
• Or, participate in a pit bull parade, hike or other gathering organized by a local pit bull group.
• If you’d like to learn how to make a press release for your pit bull related event, here’s a sample.
• Don’t forget to follow Laura’s Blog for updates on the Campaign of 25,000 and action alerts!

2. Contact the Media
Most people only hear about pit bulls when there’s a negative media story. Let’s change that! Contact your local media, including local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines, in one of the following ways:
• Tell them a positive pit bull story, such as a story about a local pit bull therapy dog or service dog and ask them to do a story on this special dog.
• Or, tell the media about an upcoming pit bull related event you’ll be participating in, such as a parade, hike, adoption or educational event. Give them a press release or flyer if you have one (see sample press release above). Ask them to cover your event.
• Or, simply tell them about your family and your pit bull(s) and what they have meant to you (as well as how prejudice and misperceptions impact you). Challenge them to cover a positive pit bull story.
• Then, make sure to give them the StubbyDog media press release! You can download it by clicking here. This is an important step because StubbyDog can be a source of accurate information for reporters, and we can help connect them with local stories.
• Make sure to read our tips for talking to the media, as we want to make sure to help change public perceptions about pit bulls.
• Lastly, report back to us. Tell us what you did and if you had success.

If we all work together, we can make every day a pit bull awareness day!

StubbyDog Media Press Release
Sample Press Release
Tips for talking to the media

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Video du Jour

For Lennox from StubbyDog on Vimeo.

It is up to us as a community of advocates to make sure Lennox's death was not in vain. Together we can bring an end to breed discrimination legislation.