NightSide – The Pit Bull Debate Continues

BOSTON (CBS) – After the tragic killing of a seven-year-old boy over the weekend, members of the Lowell City Council voted last night to look into possible ways for the city to put extra restrictions on pit bulls, despite a state law that prohibits breed-specific regulations. Lowell City Councilor Rodney Elliot joins Dan in studio to explain why he believes this is a problem that must be addressed. We’ll also talk with Colleen Lynn, founder of DogBites.org, about what the data shows. Do you believe some dog breeds are more aggressive than others? Should certain breeds come with extra regulations or restrictions?

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  1. I am constantly amazed when pit bull supporters believe that it is reasonable to propose the notion that “chihuahuas bite more” as a valid counterpoint to the public safety concerns posed by pit bull type dogs. It is my favorite of their list of mostly irrational arguments. I hope they never abandon it because it highlights the ridiculousness of their thinking. They seem to all be suckling at the same propaganda teat, otherwise how can you explain the sheer numbers of pit bull apologists who spout this silly stuff. My runner-up favorite is the nanny dog myth. I am surprised there wasn’t a caller insisting that pit bulls were bred during Victorian times to look after children. They like to back up this fantasy by citing the fact that the old TV show, “The Little Rascals,” used a pit bull to play the dog. I DO wish they would stop using that bit of nonsense. It has led to a very dangerous growing trend of pit bull ownership by parents of infants, toddlers, and young kids. They love to take photos of their pit bulls curled up in bed or on the couch with their progeny. And then they think that it is absolutely appropriate to post these pictures in the comment sections of articles and TV news segments following the severe injury or killing of a baby or child by a pit bull type dog. “See? My Bonzo would never hurt a fly.” They always come up with an angle to blame the mauling on the parents or the child even if the pit bull never displayed a bit of aggression before the horrific incident. Look at all of the folks commenting on WBZ’s facebook page who are blaming the parents of the 7 year old? It is mind boggling. I spent most of yesterday swashbuckling with people who had said stuff like “That mother shouldn’t be letting her kid out unsupervised. He could wander into the yard of a pedophile,” At least a half dozen counterpoints to make on that one! The callers that weighed in on the above podcast, all pit bull supporters, were unable to articulate one single valid point. I love how the first caller tried to make a case for inaction on the pit bull issue by estimating that pit bull type dogs make up 35% of the U.S. dog population. He was using the tactic of overestimating that number because it makes the percentage of serious, severe, and fatal attacks attributable to pit bull types seem less alarming. But all it does, in my book, is make a case for drastically reducing the population of pit bull dogs. ASAP. But the caller fails to see that. He’s just parroting what he’s read (in a world where parrots can read). I actually live in a small pit bull infested mid western town with population just under 1800, that has at least 77 pit bulls that I am personally aware of. I think that is substantially more than 6%-7% of our dog population but I don’t presently know precisely what it boils down to, certainly not a whopping 35%. Our new police chief has been conducting a door to door dog census and requiring that any unlicensed dogs get properly registered. When that’s complete we’ll have a better picture of where we stand. Then, I am hoping that our new sheriff, who I have a very good connection with that dates back from the time I was attacked, will see to it that the same is done in the other small towns in our rural county and we can compare. I believe my town’s pit bull numbers are especially high. My own personal interest in the issue of dangerous dogs began when I was attacked and nearly killed by a pit bull in 2014. I am still struggling with my injuries, physical and psychological, and have only in the last few months been able to break through a painfully tough case of what I refer to as PTSD-induced writer’s block. As a survivor, I find it very difficult to bear witness to the continued carnage that is reported daily. Especially the fatalities. I urge everyone, especially those pit bull supporters who think that “chihuahuas bite more” is a sensible phrase to utter, to google “dog attack October 2017.” Click on and read the articles and watch the TV news segments that pop up. You will see numerous cases where the victims are hospitalized with disfiguring injuries, swathed in bandages, hooked up to machines and tubes, kids with their scalps ripped off, their faces mangled. Men and women of all ages, income levels, education levels. When you exhaust October, google the same for September. Then August. Work your way back month by month as far as you can stomach it. Despite the fact that you didn’t include the words “pit bull” in your search, you will not be able to ignore the FACT that the majority of the attacks involve pit bull type dogs. You will see for yourself, instead of just lapping up info from a pit bull pushing website or facebook page, or even checking the statistics at dogsbite.org. which the pit bull lovers so casually dismiss because they’ve read somewhere that it’s a bogus site. Many articles have actual photos of the guilty dogs. See for yourself that they are not misidentified boxers or whatnot. This idea that it is so easy to mistakenly label a dog as a pit bull is patently absurd. It doesn’t take that much instruction to learn what a pit bull looks like. I certainly know what they look like. Of course I am operating under the principle “Know Thy Enemy.” I need to know where the dangers lie. Forewarned is forearmed. I am very interested in preventing attacks. I don’t want to be attacked again, and I don’t wish it on a single other soul. Even though I believe that there are those that will only learn the truth about pit bulls through the school of hard bites. There is a great need for great change in the way dog attacks are handled by law enforcement and by the courts. The evolving dog breed demographics are increasingly compromising public safety in our communities. We cannot continue on the path we are on, with an ever-rising population of pit bull type dogs clogging our neighborhoods and clogging the animal shelters. It’s either wake up out of this trance now or we will wake up all too soon to the realization that we’ve become a nation of the people, by the people, and for the PIT BULLS.

    1. John Zolis says:

      You again with your inane Tolstoy length comments no one wants to read your inane comments
      To respond to your chi comment I’ll just stick with facts the breeds that have actually killed humans notice JRT’s and Daschunds?
      Great Pyrenees, Collies, Beagles, Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, Dogo’s, Gerberian Shepsky’s, Golden Retrievers, German Sheprador, German Sheprador’s, Saint Bernards, Alaskan Malamutes, Bull Dogs, Cane Coroso’s, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Australian Cattle Dog (38 egregious bodily harms and a death)
      Labrador Retriever, Chows, Boxers, Akita’s, Siberian huskies, German Shepherds, and Rotties have all been responsible for human deaths
      Considering that there are 800,000 dog bites reported think you should reevaluate your position on the breed!

      But hey it’s not like you actually debate from a point of reason and it’s not like I haven’t taken you apart in these venues before!
      Just out of curiosity what breed do you think petie was LOL You tin foil hat wearing cult member!

      Seriously I can’t be bothered to read your nauseating comments between you and your so called commenters
      Think you can actually do the world a favor post a premise cite a source and make a conclusion lets say under 5000 words ! LOL

      Like stated before in previous (swashbuckling) comments ROFLMAO
      If you actually wanted to make society safer you would promote a responsible breed neutral approach like the number one rated animal control model in North America –
      The Calgary Model – Created by Bill Bruce head of Bylaw for 32 years but of course not you actually think that your misguided hatred for the breed will win and you eventually outlaw the breed even though states are imposing laws against BSL – what is it now 21 counting Delaware?
      Even knowing that those same people who you obviously have some bias and racial profiling going on will just migrate to Rotties, GSD and Dobs like they did from 70’s, 80’s and 90’s
      It’s not about making society safer it’s about your hatred for the breed and you closed minded perspective to an actual solution

      Btw I have a a great attention span and reading through your drivel is one of the hardest tasks I’ve had to endure and I’ve read Hardy and Tolstoy
      You do know that the attention span of readers is somewhere about a gnat and I guarantee that most everyone wouldn’t bother with your verbal diarrhea!

  2. Journalists who wish to use dog bite statistics in their articles must be familiar with proper interpretation of those statistics and must also have a fundamental understanding of the flaws that are inherent in the most popular dog attack studies available today. Unawareness of these flaws almost certainly guarantees misinterpretation of the numbers. Many journalists have already fallen into the traps presented by these studies, either by drawing their own incorrect conclusions or by perpetuating another journalist’s mistakes. For instance, Coleen Lynn, founder of dogsbite-org, has no professional credentials in statistics, epidemiology, or animal behavior; neither do the sources she relies on most frequently. Before her bite injury, Lynn maintained the fortune-telling Web site “Divine Lady, Beholder of the Soul.” In 2011, she self-published the third edition of “Divine Lady’s Guide to the Runes.

  3. Ah, the pit bull lobby comes out. I was wondering where you all were. Perhaps keeping a low profile after another kid was killed by a pit bull. Since you’re here, it’s good to see you have no numbers of your own and no criticism to make of the numbers on Dogsbite.org, but instead have to resort to personal attacks on Colleen Lynn. Thankfully, she’s strong enough to handle it. If you read the about-us page on Dogsbite.org, you’ll learn that she has done many things in her life, including founding and running a web design company that she operates to this day. I’m happy to learn from you she has authored several books, too. Thank you for that. Even better, while you’re attacking her personally, we’re busy winning. The entire province of Quebec is considering banning pit bulls after Montreal’s lead, which will make a MAJORITY OF CANADA which bans the breed. We look forward to pit bulls being banned from the entire nation in time, which will see Canada join other countries like Colombia which ban the breed entirely. We have right on our side, and you are on the wrong side of history.

    1. Bill Smith says:

      Pit Bull Lobby! BAAHAAAA! How to Spot Potential Bias and Misinformation:

      The Websites and organizations that claim pit bull-type breeds are more dangerous than other breeds and responsible for the majority of fatalities, this is simply not based on scientific data (peer-reviewed research). These organizations are entitled to conduct their own independent research, but it is by definition not scientific or peer-reviewed and is therefore subject to bias, error, incomplete or unverified data, and the misinterpretation of dog-bite related data including but not limited to, breed data. They primarily use dog-bite related media reports for the studies and statistics that they publish; however, as there are multiple complex factors involved for determining any breed-specific risk, using a single-factor approach of counting media reports does not meet any accepted standards for valid, evidence-based scientific research. Furthermore, peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that media reports are a poor source for breed information as there are a high percentage of discrepancies (~40%) between the breed initially reported in the media and the subsequent breed identification by animal control; additionally, valid breed determination was only possible in 18% of all incidents. The statistics in the only long-term (20-year) peer-reviewed study available with breed-based data clearly show that all pit bull-type breeds combined do not account for anywhere near a majority of dog-bite related fatalities and that the statistics for each unique pit bull-type breed are in-line with the statistics for other unique breeds like German Shepherds and Wolf Hybrids. Many of the websites and organizations that claim otherwise are promoting a special-interest agenda that usually includes discriminatory Breed Specific Legislation.

      Anti-pit bull cult members reference their own independent studies or data from other independent organizations as a source for their information – these sources are not scientific or peer-reviewed and have not been validated. Therefore, they cannot legitimately be referenced for any facts and shouldn’t be used for public policy decisions. Furthermore, the dataset that many of these studies reference is an incomplete and highly curated dataset (again, published by an independent organization) that appears to intentionally maximize incidents for pitbull-type dogs while minimizing incidents for non-pit bull type dogs (for example, assigning bite-data for Labrador Retriever Bulldog mixes to the “pit bull-type” category when in fact this mix is distinct and different from any of the “pit bull-type” purebred and crossbred breeds). Or, they reference media reports which are prone to significant breed identification error rates of over 40%.

      http://www.pitbullinfo.org/

  4. John Zolis says:

    To the pathetic coders to this page in the comment section no edit function after posting? Wow talk about lazy

  5. OOOH, shakin’ in my boots, another shake down by Mr Zolis who’s going after me again because my comments are too long to suit him. He is very concerned that my readership numbers will suffer. Don’t let it concern you so, man. I’ve told you before, nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to read anything. I have my own style, my own approach. If you think it is ineffective then just quietly rejoice in your belief that I am not offering any meaningful counterpoint to your bombastic bullying tactics. I will say, in response to your own somewhat lengthy diatribe which was slim on proper syntax, that I was simply making comments based on the interviews and phone calls contained within the above podcast. I do not believe there is any expectation or requirement in the format here at NightSide to “post a premise cite a source and make a conclusion” as you suggest.
    Concerning your comment about Petey of Little Rascals fame, who really cares what breed he was? Really? The caller was basing his faith in pit bulls and their acceptability as family pets on the FACT that he BELIEVED that Petey was a pit bull. That is what is relevant to my comment. Petey could be an English Bulldog and it wouldn’t change the fact that the caller believed Petey to be a pit bull. As it is, Petey was an American Staffordshire terrier, and as you (I’m assuming) and I both know this is one of the breeds that make up the group of breeds referred to as “pit bull type breeds.” American pit bull terriers and Amstaffs are practically indistinguishable as to essentially reduce the differences down to mere semantics.
    Your vehemently pointing out that JRTs and dachshunds have killed is interesting. Is this yet another attempt by a pit bull defender to imply that toy dogs bite more and are therefore more lethal than pit bulls? Or is this purely a diversion tactic? The dachshund breed is responsible for just a couple of reported fatalities EVER in the U.S.A. Likewise for JRTs. Anybody can go to Wikipedia and look up “Fatal Dog Attacks in the United States” and see the yearly itemized lists of the victims, the breeds of dogs, and a brief summary of the incident, and launch an investigation from there.
    Truthfully, it wouldn’t bother me one jot if all dogs of all breeds were required to wear muzzles while being walked on leashes in public. I also believe that there are several breeds, in addition to the pit bull type breeds, that need to be behind fencing of a height and material adequate to the task of containing the dog. And I’d like to see much stiffer penalties for screw-ups, such as dog-at-large or displays of aggression, by any dog. I’d like to see liability insurance a requirement for dogs at a rate based on their statistical likelihood to cause serious damage. This would not be based solely on the sheer numbers of attacks committed by that breed, but based on the average damages caused by attacks of each breed.
    Your accusation that I am motivated solely by my hatred of a breed and that I am devoid of any concern for public safety is quite an insulting leap of judgment on your part.. You don’t know me. It sounds like a blanket accusation that you fling over the head of anybody you get into it with concerning the issue at hand, and you have used it on me before.
    I am a fan of English literature. I finished reading all of Hardy decades ago, I’m glad I read Jude the Obscure last because I hated the ending and if there had been anything else of his left, I would have spurned it at that point. Tolstoy is not a great favorite so I’ve only read the obligatory War and Peace and Anna Karenina and enjoyed them but not enough to get geekish over the author. I haven’t been able to read a book since I was attacked by a pit bull in 2014 but I hope to resume someday my previous habit of polishing off at least a book a week, with 2 or 3 in progress at any given time.

    1. I loved Hardy. He was never one for happy endings, though. I even liked Jude the Obscure as it spoke to the ephemeral nature of love. Then again, my favorite was the Mayor of Casterbridge which was even more depressing. Oh, and pit bulls are the devil and should be banned.

  6. The comments here are about as legitimate as a radio show with no dissenting opinion. RegNat, you clearly have no desire to dig any deeper than a hack site like dogsbite to develop your shallow opinion. Thank God I’m a resident of these United States. I would be filing papers or sneaking in if I were Canadian! Just not worth much comment. When you have the nerve to face public debate on the subject, you will have the ear of everyone. As long as you are going to function in an echo chamber, you will have only “foamers” listening and let’s be honest there are only about 50 of them…Sad, pathetic and typical of this group.

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