Blogs Nov 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm


Dan, I thought you'd be snowboarding or something? Is it still snowing up there in Seattle?
Well, good for him. How dare he kill a sweet little harmless dog like that?
Just like herding dogs are bred to herd and retrievers are bred to retrieve and do so instinctively .. pit bulls have been bred to kill ... when left to their own devises and when raised by people who don't train & secure them properly, this happens over & over again. Sure Golden Retrievers might bite more people every year but they sure don't kill people.
It is utterly idiotic that you continue to support a ban on pitbulls while screeching about the legalization of pot. Yesterday you quoted Tony Newman, a spokesman for the Drug Policy Alliance, which seeks to liberalize the drug laws, saying the ban on fake pot is the wrong approach: “The D.E.A. says that prohibiting synthetic marijuana will ‘control’ it—yet we know from history that prohibition is the complete opposite of drug control,” Mr. Newman said, adding that regulating and setting age limits would be a better approach than “relegating it to the black market.”

It's equally well-established that breed bans are ineffective in preventing dog attacks, yet you continue to mindlessly bang on about Pit Bulls, undermining your own credibility a little more with every post. Give it a fucking break.
And bad logic too! As if supporting any one thing while opposing another is odd. Bad logic comes in handy in the unsupportable side of an argument over an emotionally charged issue, I suppose.
"It's equally well-established that breed bans are ineffective in preventing dog attacks,"

Yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that.
Wolf hybrids (wolf-dog hybrids) were hugely popular in the 80's. King County and lots of other local & state governments imposed a breed ban on wolf hybrids.

When was the last time you saw a wolf hybrid pet?
Um, hello? Denver's pit bull ban has been working quite nicely, thankyouverymuch.
5&6: we've argued all this stuff at length on these boards already; I'm not especially interested in doing it all over again, and I'm not even a lover of Pit Bulls. But if you'd like to do some actual research (you know, instead of just typing "Pit Bulls are EVIL!" into Google), you need to look into the various problems inherent in breed bans.

Aside from the problems in even identifying Pit Bulls as such (research has shown that attacks by non-Pit Bulls are often reported as Pit Bull attacks), breed bans do not prevent dog attacks, and in any case most breed bans don't cover the breeds responsible for most attacks, such as German Shepherds. In any case, existing laws usually cover attacks by known vicious animals and other problems breed bans purport to deal with, and if there are no existing laws, that's what is needed, not bans on given breeds. Any dog can injure or kill a human, even a toy dog (Daschunds and Yorkies are among the breeds known to have killed people).

Dan is a hypocrite not because he likes pot and hates dogs (and has a weird bee in his bonnet about Pit Bulls), but because he carries on about the "credulous fucking hacks" who report on marijuana in a biased and ignorant way while unrelentingly doing precisely the same thing when it comes to his own reporting on Pit Bulls.
Yeah, 5280, we've discussed just how "well" Denver's Pit Bull ban is working before. Funny that the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes this supposedly "successful" ban under which, by the way, over 2000 dogs have been killed by the city for being "Pit Bull-type" (not for having attacked or killed anyone).
No way a yorkie killed a full grown adult. Their bones are more fragile than a cooked chicken's. No freakin way.
@10 Actually he didn't argue for a pit bull ban in this post; he simply posted a story about (another) pit bull attack. I actually agree with you that a ban might not be the best way to deal with the situation but I think I've got a great solution.

Step One:

Any animal that could reasonably kill a human (note: REASONABLY kill a human; not some freak ass situation where someone passes out and then a yorkie sits on their face which suffocates them) should require a permit. You know how when a family pit bull kills a kid and the owners always say "OMG! It was such a SURPRISE. The dog was ALWAYS so nice and protective. We had NO IDEA that this could happen"? Well we won't have that anymore b/c when you take the "Owning a Pit Bull" class on the way to your permit then you'll learn that it can happen regardless of how nice the dog seems. You'll also get a chance to feel what it's like to restrain a large animal when it's bucking and trying to get away (something that would've saved Dianne Whipple if the owner had known how to do it.)

Step 2:

If your pit bull (or rottweiler or presa canerio etc.) attacks and/or kills someone then you, as the owner, will be charged as if you attacked and/or killed them.

This way; if you really want an animal like a pit bull then you can have one and all good blessings to you BUT you can't claim innocence or ignorance if it acts out and injures/kills someone. And this way you can weigh your desire for a large, "tough" animal with the potential criminal liability.
This story comes out after many of us had to spend yesterday with our extended family. I can't possibly be the only slogger with a pill of a mother-in-law who is thinking, "Hmmm... Pit bulls... Now why didn't I think of that?"
I donated to fight Prop 2 in Florida, and asked Dan this question: "Is there a later scientific peer-reviewed study supporting the efficacy of breed bans that forms (in part or whole) the foundation of your opinion?"

As part of my preamble, I explained that I have searched online for such a study, but could not find anything. I could only find the CDC study of 2000, which actually states that there is no such evidence. I was hoping that there might be a later study I could read.

Dan's response was
"breed bans have worked in the UK, and they work well in Denver. i don't trust the studies you cite.

all the best,

Now, I am ecstatic that he did NOT simply tell me off. However, he didn't really answer the question, as he doesn't cite any study in the UK or Denver. So I am left with the conclusion that No, Dan Savage does not base his opinions of breed bans on any scientific evidence.

What I find interesting is that he "doesn't trust the studies [I] cite." I believe there was a study in the UK that also concluded that there is no supporting evidence of the efficacy of breed bans. But he doesn't trust scientific research? What does he trust? His gut?

I find that his response, while deservedly terse, spoke volumes. His opinions on breed bans are simply that: opinions. He is neither more nor less correct than the rest of us. In fact, his opinions can be said to be faith-based, since he chooses to discount evidence that does not agree with his ideas.
Any dog can be dangerous when it is untrained and unsupervised. The people who own a breed of dog because it portrays a certain image are usually the same ones that will then deny that their dog is capable of such horrible attacks. The old adage of "a tired puppy is a good puppy" could be expanded to work for an older dog - ie, a well trained, socialized dog is a good dog. I would bet that 98% of dog attacks are really the dog owners fault, either through lack of training, supervision or plain ol' irresponsibility.
Some breeds require more training and supervision than others. If your 5 lb. yorkie gets a wild hair and decides to attack you or someone else, everyone is in a much better position then if the dog was a 110 lb Rottie. Even if your three 5 lb Yorkies decided to try and get wild on your ass, you or someone else is in much better shape then if your three 110 lb Rotties had the same inclination. Research the breed of dog you are interested in and make sure you have the ability to train and supervise the dog as needed for the breed. We need better dog licensing requirements in order to enforce owner responsibility.
When one of my dogs came in one night with blood on her face, I looked around outside and found 1/2 a dead bird. I called my neighbor who I knew had chickens to offer replacement or monetary compensation. It wasn't his chicken, so I believe it was a grouse or something similar. If I had been close enough to her, she would have dropped the bird when I yelled. Since I wasn't there, she killed it. It's natural for them to do this.
The sweet little dog that gives licks to your cat, parrot or toddler while you "ohh and ahhh" can be a very different animal when it is out on it's own acting on instincts. It's your responsibility to ensure your dog is not running wild. Owning a dog can bring many joys into your life, but, like having children, it also brings responsibilities.
@12, I really like your Step 2 idea. I'm not necessarily sure it would work from a legal perspective (gosh, how I hate having that perspective sometimes!) but I like it nonetheless.
@18 Thanks! It just seems like common sense to me. I'd be willing to bet that once there's a few people sitting in prison for 25 to life b/c their animal ripped some poor person's face off then there'd be a far fewer people who'd be willing to take the chance. I'm not sure how much the problem really is the owners and not the pets as most pit bull lovers claim but if that IS the case then this is the perfect solution.
Breed for sweetness. A breed can be changed in about 4 generations, which is pretty fast with dogs.
It's never a draw when the mother-in-law survives.
@12 As the owner of 2 Rottweilers I completely support what you propose. Both of mine are rescues and both have been painstakingly trained. That's what I signed up for when I made the commitment to give them a home for life, to socialize them and train them. One is 95lbs and the other (in my avatar) is 75lb crossed with an Aussie Shepherd and has the energy of one too. He gets the right amount of exercise daily to keep him tired to avoid destructive situations because of pent up energy (like chewing).
My responsibility to these dogs and society is to be in command of them at all times. Which is reinforced to them a hundred times a day, whether it's waiting for the go command to eat their food, clipping their nails, going outside, or being on a leash, I am the boss, and they know it.
The reality is if either one of them absolutely made up their mind and decided they were going to do something, there is very little I could do physically to stop them. But what I say goes, dogs are pack animals and I am the leader of the pack so they obey. They respond to my voice not to restraint devices that are pretty much for show on such strong animals. Dogs are also dogs, they're not people and human psychology doesn't work on them, their thought processes are entirely different. Socializing and exercising is just as important in understanding dog behavior and how/why they think the way they do.
Pit Bulls are bred partially from Terriers which are a very high energy dog that require a great deal of exercise. Not getting that exercise is a recipe for trouble.
My condo board last year tried to pass a by-law to ban certain breed types which included Rottweilers. Thankfully it was voted down after a very thorough debate that the bylaw should be re-examined to address specific vicious or aggressive dogs regardless of breed.
Owners should be held 100% responsible for the actions of their animal, any responsible pet would support that.
The problem is that in our society everyone wants a big fucking dog to 'protect their children'. Then they proceed to ignore it for 13 years, not exercising or socializing them properly.
But I honestly think the problem is breeding, not owning. To own an UNFIXED dog, you should have to buy some osrt of breeding license which requires you to track sales of fixed puppies to only licensed owners.
I have met quite a few pit bulls in my life and they were all sweethearts. That lockjaw gives them a bad rap, but I've never seen any evidence of raised aggression. That's chow chows.

Oh what's that? Anecdotal you say? Well... you get what you give.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.