Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Dangerous Pit Bull Propaganda War

Are you looking for unbiased information about pit bulls so you can make up your mind about the breed? If you're looking on the internet for unbiased information - good luck!

Why is there so much conflicting information on pit bulls?

The answer is because most of the information on the internet is fueled by 2 propaganda campaigns and garbled in half-truths, exaggerations, myths, unproven claims, assumptions or outright lies. These separate camps promote an agenda rather than the truth.

I will quote a sign posted on one of the pit bull propaganda blogs.

 “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” 
- Joseph Goebbels  

It's obvious from the painstaking debunking efforts on the blog he is referring to the propaganda of the enemy. It's also obvious, intentionally or not, he is furiously fueling his own propaganda to fight the war and has done more harm than good.

Since the majority of pit bull websites are not transparent I want to share my personal experiences with pit bulls.  I have 2 rescued pit mixes; at least I think they are - I never DNA tested them. I wasn't as educated about the breed as I should have been when I got them. I'm now considering how much I might have contributed to a false sense of security surrounding these dogs in the same way a gun owner might contemplate whether his right to own a gun, even if he hasn't hurt anyone, is more important than the rights of innocent people who have been killed by guns and will be killed by guns in the future. 

(*Update. Just DNA tested one dog and it is American Staffordshire Terrier, Boxer and Dalmatian with some other undetermined breeds as well.)

The 2 propaganda campaigns claim to each hold the unequivocal truth about pit bulls and use these derogatory terms to refer to each other - the pit bull apologist and pit bull alarmist. The pit bull apologist is pro-pit bull and the other, the pit bull alarmist, would like to ban the breed or eliminate it altogether. Practical pro-active solutions are often overlooked while these 2 sides debate threadbare talking points.

The Pit Bull Apologist

Viewpoint:  Every dog is the same and it all comes down to how you treat and raise a dog. A pit bull is an ordinary dog and if it is abused, neglected and used for violence it will often become violent. But if it is treated like a normal dog it will be a loving, safe family pet. In the 1980's the dog became the favorite of criminals who needed vicious guard dogs and many of these dogs were forced to fight - and any dog can be trained to fight because it wants to please its owner. This created a dangerous situation and a negative stereotype which attracted various ego-weaklings who encouraged aggressiveness in their dog as a living symbol for what they lacked - power, respect and the ability to instill fear in people. The apologist rightfully attempted to counteract this image and show what the pit bull had been for so many for so long - an ordinary dog that was part of American culture - the happy dog advertising Buster Brown shoes or in the Our Gang TV show, the Nanny Dog - a popular beloved family pet.

The Motivation for the Apologist to Lie

The pit bull apologist loves pit bulls. He hasn't see his dog hurt anyone and can't understand why anyone would demonize him or his dog. Because of all the lies being spread by the wacky alarmist, he sees it as important to advocate to dispel the negative rumors about the most abused and neglected type of dog on the planet. Frequently he sees horrifying images of pit bulls starved into skeletons or bloodied and mangled - torn to within inches of death by men who forced this beautiful animal to fight - and he feels compassion and wants to help.

Why the Pit Bull Apologist Agenda is Dangerous.

1. The apologist creates a false sense of security around the pit bull promoting the reputation of a popular family dog, a Nanny Dog, the harmless dog Petey on Little Rascals, etc... They ignore or downplay the dangerous history of the animal (being bred to fight) and the recent troubling statistics (pit bull attacks, maulings and killings outnumber all other dog breeds combined.)

If you google "pit bulls and kids" these are the type of images you will find:

While the vast majority of pit bulls never hurt kids pit bulls do in fact kill and maul children every year - much more than any other breed. Certainly how you raise the dog is an important factor, but it's not the only factor. Even if the odds are one in a million a pit bull will attack, do you want to take those odds with your own child? All kids being safe around well loved pets is a dangerous myth. The pit bull alarmist would like to point out this tragic story of what could happen if you leave your child alone with a pit bull  Father leaves child with babysitter who has dogs

2. The apologist blocks, minimizes or excuses negative pit bull information such as these Wiki stats:

Pit bull, muzzled
A 9-year (1979–88) review of fatal dog attacks in the United States determined that, of the 101 attacks in which breed was recorded, pit bulls were implicated in 42 of those attacks (42%). A 1991 study found that 94% of attacks on children by pit bulls were unprovoked, compared to 43% for other breeds. A 5-year (1989–94) review of fatal dog attacks in the U.S. determined that pit bulls and pit bull mixed breeds were implicated in 24 (29%) of the 84 deaths in which breed was recorded.
A 20-year (1979-1998) study by the American Veterinary Medical Association into fatal dog attacks on humans concluded that "fatal attacks on humans appear to be a "breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers)," and that "pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers were involved in more than half" (67%) of all the 238 recorded dog bite-related fatalities (DBRF) in the United States during that period, with pit bulls accounting for 66 deaths. They also wrote that:
"It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities."
A 15-year (1991–2005) review of dog attack fatalities investigated by the Kentucky Medical Examiner determined that.....in 45% of the attacks, the dog belonged to the victim's family.

2. The apologist appeals to compassion for abused dogs while overlooking dangers for people:
Can we know if they this dog will ever be safe? I hope so! I hope he has a wonderful life. But if he kills a child who will be responsible?

This is Nico. A broken dog.  I found his story on a pit bull website. 

Through much hard work Nico was rehabilitated and transformed into a beautiful and normal dog:
The full story can be found here: The Power of Social Networking

The comments are what you might expect.

"Brought a tear to my eye....This is why I got a shelter dog.....OMG...thank you for saving him...so transformative." Things like that.

Here was my comment:

Very inspiring story but keep in mind please you can't save every dog with love alone. Notice Nico had a vibration collar on. He needed operations. Think of all the time and money you might need to properly care for a dog you adopt. Hopefully Nico learned his training without having to be shocked at too high a level. I agree with the use of this device to train dogs if it's used properly, and these people were obviously experienced, but you might have to dial it up to keep your dog from hurting or killing another dog or person. Would you be able to do that? I've got 2 pit bull rescues myself and never used it, but my point is it takes more than love. My hope is this story inspires people to care for shelter animals and maybe even adopt one. My fear is someone will be inspired to adopt a dog and think they can turn a rescued animal into cuddle buddy overnight. Do yourself a favor and research dog fatalities on Wikipedia. Check out how many are pit bulls. Keep in mind this doesn’t include maulings or other pets being killed by pit bulls. This site does a very good job of bringing awareness to neutering your pet and training it properly. If you get one, please get it neutered or spayed. Please do your research on training. Help the next pit bull be a success story and not a statistic for those that want to demonize the breed!

I thought my comment was sensible and might bring awareness to the issue of rescuing a dog, but apparently what I said had too much "negative energy." This is from their comment policy:

If your comment is negative, meant to stir up trouble, or just plain nasty, it will be deletedIf the only purpose of your comment is to say something detrimental about Pit Bulls, it will be deleted. If your comment does not bring something worthwhile and useful to the conversation (as determined by me), it will be deleted. No questions asked, no explanations given. 

Diane Clark and Lisa Camuso in this thread make the stereotypical cult-like responses of the pit bull apologist when they debate. Rather than address a legitimate point about getting the pit bull advocates to focus on public safety they ignore the issue, blame the victim, hurl insults and give each other a pat on the back for a job well done.

3. The apologist propaganda spends great effort trying to prove their pit bull is just as safe as other dogs. The Pit Bull Temperament Test is misleadingly presented as proof that a pit bull is safer than most dogs. This test - in a controlled environment with the owner and no other dogs - is meaningless in determining dog safety, yet it's often quoted as definitive proof to the contrary. More important educational information, located on the next page of the site that has the temperament test (and likely mostly ignored) are rules for pit bull owners. Here is one: "NEVER take your pit bull to an off leash dog park or any other area where the dog may come into contact with other dogs running loose." 

4. The "myth" of the pit bull as a Nanny Dog is particularly disturbing because no dog should be left alone with a child. Even if it might have some truth to it risking a child's life for a propaganda agenda is unconscionable.

5.  The apologist completely dismisses the pit bull alarmist as an uniformed nut and places the rights of their own dogs above that of humans. In addition to dismissing valid points and safety concerns without researching them, this approach is inhumanly blind to the slaughter of innocent people and pets. The extreme apologist will insult and threaten a victim of an attack who is raising valid safety concerns about the breed. The alarmists are a wounded community. Innocent people have had their babies torn apart in front of their eyes. Victims have had tendons ripped from their legs. People have lost jobs, life savings, loved ones, their own beloved pets. That part of the blame for all this carnage lies with the apologist propaganda machine surrounding this dog is undeniable. The indignant alarmist will ask, What kind of psychopath could ignore these brutal massacres, and inevitable future bloodshed, by promoting these viscous beasts as ordinary dogs?

The Pit Bull Alarmist

Viewpoint: Pit bulls are ticking time bombs, unpredictable vicious killers. In the 1980's the pet industry unleashed these vicious dogs on the public when they made a campaign to sell them as ordinary family pets.  All pit bull owners are evil and responsible for past and future bloodshed. Pit bulls should never be anyone's pet. Eliminate the breed or keep them in zoos with other dangerous creatures. 

The Motivation for the Alarmist to Lie

The pit bull alarmist hates pit bulls and their owners. He has lost a loved one, been attacked by a pit bull or lives in fear of his neighbor's pit bulls. Because of all the lies being spread by the wacky apologist, he sees it as important to dispel the propaganda that would like you to believe this inherently vicious animal is a safe family pet. Frequently he sees horrifying images of children and ordinary human beings who have been killed or mangled or torn to within inches of their lives by this demon dog. He feels compassion and wants to wake people up to the pit bull killing and mauling epidemic.

Why the Pit Bull Alarmist Agenda is Dangerous

1. The alarmist overlooks the fact that other dog breeds have sometimes killed more in the past and so several factors could account for the recent pit bull problem - not just genetics or the way it was bred. While recent stats are undeniable and need to be addressed immediately it should be noted that from the turn of the century
until the early 1980s, there is exactly one dog attack story to make the national papers and mention pit bulls. What happens when you use Wikiepedia to check dog fatalities? One thing that jumped out at me is every single deadly dog attack in 1996 involved a Rottweiler.  100%! So in 1996 what was the most dangerous breed? If the internet was prevalent would the Rottweiler have been eliminated? Pit bulls killed no dogs that year, or the year before, or the year after, or the year after that. According to Wikipedia pit bulls didn't start to enter into fatality stats seriously until 2003. 

Could the rise in pit bulls killing over the past 15 years be attributed to abuse, neglect and dangerous criminals using these animals for violent purposes? How many continue to train and breed these dogs to fight? If we remove a type of dog it doesn't erase the evil in the men who will do the same things with other dogs. 

While removing all pit bulls from the face of the earth is not technically dangerous it poses what some see as a dangerous moral precedent. Once the last pit bull is no longer owned as a pet, it immediately creates a new most dangerous dog, maybe the Rottweiler.  Should we then eliminate the Rottweiler? And then Doberman, the Husky and the Chow? And on and on should we just keep playing whack-a-mole with the new most dangerous breed? The pit bull problem is man made and to wipe out a whole breed of dog because it is more dangerous than others would, taken to its logical end, eventually remove all dogs from the earth until we are left with - our solution to the pit bull problem, man's crowing achievement - the one supreme safest dog on the planet -

2.  The alarmist incites violence by encouraging people to write anonymous threatening notes on neighbor's doors if they have pit bulls. Not just dangerous pit bulls - any old pit bull. They recommend calling the cops - instead of animal control - because cops are more likely to shoot the dogs. They take delight when pit bulls kill their owners. 

 The Ban the Pit Bull Facebook page above is an example of this. (The one claim I tried to verify on Gary Wilkes "training site" - that he is on the Board at the Arizona of the Humane Society - has been denied by a representative of that group. No other claims as to his credentials have been proven to be true or false.) In June of 2014 the page shared this sign.
I posted a comment: "While I understand protecting yourself against dangerous dogs almost everyone at some point has lost their dog. Your sign says, "Loose Pit Bull?" Wouldn't it be better to say dangerous dogs? Not every single loose dog that looks like a pit bull is violent. Be safe, protect yourself, defend yourself if needed, but the sign suggests you have a weapon to confront what a dog looks like instead of its behavior. What if someone shoots someone's harmless dog that isn't even a pit bull? Since when is a noose a weapon? Every dog that snuck away from its owner and looks like a pit bull is not dangerous. Suggesting someone lynch a dog because it looks like a type of dog is reprehensible. I would hope you take this image down. Is inciting someone to kill an innocent creature, someone's beloved pet, the message you want to send?

My post was deleted within one minute.

However a comment posted a half hour earlier remains several days later, which says:

"I love the sign! Gun is preferred if one of these tortuous dogs attacks. Not sure if a knife could help much. The noose is for the puppies and the quieter ones that trust you enough to let you slip it around their necks."

Ironically, just today in the news - a police officer was caught slitting the throat of a loose dog after it had been safely contained. (It wasn't a pit bull.)

Update 7-21-2014 : The page has been removed by FaceBook for containing hate speech and violating FaceBook community standards. 

Gary Wilkes image is now removed from the page and someone claiming to be the original creator of the page stated. "I don't know what has happened but I suspect there has been too much engagement with pro pit bull supporters leading to mass complaints.... My advice to the admins of this page is to just ban pro pit bull supporters."

3. The alarmist blocks the flow of information too. The message on the FB page.

Pitbull Apologists are not welcome here! We already know your point of view, we find it disturbing and complicit in innocent people being maimed and killed.

4. The alarmist creates a perceived danger (the way a dog looks) which distracts from some real dangers (the way dogs are behaving.) So valuable resources are spent on responding to dogs that may or may not be pit bulls based on appearance. A dog named Rusty was charged with being a pit bull and locked up. If anybody gets through the 6 days of Rusty's trial testimony and finds anything worthwhile please let me know. Does anyone think it was more worthwhile to prosecute Rusty for how he looked rather than cracking down on roaming or dangerous dogs? How many pit bulls could have been neutered and spayed with 6 days of court costs?

5. The alarmist fetishizes violence by using words like "torturer" or "maulers" and repeatedly shows gruesome images, such as videos of pit bull attacks, even when it's unrelated to the topic at hand. Some victims and others have been in these blog forums for years with violent images burning into their eyes, and violent rhetoric playing over and over in their brains ad nauseam. In addition to inciting a holy war among the wounded and grieving, this disturbing and surreal agenda makes the dog even more alluring to the criminal and depraved minds who are inspired by blogs like this to possess this mythical killing beast and see what is might be capable of. Thus the dog is owned in record numbers among the wicked and the cycle of abuse, neglect, fighting, mauling and killing is furthered by the very group that claims to be so opposed to it.

6. The alarmist demonizes the breed and all owners, which discounts the possibility a small group of careless breeders and owners who use the dog for violent purposes are the problem. The alarmist completely dismisses anyone who owns or advocates for the breed as inherently evil and guilty of bloodshed. They alienate even the pit bull owners that advocate for tighter animal control laws, special licenses and mandatory neutering, which would greatly reduce the pit bull population and prevent many maulings and deaths.

The Futility of Debating Either Side

This is how the propaganda debates go in the forums.

1. They size you up quickly and attribute whether you are in their crowd or against them.
2. If they decide you are against them they then argue with a person in their heads that is the epitome of all the talking points of that opposite propaganda.
3. They then take that position they just created for you and distort it.
4. Then they defeat this distorted viewpoint they falsely attributed to you with their penetrating logic (i.e. propaganda)
5. They then claim victory, toss in some insults designed to make you feel guilty, ashamed or afraid  and call you a sociopath.

The fatal problem with a propaganda war: members of a group philosophically opposed to you can't be right about anythingIf you admit the other side is right about one thing, by definition, they must be right about everything.  I found this out when someone was so shocked I agreed with her on an issue she claimed to have "exposed all my bullshit." Of course, she hadn't been arguing with me at all but a phantom member of the opposing propaganda group. Naturally, when I agreed with her on one point, all my other points were immediately toppled (in her mind.)

A straw man is a common type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on the misrepresentation of an opponent's argument. To be successful, a straw man argument requires that the audience be ignorant or uninformed of the original argument.
The so-called typical "attacking a straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man") and then to refute or defeat that false argument ("knock down a straw man") instead of the original proposition. (Wiki)
The other often used method is Ad Hominem.
  1. Person A makes claim X.
  2. Person B makes an attack on person A.
  3. Therefore A's claim is false.

Sally:  I support BSL for the following reasons...
Joe: Well, you were attacked by a pit bull so nobody should trust your opinion.
Sally: What about the points I made about public safety?
Joe: Those don't count - you just want vengeance on our dogs for an isolated incident.

Who is Winning the Propaganda War and Why? 

Although there have been bans on pit bulls in certain areas The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not support Breed Specific Legislation. 

Do a search of pit bulls and kids and you have to scroll down quite a while until you find this image -

(And there are much more gruesome images available.)

The answer is obviously the pit bull apologist is winning, but why? (This isn't a question of right or wrong because I believe the propaganda war is fundamentally wrong. The question is simply: who is more effective at getting their message across to the public and why?)

You might say there are way more friendly, socialized pit bulls and the amount of attacks is statistically very rare or maybe your reply is that people prefer to look at happy pictures rather than face the reality of a dog attacking or killing a child. But is it just a question of numbers or people avoiding an ugly reality? Why else do you think the propaganda battle is being won by the apologist?

Consider the people on a pit bull alarmist forum. They have lost their children and grandchildren. Their neighbors have pit bulls running wild and threatening them. They have seen people torn apart by pit bulls. They had their beloved dog mauled by a pit bull. An owner of a farm lost several cows to pit bulls. People are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods because pit bulls are roaming. People have been permanently disfigured, crippled, lost jobs and countless other afflictions as a direct result of the pit bull. Also you have to consider a certain number of the people drawn to this crowd are creepy lurkers, deviants excited by the lurid gruesome imagery and sociopaths jumping into someone else's holy war. So then who are the people on the pit bull alarmist side? People in extreme fear, the mentally ill violence-perverts and those in a state of profound grief bent on simplifying a group of people and a breed of dog into one demonically evil dangerous mass they can fight.

Does that sound like a group you what to hang around with?

(I apologize to anyone I may have offended who has been hurt by a pit bull. Who am I to suggest to a father who lost his daughter and unborn grandchild doesn't have a more important voice than mine? Of course he does. Who am I to try to influence the campaign of these wounded souls. I know nothing of their pain and misery. I'm simply searching for the truth myself. I'm understanding how I was influenced by the propaganda of the apologist and I'm thankful my dogs haven't hurt anyone. I want to know the truth - not because my leg was torn off or my 3 year old was mauled to death - but simply because I wouldn't want to be responsible for hurting anyone or their pet.) 

What I'm asking the people trying to make people more aware of the pit pull problem is simply this: is this the image you want? Could you accomplish your goals with a different method?

Consider the people in the pit bull apologist crowd. They love their dogs. We all know parents who have overlooked their kids transgressions, even outright evil deeds, because they loved them. Are pit bull owners so different?  Love is an irrational force. It is blind. It hurts people unwittingly sometimes. But who is it easier to forgive - someone blindly in love with a creature that depends on him or someone who allows the message that hanging puppies is an acceptable solution? 

The apologists are made up of kids who play with their dogs. Most of their dogs have never hurt anyone or anyone's pet - at least not yet. They rescue animals that have been abused and tortured. Naive or not, they are typically compassionate and happy people. Irrespective of how complicit they are in past and future bloodshed, don't you think most people might be a little more drawn to this crowd?Which propaganda campaign is more in need of a make over?

Who is more logical, someone who is relaxed and happy or someone overcome with grief and bent on vengeance?

However, just because the pit bull apologist crowd is more pleasant to hang with doesn't mean they are right about everything.

Just because the pit bull alarmists are repelling to most reasonable sane people doesn't mean they don't have any valid concerns.

The Pit Bull Identification Propaganda War

The pit bull apologist would like you to believe it's virtually impossible to define a pit bull from a lot of other dog breeds and thus we don't know reliable statistics on population or killing/mauling statistics. Of course, if you can't accurately identify a pit bull it naturally follows that laws to ban the breed are impossible to enforce.

The pit bull apologia designed a "test" to show how difficult it was to pick a pit bull out from other breeds. How can laws target a type of dog? Pit bull is a type of dog - not a breed, they cried. They carefully selected dogs like these that resemble pit bulls in order to show how hard it was to identify the pit bull.

An alarmist did a painstaking debunking of this test and proved what most people could tell at first glance - the test was rigged. He discovered how each breed could be identified if needed, how the images were distorted by size to confuse people, how many dogs were chosen from other countries, etc.

The apologist crowd then thanked him for his "unbiased views" and for "getting the truth" out.

However, proving someone is attempting to deceive you doesn't mean you are telling the truth.

Similar examples of faulty logic.

Mark Fuhrman planted a bloody glove therefore OJ Simpson is innocent.

Creationism points to huge holes in evolution therefore creationism is true.

A popular alarmist website DogBite created a "more realistic" test that included dogs like these.

Spot the pit bull? Good. Wasn't that easy?

This test seems to prove we can visually identify pit bulls without any difficulty and thus a ban against them would be easy to enforce.

Well, wait a minute. The perfect image of a breed may exist in a textbook, but what about real life? Dogs in real life are unique 3 dimensional creatures. These pictures look they were chosen from dog shows. Could real life dogs actually be identified as pit bulls?

So the scramble for a test to prove pit bulls could be identified in real life began and in no time a pit bull alarmist provided the following study Visual Identification of Pit Bulls  It clearly shows that 96% of dogs labeled as pit bulls in a shelter actually were pit bulls - only 4 dogs were a completely different breed. This was the most comprehensive test with the most up to date DNA testing. "96% is an A" someone said. They had their proof.

But wait....

If you look at the study closer it says that, "57% of the dogs were primarily another breed." The criteria they used to judge a "pit bull" was 25% pit bull DNA so even if the dog was primarily another breed it was labeled a pit bull. I pointed out the interpretation of the study depended on how you defined a pit bull. A pit bull alarmist said. "No, you confounded the study." Another alarmist chimed in saying I had misread it. It is 96% accurate, he said. Again, I explained 43% of the dogs were entirely or primarily another breed. I asked, because I honestly wanted to know, is this the same criteria you are using to determine a pit bull - 25% DNA - even if it's primarily another breed. I believe my dogs fall into this hazy mixed category and I wanted to know if they would be classified as pit bulls under a ban. Here are some pit mixes from a local shelter:

It was a simple question. Would these dogs be banned or put down? The question was never answered.
Each propagandist group will stick to their easy to identify or hard to identify talking point and, real life mixed dogs in the shelter who fall into neither category, get left out of the debate.

Now the website DogsBite.org claims to bust the myth of this hazy pit bull identification debate once and for all by revealing the legal definition of a how a pit bull is identified. 

"Some of the genetic traits courts have identified include: unpredictability of aggression, tenacity "gameness" the refusal to give up a fight), high pain tolerance and the pit bull's "hold and shake" bite style. According to forensic medical studies, similar injuries have only been found elsewhere on victims of shark attacks."

But wait yet again...that is not visual identification - these are behaviors. How do we reasonably test pain? How do we know a dog is unpredictable until it is?  How do we know it won't give up until it doesn't? How do we know it holds and shakes until it does? While the visual identification is not as clear or muddied as either side tries to make it, leaving the courts to decide what a pit bull is by how it behaves strikes me as unhelpful in preventing pit bulls from causing harm. Will animal control officers use a toy to test the shake and hold behavior on pit bulls?  Have you ever seen another dog shake and hold? 

So what is a pit bull? 

A great many shelter dogs are mixed with some undefined amount of pit bull DNA and characteristics and it's impossible to lock down every individual dog. Some look more like pit bulls than others. Some act more like pit bulls than others. Some owner's call their dogs pit bulls when they are not. Some owner's call their dogs something else when its a pit bull. People can get lost in the debate forever of what a pit bull is and both sides will distort the other sides position. It comes down to what a dog looks like, what an owner refers to his dog as, what the vet writes down the dog is, and DNA testing. 

How Long Will the Propaganda War Last?

I came to the conclusion that people were not thinking as individuals because of the comfort of being in a crowd. I found the term to describe this is called group polarization. I found this attributed to the anti-pit bull crowd by a pit bull advocate, who not so surprisingly did not apply the phenomenon to her own group. 

"In social psychologygroup polarization refers to the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme than the initial inclination of its members. These more extreme decisions are towards greater risk if individuals' initial tendencies are to be risky and towards greater caution if individuals' initial tendencies are to be cautious. The phenomenon also holds that a group's attitude toward a situation may change in the sense that the individuals' initial attitudes have strengthened and intensified after group discussion.

In recent years, the Internet and online social media have also presented opportunities to observe group polarization and compile new research. Psychologists have found that social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter demonstrate that group polarization can occur even when a group is not physically together. As long as the group of individuals begins with the same fundamental opinion on the topic and a consistent dialogue is kept going, group polarization can be observed."

Hence the propaganda war is intensified and we get farther and farther away from the truth on both sides.

Efforts go to bolster the social media troops, people troll through personal information in the hopes of exposing a flaw or scandal to discredit someone, spies search for facts they can misinterpret, archivists pore laboriously over tiny details about the good or evil nature of propaganda pit bulls long dead, groups march for dog breed civil rights and to remember the wounded and dead. On one side we are given a false sense of security and on the other we feel outrage pushing a wave of irrational fear, hatred and violence. Where will it end? What are the answers?

The answers are never in the propaganda playbook. What can a person arguing with a predetermined foe hope to gain? Certainly not any answers.

All the answers are in real life - in the world - where people enact laws and educate people to create a safer community.

But nobody has time to bother with real life when they are busy fighting a propaganda war. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Discredited Dogsbite.org Spreads Irrational Hatred

Dogsbite.org defines pit bull owners in the following way:  "Pit bull owners:
Studies show that pit bull owners employ strategies to disguise the true nature of the breed by engaging in distortions, denial and overcompensation and by projecting blame after attacks.
Not normal dog owners..."

What is implied? All pit bull owners employ these strategies because they are all inherently deceitful. This is based on their "interpretation" of a Tufts study:

What The Study actually says: pit bulls are "the favorite of gangs and drug dealers" and shelters and those that have them as companion animals have to counteract the stigma attached to their breed. It then lists the way the pit bull owner, who wants a dog for a companion, counteracts the negative stereotype around his dog by "passing their dogs as breeds other than pit bulls, denying that their behavior is biologically determined, debunking adverse media coverage, using humor, emphasizing counter-stereotypical behavior, avoiding stereotypical equipment or accessories, taking preventive measures, or becoming breed ambassadors."

So the website begins by being purposely misleading when it states the deceitful actions of all pit bull owners as one group and not stating the clearly spelled out difference in the study between two classes of pit bull owners:

1. The drug dealers and criminals who have made this their favorite dog.

2. The shelters (who debate whether or not to adopt the dog) and people who choose this dog as a companion animal.

Not once when referring to the study does the website reference shelters and pit bull owners who chose this animal as a companion animal. 

Dogsbite.org creates a negative stereotype - lumping all pit bull owners into one evil mass, which is repeated in the alarmist blogs - as previously mentioned - with hateful narrow-minded rhetoric. Misinterpreting a study on purpose is shameful and no legitimate website would do so.
The whole purpose of the study was to show the stigma attached to the good owners and how it affected them and their pets.

The next thing this pit bull alarmist site says is, "The study is sympathetic to pit bull owners..."

While that may be true, the site hasn't given an honest assessment of the study in the first place so they already lost credibility. If you think the study is overly sympathetic why not say so from the beginning and make your point instead of cherry picking misleading quotes for your own narrow-minded agenda?

Dogsbite.com says, "Pit bull owners frequently direct blame onto victims after an attack too...while "blaming the victim" is a universal phenomenon, pit bull owners do so offensively." 

How so? How is this verified in fact? They cite one example of this. How Dogsbite.org comes to the conclusion that pit bull owners do this universal thing more offensively than any other type of person on the planet is not explained. 

The sad thing is this dangerous rhetoric is fed to those who have suffered the grief of losing a pet or who have been attacked or seen someone being mauled and now they can read on the internet that pit bull owners are so much more deceitful and offensive in their behavior than other humans. As "proof" there is a link to one article. 

America is known for irrational fear campaigns in the past, such as the Salem Witch Trials, the Red Scares and more recently, the policy decision to go to war in Iraq where "mushroom cloud" was the fear mantra repeated by Dick Cheney, George Bush and Condoleezza Rice.

Here is how Dogsbite.org debunks the "myth" a pit bull does not have a locking jaw:

"Myth #7: Pit bulls do not have a locking jaw:

Pro-pit bull groups continuously attempt to debunk the pit bull "locking jaw" expression that is often used by the media and the public. A pit bull's jaw may not physically lock, but due to selective breeding for a specific bite style -- to hold on and to shake indefinitely -- we consistently hear in news reports that the dog would not let go." 

It's a fact a pit bull's jaw does not lock. No dog has a locking mechanism in it's jaw. The website itself states as much a sentence after it claims to bust the myth of pro-pit bull groups. So the myth promoted by the pro-bit bull groups is actually true, but Dogsbite.org feels the need to call it a myth anyway and then admits it's actually true. Anybody confused? It's no surprise many people still believe this myth of the locking pit bull jaw.

Dogsbite.com does more harm than good. They lie, misinterpret studies and distort information on virtually every page. Perhaps they believe by making all pit bulls appear to be super-dangerous and all pit bull owners to be evil they think they will help ban this type of dog, but unfortunately the result is likely this: intelligent people dismiss all the information on the website - even the true and valid concerns - as part of a fabricated narrow-minded agenda.

Recent information about the founder of the site has come to light. That was provided by a pit bull advocate and has not been verified.

I recently found an article written several years ago.

MARCH 27, 2010

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pit Bull More Likely To Kill Owner Than Other Dogs?

  1. In 2013 the following owners were killed by their dogs

    It's very rare for a dog to kill its owner. There were only 8 cases in which owners were killed by their dogs (for all dog breeds) in 2013. This included 2 cases (noted in bold) in which the owner was deemed the significant other. Based on obviously limited information I tried to determine how many owners were "good" and how many owners were "bad." Further factual contributions to the circumstance of these deaths are welcome.

    I found only 2 "good owners" that were killed by their dogs in 2013 - a 91 year old woman killed by her 2 pit bulls and a 64 year old man killed by his Boxer.

    The "bad owners" who were killed by their pit bulls

    1. 56 year old female - Pit bull - Her dog, Boosie, which she originally acquired for protection[and had raised from a puppy. It had previously attacked a family member and Douglass, who carried a large facial scar as a result. Boosie had been taken away by authorities, but Douglass had fought to have Boosie back, and he had recently been returned to her apartment in. Officers speculated Douglass, a handicapped woman, may have fallen on the dog, and described the scene as "horrific".

    2. 75 year old female - Pit bull/ Bull Mastiff mix; Rat Terrier -  The owner of the 87-pound dog said it would frequently "bite out of fear." It had previously bitten an intoxicated family member in the face, bitten a neighbor in the face, and bitten its owner on the arm and leg. The attack occurred after the dogs were let outside unsupervised, off-leash in an unfenced yard.

    3. 41 year old female - Pit bull - She had gone outside, where the dog was kept chained up in a pen, to break ice on the dog's water bowl, when it attacked. Her brother found her body and shot the dog. Her eleven other dogs were taken away by authorities.

    4. 25 year old female - Pit bulls - Went out to the kennel behind their home in to feed the dogs as usual (They belonged to her boyfriend)  but this time they attacked.

    "Bad owners" who were killed by breeds other than pit bull

    1. 35 year old female - german shepherd  The attack happened at home involving a male dog registered to her husband. The dog was 100-150 lbs and 3 years old. One neighbor said that the dog has been aggressive and guarded the house.

    2. 63 year old female - Lab-German Shepherd-Mastiff mix. She was killed by a dog that she had taken in as a stray. The incident occurred while she was attempting to stop it from attacking her other "small brown wiener dog.

    Summary of "good owners" killed by pit bulls in 2013

    1. The 91 year old woman who had 2 pit bulls by all accounts was a nice loving lady. The dogs killed her in a motel when she was moving with her son and dogs.

    Summary of "good owners" killed by other dog breeds

    1. 64 year old male killed by boxer. Vick and his wife tried to break up a fight at their home between their two dogs when one of them turned on them. He died soon after arriving at the local hospital; she survived.

    Definition of Bad Owners

    The bad owners included those that taught aggression, a dog hoarder, those that kept their dogs chained or locked in cages and those that ignored repeated aggressive attacks. In my opinion, if you keep your dog constantly chained or caged you don't have a dog - you have a dangerous animal. Dogs need daily exercise and interaction to become dogs.

    To answer the question a pit bull is obviously more likely to kill a good owner than most dogs because it can. As can a Boxer and German Shepherd and many other powerful breeds. However, based on a brief look from 2013 to today, it would be extremely irrational to think that if you are a good owner there would be anything but the remotest of statistical abnormalities that your pit bull will kill you. In fact, the Wiki link said the 91 year old woman may have even died before the dogs bit her. If that was the case from 2013 to today you would have no good owners killed by their pit bulls.

    In 2014 no dogs have killed their owners at the time of this writing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Are all pit bulls inherently vicious?

The simple answer is no. No sane person believes every pit bull type dog is inherently vicious. But nevertheless pit bulls are still the most dangerous dog in America and contain more risks than any other breed.

This Video of the pit bull debate will give you insight into both sides of this debate.

In the video an animal behaviorist at the University of Washington says Dobermans, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Chows and German Shepherds are all "genetically more aggressive than pit bulls." He estimates 20-30% of a dog's behavior is genetically influenced.

Chris Davis is a lawyer in Washington who says who cares whose fault it is? Dog, owner, genetics. We should not put the rights of dogs above the rights of people.

The law has ruled both ways on the matter in different states. 

Even the discredited website Dogsbite.com, revealed to be an alarmist non-factual website with a ban the pit bull agenda, reluctantly admits: "While not all pit bulls are inherently vicious, their genetic history cannot be "loved" out of them either."

If this website says not all pit bulls are inherently vicious I believe it 100% because it's the last thing they want to admit.

As already stated we know genetic makeup of a dog is 20-30% of its behavior and the rest is expected to be on the owner to influence and control - just like other dogs.