Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A question answered

In my post on Ohio's Breed Specific Advocate I questioned the relationship between Representative Barbara Sears and pit bull advocate Jean Keating.  Were they personal friends or was this a friendly relationship brought about by working on legislation they both felt strongly about?  I recently got the answer to this question, directly from Barbara Sears.

This post is going to go in several directions and will link to previous posts and to future posts.  We will start with mention of a "documentary" titled "Guilty Til Proven Innocent" produced by Cleveland area resident Jeff Theman.  Another post will be dedicated to this production but in the promotional material posted on the documentary's Facebook page Jeff Theman links to video of a celebration of the passage of HB 14.  Several videos are available and this one is on the  bottom row on the left side.

When you view this video watch the participants in the celebration and award ceremony.  There is no hint of discomfort.  On May 17, 2012 three day old Makayla Darnell of Monroe Township Ohio was killed in the family home by her grandmother's pit bull, this death was not acknowledged by Barbara Sears or Jean Keating.  The ceremony took place on  May 19th, the baby had not yet been buried.  I find the ceremony itself,  and the joy of the participants obscene, Makayla has not yet been buried but she sure has been forgotten.  

In the video, a joyous representative of Best Friends Animal Society presents a plaque commemorating the passage of the bill to Sears.  Jean Keating presents a large photo of a pit bull, wearing a red ribbon on its head, to Sears.  Sears happily accepts this photo and promises to hang it in a prominent location in her statehouse office.  At three minutes and fifty seconds into the video Sears speaks of her relationship with Keating.  They have been longtime personal friends. They met when their college age sons were small and played soccer together.  Barbara Sears changed Ohio law as a favor to a personal friend.

In reading the FOI documents on HB 14 one reads a great deal of information and opinion from Ohio residents, pro and con.  Material in favor of the bill is furnished by Keating, and other breed advocates and is not questioned.  It should have been, this material comes only from breed specific websites and advocates. Interestingly, Sears does not respond at all to information that does not support the bill, or to criticism of the bill, with only one exception and that exception is revealing.   

The letter, turning into a series of emails, that stirred Sears only response came from an Ohio pastor. She is hostile and condescending to this educated man who voices his logical opinion.  I will furnish the text of these letters because I feel that Sears responses illustrate her thought pattern and how deeply she is into unquestioned acceptance of the material presented by her friend. These letters are shared exactly as written but I do not include the pastor's name or location in Ohio.

On 11/23/2011 the pastor writes
"Hi Barbara,
I'm a Republican from xxxx Ohio, have 5 kids, and lead a church of 3000+ people. As a community leader I am really disappointed that you would use your political influence to try and change Ohio's vicious dog law, removing pit bulls from the list.  Do you know what might happen to your sons if an irresponsible neighbor has a pit bull?  Please do not use your influence to push a change to a valid state law.  I will do everything in my power to speak against any such move, and will contact pastors in Toledo to speak against your position.  Please reconsider this wrong-headed move.  Thanks!
signature xxxx"

Sears could have ignored this email, as she did with all other emails or letters questioning the wisdom of changing a law that was protecting Ohio residents, but she did not.  

Barbara's first response dated 12/10/2011
"Dear Dr. xxxxx
Thank you for contacting my office in regards to HB 14; legislation that makes reform to Ohio's vicious dog laws.  This bill does remove pit bulls from the vicious list inherently because of their breed, but it does so much more.

Ohio's current law, called Breed Specific Legislation  discriminates against "pitbull" types and mixes.  The issue is that "pitbull" is not a breed, so identifying these sorts of dogs is widely inaccurate and wholly subjective.  Like humans, I do not believe that dogs are inherently evil or vicious.

In addition to removing pitbulls from inherently being vicious, the bill puts in place a due process for adjudicating all dogs.  So whether a dog is a boxer, pitbull, or yorkie, it will be adjudicated on behavior.  This does a much better job of protecting the public than the current law.  In fact,  the last person killed in Ohio by a dog was killed by a husky. (*see note below)

Additionally, this bill prevents criminals from owning vicious dogs. I assure you this bill goes much further to protect the public than current law.  That is why the dog wardens support the bill. (**see note below)

Please do not hesitate to contact my Legislative Aide Joe Russell with further questions, concerns or need of assistance.

Barbara Sears
Assistant Majority Floor Leader"

*Before proceeding it must be noted that Sears claim on the Husky mauling death is  totally false.  At the time Sears wrote this the last Ohio resident killed by a dog was Michael Winters of Lorain Ohio. On 6/15/2010 Winters was killed by his own pack of dogs including five bullmastiff mixes, three pit bull mixes and one rottweiler mix.  Prior to Winters death was a five year lull in Ohio mauling deaths.  On June 15, 2005 Ernie Assad of Parma Ohio died, he had been mauled by two dogs, a pit bull and an American bulldog owned by Chicago Bears tight end Darnell Sanders and cared for by local resident Natalie Gruttaderia.      In 2009 three week old Olivia Rosek was killed by her family's husky but Olivia lived in Bourbonnais IL.  In 2010 Robert D. Hocker, 11 days old was killed by his family's Husky but Robert lived in Independence MN.  The Husky death in Ohio simply did not happen.
**It also must be noted that the membership of the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association was not consulted on this bill.  The President Matt Granito, and  the Treasurer of the organization, Mark Kumpf, both with close personal ties to Best Friends Animal Society supported the bill but the membership never had the opportunity to voice their concerns or vote on HB 14.  

Back to the letters.  On 12/12/2011 the pastor writes
"Dear Barbara (&Joe)
Thanks for your response; I really appreciate you getting back to me on an issue that is of such importance to families who want to raise their kids without fear.

Personally, we've had neighbors who on three occasions have mistakenly allowed their pit bulls to get loose and roam the neighborhood.  These are great neighbors who are not criminals, simply negligent in the care of their dogs.  Barbara, I can assure you the the entire neighborhood fearfully kept their kids inside until an Animal Warden was able to corral the dogs.  I know you have two sons, and I believe you would respond like the parents in our neighborhood if a similar occurrence happened in your area.

Do you truly believe that there are no dogs who by nature are more likely to attack humans?  A simple search  on the internet (make sure you check graphic images/pictures) will convince you otherwise.  I'm not simply concerned about humans being killed as you mention; I've seen children disfigured because of malicious pitbull attacks. It is the height of disregard to fight for a law that allows all non-criminals to have these dogs in their possession.  EVEN if the rest of the community is opposed.

You think we are safer with the law you are pushing?  You think that wardens are on your side?  I doubt that, and I know for a fact that the Animal Warden in xxxx disagrees with you, no doubt many others do as well.

Again, I will do whatever I can to stand against your push for new legislation.  I will plan on writing letters to the editor of your local paper, and mobilizing others to do the same.  Why are you so intent on protecting the rights of pit bull owners when so many residents of Ohio are opposed to you?  If you have any intent to seek other elective office, this issue will come back to haunt you.

Thanks for your consideration,

Sears response, dated 12/19/2011 and time stamped 2:44 p.m.
"Dear Dr. xxxx,

Thank you again for writing regarding HB 14.  I have read your response and respect your viewpoint.

First, HB 14 puts protections in place to deal with irresponsible dog owners.  They will be counselled on their responsibilities as a dog owner, and even punished if they continue to be irresponsible.  This is not something that happens currently.

I appreciate that you too are concerned about the effects of this bill, but the fear that you exhibit does not reflect the facts.  Studies show that pit bull breeds are not the most likely to bite, and are not the most aggressive.  I do believe that this bill better protects the public. That is why the dog wardens support HB 14.  I worked closely with the County Commissioners Association  (the organization that represents wardens) who even helped me write the bill.* So yes, they do support this bill.

I certainly respect your right as a citizen to advocate for or against any issue.  But I think that what you will find is that there are more people that support this than do not.  The reason is because this bill does a better job protecting the public than the current law.  The out pouring of public support for HB 14 is a testament  to the bill's necessity and purpose.

Thank you again for your feedback.  Please do not hesitate to contact my Legislative Aide Joe Russell with further questions, concerns, or need of my assistance.

Barbara Sears
Assistant Majority Floor leader"
*Please note that HB 14 was written by lawyers in the employ of Best Friends Animal Society and forwarded to Sears by Jean Keating .On February 17, 2011 Keating sent the material to Sears with the note "Barb, I am attaching comments from Laura Allen on Best Friends draft of Ohio's Dangerous Dog Law for your review.  Laura Allen is the founder of Animal Law Coalition and is an attorney who specializes in animal issues.  She is also reviewing the due process language. Thanks, Jean Keating."
It should be noted that Best Friends also wrote an earlier version of an Ohio Dangerous Dog Law, HB 79, which was sent direct to Sears by Ledy Vankavage and dated 11/30/2009.  HB 79 failed.  Sears appears to be unaware, or not care that the "outpouring of support" for HB 14 was generated by anti-BSL websites, and emailed pleas for letters to legislators.

The pastor, not intimidated by Sears bluster responded 12/19/2011 at 4:59 p.m.
"Hi Barbara--

Since this has already passed the House, I have called my State Senator and will focus on on persuading more of those members to not vote for this bill.  I realize you are very committed to this since you sponsored the bill Barbara.  However, it is difficult for me to not view this as a favor to pit bull breed owners at the expense of the other 95% of us (non-pit bull owners) who would like to enjoy peace and security in our neighborhoods.

I don't think you can honestly tell me, Barbara, that if a collie and pit bull came running after one of your boys on his bike, you would feel equally about his safety from both dogs.  To say that "it depends on the dog's history" is a bogus argument, in my mind.  But, I know we disagree and I appreciate you getting back to me.

May you have a Merry Christmas,

In order to have the last word Barbara responded 12/19/2011 at 5:15

"Thank you again.  I do not blame you for  raising an argument based on fear.  The environment surrounding these animals has largely been routed in fear just as Rottweilers were in the 1990s, Dobermans in the 1980s, and German Sheppards's (sic) in the 1970s.   The fact that we prop-up an argument based on fear only propagates more fear.

The House and now the Senate has heard much testimony about these animals and how this law will make the lives of dog wardens easier.  It is true that the law helps pit bull owners but the law also makes our community safer. In fact, the last person killed in Ohio by a dog was killed by a Husky (which had been exhibiting dangerous behavior for years).  Besides, most pit bull owners are responsible and loving.  They do not own the type of dog that has been portrayed by an image routed in fear.

My best suggestion for you is rather than be scared by this bill I recommend that you read the bill.  You will see that it is good public policy.  Why would the dog wardens support this bill if it didn't help them do their job better, or if it would harm the public, they would not.

Thank you again for your feedback.  I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Barbara Sears
Assistant Majority Floor Leader"

Reading over this exchange of opinions it stuns me just how perceptive the pastor was. He was aware that dog wardens did not support the bill.  He asked why she was to totally committed to pushing a law that has proven to be a disaster.  He was aware that the bill is a gift to pit bull advocacy.  He told her that her actions would come back to haunt her, and should have haunted her during the celebration.

Remember the five year lull between the deaths of Ernie Assad and Michael Winters?  In the first nine months after the passage of  HB 14 there were three dog mauling deaths in Ohio.   The passage of HB 14 has not brought peace or safety.   Since the passage of the bill, three day old Ohio resident Makayla Darnell was killed by her grandmother's pit bull in her grandmother's home on May 17, 2012, just two days prior to the celebration and plaque presentation.  Ohio resident Ronnel Brown, age forty, was killed by his own designer dog-pit bull mix on July 11, 2012.  Ohio resident Dawn Jergens was killed September 1, 2012 by her own two cane corsos.

Sears told the pastor that "I do believe that this bill better protects the public."  Fact does not bear this out.


Good times, May 19, 2012

Image above was deleted. Thank goodness for screenshots.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Springfield Ohio pit bull owner flown to local hospital for treatment after he is attacked by his own pit bulls

A Springfield Ohio man was flown to an unnamed hospital for treatment after he was attacked in his own home by his own pit bulls.  Police were called after neighbors heard the man screaming, he may have been trying to break up a fight between the dogs when he was attacked.  It has been reported that the man owns four or five dogs and the dogs are "believed to be pit bulls" per WHIOTV.  A neighbor who has done painting inside the home stated that he asked the owner to put them away when he was there because he was afraid he might be bitten.  The local Humane Society took two of the dogs away and will make a decision on what will happen to them.

Owner flown to hospital after bitten by his dog photo

Monday, March 11, 2013

Popular post updated, Ohio's Breed Specific Advocate


This post is viewed regularly although it was originally posted in June of 2012.  Given its popularity  I re post it now with updates. The statistics have changed a bit since the Advocate began her campaign to change state law and the changes are found at the bottom of this post. 

No, I think I will put them at the top of the post and at the bottom, I don't want anyone to miss them. The changes are chilling.   

  Updated fatality statistics.

In 2009 there were 32 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 14 were due to pit bulls, 44%

In 2010 there were 33 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 22 were due to pit bulls, 67%

In 2011 there were 31 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 22 were due to pit bulls, 77%

In 2012 there were 38 dog mauling fatalities in the United States. Of this total 23 were due to pit bulls, 61%

In 2013 from January 1st to March 6th  there have been six fatal dog maulings in the United States.   Of this total 6 were due to pit bulls, 100%

Ohio's breed specific advocate, Jean Keating

One constant in seven years of FOI documents relating to HB14, and previous attempts to remove regulation from pit bulls in Ohio is Jean Keating. There is never a point where Keating introduced herself by letter, no "Dear Legislator, my name is Jean Keating and I would like to share my thoughts with you." She turned up regularly with letters, pit bull advocacy material, and forwards of news stories on attacks by any other breed, but never comments on actual pit bull mauling deaths. Keating is a tremendous favorite of the Toledo Blade, she is frequently quoted and photographed. It is impossible to conceal her identity by simply calling her "the breed specific advocate" her public profile has been too high for too long. Keating is a co-founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates and President of the Lucas County Pit Crew.

Keating is friendly with Barbara Sears, this is clear. Keating addresses Sears in letters as "Dear Barb." Some letters begin with business and end with status updates on Keating's children and mother. From the correspondence, it is not clear whether these two women have been friends in the community or their friendship is purely political. Keating wrote on several occasions "I will do anything to get this law passed." She pretty much did just that.

A letter to Representative Garrison, dated April 10, 2009 gives insight into what drives Keating. "I am a law abiding citizen and responsible dog owner, as such, I should have the right to own any breed of dog I believe I can properly care for. The failings of others should not restrict my rights. People can smoke and drink alcohol, even while pregnant. Those things have been proven to kill at alarming rates. There are millions of dogs in this country and less than 30 deaths per year from all breeds combined. That makes dogs remarkably safe. So why can't I own the dog of my choosing? I recognize that even though I am a responsible dog owner, others may not be. Why does their behavior destroy my rights?"

A letter to Sears dated April 13, 2009 gives additional thoughts. "Where does all this leave a responsible dog owner? Personally, it infuriates me and causes me to look through the real estate pages of neighboring Michigan. My own family dog has been Canine Good Citizen certified, has a microchip and is never taken into Toledo for fear he would be killed. As an AKC registered American Staffordshire Terrier, he isn't even a pit bull. (note - An AKC American Staffordshire Terrier may be double registered as a UKC American Pit Bull Terrier, obviously they are one and the same) However, according to the ORC he is vicious, he has never displayed a single aggressive behavior and yet I am subjected to restrictions that other owners aren't. My own son was bitten by a dog a few years ago and that dog's owner has no restrictions. Where is the sense in that? I think that is the nonsense that has caused Ohio citizens great grief. The experts know why dogs bites (sic), why aren't we listening?"

Early 2009 is the start of advocacy overdrive for Keating. Many letters and forwards of information taken from breed specific advocacy websites, comments on attacks and bites from different breeds, but no mention of serious pit bull maulings or deaths. It should be noted that in the United States there were 14 pit bull mauling deaths in 2009, but Keating had no comment on them.  See notes below for an update on pit bull fatality statistics since 2009.

In a letter to Sears dated February 21, 2009 Keating wants the removal of the designation of vicious for pit bulls (which removes insurance and containment requirements). Due process was not a concern for Keating. (A bit later we will get to the reason for the due process addition to proposed changes in Ohio law.) Keating complains that despite the strong breed specific law in Toledo at that time, bite counts are going up so obviously the law is not working. A document provided by Lucas County and found in Barbara Sears records showing dog bite counts from 2001 to 2008 gives a different perspective.

In 2001 there were 697 dog bites recorded by the county
in 2002 there were 617 bites
in 2003 there were 550 bites
in 2004 there were 526 bites
in 2005 there were 432 bites
in 2006 there were 428 bites
in 2007 there were 329 bites
in 2008 there were 403 bites.

The trend is steadily downward for the period with a single year, 2007, as an outlier with a more significant drop in bites. In the setting of County dog bites, Keating's complaint looks dishonest. It must be noted that during the entire period covered by the table, Tom Skeldon was Dog Warden in Lucas County. Tom Skeldon was driven into retirement by personal and professional attacks from the Toledo Blade, and Keating's organizations. Attacks and service calls increased dramatically in the first year after Skeldon's retirement, as reported in the Toledo Blade. A January 31, 2011 Blade article by reporter JC Reindl states Dog Warden service calls increased to 5,427, up 162 from 2009. Dog attack investigations increased to 434, up from 357 in 2009.

In an additional letter to Sears, with the same date 2/21/2009, Keating gives her thoughts on changes to Ohio law. "There are also some states, like Virginia, that require "vicious dogs" to be registered differently and they pay higher license fees. I don't believe that people are going to like that, but it could be a concession later to appease some folks. If you search the Virginia Vicious Dog site, it lists the address, owner, breed, and offense the dog committed. That is harsh but it has created a safer state."

Keating does not think "people" will like to pay higher license fees for legally declared vicious dogs and a public listing of those dogs is "harsh"? What does Keating think about the medical bills generated by those legally declared vicious dogs? Without insurance the victims paid them, not the dog owner. A public listing of the dogs is "harsh"? That public listing allows neighbors to be aware of dangers in their neighborhood, it helps protect children. This is "harsh" for the dog owner? Has breed specific advocacy ever considered the rights of the peaceful public?

In a letter dated 3/19/2009 from Keating to Sears, Keating announces statements of support for HB79 (an earlier version of HB14) from Best Friends and the AKC. " I have put out requests to about 15 more national organizations asking for support. I should be able to give you a list by the end of the week of the responses I receive." It stuns me that a private citizen has taken it upon herself to negotiate Ohio law with special interest groups.

On April 2, 2009 Keating writes to Sears Legislative aide about a "letter writing party." "Annie, we had the first of our scheduled "letter writing parties" tonight. We had a great turnout and got coverage from two TV stations. I have about 150 letters to stuff in the mail." Were legislators made aware that the letters that were turning up in their mail were not spontaneous letters of support, but were generated wholesale, at the request of Keating?

A revealing letter from Keating, undated, but the letters she supplies were dated April 2009, gives additional insight into Keating's unbounded advocacy. "Some of the kids at the school where I work are doing a government project. They are upset that I don't bring my dogs to school anymore. I explained why to them and they wanted to help. Their teacher helped them but didn't understand that Barb introduced the bill. They worked so hard on their letters I said I would send them. Thanks, Jean" Jean Keating is using her job at a school to influence children to write to legislators in support of her own pet project. Were the children's parents aware of the manipulation of their sons and daughters?

Keating is the connection between Representative Sears and Best Friends Animal Society's Senior Legislative Attorney, Ledy Vankavage. In a Toledo Blade article dated 11/6/2009, "Dog Advocate says 'pit bulls' are unfairly demonized. Canine Profiling cited as ineffective approach" Blade writer Carl Ryan states that "Vankavage is Senior Legislative Analyst for Best Friends, the group that rescued disgraced NFL player Michael Vick's approximately 50 "pit bulls" which have been rehabilitated and adopted out."   This statement is clearly not factual, Best Friends had little to do with the seizure of Vick's dogs. Best Friends took 22 of the dogs, most were to be lifelong sanctuary dogs.  Reporter Ryan goes on to say "Ms. Vankavage was in Toledo at the invitation of Jean Keating and her organization The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates." Barbara Sears attended this meeting at the invitation of Keating.

I am going to digress a bit here, Please hang in there with me.  Best Friends signed a contract as part of the process to receive the 22 high profile Vicktory pits bulls. One of the terms of contract stated that the dogs were not to be used for fund raising purposes but Best Friends has used  these dogs in shameless solicitation of donations. A 2012 revision of Best Friends Terrier Initiatives page has removed acknowledgement of their agreement with the Federal Government not to use the Vick Dogs for fundraising and has removed the "Donate Now" button.  The contract may be read here, the non fundraising clause is located on page 5 under Indemnification and Publicity, section H.  Records are difficult to come by but it appears that only a few of the dogs taken by Best Friends have been placed but  Best Friends has a new marketing program for some of the aging Vick pit bulls.  Best Friends has put the Vicktory pit Layla on Petfinder.  In the Petfinder ad Best Friends states that Layla is aggressive, should be the only "pet" in the household, and that she has Babesia, a communicable disease common in fighting pit bulls.  Just what every neighborhood needs.  The contract between Best Friends and the United States Government has this stipulation "The Rescue Organization will be prohibited from transferring the dog or dogs to another rescue organization without the written consent of the United States Department of Agriculture.  This stipulation is located on page 8 of the document. Has Best Friends obtained the consent of the Federal Government to offer an acknowledged aggressive dog with a communicable disease on Petfinder?   But I have strayed too far from my original story. 

A letter dated 11/30/2009 from Vankavage to Representative Sears begins "It was a pleasure to meet you at the presentation on canine profiling...... As promised, here is a first draft of an amendment for HB79 (an earlier bill introduced by Sears to deregulate pit bulls) that might enable you to garner more support from urban legislators. (The addition of due process) Lauren Gallagher, our new public service attorney crafted the amendment. ... Please let me know if you need any more help. If you need me to come to testify at any hearings do not hesitate to call me." The attached document is an early form of HB 14. The article, letter, and document make it clear that Representative Sears worked with the Utah based animal rights PAC as early as 2009. Sears allowed an out-of-state animal rights PAC to write Ohio law, to suit the agenda of that PAC.

Keating was also the go-between to pass on the 2011 version of Ohio law, as written by Best Friends Animal Society to Barbara Sears. On February 17, 2011 Keating sends this to Sears "Barb, I am attaching comments from Laura Allen on Best Friends draft of Ohio's Dangerous Dog law for your review. Laura Allen is the founder of Animal Law Coalition and is an attorney who specializes in animal issues. She is also reviewing the due process language. Thanks, Jean Keating" Keating, a private citizen, appears to be working independently of the Ohio Legislature to negotiate changes to Ohio law.

We have looked at a great deal of background on the major forces behind HB 14. I will close this post with the story of Wendy the "Service Pit Bull in Training." Wendy made a personal appearance at the December 6, 2011 Senate hearing on HB 14.  She was brought into the hearing room by Jean Keating. There was nothing subtle about Wendy's entrance, it was "enthusiastic" for lack of a better word. The white pit bull made a bee line for the row of seated pit bull advocates. She was welcomed by each one of them, it appeared that each one of them had food for the dog. Keating began to speak, Wendy paid no attention to her whatsoever.

"I have brought Wendy with me today. Wendy is being trained as a service animal for a young child with post-traumatic stress disorder, sensory integration dysfunction, low muscle tone, and panic attacks. Wendy was chosen because she has the temperament and physical characteristics to perform the work needed to assist this child in leading a more normal life. Those same physical characteristics currently identify Wendy as a vicious dog under Ohio law. The American Staffordshire Terrier, which is a breed commonly referred to as a pit bull type is a popular choice for a service animal because of some unique qualities. They are hardy, athletic, and very socially connected dogs. They are also very easy to train as they are eager to please."

During Keating's testimony Wendy stood at the end of her leash and looked about the room, wandering a bit and returning to her line of friends, and their handsful of food. Wendy proved to be such a distraction that Keating was unable to remain in the hearing room after her testimony. She took Wendy out into the hall, where Wendy killed time by barking.

Interestingly, this was not Wendy's first appearance at a Statehouse hearing. Wendy accompanied Keating to a hearing in the Ohio House in June of 2011.  Actual service dogs in training are taught to remain quiet, lay down upon command, not seek attention or food from strangers, and focus attention on their handler. Wendy had none of these skills in December, what kind of "training" did she receive in the previous six months? This dog was chosen because she was "easy to train and eager to please?" 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Updated fatality statistics.
In 2009 there were 32 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 14 were due to pit bulls, 44%

In 2010 there were 33 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 22 were due to pit bulls, 67%

In 2011 there were 31 dog mauling fatalities in the United States.  Of this total 22 were due to pit bulls, 77%

In 2012 there were 38 dog mauling fatalities in the United States. Of this total 23 were due to pit bulls, 61%

In 2013 from January 1st to March 6th  there have been six fatal dog maulings in the United States.   Of this total 6 were due to pit bulls, 100%

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shameless use of *The Breed Specific Excuse*

As promised, this blog will note the appearance of *The Breed Specific Excuse* and this one comes after the sad death of a fourteen month old child.  The story comes from 620WTMJNews affiliated with TMJ4 Television News.

Walworth County Wisconsin baby sitter Susan Iwicki's two pit bulls attacked her and the child she was caring for.  The child did not survive the attack, he died at the hospital several hours later.  Both dogs were euthanized.  To reassure the public TMJ4 states that the Brew City Bullies Club will do a thorough investigation of living conditions for those pit bulls.

In order to cover this tragic story TMJ4 went to material they taped for a November 22, 2011 report on pit bull violence and decided that the death of this child was an appropriate place to use old footage of John McDowell, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control.  In 2011 McDowell stated on camera "the average pit bull bite is no better or no worse than the average German Shepherd bite or Rottweiler bite."  This is the essence of *The Breed Specific Excuse* any dog can do it. McDowell, referred to as the "expert" went on to say that "pit bull attacks are quite rare" and that pit bull attacks "just get a lot of press.  A lot of media attention."

As back up TMJ4 uses actual bite counts in their Special Report on Pit Bulls from 2011.  The on-camera reporter gives actual bite counts in Milwaukee since 2008.  Listed are 40 bites from labs, 68 bites from German Shepherds, and 302 bites from pit bulls.  By some twisted logic that includes numbers of pit bulls in the MADAC shelter and the declared reason for surrender TMJ4 works out statistics.  Here they are - Labs 3% biters, pit bulls 4% biters, German Shepherds 5% biters.   Wow...

It must be kept in mind that so far this year six Americans have been killed by dogs.  All six of these horrific deaths have been due to pit bull maulings, yes 100%.  John McDowell's claim that "pit bull attacks are quite rare" and they "just get a lot of press.  A lot of media attention" is outrageous. For TMJ4 and their sister station 620WTMJ to use the death of a baby to promote breed specific propaganda is shameless and disgusting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Bones Saga Continues

Bones, the dog too dangerous to remain in New York City, has been missing since January 5th and is reportedly at large in Toledo Ohio.  Despite efforts of volunteers the dog has not been found.  Just a short review, Bones was involved in a murder in New York. A coroner's report was required to determine the cause of David Shadha's death, the attack by Bones or the head  injury inflicted on David by Bones owner Shaun Dyer.  For additional review please click here.
DEMAND that the AC&C and NY DOH - let Bones live!

This is Bones and yes, that is David Shadha's blood all over him.

The legal owner of Bones is the Lexus Project, a group of animal rights lawyers headquartered in New York.  The Lexus Project will defend any dog against any charges up to and including the mauling death of a child if the owner of the dog will sign a contract and set up a Chip-In page on Facebook. The Lexus Project went wild in their efforts to protect Bones. This is a petition from the Bones Battle page.  Keep in mind that Bones Battle is the Lexus Project.

DEMAND that the AC&C and NY DOH - let Bones live!

DEMAND that the AC&C and NY DOH - let Bones live!
  • signatures: 2,480
  • signature goal: 2,500


Bones is the victim here and he should not be held responsible for a murder he did not commit.
Nor should the Department of Health be allowed to quietly kill Bones because he was a victim of abuse and because they failed to do their job back in June.
Had they done what they were supposed to and properly investigate, Bones would not be in this situation now.
Bones, a dog will most likely be killed by the New York City Department of Health because he might have been an unwilling accomplice in the murder of his junkie owners roommate.



New York Animal Care and Control gave the Lexus Project exactly what they demanded.  "Here, take the dog and get it out of town."  The Lexus Project saw this as a huge public relations win.  Surely these lawyers would consider the options and send Bones to a reputable and secure facility.

Oops, not so much. Bones was sent to Kat Sutter and her North West Ohio Underdog Rescue located on a quiet residential street in densely populated Toledo Ohio to live in a garage with 15 other dangerous dogs.  Sutter claims that  dangerous dogs are her specialty.  There was no inspection of Sutter's facility and Sutter was unknown to the Lexus Project save a recommendation from someone later termed "a flake" by the Lexus Project.  

Enough history and on to current events.  The Bones Battle Facebook page is again being run out of New York after a short period of administration by Toledo resident Carissa Curry.   A recent posting on Bones Battle claims a verified sighting of Bones in Toledo on the day he disappeared.  On 2/28/2013 this was posted by the Bones Battle administrator

We received a call from someone in the area where Bones lived with Kat In Toledo. She says she definitely saw Bones the morning of jan. 5, the day we were notified of his disappearance. She also had emails and voicemails to us of disturbing information of how Kat kept the dogs. She wishes to remain anonymous because she is afraid of Kat. She did call the dog warden (which had already been done in both locations). We check in the police once a week. We do drive bys at both locations randomly. Someone is still at the old house. We are hoping that the one thing we are working on will come to pass, other than that with not one sighting ever, we're hitting a brick wall.

With a sighting that the Lexus Project considers reliable has the Lexus Project finally realized their potential for liability?  It appears so.  The very same day, 2/28/2013 the Bones Battle administrator made another post. 

Will someone who lives in Toledo or woods county take legal ownership of Bones so the ownership of him is local and you can physically stay on top of this?

 One follower of the page questioned just how this transfer of title would be accomplished.  The answer "just sign a piece of paper, just like TLP did."  It might be wise for anyone considering this generous offer to take a moment and consider that in addition to title of a designated dangerous dog they also assume all legal liability for this designated dangerous dog.  

The Lexus Project is run by lawyers, they understand legal liability.  The Lexus Project wants somebody else to assume the risk.  More poor planning and irresponsible action here.  Just "signing a piece of paper" has consequences.  The Lexus Project lawyers have finally realized this.    

3/4/2013 Update - The Lexus Project is feeling cranky that no one is willing to accept legal responsibility for Bones.   The Lexus Project made a demand to New York Animal Care and Control.  They got exactly what they demanded.  Be careful what you wish for.  This is the comment that was posted by Lexus Project after the "generous" offer of ownership of Bones.   
The Lexus Project, Legal Defense for Dogs Everyone wants and expects but no one will step up. It's nice to want.
22 hours ago · Like · 1 

The Lexus Project, specializing in Greyhounds, has apparently realized that despite the hysteria generated by pit bull advocacy there is no reciprocal effort.   
TGIF!We need our pit bull friends to help our greyhound friends as we have helped the pitties
so often. Please make a donation. We go to trial on march 11.
Stunning silence from pit bull advocacy.