Pit bull owners were met by the sight of a long row of crosses, each representing the human victim of a fatal pit bull mauling since January 1, 2014. This was the exhibit created last year for display at an outdoor art competition in Michigan. The piece is titled Out of the Blue and the exhibit was clearly marked, each cross represented an American killed by pit bulls.
The post below was made by pit bull advocate April Bolton asking for "back up." Please note her explanation "crosses and pics of ppl that had been bitten or hurt by bully dogs." What part of fatal attack was not clear to April? A high number of the dead were adults, some killed by their own pit bulls but Karen Fairhurst warns "don't leave your babies unattended AND FEED YOUR DOGS." She thinks all these people were killed by pit bulls because the pit bulls were starving? What ??
Here come responsible and respectful pit bull advocates. They pose with their pit bull in front of a memorial for Americans killed BY PIT BULLS. What ??
We have already covered the message for the day from speakers representing the host organization, Ohioans Against Breed Discrimination, constitutionality. The denial of rulings by the Supreme Court of the state of Ohio was a stunning display of refusal of reality.
Here is the response of Steffin Baldwin, founding member of OABD.
"Then they said: 'Well...the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Bar Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the US Safety Council, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Sophia Yin, Victoria Stilwell and State Farm, who collects more data than the U.S. Government, are all credible and well respected experts that don't support BSL...but according to what I read on that dogsbite website and a few blogs'...and I just threw up my hands and walked away guys."---story time at my house smile emoticon #oabd#dontbullymybreed #endbsl
Lets look at Steffen's list of authorities. AVMA? In the business of working against any form of regulation against dogs. The American Bar Association? Infested with breed specific advocate lawyers. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers? Not an unbiased source. Victoria Stillwell? A reality show personality who got her accreditation online from an online program run by PetCo. State Farm Insurance simply does not collect more data than the United States Government, that is just silly. The one I find most interesting is the US Safety Council. I went looking for a statement from them against BSL.
Here is what I found.
THERE IS NO US SAFETY COUNCIL, or United States Safety Council, or U.S. Safety Council. There is an American Safety Council, primarily concerned with traffic safety and workplace safety. Zero connection with dogs.
There is a National Safety Council, if you type "pit bulls" or "dogs" or " breed specific legislation" into the site search box the only result is an "Odds on dying from" chart which lists the odds on dying from a dog attack as 1 in 103,798 but this must be taken with a grain of salt, look at the crosses displayed on May 30th in Columbus. All those people died of attacks from pit bulls.
The closest that the National Safety Council comes to any dog breed discussion at all is an article on dog bites as an occupational hazard for outdoor workers. "A dog’s breed is not necessarily an indicator of aggressiveness, experts say."... "However, Robinson notes that each dog is different. “You can have the most lovable, sweetest pit bull in [one] yard,” she said, “then go three doors down and run into Cujo pit bull.”
Somehow I don't see this as a resounding breed endorsement, or a statement against breed specific legislation. If one is working as a registered lobbyist for an organization attempting to change state law one should be very careful with misstatements.
Here is a post from the OABD Facebook page with the same reference to an organization that does not exist.
Perspective is very, very important. This chart of the things most likely to kill you in any given year was provided by the United States Safety Council and you can see where dog bite fatalities fall on the scale (you're twice as likely to be killed by a bee than a dog). While every dog bite fatality is an absolute tragedy; education for both youth and adults, owner accountability, increased spay/neuter programs for economically disadvantaged and breed neutral, dangerous dog ordinances are the keys to dog bite prevention...not discriminatory, ineffective and unenforceable laws that focus on general appearance rather than individual behavior.
Below is what Baldwin posted the the day after the Pibble March. He was apparently sobered (at the time) by the numbers of deaths by dog attack. This is appropriate. Going on to trivialize these deaths with comparisons to hotdogs, ants, football, jellyfish, icicles, deer, and HIPPOS? Wildly inappropriate. Baldwin has used a site called Fark for parts of this list.
It should be noted that per the ASPCA, volunteers are able to identify pit bulls 96% of the time. If the professionals are only able to identify pit bulls 8% of the time they might consider asking a volunteer for help. Deer do not attack and kill Americans, fatalities associated with deer are automobile accidents. Peanuts are an allergy. HIPPOS? HIPPOS? Want to drop your chances of being killed by a hippo to absolutely zero? Stay in the continental United States. There are zero hippos roaming the streets of American communities. I was curious about the 2900 hippo deaths but only found the statistic on websites with titles like "Weird stuff that can kill you." There are lots of these sites but none of them had any documentation and the language was always the same. Eventually I found a website with some critical thinking and they, having found zero documentation on the hippo death numbers, theorized that one of those shock-value websites misplaced a decimal and the number was likely closer to 290 than 2900. Who can say? Want to drop your chances of being killed by a shark? Stay out of the ocean. Want to drop your chances of being killed by a cow? Look for a career in some field that does not include farming. Cows do not walk the streets of American cities killing passersby. Peaceful people don't have the opportunity to reduce their chances of being killed by a pit bull by avoiding them except by living in a city with a breed ban. Baldwin tells us that "breed neutral, dangerous dog ordinances are the keys to dog bite prevention" but your chances of being killed by a pit bull are highest in states where breed specific legislation is prohibited by state law. California, Texas, and Florida top the lists of pit bull fatalities, all prohibit BSL by state law.
Back to the Fark website. Baldwin missed this post on Fark "Pit bull's reputation takes a new hit." the post is a review of the actual opinion of actual doctors who treat the victims of pit bull attacks, or pronounce those victims dead. Spoiler alert - the doctors are not impressed with pit bulls.
Using hokey material like this
to reassure the public of the safety of dogs that are clearly unsafe puts blood on the hands of breed specific advocates. There have been an additional nine fatal pit bull attacks in the United States since the Pibble March at the end of May, including two fatal attacks during the joyous week long celebration of the Huffington Post Pit Bull week. The last update on the 18 month old baby mauled by a family pit bull during Pit Bull Week tells us he is still in critical condition. Is there enough soap to wash away the blood?
Wait! Here is the soap delivery for the executive restroom at Ohioans Against Breed Discrimination.
Trivializing death for the purpose of breed specific advocacy is poor public policy. Possibly the public is aware of this. That five million dollars in expected donations to fund the assault on home rule on Ohio has raised $635 so far.
Here is a reminder of the point public safety advocates are trying to make.
This is John Harvard, he was killed by his neighbor's pit bull. He is one of many. I include John here because this bittersweet photo touches my soul.