(http://dogbitelaw.com/images/pdf/Dog_Attacks_1982-2006_Clifton.pdf). I have seen him or this paper being quoted numerous times whenever Breed Specific Legislation is being discussed in a community, and because of that, I feel I must discuss the validity of it. If this topic wasn’t so serious, this would be comical.
Besides the numerous misspelled dog breed names, and complete disregard and lack for using spell check, which any professional journalist and especially a self-proclaimed “animal person” would use, he completely fabricates a collection of newspaper clippings and passes it off as a reputable resource. Merritt supposedly documented severe attacks by dogs that needed medical care or were fatal. This one spans approximately 24 years, and during that timeframe he recorded 2209 attacks doing bodily harm. Pit Bull and Pit Bull mixes account for 1182, more than half (53.5%) of that total. But the troubling part of these figures is in the amount collectively by all dogs. If we were to divide the total number of bites doing bodily harm, which would typically mean a trip seeking medical care, this would mean that on average only 92 bites occur each year needing treatment. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) tell a different kind of story. In their “National Dog Bite Prevention Week” factsheet (see: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/dogbite-factsheet.html), they report that 4.7 million people are bitten every year, 386,000 of which require treatment in an emergency department. Hmm, I wonder where Merritt obtains his information from…Merritt’s studies simply have no merit.
Mr. Clifton seems particularly fond of German Shepherd dogs. He continually and persistently defends when German Shepherds “have a bad moment.” He goes on by giving a brief history of the GSD, followed by the distinction of their 3 types of bite:
“the guiding nip, which is gentle and does not break the skin; the grab and drag, to pull a puppy or lamb or child away from danger…; The reactive bite usually comes only after many warning barks, growls, and other exhibititions intended to avert a conflict.”
First off…”to pull a puppy, lamb or child away from danger”… What is he even talking about?
Next, he mentions of the “German Shepherd mauling, killing, and maiming cases I have recorded, there have almost always been circumstances of duress: the dog was deranged from being kept alone on a chain for prolonged periods without human contact, was starving, was otherwise abused…” Now this is truly offensive as a dog lover in general. For some reason, he is in a way blatantly condoning the bad behavior of the GSD’s that have attacked because of their living conditions, as if they are the only type of dog to be mistreated. Anybody in the dog rescue world would and should agree, that there is arguably no dog more abused than the Pit Bull terrier, and abuse of dogs is not breed specific to just German Shepherds. How many other breeds did he go the extent to research and uncover reasons to defend for their behavior…?
Last, he explains how Pit Bulls differ behaviorally than other dogs, and notes that “they are notorious for attacking seemingly without warning, a tendency exacerbated by the custom of docking pit bulls’ tails…” Pit Bull tails were never customary for docking, which makes me wonder if he even knows what a Pit Bull is. Clearly this report cannot be used as evidence when creating policy on breed bans.
They come in all shapes and sizes with one mission of destroying a breed once revered in American history, repeating the same rubbish like a broken record and instilling fear as the tactic to gain the attention. They mislead the public and defame anyone who opposes their way of thinking, referring to all Pit Bull owners as breeders and dog fighters, which is completely inaccurate and a slap in the face to the countless bomb and drug sniffing, search and rescue, therapy and other service Pit Bull dogs assisting every day in our communities across this country. When all else fails, they turn to name calling and photoshopping pictures, all things you’d expect to find in any elementary classroom on any given day. But they’re only doing these things because they know the times are changing, and they are heavily outnumbered by compassionate, open minded and level headed people.
My final message to all who oppose Pit Bull dogs…Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…