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Appellate court weighs grisly pit bull death scene

Owner's Involuntary manslaughter conviction reversed

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ruled December 26 that a woman who owned two pit bulls that killed a neighbor should not have been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a jury. Carla Ramirez Cornelio's conviction for owning an animal that kills a human being, also a felony, stands. She had been sentenced to four years in local custody. That sentence has been remanded for resentencing; other complaints that she filed with the appeals court "either lack merit or need not be addressed," said the appeals court.

Cornelio owned two pit bulls that she kept in her back yard. The dogs were in the name of her mother, Alba Cornelio, because she had given them to her daughter before she was 18. Carla turned 18 in 2009. Alba Cornelio was convicted on the same charges that her daughter was, but Alba was not a party to the appeal.

In late 2010, the two pit bulls belonging to Cornelio attacked a neighbor, Arturo Lopez, and his young poodle. The poodle sustained serious injuries and Lopez was bitten, requiring a rabies shot. An animal control officer told the Cornelio family to secure their yard so the dogs could not get out. The Cornelio family picked up at least some of Lopez's expenses. One of the pit bulls was quarantined, but she was so aggressive that shelter personnel could not perform a complete examination.

James Mendoza and his wife of 55 years, 75-year-old Emako Mendoza, were immediate neighbors of the Cornelios. Both the Mendozas and Cornelios erected barriers that, they believed, would keep the pit bulls from escaping. Mrs. Mendoza normally arose at 5:30 a.m. to pick up the newspaper and water her rose garden. On June 18, 2011, Mr. Mendoza found his wife lying in her rose garden; her left leg and left arm "were just hanging by a thread, completely mutilated," according to Superior Court testimony. There was a large gash in her right arm and it was dangling. Police were called and found that the dogs had blood on their mouths, faces, chests, and heads. Cornelio admitted to police that she took care of the dogs. "Cornelio saw her two dogs in the Mendozas' back yard near Mrs. Mendoza, who was lying on the ground screaming, hurt and bleeding," according to the appeals court. The dogs, who had gotten through a hole in a fence, were subsequently euthanized.

Mrs. Mendoza suffered more than 50 dog bites and multiple lacerations. Her left leg was amputated above the knee and her left arm above the elbow. She suffered a heart attack from the trauma. Subsequently, says the appeals court, "Her kidneys failed, she caught pneumonia and she suffered two more heart attacks." On December 24 of 2011, she died in the hospital.

In the appeal, Cornelio contended that the law applying to an owner of an animal that kills a human preempted the law that describes involuntary manslaughter because the first law is more specific and more applicable to the circumstances.

Cornelio also claimed that the judge wrongly permitted the prosecution to show photos of the extent of Mrs. Mendoza's injuries. Cornelio's lawyer argued that showing the photos was, in effect, an attempt to prejudice the jury. The appeals court disagreed.

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The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ruled December 26 that a woman who owned two pit bulls that killed a neighbor should not have been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a jury. Carla Ramirez Cornelio's conviction for owning an animal that kills a human being, also a felony, stands. She had been sentenced to four years in local custody. That sentence has been remanded for resentencing; other complaints that she filed with the appeals court "either lack merit or need not be addressed," said the appeals court.

Cornelio owned two pit bulls that she kept in her back yard. The dogs were in the name of her mother, Alba Cornelio, because she had given them to her daughter before she was 18. Carla turned 18 in 2009. Alba Cornelio was convicted on the same charges that her daughter was, but Alba was not a party to the appeal.

In late 2010, the two pit bulls belonging to Cornelio attacked a neighbor, Arturo Lopez, and his young poodle. The poodle sustained serious injuries and Lopez was bitten, requiring a rabies shot. An animal control officer told the Cornelio family to secure their yard so the dogs could not get out. The Cornelio family picked up at least some of Lopez's expenses. One of the pit bulls was quarantined, but she was so aggressive that shelter personnel could not perform a complete examination.

James Mendoza and his wife of 55 years, 75-year-old Emako Mendoza, were immediate neighbors of the Cornelios. Both the Mendozas and Cornelios erected barriers that, they believed, would keep the pit bulls from escaping. Mrs. Mendoza normally arose at 5:30 a.m. to pick up the newspaper and water her rose garden. On June 18, 2011, Mr. Mendoza found his wife lying in her rose garden; her left leg and left arm "were just hanging by a thread, completely mutilated," according to Superior Court testimony. There was a large gash in her right arm and it was dangling. Police were called and found that the dogs had blood on their mouths, faces, chests, and heads. Cornelio admitted to police that she took care of the dogs. "Cornelio saw her two dogs in the Mendozas' back yard near Mrs. Mendoza, who was lying on the ground screaming, hurt and bleeding," according to the appeals court. The dogs, who had gotten through a hole in a fence, were subsequently euthanized.

Mrs. Mendoza suffered more than 50 dog bites and multiple lacerations. Her left leg was amputated above the knee and her left arm above the elbow. She suffered a heart attack from the trauma. Subsequently, says the appeals court, "Her kidneys failed, she caught pneumonia and she suffered two more heart attacks." On December 24 of 2011, she died in the hospital.

In the appeal, Cornelio contended that the law applying to an owner of an animal that kills a human preempted the law that describes involuntary manslaughter because the first law is more specific and more applicable to the circumstances.

Cornelio also claimed that the judge wrongly permitted the prosecution to show photos of the extent of Mrs. Mendoza's injuries. Cornelio's lawyer argued that showing the photos was, in effect, an attempt to prejudice the jury. The appeals court disagreed.

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Comments
150

I think some of the more dangerous breeds of dogs should frankly not be legal for ownership. Certainly pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans cause far more injuries and deaths than smaller breeds.

Dog owners will always respond that this is due to owners. Supposedly well-trained dogs will not attack people. However, I would say even if this is true there is no practical way to enforce any requirements to make owners of dangerous breeds undergo sufficient training to keep the breed safe.

Dec. 28, 2014

ImJustABill: Except in the case of pit bulls, a vicious battle would ensue if politicians attempted to ban certain of these breeds. I notice you have left out Chow Chows and Bouviers.

There are other questions people should address: 1. What about rescue dogs? It is fashionable these days to get dogs that have been impounded. But there have been some ugly consequences, too. 2. Dogs get overbred. Remember the fad about 101 Dalmatians? They got overbred and some became vicious. We had 5 Vizslas -- wonderful Hungarian dogs. But I have heard they are becoming overbred.

There are a number of variables to consider in choosing a dog. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Tom McCartney: These are superb examples of court decisions, along with statistics and interpretations about pit bulls from various parts of the country. I was particularly moved by the Cornell Professor, Katherine Houpt, who noted that certain breeds have predispositions to certain kinds of behavior (or misbehavior).

Houpt says that one might have a pit bull who is a good, mild pet for several years -- then one day it kills the dog next door. Dogs that are bred over the centuries for violence have to be watched carefully, no matter the circumstances in which they are raised. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Pitbulls --Just Say No. Many people feel the way you do. I, for one, fear pit bulls -- not because I have had personal experiences with them, but because I have been influenced by the kind of data produced by Tom McCartney. Many pit bulls -- and other breeds -- are a menace to children. And the welfare of children is more important than the welfare of dogs. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Mike Okey: Some pit bull owners strongly resent the stories put forward by pit bull enemies. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Annie Cowan Brown: Many dog observers say that the owners and their dogs have similar personalities. Certainly, owners have to take responsibility for the activities of their dogs. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Maybe people should be able to make a complaint to animal control about an aggressive dog in the neighborhood for a temperament evaluation. That should be taken seriously. Someone walking their own dog in City Heights, where an aggressive dog roaming the area, attacked their dog and the owner when she tried to save her dog. More similar cases. It's pretty easy to tell a dog that wants to kill/destroy/bite something/someone. They test at the pound for sociability. Pick them up to evaluate and don't give them back if they're dangerous! Although animal control personnel may be a bit dense. I was looking for a dog at the Gain Street facility with my approx12 year old who ( I let accidently let) put her finger inside a cage and she got bit. I had assumed when they say they don't put upset dogs out for the public it was true. I reported it to them and we waited maybe 2 weeks to find out if it had shots, rabies, so we she didn't have to. The dog had been on the street a short time and was returned to the owner. About 2 years ago I went there again to see if I could get a nice dog that could get along with my others. I tried a German Shepherd over a year old but it had lived on the street most of that time and didn't want to meet me in any normal way. I went back, got the appointment for my daughter's deaf white pitbull (had her since she was 2 months, never wanted a pibull but they said she was a Dalmatian, my vet said the white ones often have hearing issues) to meet a little deaf boy pit. In the cage he was calm and sad, seeing my dog he got crazy. I couldn't bring that home. I am Alpha dog. I would never be stupid enough to keep a dangerous dog at home and if ever there is a small child around again, the dogs will not get the opportunity to chose to lick in the face or bite a head off. I have a reasonable fear of an ancient instinctive impulse showing up out of nowhere. My first dog as a kid was from that pound, a year old shepherd-boxer mix and so protective of me the parents eventually took her away from me. Devastating for me, they didn't know dogs at all.

Dec. 28, 2014

shirleyberan: You can be taking a gamble with rescue dogs, although I have known some that were satisfactory pets. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Correction, Gaines Street.

Dec. 28, 2014

And they don't need to be aggressive to be protective, it's not the same thing.

Dec. 28, 2014

These defense attorneys who try to keep photo evidence from being seen by the jury always infuriate me. Isn't the jury supposed to get a clear picture of what happened? What better way than to show them photos of the carnage? Saying that such evidence will "prejudice" the jury is nonsense, and they know it. Prejudice implies the jury has made up its collective mind prior to seeing and hearing evidence. And if it inflames the jury, then it must have been inflammatory by its very nature, and that is what the jury needs to have so that it can judge the crime.

Dec. 28, 2014

Visduh: I agree with you. Pictures or videos can be extremely important. Defense lawyers (mainly) fight to to keep them from juries because they want their clients to triumph. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

I'm no jurist or attorney but I think it's irresponsible of the judges to allow this to go on. As long as evidence is relevant and has been legally obtained it should be allowed.

Dec. 29, 2014

ImJustABill: I agree. The jury should see all relevant evidence. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

There is a language between everything

Dec. 28, 2014

I hope Mr. McCartney did not become a pitbull expert through some terrible firsthand experience. His citations are impressive. Second only to pitbulls' incorrigible natures are the willfull ignorance, stubborness and passive aggression of pitbull owners themselves. It's too bad the law never deals with them as severely as the animals.

Dec. 28, 2014

monaghan: Yes, pit bull owners often have paranoid or hostile characteristics. They are fiercely protective of the fierce dogs they have as pets. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Tom McCartney: Poignant statistics, if true: 1982-2013 pit bull breeds and mixes seriously attacked 2,990 humans and 275 died. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Blake Pitt Harr: Pit bull problems are "minuscule?" Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

No More Lies; You are in a minority on this blog. I have never seen a poll on what the population generally thinks about pit bulls, similar breeds, and part-pit bulls. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Joanie Caldwell-Kenoshmeg: I have not heard about that Indiana man. That's another statistic for Tom McCartney, who has compiled some convincing ones. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 28, 2014

Don - just about everybody, especially mail carriers, fear pit bulls. If they get out of their yard, and they will find a way, they better not be dangerous. Mine has turned out to be the sweetest. She was raised with another puppy chihuahua. That little Mexi-Can B (Greta Garbo) is the only one I have ever seen nip at a guy she didn't know for trying to pet her. If she had actually bit him, I would know right? I wanted to tell you that after the attempts made to rescue that time, I wasn't sure how to get a dog and in the grocery store a guy was selling subscriptions to the UT. I hadn't had that for a while so signed up for 1 month only, gave credit card info, questioned him about cancel timing. They billed for 2 months so had to get that fixed. But out of the dogs for sale section of my very last ever purchased UT, which is all I wanted, I drove to San Ysidro for a more than submissive black teddy bear, but more lean, German Sheperd for 300. as advertised. Surprisingly, the home I drove to was right down the street from SY High School in a nice new home development. I am going to look up your aforementioned dog breed I haven't heard of later. My pit and chihuahua are 4 years, the German is 3. Only once I saw something I can't accept of her, I'm on her ass. They don't raise themselves you know.

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: Those who have heretofore tame pit bulls are very defensive about the statistics about the breed. Sorry, but I take an analytical approach to matters. I think the stats about these dogs speak for themselves. Pit bulls have been known to be friendly, tractable dogs -- then suddenly attack their owners, the owners' neighbors, or other dogs. I suggest you read everything submitted on this blog. It appears there is a scary genetic component of pit bulls. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Also rescued a Wheaton Terrier (El Cajon Pet Smart) who never stops being on duty for my daughter, me too, great intelligence. We got (my first dog showing a sense of humor) shy and doesn't like to go out, Border Collie from Tijuana Rescue front of PetSmart Aero Drive. They said she was a 4 month old Husky. They are our eldest now. Her first dog was the Golden Retrriever she got for Xmas when she was 10 maybe. That dog was the best temperament for a kid but only lived to be 7 because of lymphoma, too much inbreeding I heard. Thought going to a home for a puppy in Julian would be OK back then. Read the book about Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean. What a Star he was.

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: The breeds you mentioned in this entry are not known to be dangerous. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Protect Children from Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs: These statistics are consistent with others I have seen: pit bulls are by far the most dangerous dogs. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Barbara Stevens: I believe the owners of these two pit bulls deserve the incarceration to which they were sentenced, particularly since the dogs had attacked another neighbor and his dog earlier. I feel sorry for people who live near someone who keeps pit bulls. It would be like living near a crazy man who is a gun collector. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Sadly, there are folks who seem compelled to take a contrary approach to many things in life. Tell them that pit bulls are dangerous, and suddenly they love pit bulls. Every time there is one of these attacks, defenders screech that it isn't the dog's fault, it is the owner's, and that pitties are "good with children." Yeah, right. So, the more concern and calls for regulation and outright prohibition of the breed, the more some people will want to have one! I think that mentality was what made Doberman and Rottweiler so popular before the pit bull came on scene. They were big and fierce looking, and both had been bred for combat. It is the sheer unpredictability of the pit bull that puts them in a special category. Will we see them outlawed? Maybe, but even if we do, die-hards will want to keep them, breed them, and get whatever psychic benefit they get from the experience.

Dec. 29, 2014

Visduh: These are perspicacious observations. The unpredictability of pit bulls is one of the scariest factors. They can be docile for years, I understand, and then suddenly mutilate somebody in their family, or a neighbor.

How do you discipline a pit bull? Even mild dogs sometimes have to be disciplined. Would you grab a pit bull and slap it for misbehavior? I wouldn't. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014
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Pit bulls should not breed. Pretty sure there are more of them in shelters than other breeds, what I've seen. I wouldn't have had one but forthe kids were fooled. They are called pit bulls because they can fight a bull, take them down at the knees. The guys (what's his face athlete Vicks?) who enjoy a dog fight should be dismembered.

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: A pro quarterback named Michael Vick was incarcerated for putting on dog fights. He deserved the punishment. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Well as for Vick and incarcerating him, that's a tough (but correct) call. People who are raised in a culture where certain things are acceptable, even respectable and encouraged, can't be expected to make the same decisions as those who were raised differently. I say that as I was raised in a culture where bull fighting and cock fighting were the norm, bullfighters admired, portraits, paintings, and calendars of bull fights and cock fights brilliant artistic work. In that culture, animals are animals, basically stock used for a purpose. Dogs for defending homes, attacking strangers, fighting off other dogs, cats for catching mice and rats, rabbits were food, not pets except temporarily for children. I was a grown adult before I understood that bullfighting and cockfighting were not acceptable, even though I still appreciate the art associated with those activities. If you are raised to believe animals are animals, you can change your behavior, as Vick did, but there will always be a difference in the way you view these matters.

This is separate and apart from pit bulls. Objectively, I would like to see the breed treated as it is in the UK. But don't think it will happen. Gun nuts and dog nuts are nuts.

Jan. 8, 2015

I think it matters male or female. Fortunately my pb is female. All 6 are female including the last Xmas dog I got 2 years ago, my boxer mix, immature forever I'm afraid. Then daughter's girlfriend handed over a year-old (she said she paid 1,000$, why?) Whippet boy. He got fixed fast, she is supposed to take him back. Sensative and pees like a girl, know what I'm saying?

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: Are male dogs more hostile and aggressive than female dogs? An interesting question. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Blake Pit Harr: McCartney did not say there is no ban on drunk driving. He has presented useful data here. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Blake - you have a scary for neighbors pit, sure enough, likely an arsenal of weapons cause your free to be militia too.

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: We have no idea of Blake Pit Harr has an arsenal of weapons or is pro-gun. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

Males are testosterone aggressive, don't ya think?

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: There is no question that human males are more aggressive and hostile than females. I believe that more than 90 percent of murders are committed by males.

But we are talking about so-called lesser animals. It is probably true with many. Among humans, males are more aggressive because for hundreds of thousands of years they were the hunters and guardians of the tribes and nests. Females were the nurturers. I think the same holds true with some breeds of animals. As a general rule, there appears to be a genetic psychological difference between human males and females -- one reason I think that females should make better chief executive officers than males. The females know how to achieve objectives without hitting people over the head. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

'Cause You're free to keep a dangerous animal regardless if it's a terrible idea.

Dec. 29, 2014

shirleyberan: The keepers of pit bulls may think that they are free to own whatever dog they choose. However, those people who live near pit bulls are guaranteed freedoms, too -- and rights. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 29, 2014

I rarely see a Pit Bull north of I-8.

Dec. 30, 2014

Ponzi: Few pit bulls north of I-8? This suggests that pit bulls are more often owned by people with lower incomes who live in dangerous neighborhoods. I would like to see some statistics on that. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

You ever run around town in Escondido or Oceanside?

Dec. 30, 2014

Wabbitsd: It appears this was addressed to Ponzi. But I will give an answer: I have never run around town in Escondido or Oceanside. Of course, i have been in both cities numerous times, but never running. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

You were right, it should have been to Ponzi...LOL on your not running...

Jan. 6, 2015

Guess I should have added "or south of Hwy 78"

Dec. 30, 2014

Ponzi: Should we count the pit bulls in La Jolla? University City? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

Seems to be another American epidemic due to bad judgement. But my white pit bull is nothing but sweet and loving and always cleaning her sister's face with her tounge

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: But is there a risk she will suddenly change -- and attack someone or another dog? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

I'd be most interested in real facts about this alleged phenomenon. I don't doubt that it has been observed to occur, but I suspect that the "information" is anecdotal. The problem is that there are a lot of variables, some of which may be very difficult to tease out, and those variables may be one of many "smoking guns." And maybe not.

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: The statement by the Cornell professor of veterinary medicine is quite persuasive. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

In what is generally termed reasoned argument, "appeals to authority" are considered fallacious. This does not mean that the authority is "wrong" or "right," but that it is not a valid basis for moving the discussion forward, toward resolution rather than hardened polarization. "Persuasive," yes. Conclusive, no.

Jan. 5, 2015

I gave her nothing but extra kindness and love due to the reputation. When a guy is cruel to his dog he's gonna have a problem. Same when he's abusive to his wife, he wil be bitten.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: You seem to assume that with pit bulls, the environment in which it is raised is the only variable. But with animals, including humans, genetics is an extremely important factor in behavior or misbehavior. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

A report, published December 15, 2013 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, titled Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009), concludes: "Most Dog Bite Related Fatalities were characterized by coincident, preventable factors; breed was not one of these. Study results supported previous recommendations for multifactorial approaches, instead of single-factor solutions such as breed-specific legislation, for dog bite prevention.". Learn more and read the report summary at:

http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.243.12.1726

A summary of the same study, with additional statistics, is provided by the National Canine Research Council website:

http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/dog-bite-related-fatalities/#1

"pit bull" is not a dog breed, it is a term loosely used to describe the American Pit Bull Terrier (recognized by the United Kennel Club), the Bull Terrier (recognized by the American Kennel Club), the American Staffordshire Terrier (recognized by the American Kennel Club) and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (recognized by the American Kennel Club).

"pit bull" mixes and the above mentioned breeds are often confused with other recognized breeds. The media exploits this confusion and sensationalizes use of the term "pit bull" to grab headline attention when reporting on dog bites/attacks. Test your ability to recognize one of the above mentioned breeds against those frequently mistaken for "pit bulls". Google "find the pit bull", or try the following websites:

http://www.pbrc.net/poppysplace/games/AdultFindabull/findpitbull_v4.html http://mprgroup.net/misc/findpit.html

Dec. 30, 2014

jonesc: Learned journals, such as the one you cite, often print articles going against the conventional wisdom. This appears to be such an article. Look at all the medical journals. They often run articles debunking the conventional wisdom. The data provided by Tom McCartney are persuasive. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

From the citation, "Major co-occurrent factors for the 256 DBRFs included absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (n = 223 [87.1%]), incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (218 [85.2%]), owner failure to neuter dogs (216 [84.4%]), compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (198 [77.4%]), dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (195 [76.2%]), owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (96 [37.5%]), and owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (54 [21.1%]). Four or more of these factors co-occurred in 206 (80.5%) deaths. For 401 dogs described in various media accounts, reported breed differed for 124 (30.9%); for 346 dogs with both media and animal control breed reports, breed differed for 139 (40.2%). Valid breed determination was possible for only 45 (17.6%) DBRFs; 20 breeds, including 2 known mixes, were identified."

I just don't see how these suggestions would be practical. How do you enforce any of these recomendations? And I certainly don't think it would be fair to place the burden of responsibility on the victims.

Banning the most dangerous breeds might not be a perfect solution but at least it could be enforced.

Dec. 30, 2014

ImJustABill: Some important data points here. I am especially struck by "incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (85.2 percent)." Also, "owner failure to neuter dogs (77.4 percent)." Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

Don, don't fall into this trap. It is a stupid argument. It's like the stupid argument gun nuts always make about people confusing assault rifles with other types of weapons -- as if it makes a speck of difference to the people killed.

The UK had no problem figuring out what pit bulls were and outlawing them. Just as they had no problem figuring out that guns are lethal and no one should own them. Intelligent people, those Brits. Unlike us.

Jan. 8, 2015

This particular dog has never shown any trace of aggression. She's immediate friend to anybody, strangers included. A change opposite of who she always has been doesn't seem possible. I don't know what mix is in her but pretty sure I'd have seen a growl by now. Heard that a long time ago about Doberman and never went there. Can that many dogs be in the wrong hands? I'd say maybe so. Can aggressive traits be bred in? Yes.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: But as the Cornell veterinary medicine professor notes, a pit bull or part-pit bull can be an angel for years -- and then suddenly attack a person or other dog. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

The people who let their canary island dogs (live in an apartment) kill Dianne Whipple went to prison for a bit. I don't want to look it up but not for long enough if I recall back when. The owner is responsible for their pet - whether it's a pet or a killing machine. They think it's a joke when people are in fear. A few month ago I stopped at night for some hooch at a Normal Heights liquore store. I got out of my car in the parking lot aware of a nearby barking dog, angrily going off, all alone in the cab of a flat-bed. As I walked toward the entrence I had to walk by the truck with the window partly rolled down and this mad dog continued to go off. I wasn't sure if the window was open enough for it to squiggle out and eat me. I got as far away from that cowboy's truck as I could and tried not to run, I mean I felt it. Totally unprovoked.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: You were practicing something similar to defensive driving. I think it is always wise to avoid or evade a barking dog. A snarling dog? That is a REAL problem. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan isn't listening. Typical behavior of a pitbull owner. I suggest that she won't listen until the dog bites her in her amplitude.

Jan. 8, 2015

Don, if I'm interpreting your response correctly (that you are inclined to discount the studies conducted by learned institutions, and more inclined to be persuaded by the "data" provided by Tom McCartney), then I must respectfully disagree. For example, look at the numerous instances Tom McCartney uses the words "pit bull" in his arguments. Which breed(s) specifically is he referring to? As I've attempted to point out there is no "pit bull" breed and the recognized/related breeds the term refers to are easily mistaken for mixes and other recognized pure breeds. Efforts to enact breed specific legislation are at best well intentioned but misguided, the public at large thinks a problem has been solved, lowers their guard, only to find that dog bites/attacks continue to occur - because of the co-occurrence of non-breed-specific variables, largely a function of dog ownership, identified by the AVMA. My apologies in advance if I am incorrectly understanding your reply.

Dec. 30, 2014

jonessc: Tom McCartney quoted some pretty knowledgeable sources. Until this subject popped up on this blog, I had never read research on pit bulls or the variations of which you speak. But over many years, I have read stories of maimings and killings of humans and other dogs and noticed that so often the vicious dog is a pit bull, or some mixture thereof. Therefore, McCartney's citations seem credible to me. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

EntrAnce, yes pit. Those canneries are big brutes. Probably why Americans choose to breed the smaller bull fighters. Idiots.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: Interesting: "Americans chose to BREED the smaller bull fighters." For many, many decades, pit bulls and variations of them were bred to kill. It has become a genetic trait, alas. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

What happened to this woman is too horrifying to think. Helpless. Preventable. All of our social ills will have to wait to be addressed because according to the mayor, the only important thing is a new stadium. Very muscular dog.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: A sales point for the new stadium is that all kinds of events will supposedly be held there. But right in the neighborhood sits a baseball stadium that can be used for other events. Maybe the downtown powers can stage dogfights and cockfights at a new football stadium. They would only be slightly less violent than football games. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 30, 2014

There are so many bars downtown in Gas-lamp density now; free ass fights every weekend. Imagine more drunk, agitated footballers looking for a fight. Why do we take this treatment?

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: Are you suggesting San Diego should capture the Gaslamp street fighters and put them in a stadium, then let them fight it out in front of large crowds? This smacks of the Roman Empire. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 31, 2014

I said downtown Cock fights, it's funnier and probably more accurate.

Dec. 30, 2014

shirleyberan: If cockfights at a football stadium become more popular than football, and attract bigger crowds and TV audiences, there could be a massive change in our society.

Trouble is, cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states and D.C. Of course, laws have never deterred professional sports team owners. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 31, 2014

Should have said, can't understand the mentality.

Dec. 30, 2014

Don, to further your familiarity with information on dog bite injuries/fatalities, their relationship or lack thereof with respect to dog breed, the relative success/failure and consequences of breed-specific vs breed-neutral legislation, I am recommending you read the following two reports which reference numerous knowledgeable/credible sources. I would ask that you attempt to judge their methods/conclusions/soundness/recommendations on underlying merit and give them equal opportunity to persuade as that being given to Mr. McCartney.

Best Regards.

http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/publications/541422429_Dog%20Bites%20Problems%20and%20Solutions%202nd%20Edition.pdf

https://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-on-breed-specific-legislation

Dec. 30, 2014

jonesc: I will check them out. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 31, 2014

Thank you for the references and information, but I think they are misleading. The following paragraph is from the first reference "However, follow-up studies show no impact on bite rates after BSL is enacted. Moreover, no credible evidence has been presented to demonstrate that any particular breeds should be considered as overrepresented among biting dogs. "

Notice the comparison between BITING rates not KILLING rates? For example, maybe chihuahuas are just as likely to bite people as pit bulls, but are clearly much less likely to kill people.

Jan. 4, 2015

ImJustABill: I agree with you. The emphasis should be on killing and/or maiming, not biting. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Thanks people. I dreamed that my dogs got out and were digging up somebody else's yard. If you know the Sharknado movies, that is what we have but with dangerous dogs. Don, they are made for TV disaster films. The premise is that a giant wave water spout throws live sharks, raining down all over the city, resulting in lots of blood and said to be "gloriously brainless". Last night news reported another pit bull attack on a horse and rider in Blossom Valley. Same dog attacked same place 2011. How did this owner get to keep this dangerous dog roaming free? In Cornilio's case the mother gave her kid 2 they knew acted out, neither were being responsible for. What the? Wiki - Breed specific legislation ranges from outright bans on the possession of these dogs [me - that doesn't work, we already have one and can't be afraid law can remove them] Wiki - ...to the restrictions and conditions on ownership and often establishes a legal presumption that these dogs are prima facie legally "dangerous" or "vicious". [My dog is not vicious and I doubt a service dog is either.] Wiki - In response, some state-level governments in the United States have prohibited or restricted the ability of municiple governments within those states to enact breed-specific legislation. Means to me they should locate the breeders with specific intent to create dangerous, aggressive, for fights among friends that bet on that shit and legislate to the point against those punks. How am I doing Don? Know anybody who can write legislation?

Dec. 31, 2014

shirleyberan: In Washington DC and Sacramento, lobbyists write the legislation. Many of the pols don't even read the legislation before voting on it. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 31, 2014

I Love You Don Bauder. Happy 2015 !

Dec. 31, 2014

shirleyberan: Happy 2015 to you and all who contribute to this blog. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2015

Having once been abysmally ignorant about dogs, but perhaps now having a somewhat better understanding of them than most, I can likewise understand the emotion and misunderstanding at both extremes. But strawman fallacies and other devices to manipulate a discussion rather than to join into a common search for truth retard, rather than advance, the discussion.

Dogs are bred from pack animals--wolves. But absent some series of stressful events, and a triggering event that prompts an attack, no animal naturally "wants" to attack for no reason. All animals, including humans, can suffer psychopathologies induced by the “slings and arrows” of outrageous treatment and events. Take a look at the comments that have been made here, and assess for yourselves where reason has reigned and where the discussion has tended toward a dogfight.

I cannot judge this particular case, and therefore must withhold judgment, pending a comprehensive understanding of all relevant information. There is much “we” don’t know.

We do not know what motivated the young woman to acquire the dogs in the first place. We do not know where she obtained them. We do not know if she was given any instruction about how to handle dogs. We do not know whether or not they were given any training before or after their acquisition.

Apparently, the dogs’ propensity to attack was known prior to the fatal one. The “animal control officer” should have exercised control in the form of education after the apparent behavioral problem was first observed. Instructing the owner to “confine” the dogs falls far short of the state’s responsibility to provide for the public health and safety. This is the first clear failure. The young woman could reasonably have been expected to be ignorant of her duties and responsibilities as a dog owner, simply because of her age. The “animal control officer” failed to exercise reasonable judgment in not taking the dogs into custody in the first instance, having them assessed, and educating the dog owner in her responsibilities. When one “adopts” a dog from the ‘pound, one is questioned by the professional staff and the prospective “adoptee” is observed in handling the dog in an enclosed dog run. If the prospective “adoptee” is then considered basically qualified for dog ownership, he/she is given an information sheet that is a very good (if perhaps lacking in some respects and might be improved) guide to dog ownership.

Punishment is neither useful, nor should it be permissible, in the case of dogs, and it is questionable whether or not it is indicated in a case where the state has failed in its duty to inform and protect.

More later . . .

Jan. 1, 2015

Twister 1: We do know she was given instructions. After the pit bulls attacked a dog and a neighbor in 2010, the police ordered the women to keep them fenced in so they could not get out. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2015

Don, I don't think you read my post carefully enough. I guess I didn't read your piece carefully enough either, as I missed the part about giving her instructions on dog training. The police should have had the dogs picked up rather than telling them to keep them fenced in. It's not the same as telling her to keep her pistol in a safe. As I said, a true educational opportunity was missed by animal control. Where's the report on the condition of the fence? Apparently, both the police and animal control needs more education.

Jan. 1, 2015

Twister: The appellate court goes into copious detail on the condition of the fence, and how the dogs got out. The court doesn't second-guess the police or animal control on their handling of the first incident. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 2, 2015

Every law is a signpost of a case of failure of social mores. That the court and our government don't recognize the connection between saving lives and misery by anticipating such events with the evidence right in front of them, makes them, in my view, just as innocent or guilty of failing to control known dangerous animals as the owners. If they fail to perceive the situation, how can they expect the dog owner to do so?

In other words, the government and the courts are responsible for public health and safety. How is it that they get off the hook but throw the book at some "lesser" citizen who may have been more ignorant than they? This is not about "second-guessing," it's about responsibility for prevention of injury and death, not just punishing the "guilty." This case appears to be replete with failures to act by the authorities as well as the dog owners, who are, by definition, in an inferior position to know what to do, such as insist that their dogs be evaluated by professionals within a designated department of government and take appropriate action. The authorities do not, of course, ever have to share in the blame in such cases, but it defies logic to conclude that they had no responsibility at all. Whoever has standing in the case (e.g., the deceased woman's family) should file a claim against the government, and we taxpayers should, regrettably, have to pay restitution. Ambulance-chasers, attack!

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: I am hesitant to blame this largely on animal control or the police. In hindsight, perhaps, the dogs should have been euthanized after the first incident. But I don't know that the law allows that. I believe the bulk of the blame belongs with the owner, and she and her mother deserve time in custody. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

One of the great talents dogs have is escape. The "average person," whatever that is, is seldom qualified to know what it takes to keep a dangerous dog "confined." Confinement, I suggest, is never the solution to the prevention of death and injury by clearly dangerous dogs.

Jan. 4, 2015

Twister: If dangerous dogs cannot be confined, they should be euthanized following their first act of aggression. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

That's gonna be a whole landfill full of dogs. Animal control authorities have ways of evaluating aggression (virtually all animals are capable of aggression). This should be done before killing the dog.

Jan. 5, 2015

Continuation from previous post:

The killing of the dogs (“euthanized” my Aspidistra . . .) certainly prevented further events, but the laying on of a felony to a young woman may or may not be a reasoned adjudication of the matter either. “Following the law” absent the application of reason is common, and an indictment of the system of jurisprudence on its face. While saddling a young woman with a felony might satisfy the emotional need for revenge, it may not serve the woman or the cause of justice as well as some alternative, such as community service, perhaps learning and teaching others about the duties of dog ownership. Perhaps the sentence is too little; perhaps too much. We do not know the details, and to pop off with conclusions is an abdication of civic responsibility.

“Pit bulldogs” are not, by breeding, demonstrably any more likely to attack and kill than any other dog. Any big, strong dog is capable of killing or injuring, and must not be trained to attack, except upon command. Ask any K-9 officer. The problem is, many dogs, unfortunately frequently “pit bulldog” types are often “trained” by ignorant, “scum-sucking pigs” who should be the real felons. There oughta be a LAW! How ironic is that?

Jan. 1, 2015

Twister 2: Your assertion that pit bulldogs are not by breeding more likely to attack and kill than other dogs is contradicted by the information provided by Tom McCartney. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2015

See: jonesc Dec. 30, 2014 @ 8:28 a.m.

"Studies," if they are truly scientific, try to prove their hypotheses wrong, not right. Statistics can be warped--lies, damn lies, and statistics again.

You are right about one thing, genetic variations, mutations, do produce differences IN INDIVIDUALS, including psychopathologies, in ALL animals--as I said. Aggression CAN be bred into animals, but so can "docility." So-called "pit bulls" are the result of selective breeding, sometimes opportunistic breeding can do the same, if the conditions of culture are right or ripe for it. Sure, there are some individuals that, for genetic or environmental reasons are aggressive. That's where training and better environments come in. But damning every dog that "looks" like a pit bull to you or anyone else is simple prejudice.

But just as genetics can produce more or less aggression does not mean that environment cannot do the same thing.

Jan. 1, 2015

Studies conducted by reputable/credible/cited and provided sources have been dismissed by Don with a ad-hominem response. My long held respect and regard, toward Don's journalistic objectivity, has diminished accordingly.

Jan. 2, 2015

jonessc: You may consider my responses ad hominem; I don't. There are analytical arguments on both sides of this controversy, as there are in many if not most contentious discussions. In this matter, I find one side more persuasive. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: Interesting argument. For a very long time, pit bulls and some similar breeds have been bred to be aggressive. Those bred for dogfighting are bred to be hostile and extremely dangerous. The point to me is that if you live next door to a pit bull, you or your dog are much more likely to be attacked than if you live next door to a Cocker Spaniel. If that be prejudice, so be it. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 2, 2015

Don: It is fundamental prejudice to tar a whole race by the actions of some subset of that race. Do I misunderstand? If so, please set me straight.

A Queensland Heeler tried to rip my guts out once, entirely unprovoked. I was petting the dog, after presenting my self for a sniff on the back of the hand, held low, with the owner's permission, who had the dog on a leash. Animal control placed the dog under house arrest for 30 days (?), but did not kill it. I did not acquire a hatred for the breed, and was not angry with that dog, but I was disappointed with the owner, who thought she could control her dog with a leash. I did not insist that the dog be killed, as I had a share of the blame, but it probably should have been, just as the dogs in this case, regrettably, had to be. “We” know nothing about the history of those dogs, and too little about the owner, but I smell a fundamental misunderstanding about animal behavior.

I have not lost a whit of respect for you, Don, but I am a little disappointed that you appear to be unwilling to consider points that seem to me to contribute to a less emotional examination of fundamental principles that may be important, not only to this case, or even the broader issue of dog behavior and animal behavior, including the human animal.

If we were to damn all humans based on the actions of a powerful, authoritarian majority, we would all be awaiting the gas chambers (drones are too expensive). It appears that we have mad dogs at the two extremes of human culture, the extreme “bottom” and at the “top.”

Thank you for providing a stimulating forum for reasoned analysis of important phenomena. The sooner we realize that none of us walk on water, the sooner reason can be applied.

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: If we tarred every person and every animal for a misdeed of one, we would all be misanthropes or worse. Italians sometimes say I am anti-Italian if I denigrate the Mafia. Germans who deny the Holocaust think critics are anti-German. And those who criticize current Israeli policies consider critics anti-Semitic. We all have to make generalizations from available evidence. And I think there is enough evidence against pit bulls and pit bull mixes to warrant fear. If this be racial profiling, so be it. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

Don, it is with great regret that I get the impression that you may be marshaling a number of straw-man fallacies to counter-attack. I know you well enough to know that you do not need to mischaracterize another's statements to make a point.

"If we tarred every person and every animal for a misdeed of one, we would all be misanthropes or worse." Did I suggest any such extreme?

"If this be racial profiling, so be it." Did I accuse you of "profiling?"

"The more you generalize about a population, the less you know about any individual in that population." --Henry Geiger

If I were to generalize about you from your considerable body of work, I would have to conclude that you are faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Even so, I still doubt that you can walk on water.

"The suspension of judgment is the highest exercise in intellectual discipline." --R. M. Gilmore

In similar vein, am I to conclude that all German Shepherds, Belgian Malanois, and Chihuahuas, all of which have been bred or led or let to be aggressive, also should be banned? Fallacious, right?

In a more reasoned vein, am I to conclude that you do not believe that any animal that fits the folkloric definition of "pit bull" can be a "safe" dog--as safe as any other breed, even if we acknowledge that such dogs have been bred for aggression? Are you familiar with the fox-breeding study out of Russia that demonstrated that a random population contained relatively docile animals and relatively aggressive ones? The docile ones were artificially selected/bred, so does this prove that there were no "docile" genes in a population that contained "aggressive" ones?

Also, am I to conclude that you agree with everything I have taken the time to write except those statements with which you disagree?

By the way, when my brother-in-law was a little boy, he was bitten in the face by the family Cocker Spaniel.

Best, Twister

Jan. 4, 2015

Twister: You forgot to mention dachsunds, which were bred to root out badgers. But I suspect the selective breeding that made dachsunds hostile to badgers is probably a thing of the past. They are now bred to be house pets. Incidentally, I was bitten by a dog about six months ago. The scars on my leg remain. I don't know the breed and didn't ask.

But I must repeat my original premise, bolstered by reports on this blog: pit bulls and pit bull mixes are more likely to be dangerous than other dogs. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Barbara Stevens: Agreed. This was a tragedy that shouldn't have happened. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 1, 2015

Don, it's not hard to play Tom McCartney's game, here are two recent articles that negate the breed specific legislation he promotes - it would be nothing more than an exercise in time (wasted time?) to rebut and negate his various Facebook postings, but, as the articles below suggest, it would be redundant to do so, the tide is starting to turn against him - he has earned a infamous reputation on the internet as a pit-bull hating zealot on a crusade, to characterize him as a fanatic would be an understatement.

November 18, 2014 http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/17/pit-bulls-breed-specific-legislation-bans/19048719/


November 25, 2014: http://www.nola.com/news/baton-rouge/index.ssf/2014/11/moreauville_alderman_reverses.html

Jan. 2, 2015

Don - apologies for the bold all-caps post, this is an artifact of the posting algorithm (I was prompted me to edit down the word count of my intended posting - when I did so and hit "post reply" the wordage was presented in bold/all-caps).

Jan. 2, 2015

jonessc: No need to apologize. Errors of this kind or typos creep into this blog all the time. I am an offender on this score. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

jonesc: I shall look at those articles. To me, McCartney does not appear to be a fanatic. I still think the weight of evidence indicates that pit bulls are very often bred to be hostile and aggressive. Through selective breeding, these tendencies are in the genes. For both genetic and training reasons, the breed is far more aggressive than, say, hunting dogs. There are exceptions, of course. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 2, 2015

Your articles provide plenty of proof. Plenty of proof that dog owner activists are good at PR and lobbying.

I didn't see any real data indicating that pit bulls safe.

Jan. 4, 2015

"pit bulls are safe" I should say. Sorry for the hulk-like grammar.

Jan. 4, 2015

ImJustABill: There are pro-pit bull articles that have been posted here. However, I agree with you: the bulk of the evidence -- overwhelmingly in my judgment -- shows that pit bulls have been selectively bred to be aggressive and hostile. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

And is attention getting jonesc. Don - Mr. McCartney does seen a bit excessive. Also I apologize for the militia comment, have been saving that and take it back till a more appropriate episode :(

Jan. 2, 2015

shirleyberan: I can think of a number of incidents in our recent history in which the word "militia" is descriptive. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 2, 2015

As this article's comments are approaching 100, would a summary of the relevant points be useful? Is this number of comments a record? From the responses, it appears that the piece has touched a nerve . . .

It appears to me that emotion (perhaps understandable given the facts, but inexcusable on the part of mature adults) persists in crowding out logic. Perhaps some kind of follow-up piece is warranted?

It also appears to me that clarity is being sacrificed to opinion, and that discussion of points with which one disagrees is often limited to simply another opinion rather than extending the discussion with intellectual discipline.

At long last, can we stop crying havoc and un-cage our dogs of civil discourse? I know not what others may say, but I don't want an aggressive dog in this fight--I want a dispassionate re-examination of the facts. At least for starters.

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: This is not a record for number of responses. The record belongs to the controversy about former mayor Bob Filner and what I considered a lynching of him. This is not even close to that, but this is full of good arguments on both sides. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

My objective in suggesting that the correspondents engage in a summary of the relevant points made here is to provide an opportunity for reconsideration and reconciliation of the "sides." In other words, to try to find a mid-point of reason between extremes, especially those based on emotion and misunderstanding, not to "win" or defend a "position," by definition an immovable condition.

Jan. 4, 2015
  1. Our sympathies are primarily with the woman who was painfully mauled and died as and apparent consequence, and her family.
Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: People on both sides of this argument express sympathy for what the attacked woman went through, and what her family went through. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

Again, my purpose here is to illustrate areas of agreement, and to stick to one point at a time to avoid confusion and maximize clarity, while minimizing the emotional fog that can sometimes cloud the issue. Of course this perhaps goes without saying, but it is useful to restate the component issues under discussion, so they can be firmly established as non-issues.

Jan. 4, 2015

Twister: Sorry, I don't think the points of contention have to be restated. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Two. The dogs had to be killed, primarily because they were most likely beyond rehabilitation.

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: What happened to the victim was absolute proof the dogs had to be killed. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

Unless others have additional points to make on this question, this is one more that we can set aside.

Jan. 4, 2015

Twister: No reason to set aside this colloquy. Both sides present cogent arguments. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Three. The owner should bear some responsibility. We do not know enough about the case to come to any reasonable conclusion about what specific responsibilities the owner should voluntarily cover, or what specific responsibilities should be imposed by law.

I invite others to submit summary comments for further discussion.

Jan. 3, 2015

Twister: The owner should bear "some" responsibility? The owner should bear primary -- perhaps total -- responsibility. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 3, 2015

Don, with greatest respect, I get the impression that you do not wish to discuss the public health and safety responsibilities of the relevant public authorities. If true, that is regrettable to me, but I will accept it if you are immovably intransigent on the subject.

Jan. 4, 2015

I like obdurate; same thing really, just sounds cooler!! LOL

Jan. 4, 2015

danfogel: Agreed. "Obdurate" is a good word. I can't remember its having been used on this blog before. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Twister: You aren't the first to call me immovably intransigent on an issue -- subsidized stadium for billionaire sports team owners, for example. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

I would think that the authorities who allowed the owner to keep the dog after the first incident perhaps bear some small amount of responsibility. As you say, certainly the owner bears primary responsibility.

Jan. 5, 2015

ImJustABill: Animal control and police sometimes drop the ball, to be sure. I am not convinced that is the case in this pit bull incident. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

The guy in charge of Animal Control was extensively quoted in an article in the U-T re dog bites, and it was clear to me he was extremely pro-pitbull, astoundingly so. His remarks were bald-faced lies. Can't remember if I replied on that thread as I was having trouble with my lappy at the time. But it was a truly disgraceful performance.

Jan. 8, 2015

Wonder how we can possibly assume killer whales are "safe".

Jan. 4, 2015

shirleyberan: Now we are shifting to the topic of SeaWorld. This blog has looked at that controversy, although mainly from the financial standpoint. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Wiki: American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) ancestors from England and Ireland; originally created as a fighting dog by cross breeding bulldogs, mastiffs and terriers to produce the size and strength of the mastiff, the gameness and agility of the terrier, with the strength and tenacity of the bulldog. The early bull terriers of the Elizabethan era were much heavier and bred as fighting dogs to be used for bull and bear baiting in "pit" fights, hence the name.

Jan. 4, 2015

shirleyberan: You know, I have not looked up pit bulls in Wikipedia. That appears to be a very sound description -- one that bolsters the case of those who think pit bulls are dangerous. Best, Don Baude

Jan. 5, 2015

Four. "Pit Bulls," "Doberman Pincers," and numerous other dog "breeds" have been selectively bred for fighting or attack. Many, if not most people who own the "aggressive" breeds, own them for protection. This may be well advised (ask any K-9 officer or soldier if they would trust their "aggressive" pets with their children) or not (consider any criminal who commonly knows little about dog training, or insecure "bad-guy or -gal" who owns animals to impress others). Well-trained police or military dogs cost several thousand dollars each.

Jan. 4, 2015

Twister: I think you are right; pit bulls are normally purchased by those who seek protection. However, the other side of the coin -- that these dogs may randomly attack persons and other dogs -- is a good reason to be exceedingly wary of them.

If you keep a pit bull or more than one of them, you should be aware that you can be incarcerated should these dogs attack someone. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Again, "pit-bull" is not a recognized breed. This does not mean that dogs with outward appearances that register in our minds as such do not fit the category, it's just that it takes a certain amount of discipline out of the discussion. If Chihuahuas were larger and stronger, would they be more or less dangerous than what "we" consider "pit-bulls?"

I sued a woman in small-claims court whose pit poodle came into my yard and bit me, because she failed to keep her dog confined. The self-styled "Judge Judy" found in my favor, but awarded me a pittance. (If you miss the puns, I may bite thee.) This was because I was "merely" pained, not killed. But, infection could have killed me. In the fundamental respects, the two cases are similar. How do we consistently draw the line in doggy-invasion cases? What about cat-invasions (my sweet, harmless, loving shepard/elkhound was attacked twice by cats--ENTIRELY unprovoked)? My dog took no action against the cats because I quietly told her to "leave the kitty alone. VOICE control alone! I was the Alpha "dog."

Cats often harbor deadly parasites in their feces. Gardening in cat-invaded yards can kill you. In such cases would my survivors have a case against the cat owner(s)? Would they be thrown in jail for failing to confine their cats? Would my survivors be able to sue them and collect heavy damages? Do the rare songbirds exterminated by domestic cats have standing? Why are cat owners allowed to let their attack-cats run free, but dog owners become felons, even if out of ignorance rather than intention?

"Justice," remains flawed, but that doesn't mean that we should accept every decision. Justice "worked" in this case, but in the absence of the particulars, we are hampered at least, mislead at worst. Maybe you could post a link to the court record?

Jan. 5, 2015

Twister: If you ate something from a garden in which cats had pooped, and you died, could your survivors sue the cat owner? How could your survivors know that the next-door neighbor's cat was to blame? Maybe several cats could be blamed, including cats that roamed free and belonged to no one. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

I consider the slobs who refuse to pick up their dog's excrement while walking them, to be more of a health concern, than stray cat's defecating in my yard. As far as songbirds go, rats (which cats also kill, thank you very much) probably kill just as many, if not more. I've even heard rats raiding bird's nests, in the middle of the night outside of my window, during the summertime. I personally own 1 indoor only cat and 3 small dogs. (And also feed the cats that my low-life neighbor's abandoned, a year ago).

Jan. 6, 2015

What's the plan folks? Round up any suspects and open doggy concentration camp? Americans won't let you tell them what to do anyway.

Jan. 4, 2015

shirleyberan: I hope any doggy concentration camp is not located next to our house. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Twister - predominate parental protection is my instinct. I would never trust an aggressive pet with a child, trained to attack or no. What IF or When they got confused?

Jan. 5, 2015

ALL "pets" CAN be aggressive. Especially when they feel threatened or under attack. So that "what if" is always present. I look forward to your comment on this issue.

Jan. 5, 2015

Twister: A high percentage of humans are aggressive, and dangerous to be around. We live in a world of "what ifs." Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

shirleyberan: Agreed. Aggressive pets should not be around children. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 5, 2015

Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2015 @ 7:42 a.m.

Twister: You forgot to mention dachsunds, which were bred to root out badgers. But I suspect the selective breeding that made dachsunds hostile to badgers is probably a thing of the past. They are now bred to be house pets. Incidentally, I was bitten by a dog about six months ago. The scars on my leg remain. I don't know the breed and didn't ask.

But I must repeat my original premise, bolstered by reports on this blog: pit bulls and pit bull mixes are more likely to be dangerous than other dogs. Best, Don Bauder

Don, I have reprinted this entry here because I think there is a glitch in the system. When I clicked on "Replies" nothing came up. I got to this entry by other means. (Hint: The webmaster should have a look at this; perhaps the solution would be to just show all posts.) Also, any ongoing exchange is difficult to follow because later responses are confined to the earlier post being commented upon. The solution here might be to provide notifications of all new posts to the participants via email or to make all posts sequential, with a link back to the post being commented upon. Onward and upward.

Don, why don't you tell us the story of the (pit-bull?) dog-attack(s) that you suffered in the past? I have been bitten several times, none of them by pit-bulls (but I must say that I have seen many pit-bulls that scared the hell out of me, largely because their owners were ignorant of the importance of being the Alpha in the "pack," and being able to control their dogs by voice commands.

Jan. 5, 2015

" Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2015 @ 8:05 a.m.

"Twister: I think you are right; pit bulls are normally purchased by those who seek protection. However, the other side of the coin -- that these dogs may randomly attack persons and other dogs -- is a good reason to be exceedingly wary of them.

"If you keep a pit bull or more than one of them, you should be aware that you can be incarcerated should these dogs attack someone. Best, Don Bauder"

ONLY pit bulls? But if my German Shepherd or my Chihuahua attacks someone, I should be a felon? What were the particulars in this case that let the court to the first sentence, then the second? Were the women just ignorant, willfully neglectful, criminally negligent, or what? And to what degree? Is the point of the law to extract an eye for an eye, get revenge, deter other offenders by setting an example (why not put the women in stocks in the public square? Sarcasm? Guilty.), get dangerous criminals off the streets, or do something to minimize deaths and injuries? Everything, I gather, except make any changes to how the authorities approach the issue? Is legislation needed or are the laws and administrative and operational procedures now in effect effective enough? Are there any measures that the Authorities could take that would be preventative in nature rather than punitive after the fact?

Jan. 5, 2015

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