Photo: This intact male Pit Bull Terrier was in great pain after being hit by a car, yet he never showed signs of aggression toward us humans as we handled him.
Here's Part 1 of my take down.
And in case you need it, here's an explanation of why I bother to defend pit bulls from poorly researched and overtly biased rants such as this.
Skeptifem, you can do better than this.
In Part 2, Skeptifem now focuses on pit bull advocates and how crazy they are to defend dogs that, in her mind, have definitively been proven to be SUPER SPECIAL DANGEROUS than any other type of dog.
(Part 2: Paragraph 1)
One of the main things she takes exception to is the fact that pit bull advocates often compare breedism to racism. This is something I've struggled with myself. From the perspective of a dog-lover, the parallels are impossible to ignore. But to a lot of people, such a comparison is insulting. I understand this. I know perfectly well that dogs aren't humans, and so do plenty of other pit bull advocates.
Again, just because some people are hyperbolic in their defense of pit bulls, doesn't actually mean pit bulls shouldn't be defended.
What I don't understand, especially from a feminist, is why she ignores the links between BSL and racism. This is a related but seperate discussion, (although Skeptifem has already proven she doesn't understand nuance when it comes to this subject). A big part of breed specific legislation is the this idea that only gang-bangers or similar undesirables own them. (I mean, pit bulls aren't owned by nice families are they?) Specifically attacking the pets of people of color sounds like racism to me.
"Being worried that someone else will be mangled by a dog isn't considered a legitimate reason [to discriminate]."
Well, yeah. Since there's no reason to treat any individual pit bull type dog differently than any other dog in any given situation.
Also, this constant theme that pit bull advocates hate dog bite victims gets old real fast.
It's not logical to discriminate against friendly, family dogs because someone, somewhere, was injured by other, different dogs. Making this observation also doesn't mean that I hate or blame the victims of dog attacks. Also, observing that there were ways to prevent dog bites independent of breed is not "blaming the victim". Unless, of course, the victim was an idiot. Then they actually deserved to be blamed for their actions.
Any dog can cause harm. If breed discrimination actually worked to deter dog bites, then I and most other dog people would be totally for it. Fewer dog bites is good for dog owners, too. But it doesn't. Even if all "pit bull type" dogs vanished from the face of the earth tomorrow, people would still be attacked and injured and maimed and sometimes killed by dogs.
She links to two studies that list risk factors for dog bites. They both include "certain breeds", but for now I'll ignore the inherent problems with compiling these types of breed-specific statistics. What I want to know is: why do anti-pit bull people always ignore the other risk factors?
Children left unsupervised with dogs. Seasonality. Age of the victim. Unneutered male dogs. This is my favorite: households with any dogs at all.
"If advocates admitted that there is a genuine concern about public health ... they would have to address it as such, but the refrain of "my dog is perfectly safe" is all that can be heard"
Perhaps that's all that Skeptifem hears, but she obviously isn't reading the same blogs I am. Dog people all over the web are very concerned about dog bites, and are doing their best to address them as a public health issue. We're just doing things other than BSL.
"Safe" is also a very relative term. I would call my border collie very "safe", yet I would never leave her unattended around young children because she could easily injure them unintentionally. I've known many pit bull type dogs (and many other dogs!) that I would say the exact same thing about.
"Advocates ... flood youtube with videos of their pit bulls being friendly with their kids, titling them things like "pit bull attacks child" or "vicious pit bull" so that it is difficult to find videos about actual attacks that occurred."
Titles like that are meant to be sarcastic or ironic, not a part of a vast conspiracy to hide negative images of pit bulls. And why are anecdotal videos and photos that show pit bulls in a positive or neutral way somehow less trustworthy than negative ones?
She can't even imagine that anyone would let their child interact with a pit bull at all, and says, "Animals that can kill babies shouldn't be put anywhere near babies." Human babies are pretty fragile; I guess by this logic no one should allow any animal over the size of a baby garter snake near a baby? I'm being factitious of course. It's completely ridiculous to think no one can safely take pictures of a child with a family pet.
Shen then misquotes BadRap and says they say to never leave children unsupervised with pit bulls. What they (and everyone who knows anything about dogs) actually recommend is to never leave children unsupervised with any dog.
Then, in the span of a few jaw dropping sentances, Skeptifem brings up three pit bull myths as if they were facts:
"I don't know what this is supposed to prove exactly, considering that many families could have taken years of pictures of this sort before their pit bull killed one of the children. I would say that keeping these dogs away from children is important because of how difficult it is to dislodge the dogs once they bite. A special breed specific tool for bites called a "break stick" exists to try and dislodge pit bulls who bite, but if you really believe your dog is "perfectly safe" it is hard to imagine why you would be compelled to buy one or supervise your children around the dog."
Ticking time bomb? Check. Superdog bite strength/locking jaw? Check. Break sticks required?Check. A few paragraphs later she likens owning pit bulls to owning tigers or birds of prey. We're well on our way to filling in a bingo card, here.
Paragraphs 3 through 5 are dedicated to completely misrepresenting a recent incident with a pit bull being banned from a library reading program. In Skeptifem's version, the current owner of Jonny Justice the former Vick dog muscled his way into a library and forced children to read to his dog so he could get photos of the act. The children were terrified, and he and his dog were kicked out of the library. Pit bull advocates went nuts and pulled the whole program in a fit of pique.
Uh huh. What really happened was that Jonny, a trained, experienced and well-behaved reading assistant dog, was banned from a library's dog reading program by one librarian. There were no reports of "terrified children". When mediation with the librarian was ignored, and the city attorney confirmed that that breed discrimination was actually illegal in the state. Instead of follow the law, it was the librarian that canned the whole program rather than allow a well-behaved, trained dog in her library.
Skeptifem says, "The safety and comfort of everyone else is at the bottom of the list of what these folks care about."
Fearing something for ignorant or illogical reasons doesn't mean the rest of society has to bend over backwards to accomadate you. There are some people who fear vaccines for ignorant or illogical reasons; that doesn't mean the rest of us should change childhood vaccination requirements for them.
The rest of Part 2 is more ad hominem arguments about how some pit bull owners/advocates are silly or stupid or callus or whatever. Yawn.
And, oh yes, I will finish this thing with a Part 3.