October 26, 2007

Agenda? Who? Us?

The blatant media pandering to an irrational public fear is starting to get a little old.

Below, I've copied all three articles from the St. Catharines Standard about a dog and woman being bitten by a "pit bull". I had to do this because, unfortunately, the Standard, like the rest of the Osprey Media publications, start charging for their stories after seven days. It's a shame, because I can get stories from the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail from months ago for free.

So what gives a newspaper the right, after being told that a dog is a cross between two separate and distinct dog breeds, to forget about the one breed and focus only on the other?

Is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever any more one than the other? Should the media just call it a German Shepherd? How about a Labradoodle (Lab + Poodle)? If that dog bites somebody, should the headlines read "Poodle mauls boy"?

Why is, then, that the phrase "pit bull" causes everyone to just focus on that one word? Is it because it MUST be the "pit bull" part that did the attacking?

Sorry, folks, the statistics, especially in this country, do not support that view. There are many dogs in this country, including the Labrador Retriever, that bite more, maim more, and kill more.

Labrador retrievers and mixes have attacked just as many people and, in many cities, more people than "pit bull" types. Does that make me dislike Labs? Of course not, but it simply recognizes that many different types of dogs bite, sometimes very seriously.

Labrador retrievers and mixes have killed more people in Canada than "pit bull" types. Does that make me afraid of Labs? Of course not, but it simply recognizes that many different types of dogs kill, even though dog bites are one of the least likely causes of death in the world.

I'm not picking on Labrador Retrievers here. That breed just happens to be the second half of the dog in this story.

But what rationale, what logic, what facts, support the instant dropping of the identifier "Labrador Retriever" in favour of the identifier "pit bull"?

We can argue all day about whether "pit bull" is even a breed. In fact, if you use the word "pit bull", you should really just use the word "retriever" instead of "Labrador retriever" because it's the same concept - a group of dogs that may look similar or that may be used for similar purposes.

What if the Labrador Retriever had a huge number of bites in this country and the Golden Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever weren't even on the radar in terms of biting? What if the statistics just said "retriever - 5,000 bites"? Wouldn't that just drive the Golden, Chessie, and Toller owners nuts to be lumped into the same group?

Welcome to the world of "pit bull" owners!

Just so that you can see what this St. Catharines newspaper did, here are the three articles.

Keep in mind, people get bitten by dogs in St. Catharines at least once a week. The injuries here (to both dog and woman) were minor. It appears that it was most likely a dog fight and people stuck their hands in the middle, which is always a bad idea.

It actually sounds like the Lincoln County Humane Society is being pretty decent about not overreacting to a pretty typical dog fight.

Yet, we have THREE articles about the incident in this small town newspaper. I wonder if the newspaper would have the guts to go back through Animal Services records and report on ALL other dog fights where owners got bitten and ALL other bites from dog to human over the past year.

Now that would be responsible reporting.

All articles below were written by Grant LaFleche.




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=746433

Grimsby woman bitten by pit bull

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lincoln County Humane Society is trying to determine whether charges will be laid following a pit bull attack Tuesday morning in Grimsby.

“The dog was not muzzled,” said humane society executive director Kevin Strooband. “All breeds of pit bull have to have to be muzzled when not on their own property.”

The incident happened shortly before 8:30 a.m. when a resident at a Slessor Boulevard apartment building was walking her Rottweiler in the hallway.

Strooband says she passed a teenaged boy walking a pit bull/Labrador cross.

“What happened was he lost his grip on the leash when the pit bull went for the other dog,” he said.

The pit bull bit the Rottweiler, and then also bit the woman, identified by her landlord as Jennifer, on the arm and leg.

However, Strooband said the injuries were minor. The 37-year-old woman was taken to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for treatment. She was released a short time later.

The teenager was also injured trying to separate the dogs, but his injuries did not require medical attention.

Strooband said the pit bull has been quarantined for 10 days. That is standard procedure in cases when dogs bite a human to see whether the animal develops any symptoms of rabies.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=747834

Pit bull quarantined after attack

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Lincoln County Humane Society is trying to determine whether charges will be laid following a pit bull attack Tuesday morning in Grimsby.

"The dog was not muzzled," said society executive director Kevin Strooband. "All breeds of pit bull have to have to be muzzled when not on their own property."

The incident happened shortly before 8:30 a.m. when a resident at a Slessor Boulevard apartment building was walking her Rottweiler in the hallway.

Strooband said she passed a teenaged boy walking a pit bull/Labrador cross.

"What happened was he lost his grip on the leash when the pit bull went for the other dog," he said.

The pit bull bit the Rottweiler, and then also bit the woman on the arm and leg.

Strooband said the injuries were minor. The 37-year-old woman was taken to the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital for treatment and released a short time later. The teen was hurt trying to separate the dogs, but his injuries did not require medical attention.

Strooband said the pit bull has been quarantined for 10 days, standard procedure when dogs bite a human to see whether the animal shows symptoms of rabies.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard




http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=749545

Pit bull involved in attack released from quarantine

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A pit bull that bit a Grimsby woman Tuesday has been released from quarantine by the Lincoln County Humane Society.

The dog was placed in quarantine as a matter of procedure following the Slessor Boulevard incident. Dogs that bite humans are kept in quarantine for 10 days to see whether symptoms of rabies develop.

However, humane society executive director Kevin Strooband said Wednesday the public health department gave him the green light to release the animal.

The dog is going with its owner to Milton where it will be observed for 10 days.

The pit bull bit a 37-year-old woman around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The woman was walking in the hallway of her apartment building and came near a teenager walking the pit bull. The pit bull bit the other dog and its owner. Both the woman and the dog are fine, Strooband said, and suffered only minor injuries.

Ontario law requires all pit bulls be muzzled outside their own property. This dog was not. However, Strooband said charges will only be laid if the victim wants them to be. As yet, no charges have been laid.

Copyright © 2007 St. Catharines Standard

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2 comments:

Mac`s Gang said...

How this warrants space in a newspaper is beyond me?
What is a Pitbull/lab,since a "Pitbull" is not a breed?
Why would this dog be required to wear a muzzle if it hasn`t been determined to be "substantially similar" to one of the 3 banned purebreeds in Ontario?
If it looks like a Lab(Lucky?),then I doubt that it`s "substantially similar" to any of them.
My advice to people is to STOP buying newspapers that do this type of reporting.
Money talks.
Media is catering to people that lap up these stories.
Tell them ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Caveat said...

I sent this letter to the paper on Wednesday. Not well crafted but they probably don't notice things like that.

Dear Editor:

Based on the information available in this story, the headline could just as easily have read 'Grimsby Woman Bitten by Labrador' but I suppose that wouldn't have the same impact. Given the number of times 'Labrador' appears in these stories of dog bites one can't help but wonder if that's where the focus should be. According to the Canada Safety Council, the Labrador Retriever is the lead biter in Canada, although the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program awards that honour to the German Shepherd Dog.

Two dog owners are walking down a narrow hallway and a doggy scuffle ensues. Both owners are nipped but don't require medical treatment. Neither dog is seriously injured. This is news?

Oh, but the nonexistent breed, 'pit bull', is mentioned. Didn't our Attorney General promise that there would be no more 'pit bull' bites in Ontario after his harebrained law was enacted? It seems to me, on reviewing media reports and animal control data both pre- and post-ban that if anything, these kinds of incidents have increased in Ontario since the enactment of Bryant's pet piece of discriminatory legislation.

Not that there were ever many to begin with, despite bombastic rhetoric by politicians and others unschooled in the field.

 
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