Sunday, February 26, 2006

2 kids harmed + 2 dogs dead = 2 irresponsible adults

In the Calgary Sun in Edmonton came this story and I was appalled by the situations that led to both these injuries and both dogs put to sleep for them.

The first one a 16 year old brother was watching as his younger brother kept jumping on the dogs back. WHY didn't he stop him? I don't care the size of dog, but dogs do get hurt too, especially a back bone. How long did the youngster continue this and with what force? A 6 year old can be quite rough and definitely rough enough to cause severe pain. Many an adult will attest to that. How many times have we told a child that 'THAT really hurt!' as you hold back tears from the child's roughness. They don't seem to know at that age that their physical strength is way beyond what your pain thresh hold can tolerate. But for me, I'm still scratching my head why the 16 year old brother would stop him, and if he was THAT irresponsible, why would the parents allow his to babysit the youngster?

The second incident is again negligence. DOGS ARE NOT BABY SITTERS!!! Why could the mother not have taken him the 10 minutes she was gone? Again, what was the circumstances before the attack took place? Where was the mother that she did not hear the dog nor the screams from the child? I could only imagine there would have been plenty, yet she came in when all damage was done and the dog just sitting there. Was it the dog that attacked him if that was the case? How do we know? Would a vicious dog just sit there calmly after an attack or was the dog protecting the child at that point? Too many questions to satify me.

But in both situations, neither of these incidents should have happened and could have easily been prevented. Instead, two children are badly injured and two dogs are dead. The children and the dogs are the victims to adult negligence. So I ask you...who actually hurt those children and had those dogs killed? Adult ignorance is what is to blame here. When will people understand that? How many children have to be hurt and dogs dead before the finally get it? Where is the education that teaches children what not to do to animals and why? Where is the education the teaches parents how to teach their children properly about dogs body language and the do's and don't? When will parents finally understand that a dog is a dog...not a baby sitter even though one of the family members?

For these children it is a harsh lesson and the dogs, they were put done because of human stupidity. What punishment will the adults involved get other than watching their child in pain as they blame their dogs, still not realising that they themselves were the guilty parties.

Sat, February 25, 2006
Edmonton boy critical following dog attack


EDMONTON -- A young boy is critical, but stable condition following surgery at the Stollery Children's Hospital last night after he was attacked by a golden retriever.
The dog bit Chad Half in the neck after the boy jumped on the animal at the family home, according to Chad's 16-year-old brother.
Chad, reportedly six, was taken to hospital in serious condition with wounds to the neck, said EMS Supt. Craig O'Callaghan.
"He's a really nice dog and everything, it's just that Chad was jumping on him," said the brother, who didn't give his name.
He said the dog, who belonged to his dad's girlfriend's daughter, had never attacked anyone before.
The attack was the second mauling of a child in Alberta in the past month.

In Calgary, five-year-old Cayden Stevens needed nearly 200 stitches to close puncture wounds to his head, face and neck after being attacked by a German shepherd on a acreage just south of the city on Jan. 31.
Cayden was being watched by his adult cousin Conni Stevens, a friend of the owners of the property who was helping them with a cleaning job.
Cayden had been left alone for less than 10 minutes when the incident happened, said Conni, adding she found the boy bleeding, with Mason, a male German shepherd, sitting calmly beside him.
Mason and a female shepherd were seized by RCMP.
Cayden is expected to make a full recovery.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Remember Neville? He PROVED Michael Bryant and the Liberals WRONG!

Ontario lost a hero when they lost Neville. Read the story in the Toronto Sun.

Fri, February 24, 2006

Incredible journey

Neville was an outlaw. A Canadian with a bad rep, caught on the run and sentenced to death.

This, then, is the reckoning and transformation that followed -- from top on a most-unwanted list to becoming a cop on the front lines of counterterrorism at a U.S. port.

Last summer Neville the pit bull escaped from his Stouffville owners. The tan two-year-old dog was scooped up by a canine patrol and taken to the nearby Georgina animal shelter. Faced with looming anti-pit bull legislation across the province, his owners phoned to say they wouldn't post Neville's bail. He was on his own, though they had to know that decision might have meant an execution.

"But he was a great dog -- a great disposition and extremely playful," recalls shelter supervisor Angie Closs.
He stayed at the shelter for a month, as staff scrambled to find him a place.

What followed was a 4,248- km chain of human kindness, that shuttled -- by hand, by car and by plane -- the convict canine through the U.S.-Canada border and across a country.

The shelter contacted Toronto-based Bullies in Need, a pit bull rescue squad which has organized -- since the province passed its tough legislation on the breed a year ago -- at least a dozen flights of freedom for the much damned dogs. All have come from shelters and faced being put down.

Sharon Hewitt, a co-director of the organization, says Neville's great escape has become pet legend -- proof that a province's outcast can become a nation's hero.

"And there are more like him out there," she says.

Bullies in Need organized a volunteer to drive Neville across the border into Buffalo. There, another local shelter put him up until more volunteers arranged for a flight west.

Strangers bent rules on how long they could keep a stray. They neutered him at their own cost and paid for his flight.

He stayed with a foster family before the mild-mannered mutt was passed over to Diane Jessop, a former animal control officer who runs Lawdogs, a Washington State outfit which finds police work for outcast dogs.

With her help, Neville was deputized by the Washington State Patrol. He now screens more than 300 cars a day on the Washington State Ferry system, looking for explosives.

He's this month's coverboy for a national canine magazine.

He has as many web fan sites as some TV celebrities.

On her own web site, Jessop has a special thanks for Ontario -- "or kicking out such an awesome dog."

She writes: "Neville is now protecting homeland security for America. I'd say the joke is on (Ontario)."

On the line from her home in Olympia, Wash., the 46-year-old dog lover vents: "These bans are modern-day witch hunts. Do you think the most respected law enforcement agency in the state would be working with these dogs, daily around the public, if they were a threat?

"They should be judged by their ability, not the breed."

She recently tried to train a rescued pit bull from B.C., but the pampered West Coast pooch was too laid back to care much about finding contraband or bombs.

But Neville is the perfect cop, and after thousands of dollars worth of training he now wears a silver badge over his heart.

For 17 years, David Dixon was a state trooper, stopping speeders and looking out for drunk drivers. Then about seven months ago he was given a new mandate, and a new partner -- Canada's castoff.

Neville lives with David, his wife and their two other dogs -- Spencer the Lab and Gumby the beagle -- in a splendid home near Seattle. Off-shift, the pit bull has the run of the place and, says David, "lives the life of a king."
While on patrol, sniffing cars for explosives, Neville still believes he's playing -- looking for his favourite ball.
"He's always anxious to go to work," says David, as he prepares to do just that. "He's great with the public, and has the nickname 'Wiggles,' because his tail wags so much that's what his body does."

The regulars on the ferries all know Neville's name. They stop to shake his paw, and most can tell you the story of how the Canuck became an all-American pit bull hero.

"But I do have to say 'eh,' once in awhile to get his attention," the 42-year-old trooper offers.

Told Neville can't possibly know how far he's come -- and the effort it took to take him from death row to an honour roll -- his police handler disagrees.

"I think he's aware of a great deal -- knows where he's come from and likes where he's now at," says David.
They said he was bad to the bone and could never be trusted.

But Neville -- the dog gone good -- proved Ontario wrong.

Neville can also be found on Dogster.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Money can't buy health and life...only God can.

Dear Lindy,
My dear friend Lindy and her boyfriend, Marc lost their wonderful boy, Zeus yesterday. No amount of money that she paid out could correct what was wrong with him.
We fight and fight for the bullies, yet when sickness comes, there is nothing any human can do. It's in God's hands and He knows when it is time.
While Lindy grieves, my tears greives with her. My only relief is that God knows what He is doing and he loves Zeus even more than any person as he is God's creature.
Now he plays in Rainbow Bridge or where ever God places his 'special' creatures. I know the love of God would give them an existance of their own as He gave us these companions to love and they give us back unconditional love. That has to be a gift from God.
Lindy, I love you Lady! As much as you grieve now, you will rember the hapy and wonderful times with him and he will always live on in your memories and your heart forever. He will NEVER been gone!
All my love,

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dog attacks continue

In The Londoner comes this comment from Emily Ugarenko. What does Michael Bryant have to say to these families? His Pit bull Ban does nothing to prevent this from happening does it.

Dog attacks continues

Do I feel safer?

As my heart aches for the innocent puppies being used as research specimens or put to death based solely on their appearance under this new Ontario dog laws, no I don t feel safer.

Lets see here:

Nov. 7, 2005, London, police officer bitten by dog in the canine unit during a pursuit.
Nov. 10, 2005, Carlsbad Springs (east of Ottawa), dog bites child, nose requires reconstructive surgery, dog belonged to family friend. This is the dog’s fifth serious bite in several years.
Jan. 7, 2006, Kingston, dog attacks and kills a neighbour’s dog.
Feb. 11, 2006, Ottawa, dog attacks two-year-old child in park, child receives nine stitches to his face.

None of the dogs involved in these incidents where the Liberal’s dreaded pit bull-type dog and they are all still at large. Some owners received fines, that should be enough to ensure our safety right? Or perhaps we should ban these five other breeds? Maybe that would work?

Or maybe, just maybe, as proven in several other Ontario municipalities, several other provinces and several other countries, breed specific legislation doesn’t work and, in fact, poses more of a threat to public safety. Yes, as long as those short coated muscular 30 lb. pitbulls are muzzled surely there is no chance of the big fluffy 100 lb. untrained, off-leash dog causing harm to a small child in the park.

Thanks Michael Bryant, you puppy-killer you.

Emily Ugarenko, London

Dog bites are down? Sure...

In the Toronto Sun was this tell it as it it article written by Linda Williamson.

How lazy legislation and stereotypes only breed more trouble
By Linda Williamson

Let's get away from stories of politics and prejudice and talk about an issue that has plenty of both, but with teeth. Of course I'm talking about dogs.

This past week's latest pit bull attack in Toronto coincided with a fascinating article by one of the city's most celebrated authors -- an article that exposes just how absurd Ontario's law banning pit bulls is.

Details about the attack are still sketchy, as charges are likely pending. Witnesses said a pit bull, apparently not muzzled or leashed as is now required by Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant's new law, attacked a tiny Shih-Tzu and its owner, killing the animal. Tragic.

But Bryant quickly reminded the public that despite this ugly incident, his law was working. Pit bull attacks have declined since the law took effect last fall, he told the Sun.

Sounds great, but how would he know?

As a number of astute Sun readers (and dog enthusiasts) pointed out in letters to us last week, there is no way Bryant could back up that claim with numbers. That's because there is no province-wide body that keeps track of dog bites by breed. His assumption may be correct, since we're in the middle of winter, when all bites by all types of dogs naturally go down because people and dogs spend less time outside. But that's all it is -- a sweeping assumption.

But hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good quote -- or a bad law? That's not just my cynicism, it's the theory of none other than Malcolm Gladwell, the Toronto-born author of bestsellers The Tipping Point and Blink.
In a New Yorker article earlier this month, Gladwell dissects the bad logic behind Ontario's put bull ban -- likening it to other bad legal generalizations like racial profiling and assumptions about crime rates.

Just as stereotypes about race don't help police catch terror suspects ("they don't come dressed in identifiable costumes"), so are breed bans an illogical way to deal with the problem of aggressive dogs.

Not because judging a dog by its breed is akin to "racism" -- certain dog breeds do have certain reliably predictable traits. But aggression toward humans isn't one of them.

Study after study shows the most reliable connection between dogs and biting humans is the owner's background, Gladwell writes. Citing statistics on fatal dog attacks in the U.S., he shows how various breeds have predominated over the years (from Dobermans to pit bulls to Rottweilers to huskies), but the number of attacks has stayed constant. The most common factor between attacks isn't the breed of dog but the owners' own propensity to violence and trouble.

Court order ignored

He cites a case of a 2005 Ottawa attack, just prior to Bryant's ban coming into effect, that perfectly illustrates the point. Three pit-bull-type dogs that attacked a two-year-old boy turned out to have attacked children before -- but the owner, who had a troubled legal history himself, failed to obey a court order that he neuter, muzzle and train the dogs. Worse, no one followed up to enforce it.

As Gladwell notes, that kind of crackdown and enforcement is difficult. "It's always easier just to ban the breed."
Gladwell also offers a useful hint about why New York City's already-low crime rate is still declining: Police there keep a precise map of where all major crimes are happening, and new officers are assigned directly to troubled "hot spots" rather than being distributed around the city. As crime plunges, new hot spots are targeted.

Such a strategy challenges lazy assumptions about certain places being doomed to crime because of poverty or "cultural dysfunction," Gladwell writes -- the same kind of lazy assumptions at the heart of our well-meaning dog ban.

Toronto and law enforcers like Bryant could learn a lot from Gladwell's examples (he's also a champion of the "broken window" crimefighting theory that worked so well in New York, but Toronto seems to prefer tolerating vagrants and gunfire on our streets).

But I won't hold my breath. After all, Bryant is the guy who still thinks he can stop crime by "banning" handguns.

Monday, February 20, 2006

CGN Graduates of Feb. 18, 2006

Woodstock CGN Graduation Class

From left to right:
Georgia with her mom, June
Taurus with his mom, Kara
Angel with her mom, Lisa
Brutus with his mom, Lindy
Shasta with her mom, Connie (that's me)

A 'special thank you' to our trainer, Don French of Humane Canine Training Ltd. Toronto, Ontario.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

*sigh* If I HAD brains...I'd forget where I put them anyway!

I've been forgetting a LOT of things lately. That nothing new for me, but sometimes it's worse than others.
Last week, I received a phone call from Lindy asking me if I was ready to go? Puzzled, I asked her to go where? She must of thought I was joking around and said, 'To training!' Now I'm totally confused and said, 'Training isn't until Saturday!' She says, 'Yeah, and today is Saturday!'
To me I don't remember the week going by so quickly and it sure as heck couldn't have been Saturday as it seemed like just a few days ago was Saturday. That when I want to give my head a real shake.
Quite often I can laugh about the confusion and even the cognative problem that sometimes occurs, but other times enough is enough! Between the Chronic Fatigue and the malfuntioning brain, I just want to lock myself up and go into hibernation until it all returns.
I made a Valentines picture of Shasta and I did remember to put it on her Dogster (I guess 1/4 of my brain must have been working), but did I put it on my blog? NO! And I feel so bad that I could forget something like that!!!
One of my most loved of all and I forgot. I feel like such a BAD Mommy!!!
Well, it's not Feb. 14th anymore and definitely not Valentines, so I have a choice. I can let it pass as if it wasn't important (which isn't true)...or I could be late and say I'm sorry Shasta but Mommy totally forgot and here it is now. So THAT's what I'm going to do...because my baby girl deserves her day on my blog, even if I'm late.

"I bought my true love a beautiful collars for Valentines because she deserves all the very best!"

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Greenie Treats for dogs TAKE CAUTION!

On is this news story and video of owners that have lost their dogs due to the Greenies and a vet retreiving a 2 day old undigested Greenie from a dog's esophagus. Please watch. This could save your dogs life.

Owners: Dog treats killed our pets
By Greg Hunter and Pia Malbran
Wednesday, February 15, 2006; Posted: 10:47 a.m. EST (15:47 GMT)

Dog chewing on Greenie, the best selling dog treat in the United States.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) -- At least 13 dogs have died after being fed the top-selling pet treat in the country, owners and veterinarians have told CNN.

The problem comes because the treats, called Greenies, become lodged in a dog's esophagus or intestine and then some veterinarians say they don't break down.

"I know they are marketed in saying that they do digest. Certainly the ones that we've taken out, esophageal or intestinal, that have been in for days are still very hard," Brendan McKiernan, a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist from Denver, Colorado, told CNN.
(Watch a vet retrieve a two-day old, undigested Greenie from a dog -- 7:40) (If this link does not work, please go to the website to view)

Greenies recommends owners check that the treats are chewed and Joe Roetheli - who launched the brand as a treat that can freshen a dog's breath and clean its teeth - said it was important to pick the correct chew for a particular dog. There are 7 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the dog.

But most of the dog owners CNN talked to say they did follow package instructions and they still had a problem.
Mike Eastwood and his wife, Jenny Reiff, recently filed a $5 million lawsuit in New York, blaming Greenies for the intestinal blockage that caused the death of their dog Burt.

"I'm mad that their packaging states that the product is 100 percent edible, highly digestible and veterinarian approved, yet our dog died of it," Eastwood told CNN.

S&M NuTec, which manufactures the toothbrush-shaped chew, won't comment on the case but in court papers denied the allegations.

Roetheli said the focus should be on the dental benefits and Greenies are saving dogs' lives by lowering the risk of periodontal disease.

He says feeding Greenies is far safer than putting a dog under anesthesia to clean teeth.

"Dogs really love the product!" he said. "They do a very effective job of cleaning teeth and freshening breath."

Any suggestion that Greenies are defective was rejected by Roetheli, who developed Greenies with his wife, Judy.

"Our product is safe. It is used every day by thousands of dogs, millions a week and it is basically a very safe product."

A CNN investigation uncovered 40 cases since 2003 where a veterinarian had to extract a Greenie from a dog after the treat became lodged either in the animal's esophagus or intestine. In 13 of those cases, the pet died.
One of those was Tyson, Josh Glass and Leah Falls' 8-month-old boxer, who was taken to Brent-Air Animal Hospital in Los Angeles, California, where vet Dr. Kevin Schlanger found the animal had a blocked intestine.

"It was very clear that it was something dense and firm that had caused the obstruction," Schlanger said. He removed a Greenie from the intestine.

McKiernan's says his Denver clinic has seen at least seven cases in the past five years, which he says is an unusually high number. That prompted him to start researching and writing a paper to warn other veterinarians of the problem.

He says his research, which he hopes to get published in a veterinary journal, shows compressed vegetable chew treats, of which Greenies is the most popular, are now the third biggest cause of esophageal obstruction in dogs behind bones and fish hooks.

The federal Food and Drug Administration says it's looking into eight consumer complaints about Greenies but has no formal investigation.

The issue has also been the topic of news reports across the country.

The chews are made of digestible products like wheat gluten and fiber, experts say, but the molding process makes the treat very firm and hard.

Roetheli, who runs S&M NuTec from Kansas City, Missouri, says Greenies do break down when properly chewed and swallowed by a dog.

He told CNN that any product has the potential to cause an obstruction in a dog and that Greenies packaging warns dog owners to monitor their dog to ensure the treat is adequately chewed. "Gulping any item can be harmful or even fatal to a dog," the package says.

The company's Web site addresses the issue in its FAQ section with the question "When giving an animal Greenies, does it affect their digestive system?" The answer "The only time dogs would be unable to digest anything would be if they didn't chew it up before they swallowed it. Canine and Feline Greenies are highly digestible when chewed."

The company says the number of complaints it has received is very low in relation to the vast numbers of treats sold, and CNN spoke with several vets who recommended Greenies.

Introduced in 1998, we found Greenies now selling for about $16 a pound. Last year, 325 million individual treats were sold around the world, nearly three times the sales of its nearest competitor Milk Bone, according to the marketing company Euromonitor International.

"At the end of the day ... literally millions of Greenies are enjoyed by dogs on a weekly basis with absolutely no incidents," company vet Brad Quest told CNN.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What will happen to the Pit bull?

In the Toronto news today is this article.
Although I believe it was wrong for the dog to attack regardless of situation, and should have been better trained by the owner in restraint, I can only imagine the scene the Shih Tzu was making prior to the incident.
One other important factor I'd like to make is that the Pit bulls now have the disadvantage of not being properly socialized because of the law. Socialization can not be stressed enough for raising a happy, secure and friendly dog of any breed. Take that away and situations like this are bound to happen. Who's fault is it? Why don't you ask Michael Bryant who wrote this law.

Animal Attack

A pill bull owner will not face charges after her dog attacked and killed a Shih Tzu Tuesday night.
The animal apparently broke free of its muzzle while out for a walk with its owner at about 10pm near Danforth Rd. and Midland Ave. in Scarborough. It lunged at the Shih Tzu, then bit that dog’s owner in the arm and leg when they tried to save their pet.
Animal control officials took charge of the pit bull following the attack, but police say the owner won’t be charged since the dog was wearing a muzzle in accordance with the province’s new pit bull legislation.
The laws, passed last summer, require that all pit bulls be muzzled in public. Any violation of the law can lead to fines, imprisonment, or the animal could be taken away or destroyed.
It’s unclear what will happen to the dog, given that the laws were adhered to in this case.

Pit Bull Laws:

What breeds are included in the new pit bull ban?

American Staffordshire terriers, pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and American pit bull terriers - also any other breeds sharing 'substantially similar' characteristics

When did it take effect?

Monday, August 29, 2005. But a 60-day grace period ended as of 12:01am Friday, October 28.

What are the regulations?

The amendments to the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA) bar people from owning, breeding, transferring, importing, or abandoning pit bulls.

Pit bulls kept legally after the ban will be known as 'grandfathered' or restricted pit bulls.

In order for a pit bull to qualify as a 'grandfathered' or restricted pit bull, it must have been owned by an Ontario resident on August 29, 2005 or born in Ontario within 90 days of August 29th of that year.

As of October 28, 2005, pit bull owners had to have their dogs leashed and muzzled in public and sterilized.

Additionally, owners aren't allowed to train them to fight, and can't let them stray.

The only time a muzzle isn't required is when the dog is on the owner's property, or on another person's property if they consent to the muzzle's removal.

Muzzles should be humane, but strong enough to prevent the animal from biting without interfering with its ability to breathe, pant, see, or drink.

The leash must not exceed 1.8 metres.

What are the potential penalties if laws are broken?

$10,000 fine ($60,000 for corporations) and/or

Six months imprisonment and/or

The court could order the person convicted to compensate the victim and/or

The animal could be taken away or destroyed

What to do if you see a pit bull that's not abiding by the restrictions:

Municipalities are responsible for animal control, so you should contact your local animal control or by-law enforcement office. In emergency situations though, contact police.

If you're bitten by a pit bull because the restrictions aren't being followed, you can bring a civil action against the dog's owner for damages.

The new laws stipulate that the owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack regardless of whether the owner is at fault or negligent.

Courtesy Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What pit bulls can teach us about Profiling

I had found this article a few weeks ago and wanted to post it, but lost it. It's recently been circulationing to those of us on bullie forums from The New Yorker, so here it is.

What pit bulls can teach us about profiling.
Issue of 2006-02-06Posted 2006-01-30

One afternoon last February, Guy Clairoux picked up his two-and-a half-year-old son, Jayden, from day care and walked him back to their house in the west end of Ottawa, Ontario. They were almost home. Jayden was straggling behind, and, as his father’s back was turned, a pit bull jumped over a back-yard fence and lunged at Jayden. “The dog had his head in its mouth and started to do this shake,” Clairoux’s wife, JoAnn Hartley, said later. As she watched in horror, two more pit bulls jumped over the fence, joining in the assault. She and Clairoux came running, and he punched the first of the dogs in the head, until it dropped Jayden, and then he threw the boy toward his mother. Hartley fell on her son, protecting him with her body. “JoAnn!” Clairoux cried out, as all three dogs descended on his wife. “Cover your neck, cover your neck.” A neighbor, sitting by her window, screamed for help. Her partner and a friend, Mario Gauthier, ran outside. A neighborhood boy grabbed his hockey stick and threw it to Gauthier. He began hitting one of the dogs over the head, until the stick broke. “They wouldn’t stop,” Gauthier said. “As soon as you’d stop, they’d attack again. I’ve never seen a dog go so crazy. They were like Tasmanian devils.” The police came. The dogs were pulled away, and the Clairouxes and one of the rescuers were taken to the hospital. Five days later, the Ontario legislature banned the ownership of pit bulls. “Just as we wouldn’t let a great white shark in a swimming pool,” the province’s attorney general, Michael Bryant, had said, “maybe we shouldn’t have these animals on the civilized streets.”

Pit bulls, descendants of the bulldogs used in the nineteenth century for bull baiting and dogfighting, have been bred for “gameness,” and thus a lowered inhibition to aggression. Most dogs fight as a last resort, when staring and growling fail. A pit bull is willing to fight with little or no provocation. Pit bulls seem to have a high tolerance for pain, making it possible for them to fight to the point of exhaustion. Whereas guard dogs like German shepherds usually attempt to restrain those they perceive to be threats by biting and holding, pit bulls try to inflict the maximum amount of damage on an opponent. They bite, hold, shake, and tear. They don’t growl or assume an aggressive facial expression as warning. They just attack. “They are often insensitive to behaviors that usually stop aggression,” one scientific review of the breed states. “For example, dogs not bred for fighting usually display defeat in combat by rolling over and exposing a light underside. On several occasions, pit bulls have been reported to disembowel dogs offering this signal of submission.” In epidemiological studies of dog bites, the pit bull is overrepresented among dogs known to have seriously injured or killed human beings, and, as a result, pit bulls have been banned or restricted in several Western European countries, China, and numerous cities and municipalities across North America. Pit bulls are dangerous.

Of course, not all pit bulls are dangerous. Most don’t bite anyone. Meanwhile, Dobermans and Great Danes and German shepherds and Rottweilers are frequent biters as well, and the dog that recently mauled a Frenchwoman so badly that she was given the world’s first face transplant was, of all things, a Labrador retriever. When we say that pit bulls are dangerous, we are making a generalization, just as insurance companies use generalizations when they charge young men more for car insurance than the rest of us (even though many young men are perfectly good drivers), and doctors use generalizations when they tell overweight middle-aged men to get their cholesterol checked (even though many overweight middle-aged men won’t experience heart trouble). Because we don’t know which dog will bite someone or who will have a heart attack or which drivers will get in an accident, we can make predictions only by generalizing. As the legal scholar Frederick Schauer has observed, “painting with a broad brush” is “an often inevitable and frequently desirable dimension of our decision-making lives.”

Another word for generalization, though, is “stereotype,” and stereotypes are usually not considered desirable dimensions of our decision-making lives. The process of moving from the specific to the general is both necessary and perilous. A doctor could, with some statistical support, generalize about men of a certain age and weight. But what if generalizing from other traits—such as high blood pressure, family history, and smoking—saved more lives? Behind each generalization is a choice of what factors to leave in and what factors to leave out, and those choices can prove surprisingly complicated. After the attack on Jayden Clairoux, the Ontario government chose to make a generalization about pit bulls. But it could also have chosen to generalize about powerful dogs, or about the kinds of people who own powerful dogs, or about small children, or about back-yard fences—or, indeed, about any number of other things to do with dogs and people and places. How do we know when we’ve made the right generalization?

In July of last year, following the transit bombings in London, the New York City Police Department announced that it would send officers into the subways to conduct random searches of passengers’ bags. On the face of it, doing random searches in the hunt for terrorists—as opposed to being guided by generalizations—seems like a silly idea. As a columnist in New York wrote at the time, “Not just ‘most’ but nearly every jihadi who has attacked a Western European or American target is a young Arab or Pakistani man. In other words, you can predict with a fair degree of certainty what an Al Qaeda terrorist looks like. Just as we have always known what Mafiosi look like—even as we understand that only an infinitesimal fraction of Italian-Americans are members of the mob.”

But wait: do we really know what mafiosi look like? In “The Godfather,” where most of us get our knowledge of the Mafia, the male members of the Corleone family were played by Marlon Brando, who was of Irish and French ancestry, James Caan, who is Jewish, and two Italian-Americans, Al Pacino and John Cazale. To go by “The Godfather,” mafiosi look like white men of European descent, which, as generalizations go, isn’t terribly helpful. Figuring out what an Islamic terrorist looks like isn’t any easier. Muslims are not like the Amish: they don’t come dressed in identifiable costumes. And they don’t look like basketball players; they don’t come in predictable shapes and sizes. Islam is a religion that spans the globe.

“We have a policy against racial profiling,” Raymond Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner, told me. “I put it in here in March of the first year I was here. It’s the wrong thing to do, and it’s also ineffective. If you look at the London bombings, you have three British citizens of Pakistani descent. You have Germaine Lindsay, who is Jamaican. You have the next crew, on July 21st, who are East African. You have a Chechen woman in Moscow in early 2004 who blows herself up in the subway station. So whom do you profile? Look at New York City. Forty per cent of New Yorkers are born outside the country. Look at the diversity here. Who am I supposed to profile?”

Kelly was pointing out what might be called profiling’s “category problem.” Generalizations involve matching a category of people to a behavior or trait—overweight middle-aged men to heart-attack risk, young men to bad driving. But, for that process to work, you have to be able both to define and to identify the category you are generalizing about. “You think that terrorists aren’t aware of how easy it is to be characterized by ethnicity?” Kelly went on. “Look at the 9/11 hijackers. They came here. They shaved. They went to topless bars. They wanted to blend in. They wanted to look like they were part of the American dream. These are not dumb people. Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes. I think profiling is just nuts.”

Pit-bull bans involve a category problem, too, because pit bulls, as it happens, aren’t a single breed. The name refers to dogs belonging to a number of related breeds, such as the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American pit bull terrier—all of which share a square and muscular body, a short snout, and a sleek, short-haired coat. Thus the Ontario ban prohibits not only these three breeds but any “dog that has an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially similar” to theirs; the term of art is “pit bull-type” dogs. But what does that mean? Is a cross between an American pit bull terrier and a golden retriever a pit bull-type dog or a golden retriever-type dog? If thinking about muscular terriers as pit bulls is a generalization, then thinking about dangerous dogs as anything substantially similar to a pit bull is a generalization about a generalization. “The way a lot of these laws are written, pit bulls are whatever they say they are,” Lora Brashears, a kennel manager in Pennsylvania, says. “And for most people it just means big, nasty, scary dog that bites.”

The goal of pit-bull bans, obviously, isn’t to prohibit dogs that look like pit bulls. The pit-bull appearance is a proxy for the pit-bull temperament—for some trait that these dogs share. But “pit bullness” turns out to be elusive as well. The supposedly troublesome characteristics of the pit-bull type—its gameness, its determination, its insensitivity to pain—are chiefly directed toward other dogs. Pit bulls were not bred to fight humans. On the contrary: a dog that went after spectators, or its handler, or the trainer, or any of the other people involved in making a dogfighting dog a good dogfighter was usually put down. (The rule in the pit-bull world was “Man-eaters die.”)

A Georgia-based group called the American Temperament Test Society has put twenty-five thousand dogs through a ten-part standardized drill designed to assess a dog’s stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness in the company of people. A handler takes a dog on a six-foot lead and judges its reaction to stimuli such as gunshots, an umbrella opening, and a weirdly dressed stranger approaching in a threatening way. Eighty-four per cent of the pit bulls that have been given the test have passed, which ranks pit bulls ahead of beagles, Airedales, bearded collies, and all but one variety of dachshund. “We have tested somewhere around a thousand pit-bull-type dogs,” Carl Herkstroeter, the president of the A.T.T.S., says. “I’ve tested half of them. And of the number I’ve tested I have disqualified one pit bull because of aggressive tendencies. They have done extremely well. They have a good temperament. They are very good with children.” It can even be argued that the same traits that make the pit bull so aggressive toward other dogs are what make it so nice to humans. “There are a lot of pit bulls these days who are licensed therapy dogs,” the writer Vicki Hearne points out. “Their stability and resoluteness make them excellent for work with people who might not like a more bouncy, flibbertigibbet sort of dog. When pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle. And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”

Then which are the pit bulls that get into trouble? “The ones that the legislation is geared toward have aggressive tendencies that are either bred in by the breeder, trained in by the trainer, or reinforced in by the owner,” Herkstroeter says. A mean pit bull is a dog that has been turned mean, by selective breeding, by being cross-bred with a bigger, human-aggressive breed like German shepherds or Rottweilers, or by being conditioned in such a way that it begins to express hostility to human beings. A pit bull is dangerous to people, then, not to the extent that it expresses its essential pit bullness but to the extent that it deviates from it. A pit-bull ban is a generalization about a generalization about a trait that is not, in fact, general. That’s a category problem.

One of the puzzling things about New York City is that, after the enormous and well-publicized reductions in crime in the mid-nineteen-nineties, the crime rate has continued to fall. In the past two years, for instance, murder in New York has declined by almost ten per cent, rape by twelve per cent, and burglary by more than eighteen per cent. Just in the last year, auto theft went down 11.8 per cent. On a list of two hundred and forty cities in the United States with a population of a hundred thousand or more, New York City now ranks two hundred-and-twenty-second in crime, down near the bottom with Fontana, California, and Port St. Lucie, Florida. In the nineteen-nineties, the crime decrease was attributed to big obvious changes in city life and government—the decline of the drug trade, the gentrification of Brooklyn, the successful implementation of “broken windows” policing. But all those big changes happened a decade ago. Why is crime still falling?

The explanation may have to do with a shift in police tactics. The N.Y.P.D. has a computerized map showing, in real time, precisely where serious crimes are being reported, and at any moment the map typically shows a few dozen constantly shifting high-crime hot spots, some as small as two or three blocks square. What the N.Y.P.D. has done, under Commissioner Kelly, is to use the map to establish “impact zones,” and to direct newly graduated officers—who used to be distributed proportionally to precincts across the city—to these zones, in some cases doubling the number of officers in the immediate neighborhood. “We took two-thirds of our graduating class and linked them with experienced officers, and focussed on those areas,” Kelly said. “Well, what has happened is that over time we have averaged about a thirty-five-per-cent crime reduction in impact zones.”
For years, experts have maintained that the incidence of violent crime is “inelastic” relative to police presence—that people commit serious crimes because of poverty and psychopathology and cultural dysfunction, along with spontaneous motives and opportunities. The presence of a few extra officers down the block, it was thought, wouldn’t make much difference. But the N.Y.P.D. experience suggests otherwise. More police means that some crimes are prevented, others are more easily solved, and still others are displaced—pushed out of the troubled neighborhood—which Kelly says is a good thing, because it disrupts the patterns and practices and social networks that serve as the basis for lawbreaking. In other words, the relation between New York City (a category) and criminality (a trait) is unstable, and this kind of instability is another way in which our generalizations can be derailed.

Why, for instance, is it a useful rule of thumb that Kenyans are good distance runners? It’s not just that it’s statistically supportable today. It’s that it has been true for almost half a century, and that in Kenya the tradition of distance running is sufficiently rooted that something cataclysmic would have to happen to dislodge it. By contrast, the generalization that New York City is a crime-ridden place was once true and now, manifestly, isn’t. People who moved to sunny retirement communities like Port St. Lucie because they thought they were much safer than New York are suddenly in the position of having made the wrong bet.

The instability issue is a problem for profiling in law enforcement as well. The law professor David Cole once tallied up some of the traits that Drug Enforcement Administration agents have used over the years in making generalizations about suspected smugglers. Here is a sample:

Arrived late at night; arrived early in the morning; arrived in afternoon; one of the first to deplane; one of the last to deplane; deplaned in the middle; purchased ticket at the airport; made reservation on short notice; bought coach ticket; bought first-class ticket; used one-way ticket; used round-trip ticket; paid for ticket with cash; paid for ticket with small denomination currency; paid for ticket with large denomination currency; made local telephone calls after deplaning; made long distance telephone call after deplaning; pretended to make telephone call; traveled from New York to Los Angeles; traveled to Houston; carried no luggage; carried brand-new luggage; carried a small bag; carried a medium-sized bag; carried two bulky garment bags; carried two heavy suitcases; carried four pieces of luggage; overly protective of luggage; disassociated self from luggage; traveled alone; traveled with a companion; acted too nervous; acted too calm; made eye contact with officer; avoided making eye contact with officer; wore expensive clothing and jewelry; dressed casually; went to restroom after deplaning; walked rapidly through airport; walked slowly through airport; walked aimlessly through airport; left airport by taxi; left airport by limousine; left airport by private car; left airport by hotel courtesy van.
Some of these reasons for suspicion are plainly absurd, suggesting that there’s no particular rationale to the generalizations used by D.E.A. agents in stopping suspected drug smugglers. A way of making sense of the list, though, is to think of it as a catalogue of unstable traits. Smugglers may once have tended to buy one-way tickets in cash and carry two bulky suitcases. But they don’t have to. They can easily switch to round-trip tickets bought with a credit card, or a single carry-on bag, without losing their capacity to smuggle. There’s a second kind of instability here as well. Maybe the reason some of them switched from one-way tickets and two bulky suitcases was that law enforcement got wise to those habits, so the smugglers did the equivalent of what the jihadis seemed to have done in London, when they switched to East Africans because the scrutiny of young Arab and Pakistani men grew too intense. It doesn’t work to generalize about a relationship between a category and a trait when that relationship isn’t stable—or when the act of generalizing may itself change the basis of the generalization.
Before Kelly became the New York police commissioner, he served as the head of the U.S. Customs Service, and while he was there he overhauled the criteria that border-control officers use to identify and search suspected smugglers. There had been a list of forty-three suspicious traits. He replaced it with a list of six broad criteria. Is there something suspicious about their physical appearance? Are they nervous? Is there specific intelligence targeting this person? Does the drug-sniffing dog raise an alarm? Is there something amiss in their paperwork or explanations? Has contraband been found that implicates this person?

You’ll find nothing here about race or gender or ethnicity, and nothing here about expensive jewelry or deplaning at the middle or the end, or walking briskly or walking aimlessly. Kelly removed all the unstable generalizations, forcing customs officers to make generalizations about things that don’t change from one day or one month to the next. Some percentage of smugglers will always be nervous, will always get their story wrong, and will always be caught by the dogs. That’s why those kinds of inferences are more reliable than the ones based on whether smugglers are white or black, or carry one bag or two. After Kelly’s reforms, the number of searches conducted by the Customs Service dropped by about seventy-five per cent, but the number of successful seizures improved by twenty-five per cent. The officers went from making fairly lousy decisions about smugglers to making pretty good ones. “We made them more efficient and more effective at what they were doing,” Kelly said.
Does the notion of a pit-bull menace rest on a stable or an unstable generalization? The best data we have on breed dangerousness are fatal dog bites, which serve as a useful indicator of just how much havoc certain kinds of dogs are causing. Between the late nineteen-seventies and the late nineteen-nineties, more than twenty-five breeds were involved in fatal attacks in the United States. Pit-bull breeds led the pack, but the variability from year to year is considerable. For instance, in the period from 1981 to 1982 fatalities were caused by five pit bulls, three mixed breeds, two St. Bernards, two German-shepherd mixes, a pure-bred German shepherd, a husky type, a Doberman, a Chow Chow, a Great Dane, a wolf-dog hybrid, a husky mix, and a pit-bull mix—but no Rottweilers. In 1995 and 1996, the list included ten Rottweilers, four pit bulls, two German shepherds, two huskies, two Chow Chows, two wolf-dog hybrids, two shepherd mixes, a Rottweiler mix, a mixed breed, a Chow Chow mix, and a Great Dane. The kinds of dogs that kill people change over time, because the popularity of certain breeds changes over time. The one thing that doesn’t change is the total number of the people killed by dogs. When we have more problems with pit bulls, it’s not necessarily a sign that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. It could just be a sign that pit bulls have become more numerous.

“I’ve seen virtually every breed involved in fatalities, including Pomeranians and everything else, except a beagle or a basset hound,” Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the A.S.P.C.A. and one of the country’s leading dogbite experts, told me. “And there’s always one or two deaths attributable to malamutes or huskies, although you never hear people clamoring for a ban on those breeds. When I first started looking at fatal dog attacks, they largely involved dogs like German shepherds and shepherd mixes and St. Bernards—which is probably why Stephen King chose to make Cujo a St. Bernard, not a pit bull. I haven’t seen a fatality involving a Doberman for decades, whereas in the nineteen-seventies they were quite common. If you wanted a mean dog, back then, you got a Doberman. I don’t think I even saw my first pit-bull case until the middle to late nineteen-eighties, and I didn’t start seeing Rottweilers until I’d already looked at a few hundred fatal dog attacks. Now those dogs make up the preponderance of fatalities. The point is that it changes over time. It’s a reflection of what the dog of choice is among people who want to own an aggressive dog.”

There is no shortage of more stable generalizations about dangerous dogs, though. A 1991 study in Denver, for example, compared a hundred and seventy-eight dogs with a history of biting people with a random sample of a hundred and seventy-eight dogs with no history of biting. The breeds were scattered: German shepherds, Akitas, and Chow Chows were among those most heavily represented. (There were no pit bulls among the biting dogs in the study, because Denver banned pit bulls in 1989.) But a number of other, more stable factors stand out. The biters were 6.2 times as likely to be male than female, and 2.6 times as likely to be intact than neutered. The Denver study also found that biters were 2.8 times as likely to be chained as unchained. “About twenty per cent of the dogs involved in fatalities were chained at the time, and had a history of long-term chaining,” Lockwood said. “Now, are they chained because they are aggressive or aggressive because they are chained? It’s a bit of both. These are animals that have not had an opportunity to become socialized to people. They don’t necessarily even know that children are small human beings. They tend to see them as prey.”

In many cases, vicious dogs are hungry or in need of medical attention. Often, the dogs had a history of aggressive incidents, and, overwhelmingly, dog-bite victims were children (particularly small boys) who were physically vulnerable to attack and may also have unwittingly done things to provoke the dog, like teasing it, or bothering it while it was eating. The strongest connection of all, though, is between the trait of dog viciousness and certain kinds of dog owners. In about a quarter of fatal dog-bite cases, the dog owners were previously involved in illegal fighting. The dogs that bite people are, in many cases, socially isolated because their owners are socially isolated, and they are vicious because they have owners who want a vicious dog. The junk-yard German shepherd—which looks as if it would rip your throat out—and the German-shepherd guide dog are the same breed. But they are not the same dog, because they have owners with different intentions.

“A fatal dog attack is not just a dog bite by a big or aggressive dog,” Lockwood went on. “It is usually a perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions—the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation. I’ve been involved in many legal cases involving fatal dog attacks, and, certainly, it’s my impression that these are generally cases where everyone is to blame. You’ve got the unsupervised three-year-old child wandering in the neighborhood killed by a starved, abused dog owned by the dogfighting boyfriend of some woman who doesn’t know where her child is. It’s not old Shep sleeping by the fire who suddenly goes bonkers. Usually there are all kinds of other warning signs.”

Jayden Clairoux was attacked by Jada, a pit-bull terrier, and her two pit-bull–bullmastiff puppies, Agua and Akasha. The dogs were owned by a twenty-one-year-old man named Shridev Café, who worked in construction and did odd jobs. Five weeks before the Clairoux attack, Café’s three dogs got loose and attacked a sixteen-year-old boy and his four-year-old half brother while they were ice skating. The boys beat back the animals with a snow shovel and escaped into a neighbor’s house. Café was fined, and he moved the dogs to his seventeen-year-old girlfriend’s house. This was not the first time that he ran into trouble last year; a few months later, he was charged with domestic assault, and, in another incident, involving a street brawl, with aggravated assault. “Shridev has personal issues,” Cheryl Smith, a canine-behavior specialist who consulted on the case, says. “He’s certainly not a very mature person.” Agua and Akasha were now about seven months old. The court order in the wake of the first attack required that they be muzzled when they were outside the home and kept in an enclosed yard. But Café did not muzzle them, because, he said later, he couldn’t afford muzzles, and apparently no one from the city ever came by to force him to comply. A few times, he talked about taking his dogs to obedience classes, but never did. The subject of neutering them also came up—particularly Agua, the male—but neutering cost a hundred dollars, which he evidently thought was too much money, and when the city temporarily confiscated his animals after the first attack it did not neuter them, either, because Ottawa does not have a policy of preëmptively neutering dogs that bite people.

On the day of the second attack, according to some accounts, a visitor came by the house of Café’s girlfriend, and the dogs got wound up. They were put outside, where the snowbanks were high enough so that the back-yard fence could be readily jumped. Jayden Clairoux stopped and stared at the dogs, saying, “Puppies, puppies.” His mother called out to his father. His father came running, which is the kind of thing that will rile up an aggressive dog. The dogs jumped the fence, and Agua took Jayden’s head in his mouth and started to shake. It was a textbook dog-biting case: unneutered, ill-trained, charged-up dogs, with a history of aggression and an irresponsible owner, somehow get loose, and set upon a small child. The dogs had already passed through the animal bureaucracy of Ottawa, and the city could easily have prevented the second attack with the right kind of generalization—a generalization based not on breed but on the known and meaningful connection between dangerous dogs and negligent owners. But that would have required someone to track down Shridev Café, and check to see whether he had bought muzzles, and someone to send the dogs to be neutered after the first attack, and an animal-control law that insured that those whose dogs attack small children forfeit their right to have a dog. It would have required, that is, a more exacting set of generalizations to be more exactingly applied. It’s always easier just to ban the breed.

Monday, February 13, 2006


Rocky Price is an 81/2 year old American Staffordshire Terrier. The City of Kitchener, Ontario has imposed an euthanization order on his owner, under their by-law number 2004-265, which bans Pitbulls in their City. This by-law is a breed specific law, which also includes under clause (e)the American Staffordshire Terrier. It is the intent of the owner to fight this order based on the fact that an American Staffordshire Terrier is only a pitbull to those who have not taken the time to research the breed. Further that a breed specific law is unfair to dogs of that breed that have never caused anyone or the city any problem such as Rocky has never in the 3 years he has lived in Kitchener. A law based on potential for violence would be considered unconstitutional to a human in a court of law, and should be considered the same when imposed on an innocent animal.
Please sign the petition and help save Rocky.

Doggone Wrong

In is this following article. What I didn't like was the reporter addind his two cents worth at the end. It's his job to report. PERIOD!

Doggone wrong
Feb. 13, 2006. 01:00 AM

Ontario's pit bull ban is attracting fire from a celebrated source: Malcolm Gladwell. The expatriate Canadian has written the best-sellers Blink and The Tipping Point, and is named by Time magazine as one of its 100 most influential people.
In a recent edition of The New Yorker magazine, Gladwell takes aim at the pit bull ban approved by Queen's Park a year ago. But, this time, the author, who is hailed as "an all-out international phenomenon," shoots wide of his target.
Gladwell claims that banning pit bulls constitutes a form of unfair and ineffective "profiling" — essentially a canine variant of racial profiling. But it is a misguided argument.
Gladwell says a "pit bull" is hard to define since it isn't a single breed but a combination of aggressive strains. Thus any law banning these animals is bound to be vague and generalized.
Statistics show that many breeds are more aggressive to humans than animals commonly deemed pit bulls. Beagles, Airedales, most varieties of dachshund, and other dogs are more inclined to bite and hurt people.
Finally, the presence of a vicious pit bull in a neighbourhood says more about the dog's owner than about these dogs as a group. It is maintained that bad owners are the real problem — people who are bullies, negligent and who deliberately seek to possess fear-inducing dogs.
All of these concerns are correct.
It is, indeed, hard to define all possible pit bull mixes, and new and savage variants could arise. But as problem animals surface, their names can be added to the list of those banned.
Difficulty in defining a problem is no reason not to address it.
Dachshunds and other breeds are, indeed, more likely to bite. But a rampaging wiener dog is unlikely to rip a child's throat out, or disembowel another canine. Pit bulls have, all too often, done both. Bred to fight and kill, when a pit bull goes wild the consequences are so severe that these animals warrant unusual restriction, even though they may be less likely to bite overall.
Finally, bad owners are, indeed, largely to blame when pit bulls go bad. Rather than banning this class of dog, Gladwell's solution is to subject bad owners to extra rules and attention. People who are irresponsible should have their dangerous dogs neutered, or subject to mandatory muzzling, he says. And bylaw control officers should "track down" and monitor these owners to ensure they are obeying the rules.
In short, Gladwell wants to "profile" bad owners with violence-prone dogs. The problem here is that it's hard to establish the combination of aggressive dog and irresponsible owner until tragedy strikes. And it's hard to keep long-term track of bad owners and their pets.
Ontario's pit bull ban is a far more effective way to proceed. All animals deemed pit bulls are required to be neutered, and muzzled in public. Bad owners are held responsible for the abuses done by their dogs. And owners who deliberately seek bellicose dogs are hampered by the ban on breeding or importing pit bulls.
It isn't a perfect law. It won't eliminate dog attacks. But it does offer some protection where very little existed before.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

HOUSTON...We Have A Problem! I NEED advice!

We had our final lesson tonight for our Canine Good Neighbour Course and tonight we learnt how to wrestle our dogs down if there is a display of aggression breaking out. I actually found it quite easy. Once we have the dog pinned on it's back and you're over top of it, your showing that you are the aggressor and the dog becomes dominant. You're teaching your dog, you will handle the problems, not them. That you are in control and they don't need to be.
Although that wasn't part of our lesson, it was a good thing to learn and basically, two dogs that were not doing to well together tonight gave our trainer an oportunity to use it as a teaching skill.
Today was more about walking our dogs surrounded with loud noises and distractions. Shasta had no problem with that. She's used to loud noises as we even watch fireworks displayed and it doesn't phase her in the least. She's actually been doing very well and I thought for sure we would pass this course hands down.
Why must there always be a but? But there is. I had to leave her with the trainer for 3 minutes while I left the room and walked far down the hall and out of sight. No amount of incouragement from him could get her to stop whining for me. She isn't used to be left with people she doesn't really know and especially men, and we've got one week to work on that. One fault and you simply do not pass.
This is called supervised isolation and the test demonstrates the dog's ability to be left alone with a trusted person other than it's handler, while maintaining a calm acceptance of the situation.

1. The dog does not have to maintain position or place with the assistant evaluator.
2. The dog may not show signs of excessive stress.
3. Mild stress or nervousness is acceptable behaviour.

Dogs that exhibit the following will be rated as 'Not Ready':

  • The dog attempts to climb on the assistant evaluator.
  • The dog continually barks, whines, howls, paces or pants excessively.
  • The dog pulls on the leash in an attempt to get away.

Shasta whined for me the full 3 minutes and for the very first time in this course, I admit I have a lot of hard work to do with her in a week. First I need to find men, as she is fine around women, but since our trainer and evaluator is a male, I can see I need her to practice with males, and not well known males.

This is going to seem like a very strange request I plan on going out and asking people in my building (yes, strangers) if they will mind helping me through this week. When it comes to asking for strange requests, that's something second nature to me, and the worst that they can do, is to refuse. If this is what it takes to teach Shasta she can not depend on me to always be there, then I will do it, no matter how strange that may sound so someone.

At least in the building, I know where they live, so it's not exactly like asking a complete stranger off the street who could take off and steal her on me. So I will crate her at different intervals so she does not get used to a regular routine and avoid patting her as often as I do. But I DO want her to pass this and if this is what it takes, it's what is necessary. Any suggestions anyone might have would be most appreciative and you can comment anything you think would be beneficial.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Irresponsible owners risking public

It's just as we have been saying right from the start about Pit bull attacks and other attacks that don't make the media. Since after all the Pit bull owners in Ontario had to register our dogs with strict regulations, and one being microchipped, they are finding that these lone, unsupervised dogs are not microchipped. Therefore, they are not registered as required by law.
As much as we voiced ourselves to Michael Bryant and the Liberal government, we fell on deaf ears. We were insistant that the problems weren't with the specific breed, nor was it with the responsible owners of the specific breed. As citizens of Ontario, our voices should have been as much considered as any other Ontarian. It shows government decides itself who's voices have value or not. They would not listen to the experts in the field that asked to be heard. They were refused.
The ban was decided and voted in by the Liberal government and only the Liberal Government. That sounds more like dictatorship to me.
While we are well in to this ban and the responsible owners of the bullie dogs are abiding by the law, unregistered dogs are being found the culprits and put down with no owners in sight. Why would they be? If they don't care enough about their dog to reponsibly register, train and contain them, they don't care what happens to their dog. They will move on to another dog and avoid getting caught to pay the fine and/or jail sentence by not coming forward. This proves that what we have been saying is true, yet does the government or the media acknowledge this? NO! Even so, when in the media it does say the dog was not microchipped, we know (and hopefully the general public) that dog was not owned by a responsible owner, but by whom even we want not allowed dog ownership to and want them dealt with harshly and accordingly.
There is an article in The Londoner by Yvette Van Veen, a Pet Behaviourist and what she has to say on the subject.

A two part series on you, your dog and the government
So much has changed over the past six months in terms of dog ownership. The recent changes have prompted dozens of questions. To answer some of the questions readers have, we will take a look at the impact of three months of the Dog Owner’s Liability Act. Next week we will take a look at animal related matters specific to London.
Officially, the Dog Owner’s Liability Act kicked off on Halloween. This means that on Oct. 31, we took our son out trick or treating as most people did. Sadly, during the evening, a dog lunged at my son’s face through a screen door. Welcome to DOLA.
If you base your opinion on what you read in the headlines, you may feel safer. In reality, you are quite possibly in more danger now than ever.
Dundas Street Dangers: Dundas is gaining a reputation as an area where muscle dogs wander at large. If the animals are seized, many of these owners do not care the animal will be put down. There are more readily available. No tags – no problem. It makes it just more difficult to ID the owner.
Exotic Muscle Breeds: Two years ago, it would be nearly impossible to find anyone who knew or wanted an exotic muscle dog. Usually weighing in at an excess of 100 lbs., these dogs make Staffies look like toy poodles. Some people want an aggressive dog. Those people have filled shelters with their ‘banned’ breed and have up-graded to larger dogs.
Court Challenges: In Kitchener, a recent court challenge has found in favour of the dog. There was no bite in the case, and no aggressive behavior. An officer identified the dog as a pit bull, and the owner contended the dog was not. Industry professionals have maintained from the outset that breed identification was ambiguous at best.
Millions of Your Dollars: London has estimated we should require $100,000 annually to address the situation. Hamilton places their estimate at $250,000. Provincially the totals run into the millions of dollars. And that is an estimate. Add the court costs that will no doubt arise and you get the picture. Lawyers cost money.
People at Risk: There are several cases currently before the courts where a pit bull-type dog has been attacked by an off-leash aggressive dog. The pit bull is ordered put down, and the aggressive off-leash animal owned by an irresponsible owner is still out there. Feel any safer yet?
What do responsible owners need to do? Follow the law. If you have any doubt how the law affects you, seek legal advice. There are specialists in dog law. If you need breed identification done, do not do so yourself. Find a veterinarian who will make a designation for you.
As for the average person who feels safer, think again. There is a reason large scale banning in England resulted in a 25 per cent increase in dog bites requiring hospitalization. Banning didn’t work during prohibition, and the gun registry does not inspire criminals to register their weapons. Why would DOLA be any different?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rewards come in many forms...

This may not seem 'Special' to many of you, but I'm estatic! Rewards come in many forms, and I receive email quite often from someone that was at my web site and have a question about the law or ask for help. It's a good feeling that they feel free to come to me, although there are times I wish I could give a different answer to them and feel bad when I know it's not what they were hoping to hear.
But yesterday, I received a different kind of reward that came in the form of an Award. It's beautiful and I LOVE it, so naturally I made a a very special page just for it. I also received a very nice compliment from the person that gave it to me. She said she was very surprised I didn't have more. Just the thought that someone would go through my site and think to give me something special brightened my day.
When I had my other web site on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue so many years ago when it was still relatively unknow, I received many. But because of the type of site I have now, an award page was not something I was expecting.
If you would like to take a peek, it's at my Award Page. I hope you do, it's BEAUTIFUL and very appropropriate for my cause.

Friday, February 03, 2006

BEWARE WORM...not Dogs

To get off track from my usual writings about the Pit bulls is this warning and reminder. This is to reminder to everybody about tomorrow (Friday). This virus has been highly publizied on the TV and newspapers. Be prepared and take precautions.
We can't get our word out about the Pit bulls if we get infected. grrr...

New worm relies on old trick
Promise of dirty pictures could destroy personal documents
By Marsha Walton CNN
Thursday, February 2, 2006; Posted: 6:43 p.m. EST (23:43 GMT)

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- "There are a lot of people who are going to be very unhappy on the third of February," said Professor Merrick Furst from the Georgia Tech College of Computing.
That's when the Kama Sutra computer worm will begin destroying critical files on infected computers. And hundreds of thousands of machines may have the worm lurking within their Windows operating system, ready to be unleashed on February 3 and the third of every month thereafter.
Experts say Windows Office documents, Word documents, Excel spread sheets, and PDFs (portable document format) are among the files that will be "overwritten." That means the data will be changed and corrupted, and the original information will no longer be accessible.
While files that have simply been deleted can sometimes be recovered; overwritten files are usually lost for good.
This malicious software entices computer users with promises of sexy pictures, with e-mail subject lines ranging from "School girl fantasies gone bad" to "Hot Movie" to "Crazy illegal Sex!" and "Kama Sutra pics." (
Watch how the worm seduces PC users -- 1:36)
This worm is described as "old fashioned" in several ways.
First, it relies on the oldest trick in the book, a computer user's desire to see nasty pictures, to get them to take an action.
"With the Kama Sutra worm, this is a traditional style worm, meaning that it takes user interaction in order to become infected; someone has to double click on a file attachment, and then it does some type of malicious behavior, such as, in this case destroying a folder or a file," said Alain Sergile, a security expert at Internet Security Systems (ISS) in Atlanta.
Because the worm's destructive payload is delayed until the third of the month, many users may have infected their machines, but because neither dirty pictures nor computer problems resulted, simply forgotten that they ever clicked on the attachment.
The worm, which also goes by the names Blackworm, Blackmal, and Nyxem, has been spreading since January 16. It is capable of infecting Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98 and Windows ME operating systems.
"This is a really damaging worm. This is not one of those worms that is interested in having access to your machine for purposes later on. This worm will really damage your machine," Georgia Tech's Furst said.
Furst says the worm has spread to a lot of military addresses on the Internet (.mil), but mostly to ISPs (Internet Service Providers), meaning most of those infected are probably home users.
The computer security company LURHQ reports more than 600,000 machines around the world have been infected.
With a little time before the third of the month trigger, most Windows users still have the ability to cleanse their computer of Kama Sutra before any information is destroyed.
Some antivirus software can eliminate the virus. Users should make sure their antivirus and antispyware software is up to date and to scan their computers for malicious programs that may have been surreptitiously installed on their machines.
However, not all antivirus programs are effective. Problems running antivirus software may be one sign your computer has been infected. Joe Stewart of LURHQ says like many recent worms, Kama Sutra attempts to disable antivirus software when it is attacking a machine.
And even for home computer users who have never taken such precautions before, security experts say now would be a good time to back up your most important data, like financial information and family photographs, to CDs, DVDs, zip drives, or an external hard drive that you know is worm and virus free.
Unlike a lot of malware that exploits vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system, there is no "patch" that can be downloaded to ward off Kama Sutra.
"This is something that is not inherent in the operating system," Sergile said.
"Unfortunately, there is no way to patch user ignorance, and the way this virus propagates is through user ignorance," he said.
Sergile also says home users need to be aggressive about questioning e-mail messages and attachments, even if it appears they are coming from colleagues, friends, or relatives. Many e-mail viruses spread by forwarding themselves to everyone in a user's e-mail address book.
"So while you might think it is coming from cousin Alice, most likely cousin Alice is not going to send you something that says 'Hey look at these pictures with naked people.' So that should be your first clue that a virus is propagating and you'd be well served to call cousin Alice to let her know that she is [unknowingly] sending out this type of e-mail," Sergile said.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A new direction...

Here's what is happening right across our border in Detroit, MI
Should Pit bulls be banned?
But after some reconsiderations Detroit buries pit bull ban plan.
In Rocky Mountain News in Parker, another Pit bull ban was caged.
Let's hope this way of thinking will continue. People are finally realizing that it isn't the Pit bulls to blame but the irresponsible owners of all dogs.
It's a long hard fight, but we are gaining steps. Let's hope this is the new direction being taken rather than the BSL.

The Last Dog

The Last Dog

They were at the door. Her little dog was growling softly. She tried to hush the sound. She knew what they wanted. She felt as though her heart was being ripped from her chest. She had managed to hide her little friend for years. She shared her food and bed with her.

She had bought her on the black market. It had cost her dearly but it was worth it. She had been so alone. Nothing to love her, or for her to love in return. Her children had grown up and forgotten her. Her husband had died two years before she found Sweetie.

Sweetie had been a tiny black and tan ball of fur showing her Yorkshire terrier background. Of course, she knew that Sweetie could not been purebred. There had been no purebred dogs for years.

There were few dogs since the breeders had been slowly and methodically beaten down. When this first started, everyone sat back and said they could not possibly be the breeders they were talking about. After all, they loved their dogs and they were not puppy mills.

They would never let themselves be overloaded with dogs. Some of them did not get overloaded nor did they breed more than a litter or two a year. They were smug and secure in that only the puppy mills were being raided. The raids were relentless. They would take place in one state then another.

The dog raiders got smarter with every raid. They learned about warrants, the court system, the law in different states and they used whatever means they could to eliminate the breeders of dogs.

Some people thought the raiders were dog lovers trying to save the poor mistreated puppies. Some of them were dog lovers, at first. The well-meaning rescue groups were used. The American Kennel Club was used. They would revoke the rights of the breeder who was raided. Kennel clubs were infiltrated and destroyed from within. The very fiber of the dog world was silently unraveled one string at a time.

Everyone would rise to arms against every breeder raided. Saying things like that terrible person mistreated those poor dogs; that person had too many dogs; and that person is crazy. If the truth were not provoking enough they would lie and say that person should die.

They campaigned by e-mail, petitioned the courts, and used political pull. Even when common sense would tell them that they did not know the facts or circumstances, they persist. They would see fat happy tail wagging dogs and would say abused dogs. They no longer believed their own eyes. The dogs tried to tell the truth but no one could hear them. True, there were cases of abuse, beaten, starved, and sick animals, at first.

Then the tide shifted. Good honest dog loving people started to being raided. Any reason was used. Dogs were taken and the owners refused rights to reclaim their dogs. The raiders started to narrow the number of dogs which were in violation. Any person with a dog became a target.

Dog grooming became a thing of the past. Veterinarian services were performed out of back room under the dark of night until there were no veterinarians. Dog shows had long disappeared along with the American Kennel Club.

Children were told tales of the days when every boy had a dog to run with through fields. The stories of " Old Shep"," O'Yeller", "Call of the Wild"," Lassie" and all those wonderful stories which would bring tears to the eyes of grown men were being forgotten except by a few.

But she remembered as a little girl the small dog who loved her, followed her everywhere, and gave her comfort like no one on earth could give. She just had to find her that special warmth, the grateful lick-kiss, something that loved her unconditional and a reason for getting up in the morning. She found Sweetie.

Now they were at her door to take the life that she cherished. The warm, little black and tan 3- pound body that loved her, as much as she loved it. And there was no one to stop them.
The old lady with the last dog on earth.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Our dogs...They FEED off us!

With the CGN training, all has been going great, but comes class and I wondered why Shasta wasn't the outgoing, happy dog she normally is. It's because of me. Yes, she feels all my fears and anxieties coming from me which leads to her.
Our trainer, Don pointed that out to me. He told me to watch Shasta as she walked. She was doing what she was suppose to, but I did notice she huddled right to my left leg. What I didn't notice was how she watched me the whole time. She was feeding off my insecurities. 'What if we don't pass?' 'What if...?' 'What if...?'
By watching Shasta, Don observed my typical smile was not there. My tone wasn't changing. I wasn't praising Shasta with the enthusiasm I normally do. What he saw was a very anxious and fearful couple.
I was surprised when he asked me what I was afraid of. How did he even KNOW I was afraid at all? Shasta showed him is how. Her body movements, her tail, her ears and her constant watching of me.
I did tell him why I was feeling anxious and he assured me that both Shasta and I were doing very well, but I needed to lighten up and enjoy myself. He told me to praise her. Speak to her as I normally do and encourage her. Most of all SMILE!
He put me at ease and as I focused on enjoying myself and put her through her routine, he pointed out her now body stance. She was no longer hugging my leg, but rather walking smartly beside me with a smile on her face, her ears up and in place and her tail wagging. I couldn't believe how a simple thing could effect her performance, but as he said, she feeds off off me. How true that is!
Why didn't I think of that? She knows when I'm happy or sad. She's so intuitive when I'm sick or happy and that is what makes her so 'Special', yet I wasn't taking this awareness to class with me. Yes she is intelligent and following instructions, but if I want a confident dog, then I must have that same confidence in both myself and her.
How can I be Alpha when I'm the weak link and that makes perfect sence, because she needs a strong leader.
We've learnt a lot over the past several weeks, but a small observation has opened my eyes so much.
I can teach her the commands and put her through the routines, but little did I think that that special bond we have together needed to keep being uplifted and secure. Sometimes the simplist lessons can be the most powerful.
I no longer say, 'If we pass this course.' I say, 'When we pass this test', and already am considering which other one I should think about us getting into next.