Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Other Experts on Pit Bulls: Law, Journalism, Insurance, Government
Lawyers, Judges, Insurance researchers, government officials, journalists
THOMAS J. MOYER, Chief Justice, Ohio Supreme Court 1987-2010
"The trial court cited the substantial evidence supporting its conclusion that pit bulls, compared to other breeds, cause a disproportionate amount of danger to people. The chief dog warden of Lucas County testified that: (1) when pit bulls attack, they are more likely to inflict severe damage to their victim than other breeds of dogs; (2) pit bulls have killed more Ohioans than any other breed of dog; (3) Toledo police officers fire their weapons in the line of duty at pit bulls more often than they fire weapons at people and all other breeds of dogs combined; (4) pit bulls are frequently shot during drug raids because pit bulls are encountered more frequently in drug raids than any other dog breed.... The evidence presented in the trial court supports the conclusion that pit bulls pose a serious danger to the safety of citizens. The state and the city have a legitimate interest in protecting citizens from the danger posed by this breed of domestic dogs."
WILLIAM M HOEVELER, US DISTRICT JUDGE, ADOA v Dade County, Florida
Despite plaintiffs' contention that there is no such animal as a pit bull, plaintiffs' own experts have written articles about their pedigreed dogs referring to them by the common nickname of pit bull. At trial, these experts identified photographs of dogs as pit bulls, rather than delineating the dogs into any one of the three breeds recognized by the kennel clubs. Moreover, veterinarians commonly identify dogs as pit bulls -- rather than one of the three recognized breeds -- by their physical characteristics. Two veterinarians, testifying for the defendants, stated that they are often called upon to identify a dog's breed because it is an integral part of the animal's health record. This they do by reference to standard physical characteristics. Generally, these veterinarians testified, owners themselves know what breed their dog is.
There was ample testimony that most people know what breed their dogs are. Although the plaintiffs and their experts claim that the ordinance does not give them enough guidance to enable owners to determine whether their dogs fall within its scope, the evidence established that the plaintiffs themselves often use the term "pit bull" as a shorthand method of referring to their dogs. Numerous magazine and newspaper articles, including articles in dog fancier magazines, refer to pit bull dogs. Veterinarians typically refer to the three recognized breeds and mixed breeds with conforming characteristics as pit bulls. In addition, the veterinarians who testified stated that most of their clients know the breeds of their dogs.
DON BAUERMEISTER, Council Bluffs, IA prosecutor
All dogs can "get into it". The reality, though, for way too many dog owners is the sudden, unprovoked, violent and very serious attack from a pit bull. These folks have to pay the immediate vet bill. Yes, sometimes, the Court is able to intervene and order restitution, but what about the dead dog. What about the psychological damage to those who had to witness the attack. I have seen pit bulls attack and injure other dogs. It is something that you will never forget. A very purposeful bite, indeed. Pit bulls are pros and the rest of the dog world are amateurs. Man made them this way.
BOB JOHNSTONE, Cincinnati, OH city attorney
We have amassed what I consider an overwhelming amount of information that demonstrates to me that pit bulls are, by far, responsible for more fatal or serious attacks than any other breed.
Judge Victor E. Bianchini of San Diego
A pit bull is the closest thing to a wild animal there is in a domesticated dog.
KORY NELSON, Denver, CO City Attorney
The most significant point about the justification for bans or restrictions of pit bulls is that these are not dependent upon a claim that every pit bull has a higher than average propensity for attacking humans. The justification is based on the clear evidence that, as a group, pit bulls, compared to other breeds, generally have a higher propensity to exhibit unique behavioral traits during an attack. These behaviors havea higher likelihood of causing more severe injuries or death. The Colorado Dog Fanciers trial court made this clear, stating that, while it could not be proven that pit bulls bite more than other dogs, there was “credible evidence that Pit Bull dog attacks are more severe and more likely to result in fatalities.” The court, in great detail, noted fourteen separate areas of differences, including: strength, manageability and temperament, unpredictability of aggression, tenacity, pain tolerance and manner of attack.
A municipality that is experiencing a problem with pit bull attacks needs to consider for itself the best course of action to protect its citizens, especially those most likely to be unable to defend themselves from the tenacious and sustained attack of a pit bull, who will likely bite, hold, and tear at its victim despite efforts to stop it. However, given the clear rational evidence, breed-specific legislation is still a legally viable option.There is no new evidence that undermines the holdings of Colorado Dog Fanciers, only new relevant evidence that adds additional support for BSL, as the differential treatment of pit bulls is based upon logical, rational evidence from the scientific field of ethology.
KENNETH PHILLIPS, Attorney for dog bite victims dogbitelaw.com
In 2013, there have been 18 canine homicides of which 17 were committed by pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Our dogs are not killing us. Pit bulls are killing us. And although pit bulls attack and kill strangers like Claudia Gallardo, 38 (killed by a pit bull in the front yard of its owner's house in Stockton, California) and Pamela Devitt, 63 (killed by 4 pit bulls running at large as she took a walk in Antelope Valley, California), the usual victims are our children, parents and guests.
I have come to believe that the modern pit bull should not be thought of as a dog at all. A dog is man’s best friend, but this is an animal that will kill the man, his wife, his children, his parents and the guests in his home. Clearly this is not man’s best friend; clearly it is not a “dog” in the sense that we think of a dog. Charles Manson was anatomically a man, sociologically a neighbor, and legally a citizen, but he is spending his life behind bars because he was a deranged individual who orchestrated mayhem and murder. Just because pit bulls look like dogs, they do not have to be thought of like we think about dogs such as golden retrievers and Yorkshire terriers.
In almost all homicides carried out by pit bulls, the owners and neighbors express shock and disbelief because the animal never gave a sign that it wanted to kill anyone. But to me, this is like a drunk driver expressing shock and disbelief that his car could kill. In both types of cases, a person made a choice to do something incredibly reckless, either by getting drunk or by getting the animal that makes headlines because of the frequency and brutality of its killing. We need to stop people from doing these reckless things.
Lawmakers have to stop listening to the nonsense about breed specific laws which is spouted by the owners of bully dogs like pit bulls. Since 2006 there have been 3 psychological studies which focused on the personality and behavioral traits of the owners of pit bulls and other high-risk breeds of dog. A study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence showed a link between ownership of high-risk dog breeds and deviant behaviors, crimes against children and domestic violence. Another study concluded that "vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance." A third study established that the owners of high-risk breeds of dog displayed more antisocial thinking styles, have an arrest history significantly higher than owners of other dogs, and engage in fighting to a significantly greater degree than other dog owners. They also had higher levels of overall criminal thinking patterns to go with the actual criminal behavior. These people, who are fixated on the animals that kill, maim and terrorize, are not the people that a lawmaker needs in his camp. Reasonable people want fair laws that provide a solution to the obvious problems caused by pit bulls.
NATE STEPHENS, Cave City Police Chief
"These dogs were bred to fight to death, bite harder, get stronger and be tougher. This breed is what is known as pit bulls. They get the name from the dogs being placed in pits to fight each other. These dogs weren't bred for intelligence, to be docile or make good pets. They were made to kill another man's dog. I have seen some pits that are really nice dogs. I have a friend who has one that will lick you to death. But you never know when a pit will go back to what it is bred to do. Some never do go back and continue to be good pets. However, it's a roll of the dice and you never know how they will fall. Statistics shows, that most will turn on their owners and usually a child of the owner. Some of them turn on who ever is handy when they decide to snap. Some say all dogs will bite and that is true, but pits are more likely to mall and finish the job if they can, and other breeds bite and run or back off. Pits can't be blamed, it was what they were made to do."
STANLEY COREN, PhD Psychology Stanford University
"A dog's breed tells us a lot about that dog's genetic heritage and makeup. Genetics is a strong determinant of personality. In the absence of any other information, we can make a reasonable prediction about how the dog will behave based upon its breed." p 84
"When we crossbreed, we lose some of that predictability, since which genes will be passed on by each parent and how they will combine is a matter of chance. Fortunately, there is some data to suggest that we can still make predispositions without knowing much about its parentage. John Paul Scott and John L Fuller carried out a series of selective breeding experiments at the Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine. By happy chance, their results revealed a simple rule that seems to work. Their general conclusion was that a mixed breed dog is most likely to act like the breed that it most looks like." p 77
MERRITT CLIFTON, journalist, Animal People editor
There are very few people, if any, who have written more on behalf of dogs over the past 40-odd years than I have, or spent more time down the back alleys of the developing world observing dogs in the habitats in which normal dogs came to co-evolve with humans. But appreciation of the ecological roles of street dogs & coyotes, exposing dog-eating and puppy mills, opposition to indiscriminate lethal animal control, introduction of high-volume low-cost spay/neuter and anti-rabies vaccination, introduction of online adoption promotion, encouraging the formation of thousands of new humane societies worldwide, etc., are not to be confused with pit bull advocacy. Pit bull advocacy is not defending dogs; it is defending the serial killers of the dog world, who kill, injure, and give bad reputations to all the rest. Indeed, pit bull advocacy, because it erodes public trust in dogs and people who care about dogs, stands a good chance of superseding rabies as the single greatest threat to the health, well-being, and human appreciation of all dogs worldwide.
KENNETH BAKER, Home Secretary, UK
"The intention of the Dangerous Dogs Act was to eliminate breeds like pit bulls in this country. For the first five years it worked very well, but as soon as the Government gave in to animal charities the whole thing was doomed. There is no need for anyone to have these dogs, and to suggest that you can somehow educate the owners – well, I just don't think that's realistic if you look at who the owners are."
DAVID T LYKKEN, PhD, behavioral geneticist - human criminality; bull terrier fancier
Having owned two bull terriers over the years, I have found my acquaintance with this breed more useful to an understanding of criminality than the perusal of most texts on the subject.
DAVID PREMACK, PhD Psychology - comparative understanding of cognition and its understanding of the nature of animal and human minds
In my view, the first time a breed kills a child — without extreme provocation — the breed should be eliminated. After all, there is no difficulty producing breeds that do not kill children. Indeed, breeds that do not kill children despite extreme provocation can be readily produced.
PILAR WAGNAR, Allstate spokeswoman, Clearwater, FL
Allstate Insurance Co., one of the country's largest insurers won't insure new customers who own pit bulls.
Pit bulls have a higher-than-average tendency to be unpredictable and cause unprovoked attacks with serious injuries. They're basically lethal weapons. The liability exposure is unbelievable.
Owners of dobermans, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and other potentially dangerous dogs are not turned away by Allstate.
Adapted with thanks from Craven Desires