PRO BSL – Research showing severe dog bites are fewer in Manitoba areas with pit bull bans.

Research showing severe dog bites are fewer in Manitoba areas with pit bull bans.

The study, conducted by University of Manitoba scientists, shows the number of dog bites requiring hospitalization have decreased since pit bull bans went into effect in 2005.

It states the number of hospitalization attacks fell from 3.5 per 100,000 population to 2.8 after the legislation took effect.

Many people
feel the breed is inherently aggressive.

The study doesn’t purport to be the last word on the issue but does contain some compelling data, particularly when comparing Brandon, which has never prohibited pit bulls and Winnipeg, which has, said study co-author, Dr. Malathi Raghavan.

“I would not claim this is the ultimate study… all dogs bite,” she said.

But she said the data collected from 16 larger Manitoba jurisdictions, along w
ith recent Spanish and Texas studies suggesting similar results, is compelling.

“We should pay attention to the fact there is something going on here,” said Raghavan.

The Spanish data showed similar hospitalization reductions in the absence of pit bulls while the Texas research indicated higher rates of death, severe injury and treatment costs are linked to the breed.

Raghavan said she was careful to isolate the pit bull factor from others, such as changes in dog populations.

“The legislation was a variable coming out significantly,” she said.


Woman Calls for Pit Bull Ban – PRO BSL

Police have filed charges of keeping vicious animals and allowing them to run at large against the owner of two pit bulls that mauled a disabled woman and killed her pet Chihuahua on a Santa Fe street last week.

Police Capt. Aric Wheeler said Monday police filed the misdemeanor charges in Magistrate Court against Gerard Mathews, 23, who police say had been cited previously for letting dogs run free.

In the next couple of days, Wheeler said, Mathews will likely receive a criminal summons ordering him to appear in court to answer for misdemeanor charges of keeping vicious animals and letting animals run at large.

The charges against Mathews offered little comfort for Anne Stills, 62, who was bitten on her thigh, elbow and hand during the pit bull mauling but couldn’t save her long-haired Chihuahua named Lillie.

Stills said Monday that she still misses Lillie, her companion for more than eight years.

“I’m having nightmares,” she said. “I can’t sleep. My wounds will heal. My heart will never heal. You cannot bring back a loved one like that. She was more than family to me.”

Animal control officers also are seeking a judge’s order to keep the two female pit bulls, Roxxy and Nyla, in the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society until Mathews appears in court.

The dogs have been under a 10-day quarantine since the attack on the 600 block of West Alameda on Nov. 12. They could be euthanized by a judge’s order.

Stills said she wants a second person charged in the attack – a woman who, according to Stills, tried to hold back the pit bulls during the mauling and said they belonged to a relative.

Stills said a 3-foot-high wall on the property where the pit bulls came from wasn’t enough to hold the dogs back, which she said makes the woman responsible, too.

Stills said she has poor vision and did not notice a “beware of dogs” sign at the house until she stopped to leave a memorial to her dead pet.

When Lillie was killed, Stills was walking the Chihuahua on a leash not far from her apartment in public housing.

Stills said she also wants pit bulls out of the City Different.

“I’m not going to let this go,” Stills said. “There will not be pit bulls allowed in the city limits. I am going to make certain of that.”

She said she’s willing to search for reports of pit bull attacks across the country. “There is something wrong in the heads of these dogs; I don’t know if it’s in their DNA,” Stills said. “They can be the most loving things and just snap for no reason. They need to be eradicated.”

Many dog lovers, however, support the breed and blame attacks on owners or poor training. In October, the Santa Fe Animal Shelter held a special pit bull adoption event in connection with National Pit Bull Awareness Day “in an effort to raise awareness about the dog(s) and their responsible owners,” the shelter said in an announcement.

“Pit bulls often get a bad rap,” the announcement said. “That’s one of the reasons people who own the so-called bully breed and those who try to find homes for them work hard to dispel the myths.”

Last year, a pit bull was euthanized after Santa Fe police said it killed its 74-year-old owner.

Barbara Kay: Study proves pitbull ban is justified – PRO BSL ARGUMENTS AND TALKING POINTS

There’s nothing more humiliating for a journalist than pontificating on a subject with ardent conviction, and then being proved wrong. But there’s nothing more gratifying for a journalist than pontificating on a subject with ardent conviction and being proved right.

At the moment I am doing a modest little victory dance as I type. One of the first columns I ever wrote for the Post (December 10, 2003) argued that pit bulls were a danger to society because of their nature. Naturally I backed up my claim with plenty of statistical ammunition. And today I feel vindicated.

I was, even as a newbie, aware that readers who disagree with you can get pretty hot under the collar, but I had no idea how exponentially explosive the response is when you diss a dog breed. My column was distributed to dog-owner sites and I received a tsunami of hate mail the like of which I have never seen before or since. I was called unprintable names – and more than one pitbull owner spelled out in graphic detail what he would like to see a trained pit bull do to me. (One responder, curiously enough, expressed the hope that I would get all my fingers chopped off while playing the piano. Not sure what the connection to pitbulls is there.)

Anyway, reasonable people shared my opinion.

Well, all those pitbull owners can now turn their wrathful attention to Dr. Malathi Raghavan, a University of Manitoba epidemiologist, and author of a new study of dog bite cases between 1984-2006 in the journal Injury Prevention that suggests the controversial bans are having a positive effect. After “breed-specific legislation” was passed, Manitoba’s overall provincial rate of bite-related hospitalizations dropped from 3.5 to 2.8 per 100,000 people. A spokeswoman, commenting on the study, conceded that pitbulls “genetically hard-wired” to be combative, but diplomatically added the usual refrain that all dogs have the capacity to be nasty if they are ill-trained.

The idea that pitbulls owned by nice people are no more dangerous than any other breed is a myth, of course. Dogs bite four to five million Americans every year. Serious injuries are up nearly 40% from 1986. Children are victims of 60% of bites and 80% of fatal attacks. Nearly half of all American kids have been bitten by the age of 12. Pitbulls or crosses alone account for more than a third of dog bite fatalities.

Sure all dogs bite, but most dogs let you know before they bite that they have hostile intentions, and they let go after they bite. As I noted in my previous column, “Unlike other biting dogs, pitbulls don’t let go. They are impervious to pain. Neither hoses, blows or kicks will stop them. Other dogs warn of their anger with growls or body language like terrorists, pitbulls attack silently and often with no perceived provocation.

The breeders, trainers and Kennel Clubs know all this. Yet dog civil libertarians resist “profiling” or penalties that impinge on the dog’s “right to due process” (their actual words). Gordon Carvill, (at the time of my 2003 column), president of the American Dog Owners’ Association, is implacable on breed profiling, falsely claiming, “There is no dog born in this world with a predisposition to aggression.” This is canine political correctness run amok. Disinterested experts overwhelmingly disprove this claim with ease.

Just so pitbull owners shouldn’t feel lonely, Rottweilers aren’t always so cuddly either. In 1998 there were 1,237 reported dog attacks in Canada, and a full half of them were accounted for by pitbulls and Rotties. Some jurisdictions in Quebec ban both, and it doesn’t cause me a single minute’s loss of sleep.

It’s a pretty strange society that imposes speed limits on cars (because we all know it isn’t cars that kill, it’s bad drivers) and doesn’t allow guns to be carried in the street (because we all know it isn’t guns that kill, it’s bad people), but (even though we all know it’s pitbulls that kill, whether their owners are good or bad), won’t take the simple step of reducing harm to our citizenry, especially children, their easiest prey, by banning high-risk dogs.

National Post