Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« McCain's Sleaze: A Retrospecti... | "Say it to My Face" »

Thursday, October 9, 2008

That Baby, those Bus Drivers, the Truck Driver, the Guy With the Fire Extinguisher, All Those Cops, and That Police Helicopter Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

posted by on October 9 at 9:53 AM

I’ve never suggested that other dog breeds don’t bite. But have you ever read a story like this one about a poodle or a lab—or even doberman? Do other dogs do this sort of shit?

A bus driver helped save the life of a baby after a pit bull terrier—named locally as ‘Asbo’—ran amok yesterday, biting eight people including the 10-month-old child, before being shot dead by police…. Witnesses reported seeing helicopters, police cars, PCSOs and armed officers “running around with guns” in an attempt to catch the pit bull….

Jackie Haggis, a 38-year-old foster carer from Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, saw the attack from her house a few yards from the scene.

“I Heard a load of noise outside. The noise became louder and turned into screaming and shouting, and I looked out of the window and saw a group of men on the grass outside my window. Then I saw the dog with a baby in its mouth. “It dragged the baby about 60 yards across the green. I seriously panicked and called 999 straight away. The men were trying to hit the dog with a fire extinguisher from a bus and with sticks, but it wouldn’t let go.

“Eventually a man came onto the green in a pickup truck and tried to run the dog over but it didn’t succeed. Instead the dog turned on another man and to escape he jumped in the back of the pickup truck.

“The dog went berserk and started chasing the man in the truck down the road. It was going absolutely wild.” She added one bus driver, who works in the nearby National Express depot, in particular had saved the child’s life. “If the bus driver hadn’t come to the baby’s rescue, it would have certainly been killed. It was absolutely petrifying,” she said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Neighbors claim the dog’s owner threw the animal out of her house when it “lunged” at one of her own kids—so, yeah, another “bad” pit bull owner, another convenient shield for the breed’s apologists to hide behind. But the same logic behind a ban on, say, assault rifles and automatic weapons applies to a ban on pit bulls: the ban isn’t intended to keep those weapons/dogs out of the hands/homes of good, responsible gun/dog owners. It’s just that the appeal of these weapons/dogs to irresponsible assholes, coupled with the damage these weapons/dogs can do, trumps the right of “good” pit/AK47 owners to possess these asshole dogs/deadly weapons.

RSS icon Comments


Um, Dan:
The dog is named after a British legal order used on people who are a danger to their community.

I wonder what sort of owner would give their dog that name -- and how they would train their dog to behave.

Posted by K | October 9, 2008 10:00 AM

Uncontrolled, uncontrollable monsters. Exterminate them all.

Posted by Dr. Savage Mudede | October 9, 2008 10:02 AM

K@1 - totally correct and scary as fuck.

Anti-social behaviour order

(sort of a generalised restraining order against violent types)

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | October 9, 2008 10:15 AM

the article did say that the dog was "known locally as Asbo", which probably means the neighbors thought the dog was a menace and gave the dog that name.

The image of a dog carrying a baby in its mouth is not a great way to start the day...

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 9, 2008 10:17 AM

I still want somebody to explain why animal experts, like vets and animal behaviorists and animal welfare organizations, don't support breed bans. Should I believe a bunch of journalists desperate for readers, or should I believe those that study the subject?

There is either something wrong with science or something wrong with journalism.

Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 10:18 AM

Hand grenades are perfectly safe in the right hands. It's only irresponsible, poorly trained hand grenade owners who cause problems with their hand grenades. There's nothing INHERENTLY dangerous about a hand grenade. In order to protect the rights of these decent, loving hand grenade owners, the state should pay for extensive training for all hand grenade owners, so that people can own these beautiful killing machines.

Posted by Fnarf | October 9, 2008 10:20 AM

I think I'd rather own hand grenades than pit bulls.

Posted by Hernandez | October 9, 2008 10:23 AM

Boil pitbulls!

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 9, 2008 10:24 AM

Someone in the community should have fed the thing poisoned meat a long time ago.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 9, 2008 10:26 AM

Sounds like we're on track towards doggie eugenics. Violent dogs, they can't be rehabilitated, they're of inferior genetic stock and spend their days growling, snarling and listening to rap music.

Posted by AJ | October 9, 2008 10:34 AM

Boring! Can you get a new hobby horse? I'd rather read Mudede interpret Frog and Toad from a Marxist perspective than another fucking pit bull story.

Posted by Gitai | October 9, 2008 10:34 AM

But my AK-47 is like a member of my family! It's incredibly sweet and loyal and provides so much joy to me and my children, who have all been trained how to behave safely around "Aykay." Why should we have to lose a trusted member of our family just because of some other irresponsible people elsewhere?

People have singled out AK-47s among all other household appliances just like Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals were singled out by the Nazis. It's exactly the same!

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 9, 2008 10:41 AM

At least with a hand grenade you can tell if it's got the pin in place or not.

Posted by Greg | October 9, 2008 10:54 AM

I'm no fan of pit bulls, but there's something odd about this story. No explanation of how the dog came in contact with the 10 month old child. Did it run into a house and grab it? Was the child unattended - at 10 months? Where were the child's parents? As for the rest of the story, clearly the animal understood it was fighting for its life. And of course, it lost.

Posted by crazycatguy | October 9, 2008 11:01 AM

Hand grenades and AK-47's aren't alive.

Posted by Ben | October 9, 2008 11:15 AM

AJ, are you seriously denying that dog breeding is not eugenics? I'm sorry but you'd have to be the newest fucking idiot on the planet to gloss over the fact that DOGS WERE FUCKING BRED AND SELECTED FOR GENETIC CHARACTERISTICS FOR CENTURIES! THEYVE HAD INTERVENTION IN THEIR REPRODUCTION SINCE HISTORY HAS BEEN RECORDED.


eliminating a dog breed that is dangerous isn't any more a step towards eugenics than letting the runt of litters die, and forcing siblings to breed in an attempt to get a more pure dog.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 9, 2008 11:16 AM

elenchos- i hope that was another one of your jokes. in case it was not, there are animal groups calling for action against this breed specifically.

Posted by infrequent | October 9, 2008 11:19 AM

@ben: being alive makes pit bulls more dangerous. hand grenades, for instance, rarely decide to self-detonate on babies after years of docile behavior.

@AJ: dogs and humans are hardly analogous, but the fact that you would choose to compare pit bulls to fans of rap music says much about you, and about your opinion of pit bulls.

Posted by infrequent | October 9, 2008 11:24 AM

@11, fohreals!

So, instead of a ban, why not force pit owners to have liability insurance?

Policy number and phone number have to be on a collar tag or any police or animal control officer can take the dog.

Posted by StC | October 9, 2008 11:27 AM

"foster carer"? that's a job?

Posted by max solomon | October 9, 2008 11:52 AM

Dan, every subject in the title of your post would make a great band name...
"That Baby"
"All Those Cops", etc.

Posted by trufe | October 9, 2008 11:58 AM

Oderint dum metuant.

Posted by Lavode | October 9, 2008 12:30 PM

Drivers get automatic citations for driving with an opened alcohol container in the back seat. People get automatic citations for not wearing seatbelts and for having an infant in the car without a secured safety seat. So, how about some comparable laws to automatically cite and fine dog owners stopped with a pit bull out in public or around kids/schools without a firmly secured SAFETY MUZZLE on the dog?

Posted by Kaypro | October 9, 2008 12:41 PM

Infrequent, what are you insinuating about me?

Also, the link you provide is from Animal People, which is not an animal welfare group, it's a newspaper. It's not written by an expert, it's written by an editor, Merritt Clifton. He has no qualifications outside journalism. It's an editorial written in the first person. That is, yet another journalist talking out his ass pretending they know more than he does.


Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 1:22 PM

dude, are you being sarcastic?

i'm not sure which is funnier, that you think we shouldn't listen to stories and facts or special examinations compiled by newspapers (because that's not science!), or that you suppose Merritt Clifton isn't an animal expert nor qualified to be anything other than a reporter.

but other than that, yeah, why aren't there any pit bull welfare groups calling for a breed ban? where's the science? it just makes no sense...

anyways, i'm not in favor of a breed ban right off. i'm in favor of holding the owner responsible, and requiring a license for certain breeds. if education is the answer (which most animal welfare groups believe it is), we sometimes have to force that education.

Posted by infrequent | October 9, 2008 2:30 PM

@infrequent: It also makes them less disposable.

I'm fine with requiring muzzles, or insurance or a lot of other crazy plans you might come up with. I'm not fine with just saying "torture them to death," a la #8.

Posted by Ben | October 9, 2008 2:32 PM

This post has the greatest title in the history of Slog.
That is all.

Posted by Mr Fuzzy | October 9, 2008 2:32 PM

Infrequent, that's a link to a list of the man's extensive experience as a journalist, and total void of any education or experience doing anything that involves scientific or professional standards. No peer review. No board certification or residency. Tell stories and attract an audience, and your work is done.

Again, QED.

Why is it funny to say we shouldn't listen to anecdotal evidence? We shouldn't. It's worse than total ignorance to think that a selection of lurid stories tells you what reality is like. Anecdotal evidence is the basis of racism, sexism, and all manner of discrimination and folly. What's funny about that?

And where are the major, reputable groups on this? The American Veterinary Medical Association, or HSUS, or ASPCA?

This is no different than ignoring the weapons inspectors about WMD, or ignoring climatologists about global warming, or ignoring the scientific evidence against smoking, or riding without a helmet. Anecdotes about a healthy old guy who smoked for 50 years or old farts who never wear helmets are responsible for a lot of deaths. Anecdotal thinking has held our civilization back for decades.

Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 2:45 PM

yes and no. i don't listen to weapons inspectors... i can't really. i listen to reporters who tell me about weapons inspectors. i try to find the best, most qualified, and balance different views to make sure i'm getting a adequate view.

same for racism. sure, many stories are anecdotal. but there are stats out there, and to dismiss those stats, or news stories that present them, wouldn't be good either.

finally, anecdotal evidence doesn't mean the opposite of the story is true. there is clearly a bunch of personal stories on both sides.

so this guy MC, for instance, seems like a qualified reporter who has done his homework, and found some research. that, balanced with some common sense, leads me to believe that at present there are more serious attacks on people by "pit bulls" than other breeds.

my solution is the same, regardless of breed. hold the owner responsible, and require a license for any breed that falls into this category. if those measures don't work, a band might be something to try.

Posted by infrequent | October 9, 2008 2:58 PM

Here is an evidence-based, scientific statement, from the CDC:

Each year, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities; about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten. These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill.

There is no accurate way to know which breeds are more likely to kill. Journalistic hype does not count as data. It goes on to say "Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites. For prevention ideas and model policies for control of dangerous dogs, please see the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions: A community approach to dog bite prevention."

A money quote from that document "Breed-specific ordinances imply that there is an objective method of determining the breed of a particular
dog, when in fact, there is not at this time." Wishing a thing to be a fact does not make it a fact.

There are responses to dog bites that do work, like animal control enforcement, and spaying and neutering. Like fixing the screwed up King County Animal Shelter instead wasting time blaming pit bulls. You can't hold owners responsible, or do much anything else that makes a difference, when your animal control staff and structure are dysfunctional.

Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 3:02 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.