Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Dumb Impressionist Fact of the... | Sherman Alexie On and Off the ... »

Thursday, June 19, 2008

There Are No Vicious Animals…

posted by on June 19 at 13:32 PM


…only vicious actions.

A pit bull fatally mauled a 5-year-old boy staying at a southern Texas home with relatives, authorities said.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday. Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Rosa Trevino said the condition of the child’s body suggested there was no way emergency responders could have saved his life.

Authorities were trying to determine whether the dog had been confined and how it came in contact with the boy, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said. Trevino declined to identify the boy pending notification of his mother, who lives in Washington state.

In other pit bull news…

In Seattle a pit bull attacks a girl in a school playground. In Illinois a pit bull attacks a woman working in her garden—and then attacks the two passersby that came to her aid. A woman in Washington D.C. attacked by her own pit bull is grateful to the cop, also mauled, that shot her dog. A woman in Indiana also mauled by her own pit bull. Pit bull chews man’s face off in Oregon. Two pit bulls maul one year-old boy in LA. Pit bull in Pennsylvania mauls seven year-old boy. In Ohio a pit bull breaks through a storm window to maul a mail carrier. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, police have had to shoot thirty vicious dogs in the last year—more than two dozen of which were pit bulls. And, after police had to kill five vicious dogs in six months, the small Washington town of Wapato banned pit bulls this week. Pit bulls also banned this week in Edina, Missouri, Osceola, Nebraska, and the South American nation of Guyana.

All the above went down this week, and there are more stories—but I don’t have all day, and have to get back to work.

Gee, nice dogs. Shame if we banned ‘em, huh?

RSS icon Comments


make sure you let us know how well these bans work out. I'm sure they will succeed in eleminating this evil breed from their towns.

Posted by Mike in MO | June 19, 2008 1:39 PM

Why don't you go back to pissing and moaning about little old ladies who live (or used to live) in Ballard?

Posted by heywhatsit | June 19, 2008 1:39 PM

ban them. baaaaaaaaannnnnnnn theeemmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!1!

Posted by tiffany | June 19, 2008 1:41 PM

Maybe the pit bulls are being controlled by some alien force and they are all receiving messages from space to attack.

Posted by PopTart | June 19, 2008 1:42 PM

Who leaves children and dogs unattended? WTF? My dog's a rescue dog (a standard poodle), but his first family had kids. So my dog loves kids. But there's no way on earth I'm going to let him hang out unattended with children.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | June 19, 2008 1:45 PM

Perhaps you've already written about this, but could you let us know sometime how the attack stats for pit bulls stack up against those for other breeds?

Posted by shub-negrorath | June 19, 2008 1:45 PM

The fact that the words "pit bull" are, and always have been synonomous with the words "dog bite" to me, leads me to believe that Pit Bulls have generally been known to have an aggressive streak.

The rise in attacks and maulings leads me to wonder if the breeding, better yet the inbreeding of these dogs has simply caused this trait to be more prevalent than ever before?

Posted by schnoodle | June 19, 2008 1:49 PM

I hold no brief for pitbulls but there is no evidence that breed bans lower the number of dog bites. A ban on Rotweilers of 30 years standing was lifted in the Netherlands this month because there had been no discernable decrease in dog attacks in general. Maybe it is the owner and not the specific breed of dog.

Posted by inkweary | June 19, 2008 1:50 PM
Posted by bob | June 19, 2008 1:51 PM

It ban is likely to be successful if put to the voters. More people don't own pit bulls than own them.

Posted by D. | June 19, 2008 1:54 PM

#6: There is an oft-posted PDF of dog attacks with stats through 2002 (because the CDC no longer keeps stats on breed information, believing it to be of little value). I've seen the PDF, and considering the non-existent "breeds" it identifies, it's suspect IMO--but there's no doubt in my mind (from personal experience and just checking out shelter web pages) that a LOT of the dogs that end up in shelters are pit bulls or pit bull mixes (watch Animal Cops sometime and see how many of the dogs they rescue/take in to custody are pit bulls).

There are, however, a number of breeds and mixes that end up being classified as/with pit bulls that are NOT pit bulls, and are not generally aggressive. This is rarely taken into account in breed bans. And pit bulls are popular with people who want to look tough.

I'm not discounting the problem, but I do think that there ARE good pit bulls out there, and breeds that will be classed as pit bulls in a ban that shouldn't be (for instance, Staffordshire Bull Terriers).

Posted by Nora | June 19, 2008 1:55 PM

Dan, PLEASE do some research before spreading more misinformation and stereotypes.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | June 19, 2008 1:56 PM

Something interesting I've noticed: every time there's a large drug bust on a banned substance of some kind, Slog writers will sarcastically say something like "heroin is no longer dealt in the US." Banning something (dog breed, drugs, etc.) doesn't guarantee that it will cease to be. The problem will still be there. As will Dan's tired bitching about pit bulls.

We get it, you don't like them.

Posted by bg | June 19, 2008 2:01 PM

at least you used a word like vicious this time instead of "Bad"

Nothing is more unhelpful than judging animals based on human morality and then bringing that mindset to the table.

Its best to be objective, realistic, and look at the statistics. If it warrants breed banning then fine. If it ALMOST warrants breed banning than anyone who chooses to own that type of breed needs to keep it under control, or take FULL responsibility for the breeds actions.

Posted by cpt. tim | June 19, 2008 2:02 PM

Some people I know love venomous snakes - doesn't mean they should be able to take them to restaurants and playgrounds with them.

Same goes for dogs.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 2:05 PM

OK Dan, I've always agreed with you that pitbulls arent victims of the media; they have much higher tendancies to be vicious than other breeds. My question is, do you have evidence that a ban is the right answer? Can we see some stats that these recently implemented bans are lowering the number of attacks? If yes, I'll throw all my weight behind your idea.

Posted by mintygreen | June 19, 2008 2:05 PM

32 human murders by dogs in the United States in 2007 out of 74,800,000 million dogs = 1:2,337,500

17,034 human murders by humans in the United States in 2006 out of 304,383,612 people = 1:17,869

Save humans, ban humans.

Posted by cochise. | June 19, 2008 2:07 PM

Jebus Christ, Savage, please cut it with the anecdotal evidence. Whatever certain breeds of dogs and/or their owners are or aren't, your evidence provides approximately zero weight in favor of your position. Think about how some people come to and reinforce their ridiculously prejudiced beliefs. Part of it is just a matter of the putting the right filter on the nightly news. You may be absolutely right but I wish you'd try a tad harder.

Posted by umvue | June 19, 2008 2:08 PM

oh wait, let me break that down by human "breed" and let's ban the most dangerous second....

Posted by cochise. | June 19, 2008 2:09 PM

Even if a ban is successful, won't dipshits just find another "tough" dog to ruin? At least now we know what to look (or look out) for.
I say we require an IQ test for dog ownership. While we're at it, let's sterilize stupid people, too.

Posted by julie | June 19, 2008 2:14 PM

Could be worse. At least Dan puts links to references in his stories, unlike the latent racist who just posts something libelous and doesn't care about it. I guess that's a commie for ya. So I just completely stopped reading the latent racist's post because they have become so God-DAMN boring. I guess I feel like letting it go. Unless he does something completely racist again, and then I guess it's back to the message boards. But to reiterate, at least Dan makes an effort to reference.

Posted by Charles_Mudede_Is_A_Latent_Racist | June 19, 2008 2:17 PM

Banning the breed won't do much. I'm guessing the vast majority of these pets are unlicensed to begin with. Why would a bad owner suddenly be concerned with a ban, there's no real penalties.

Just like every unstoppable vice that has the potential to go bad, dog ownership needs to be actively regulated by the city. Outside of someone with a breeders license, all pets should be fixed. Dogs should be licensed, and non-compliance fines should be stiff. Attacks should hold the owners accountable in criminal court, if proven as such.

If all my little Draconian ideas rack up some serious fees, keep this in mind: You don't need a dog in the city, it's a luxury item.

Posted by Dougsf | June 19, 2008 2:19 PM

And just who classified all those dogs as Pit Bulls? Board-Certified Breed Experts I'm sure... Point being, if a dog looks ANYTHING like a Pit, it's a Pit because that fits the narrative. You know what they called 'em back in the day? Irish Family Dogs.

Posted by High-Rise | June 19, 2008 2:20 PM

alright nevermind, I looked it up myself.

Mandatory muzzles and sterilization all the way!

Posted by mintygreen | June 19, 2008 2:21 PM

#1 wins the thread with devastating use of irony

Posted by ha | June 19, 2008 2:30 PM

mintygreen --

Interesting link but what really matters is the absolute number of bites (and the amount of physical damage) - not the number of bites by breed. There's plenty of room for classification error/bias (Pit Bull ban means this dog bite must not be from a Pit Bull) and other issues. It's sorta like "competing risks."

Posted by umvue | June 19, 2008 2:32 PM

How do you ban a breed? How do you define a breed? I know a pit bull when I see one, but technically there isn't any such thing as a "pit bull" breed (it's a name used to describe dogs who wholly or partly one of three possible breeds).

Posted by Simac | June 19, 2008 2:32 PM

and dan, as a credit to your journalistic integrity, how many other dog attacks were there this week and which other breeds were responsible for those dog attacks?

it's obvious you hate pit bulls and fat people.

what's not obvious is how you can be such an admirable dude and such a douche at the same time.

Posted by josh b | June 19, 2008 2:34 PM

Along with the "breed ban" on Pit Bulls, I think we should enact a "breeding ban" on the typically ignorant folk who choose to own Pit Bulls. That would save us a lot of grief as a society.

Posted by john cocktosin | June 19, 2008 2:39 PM

I can't communicate how disappointing it is to read this sort of thing coming from Mr. Savage. Pit Bulls are not the problem-- people who breed and raise pit bulls to be aggressive are the problem. My pitbull/cogri mix has been raised in a loving, affectionate home. Do she and I deserve to be ostracized of the bad actions of other dog owners, and your prejudices?

Its the same sort of intellectual sloth that I see Dan rail against every week. Its a shame to me that he can't look through all the hyperbole and see the people and animals who haven't done anything bad yet, and who--in all probability-- will never do anything bad.

Posted by ZedSmith | June 19, 2008 2:40 PM

ban idiot, neglectful, macho dickhead owners.

Posted by max solomon | June 19, 2008 2:42 PM

I highly doubt that, banning this particular breed of dog is going to reduce the amount of fatal dog attacks. To reduce fatal dog attacks,there needs to be more general measures that focus on known and meaningful connection between dangerous dogs and negligent owners.

Here is a really good article about pittbulls and profiling.

Posted by Yvonne | June 19, 2008 2:44 PM

the US should ban pet ownership, like the People's Republic of China

it's a waste of precious resources, unsanitary, and cruel for people to keep animals in their homes like belongings

Posted by um | June 19, 2008 2:44 PM


Time for another "Fixed-gears are evil" post, followed by "The Seattle Times Editorial board is out of touch" post. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat.

Posted by Jeff | June 19, 2008 2:45 PM

I know a lady who raises miniature Dachshunds. They are evil, evil little beasts alone and especially when they pack. She lets them get away with their evilness because most of them are bought by farmers who want them to be annoying and loud and aggressive to scare away people and other animals (they will bite any animal they can). But they don't ever maul people to death! WHY IS THIS?

Posted by Blunderplank | June 19, 2008 2:52 PM

Seriously, Dan, haven't you ever heard that dog bites man isn't news?

Posted by Gitai | June 19, 2008 3:06 PM

@ 26

alright good point.
But can we stop debating all this about punishing owners vs. dogs and try to find any evidence that there is anything we can really do about it that makes a difference?

Posted by mintygreen | June 19, 2008 3:15 PM

Ohio is having this discussion too, and this is actually not a bad article about the issue:

Posted by Nora | June 19, 2008 3:21 PM

While we're on the topic, I want poodles banned, and I think all poodles should be boiled alive and fed to their owners. I got bit by a poodle once, and I heard about someone else getting bit by a poodle too. I'm sure if I invest a modest amount of effore, I can cherry-pick enough anecdotal evidence to confirm my pre-existing bias against poodles!

Posted by Hernandez | June 19, 2008 3:38 PM
Pit Bulls are not the problem-- people who breed and raise pit bulls to be aggressive are the problem.

Oh okay. You wanna go tell that Oregon guy who got his face bitten off that pit bulls aren't a problem? After that you should probably get a oujia board to tell all those mauled kids that pit bulls are great dogs.

I bet you're all for legalizing machine guns and grenades. After all, grenades aren't bad, it's just the mass murderers who buy them at 7-11 that are bad!

Posted by poppy | June 19, 2008 3:41 PM

#39: On almost every pit bull post someone posts scientific evidence that pit bulls are by far the most deadly dog breed. The "anecdotal evidence" just shows you that it's real people whose lives are being ruined by pit bull owners.

Posted by poppy | June 19, 2008 3:45 PM

People who own pit bulls are socially disfunctional misanthropes.

Posted by jomama | June 19, 2008 3:48 PM

poor pits. . .they are red zone aggressive dogs no doubt. all the maulings and killings are unbeleiveable! It's turely awful. And they do scare the hell outa me.

but I know it's owners that either want a tuff dog or don't know how to be the leader of the dog.
Pits have had a grand history, been good loyal dogs and only in recent decades have gone "bad" so it's truley a shame

Maybe some kind of limitations of where they can live, out of city limits or something? Maybe owners must have permits for the dangerous breeds? Prove they have the leadership and the right life style for them. go thru classes before they can apply for a permit? My Aunt and Uncle rasied dangered and exoctic species for years and had to have permits and regular checks for their farm.
Prolly way too much regulation and work for someone but dang, banning the breed seems so fanatical.
Dogs can be rehabilitated - watch Cesar on Nat Geo!

Posted by irl | June 19, 2008 3:52 PM

There's no reason to own a pit bull, ban 'em. Or if no outright ban, make license fees $5000. Same idea could be applied to guns. Want a gun to go hunting? $5000. Want a big dog in the city? $5000.

Posted by Freshmaker | June 19, 2008 3:55 PM

My fantasy is we lock all the gun nuts and all the pit bull owners in one room and only half of them get to leave.

And then we put earplugs in.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 19, 2008 3:57 PM

I respect you, but I'm compelled to say, "fuck you." I apologize for my language, but the sentiment remains.

My "vicious" pit bull has been playing with a 4lb Biewer Terrier all week and has been so incredibly gentle while play-fighting. She has similarly allowed my toddler nieces and nephews to poke, pull, and crawl all over her without showing anything but gentility.

That is what pit bulls are about. It's irresponsible, ill-prepared, and just fucking stupid owners that develop the aggression in dogs—no matter the breed.

Posted by Carollani | June 19, 2008 4:18 PM

@ 46

Is your peach of a dog worth $5000? If so, then excellent. That money can go to shelters and enforcement and you can keep your cuddly dog and be free to wander the streets with your pathetic little plastic bags of shit.

Oh, not willing to pay it because you feel entitled to have a pit? It's your right?

Posted by Freshmaker | June 19, 2008 4:27 PM

Now, here's a dog that should definitely be shot.

I mean, poor, innocent Michael Vick went to jail over this dog!

Posted by Ayden | June 19, 2008 4:40 PM

would someone please explain to me what the fuck is a fixed gear bike?

Posted by Mike in MO | June 20, 2008 6:01 AM

@19: Exactly. We're using pit bulls as a stand in for the race and class of their owners. Or to make a covert comment about biological determinism masked as some nanny state rubbish.

@40: I think you're making the opposite point of what you intend: Grenades and machine guns don't kill people, people kill people. Pit bulls don't kill people, being raised to fight causes pit bulls to kill people.

My sister owns a pit bull/rottweiler she saved from the pound at about a month old. She's raised it with love. It's a sweet, intelligent, loving dog because she's given it a good home free of violence.

Posted by Dawgson | June 20, 2008 7:51 AM

I am so outraged by this article. Just last night, my husband and I and some friends went out to eat. Sitting right outside the door was the most beautiful sweetest pitbull I had ever seen. She loved the attention and just sat there, relaxing and waiting for her owners. Almost everyone in my husband's family has pitbulls. They are loving, friendly, kind to other animals and to other humans. None of them have ever had an issue with their dogs. Yes, they are naturally more aggressive than other dogs and it is up to the owner to make sure that they receive the proper training and care. The real problem here is that too many people who don't know how to properly take care of the dog, have them. Don't take these dogs away from the loving owners who take great pride and joy in raising their pitbulls the right way.

Posted by Amy | June 20, 2008 7:50 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.