Posts filed under ‘pitbull’

How Not to Play Tug With a Dog

This report from WRCB Chattanooga brings us the amazing story of a dog that attacked a police car.While the officer was trolling for speeders, Winston decided to have a go at his cruiser. As the dog attacked the tires and bumper of the car, the police officer hit him with pepper spray and even tased him. Nonplussed, Winston simply pulled the electrodes out and went on with his ‘work’.

Here’s another view of the attack:

A few things stood out to me. First, notice how the officer moves his cruiser slowly back and forth as Winston tugs on his bumper. About 0:45 seconds into the video, another officer tells the driver “Keep your car still man.”  I’m not sure if he was worried other guy is going to run over the dogs over or if he has realized that the back and forth action of the other car is just egging the dog on, but I like this guy’s instincts a lot better than the other fellow’s.

Dog training 101 – when a dog is pulling or tugging on something you don’t want him to – DO NOT PULL BACK. When you pull back you’re playing the dog’s game and engaging his oppositional reflexes. Engaging in a series of interactions where you pull, then stop and then pull again is an even worse idea. In effect, the police officer was playing a rousing game of tug of war with a very driven dog and letting him win.

Also, shocking a dog who has little or not prior training and is fully engaged in attacking or tugging on something without giving the dog direction on what to do at the same time often gives on the result apparently seen here: it just makes the dog go at it with more gusto.

This was probably the most fun Winston (who has a thing for power equipment anyway) has had in months.

Notice that at about 1:15 a siren temporarily stops the dog. If the tug toy car was put into park and both cars let their sirens blare, they may have been able to stop the game.

At about 2:00 dog pulls the shell of the bumper completely off and struts away with his prize. The officer almost escapes at this point, but because he does it cautiously, the dog gets a chance to go after his tires.

The first time I saw a clip of this episode I assumed the dogs were running loose. I was wrong, the dogs escaped from the welding shop where they’re kept. I’m glad that was the case. And while the officer involved didn’t act like an experienced dog trainer, I am completely and utterly thrilled that he and his fellow officers reacted with restraint so that Winston and his canine buddies weren’t shot. I’m also relieved to hear that animal control has no plans to euthanize him.

The Calgary Herald reports that Winston has been placed on probation and ordered to complete obedience training. I strongly recommend that his owners also invest in a more secure fencing option.

His owners said they had no clue why he went wild that day, chewing through two fences and attacking four cars.

He’d never shown any aggression before that day, owner Nancy Emerling told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here’s your clue: A wonderful, strong, smart, high-energy dog with a history of going after lawn equipment and hasn’t received enough mental and physical exercise – or proper training – was left unsupervised in an inadequately fenced area, got bored, found a way to escape and discovered a ‘buddy’ who played a wonderful, rousing game of tug of war with him. Fortunately, his buddy didn’t run Winston over or shoot him.

I hope Winston has the same kind of luck with his owner’s new training program…

March 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm 28 comments

If This Dog Bit Someone…

Press reports would be filled with diatriabe about another “pitbull’ attack.

But – because he’s a hero who took three bullets to save his owner… he’s just a dog.

The linked story is the only one I found that mentioned the dog’s breed (boxer mix).  I’m sure that if this dog had been injured attacking the maid instead of valiantly protecting his owner from her criminal cohorts – news outlets would have taken one look at this photo and featured headlines screaming about another “pitbull attack”.

Best wishes to hero dog Aslin for a speedy and full recovery.

December 20, 2009 at 4:21 am 8 comments

If Michael Vick was a Sociologist

Would his ‘exploration‘ of the dog fighting world have been defensible?  Maybe even commendable?

Yesterday’s edition of Inside Higher Education reports the story of Scott DeMuth, a University of Minnesota sociology graduate student who is studying radical animal rights and environmental groups.  DeMuth has been ordered to appear before a grand jury to testify on a 2004 attack on the University of Iowa allegedly conducted by members of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).

During the raid hundreds of mice, rats, pigeons and guinea pigs were released from a research laboratory.  ‘Cause, you know, animals bred and raised in laboratories survive so well out in the wild. 

DeMuth has been  indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for conspiracy.  The indictment states that “Scott Ryan DeMuth did knowingly and intentionally conspire with persons unknown to the grand jury to commit animal enterprise terrorism and cause economic damage to the animal enterprise in an amount exceeding $10,000,”.   The damages actually totaled nearly half a million dollars – not including the loss of data.  And in a twisted bit of irony, more animals will undoubtedly be used to collect data to replace that which was lost.

Inside Highter Education reports:

[DeMuth] maintains that his knowledge of animal rights groups is based on his pledges of confidentiality to the individuals who talk to him. After he was released from jail, he was indicted on charges that he conspired to commit “animal enterprise terrorism” and to cause “damage to the animal enterprise.” These charges are under a new federal law designed in part to give authorities more tools to go after those who vandalize animal research facilities.

A group of professors, led by DeMuth’s academic advisor David Pellow, have organized a petition drive and new organization – Scholars for Academic Justice – to support DeMuth.  Why is a professor defending student who is withholding information on a group that has damaged university property and threatened other academics?  Possibly because he’s sympathetic to ALF’s cause too.   In a guest post at GreenIsTheNewRed, Pellow (who describes himself as a ” vegetarian, animal rights and anti-racist activist” in advance praise for a book on the politics of animal rights posted prominently on the ALF website) writes:

My own research on movements for racial justice, labor rights, environmental justice, and animal and earth liberation suggests quite clearly that the state and corporations spare no expense and rarely hesitate to engage in surveillance, infiltration, and other efforts to neutralize the power and reach of these groups. As a publicly outspoken scholar and activist, Scott DeMuth is at the center of these dynamics and is quickly becoming a force for common ground among people across various movements, organizations, and universities who believe that government power should always be checked and that scholars, citizens, activists, and ordinary folks must enjoy basic rights and freedom from coercion and repression. Support Scott, protect academic freedom, and let’s work to abolish the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act!

About that “freedom from coercion and repression” thing Dr. Pellow – do you believe it should apply to everyone?  Or just to the people whose ideals are as  lofty as yours?

DeMuth can hardly be described as a dispassionate observer of animal rights extremists.  He was one of the founding members of Earth Warriors are OK! (EWOK), a group that directly supports animal rights and environmental activists facing criminal charges and prison sentences.  Speaking of criminal charges, it’s too bad this story didn’t come out sooner.  If DeMuth’s defenders are successful, Michael Vick’s attorney could have used it as a case study on how not only to prevent Vick from being charged, but to help get him published too!

Given where his sympathies lie, it isn’t surprising that even though DeMuth was offered immunity, he refuses to testify.  He claims that because the time he spends with them is part of his research, his work with ALF is protected by academic freedom.  I wonder how he feels about United States vs Stevens?

Is the politically incestuous, university-sanctioned “research” of a an avowed animal rights activist who takes notes during felony crimes more worthy of first amendment protection than the artistic, educational, historic “research” of a dog fighting aficionado?

And if it is, who gets to decide whose speech is more worthy of protection?

December 9, 2009 at 5:16 pm 12 comments

BSL Now!

Hordes Herds of vicious animals around the world are attacking and killing people with increasing frequency.  It was reported in today’s New York Times – the threat is real.  These savage creatures often attack from behind and frequently single out disabled people as their victims.

In 16 cases, “the animal was deemed to have purposefully struck the victim,” the report states. In 5 other cases, people were crushed against walls or by gates shoved by the cattle. Ten of the attacks were by bulls, 6 by cows and 5 by “multiple cattle.” A third of the deaths were caused by animals that had been aggressive in the past.

All but one of the victims died from head or chest injuries; the last died after a cow knocked him down and a syringe in his pocket injected him with an antibiotic meant for the cow. In at least one case the animal attacked from behind, when the person wasn’t looking. Older men with arthritis and hearing aids have the highest risk of being injured by livestock, the report says, probably because they don’t hear the animals charging and can’t move fast enough to get out of the way.

It’s time to end the madness. People, we need Bovine Specific Legislation – and we need it now!


Did you know:

Along with the dozens of bovine-related fatalities that occur worldwide each year, many people are also severely injured – even permanently handicapped – by bovine attacks.  The threat posed by these vicious animals is unacceptable. To deal with the threat we propose the following:

  • Bovine creatures must be kept muzzled and leashed hobbled or safely confined in sturdy box stalls labeled with appropriate warning signs.
  • All bovines must be spayed / neutered and those with a history of aggression should be immediately slaughtered euthanized.
  • Bovines found roaming at large should be seized and slaughtered. (nom!)
  • Bovines will heretofore be banned from all county fairs, 4H events, rodeos and pit barbecue promotions.
  • Persons being caught with illegal bovines (intact animals, unlicensed animals and those without properly color-coded RFID ear tags) will be subject to fines and imprisonment.

Once we’ve successfully eliminated the terrible threat bovines present to society we must move on to outlaw properly legislate swimming pools, automobiles, bathtubs, roller skates, stiletto heels, hot dogs – and the gutless, gormless politicians who waste their time and our money as they focus on promulgating this kind of pointless, time and money wasting crap legislation rather than dealing with important – but potentially controversial – issues that might come back to bite them in the ass.


August 1, 2009 at 4:00 am 3 comments

Labradors Are NOT For Dummies

This week Terrierman and RaisedByWolves post the snark on Sioux City, Iowa city councilman Aaron Rochester who thinks his short-coated, broad-headed dog should be exempt from dangerous dog laws even after its second documented attack on attacked an innocent person.  This – while he remains smugly entrenched in the belief that all short-coated, broad-headed dogs that don’t have papers saying they’re Labrador retrievers are born vicious and need to be killed.

Which dog would you rather have latched onto your back?  Councilman Rochester’s labbador who “is a great watchdog” or the born-to-be-vicious pibble show below?

H/T to BloggoTheDogBoy for posting this newsworthy video of a typically vicious pibble in action.

As the much maligned Cesar Millan says: “Breed is not destiny

July 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm 5 comments

Research Shows Pit Bull Owners are Psychopaths

A piece of sophomoric tripe study recently published by The Journal of Forensic Sciences states that owners of “vicious” dogs are more likely to commit crimes and exhibit primary psychopathic tendencies than people who don’t own such dogs are. 

Is this proof that we need breed specific legislation to save us from drug dealers, rapists and baby killers?  Hardly.  This bit of junk science has more holes in it than all the dog bite victims in America stitched together.

In his landmark work Sociological Methods Denzin stated that three properties must be demonstrated to prove a causal relation in sociological studies:

The researcher has to show that the cause is tied to and leads to the effect.

The researcher has to show that the cause occurs before the effect.

He also has to demonstrate that other causes, catalysts or intervening factors don’t produce the effect.

Note: This is part of that boring and annoyingly time-consuming work of eliminating unworkable solutions and collecting additional data to test the potentially workable ones.  Our friends at WVU get an F on this part of their work.  They simply handed a stack of questionnaires out to undergraduate students; compiled the answers; did some basic statistical evaluation — and then committed the cardinal sin of statistical studies by confusing correlation with cause.

And that’s just the start of it. Here are a few of their most glaring errors:

Propaganda as hypothesis:  The first, big, ugly mistake in this farcical creation sttudy is that the researchers start right out with an erroneous – and highly emotionally charged – assumption (rather than a group of facts).  To wit: that Akitas, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and “Wolf-mix” dogs are inherently vicious. They don’t provide any evidence that these breeds of dogs are vicious, and in fact, they don’t even define what they mean when they use the term “vicious”.

Studies have also shown (hopefully more rigorous studies than this one!) that research on emotionally-charged issues has an unfortunate tendency to be affected by the researcher’s own biased opinions on the subject. So, if the WVU group believed that the subject breeds of dogs were vicous before they even started their work (and they do indeed, state that this is so in the published article), they were much more likely to find and use data to support this hypothesis.

Collecting data to fit the hypothesis: A mastiff-sized hole in the study is the fact that the researchers  started out with a fixed hypothesis — and then went on a witch hunt fished for data to support it.  I’m not a social scientist. My education is in the hard, or physical sciences.  The standard there is to collect data and use multiple working hypotheses to evaluate it by a process of eliminating the unworkable solutions and then collecting more data to test the potentially workable ones.  I *know* that that’s a lot of work – but c’mon folks, good science (and – I think – good sociology) requires a lot of work.

Using potentially inaccurate data: To add further fuel to my fire they made absolutely no effort to verify that the dogs that were reported on in the study were of the alleged “vicious” breeds.  Breed identification is a notoriously difficult exercise.  Unless you’ve got papers, ask two veterinarians, dog trainers, groomers or animal control officers what breed(s) a given dog is and you are more likely than not to get at least two different answers.

They also didn’t even bother to ask if the dogs had exhibited any kind of aggressive – or “vicious” – behavior!

Next, the subject of their study were undergraduate students for crissakes.  The questionnaire on dog ownership asked them about all the dogs they’d owned.  I’ll bet that most of these kids included every dog that their family has owned since they were born in their answers.  So, do the results reflect their preferences in dog ownership – or their parents’?  Further, just how accurate is that self-reported data?

I’ll bet that the “Illegal Behavior Checklist” was prepared by the WMU group.  This was a 22 item self report questionnaire that addressed four types of “illegal activities” that included questions like “Have you ever been in a fight?”  Of course, they don’t define what a “fight” is. So – I wonder how many students who had never been in anything worse than a shouting match answered “yes” to that one and were subsequently labeled as violent criminals?

Collecting data from a nonrandom, non-representative population: A vital part of interview studies like this one is ensuring that a random sample of a representative population has been selected to participate.  The folks at West Virginia University failed this vital step when they simply selected a population of undergraduate students willing to fill out questionnaires for credit.  I’m just an ignorant dog trainer, but I have a nagging suspicion that this group isn’t a representative sample of American dog owners.  I’ll go a step farther and posit that this particular sample of dog owners tends to be a lot more impulsive and irresponsible than the much larger group of us who aren’t currently dog-owning undergraduate students.

Temporal aspects were not evaluated:  Even if it could be demonstrated that the ownership of allegedly vicious dogs was truly correlated with criminal behavior or psychopathy (and it most definately was not) – did the psychopathic tendency lead to pibble ownership or does owning a pibble make you a psychopath?

Alternative hypotheses were not considered:  Nope. Not at all. Too much work (or not enough grad students) to bother with that I suppose.

This “study” (and, yes – I am using the term loosely) was so poorly designed and executed, that frankly I’m shocked it ever saw the light of publication in a “peer-reviewed” journal.

I’m not just a scientist, I’m a person who is in head over heels love with science. But the thing that really disturbs me about the publication of a total piece of crap like this isn’t that it represents a complete and utter failure of the peer review system — it’s the sad fact that politicians and special interest groups will use junk science like this to justify the passage of oppressive, draconian laws and regulations that will punish the innocent.

This is truly a sad day for science.

June 7, 2009 at 2:58 am 8 comments

Vicious Pibble Attack!

%$&#@ EVIL DUCK!

It’s a crisis of epidemic proportions. We MUST ban Mallards. And all “mallard-type” ducks.

February 5, 2009 at 2:48 am 5 comments

Dogs in the News

First from our That Was a Really Stupid Idea files the Waseca County News reports:


A little over a week has passed since a dog was discovered inside a Dumpster on a cold Waseca night.

While Precious, a female rat-terrier mix, is doing well at the Animal Medical Center of Waseca, her owner faces a misdemeanor charge relating to the incident.

The dog was discovered by a Subway employee at the bottom of a Dumpster behind the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 28.


According to Police Chief Keith Hiller, Precious was intended to be in the trash bin only temporarily.

Hiller said it appeared as though there may have been an issue of having a dog in a home where pets were prohibited.

He said that the owner told police that the dog was put into the trash temporarily as a way of hiding her from the landlord.

While the owner will make her first court appearance later this month, a number of things can happen with Precious down the road.

She could be returned to the owner, or someone who knows the owner and can provide a good home for her. The other option would be to put the dog up for adoption.

Hiller said that if a pet owner is unable to take care of their animal, there are a number of options available to them, but abandonment is not one of them.

Uh yeah.  How bright do you have to be to understand that stashing your dog in a restaurant dumpster, even on a temporary basis, is a bad idea? 

Newsday features the story of a Vicious Pit Bull Attack — sadly, this is the story of an innocent dog attacked and killed by its owner.

A Middle Island man was arrested after he called police and told them he stabbed the family dog to death in self-defense Tuesday morning, Suffolk police said.

Lamont Yarborough, 36, of Wilson Ave., was charged with felony animal cruelty after he used a knife to stab the 80-pound pit bull named Buster three times at his family’s home, police said.

Around 5:13 a.m., Yarborough called 911 and told responding officers that he killed the dog after being attacked in a bedroom, according to Det. Sgt. James Madden at a news conference in Selden Tuesday.
Yarborough went to the kitchen for a six-inch knife and stabbed the dog three times — once in the head, once in the groin and a fatal wound to the left rib cage, puncturing the dog’s left lung, Madden said.


Madden called Yarborough’s response excessive, noting that he had a “superficial” scratch on one hand.

“I believe Mr. Yarborough could have confined his dog in a room and if he thought he was a threat, he could have called 911,” Madden said. “The results are over the top.” A woman at Yarborough’s house declined to comment. A neighbor described hearing the dog screaming and howling Tuesday morning.

I’m quite sure that there’s a special place in Hell for Yarborough…

Good Intentions Gone Terribly WrongZooToo reports the sad story of a woman who, unfortunately, provides a graphic illustration of why you must always make sure conditions are safe before trying to rescue a loved one, whether they’re on two legs or four.


A New Jersey woman sacrificed her life for that of her grandson’s dog on Saturday, when she fell into a frozen pond after trying to rescue Apollo, a German Shepherd puppy.

Though the 6-month-old dog survived the icy incident, the woman, Janet Howard, 61, drowned in the Plainsboro Pond, in Plainsboro, N.J.


The tragic incident generated double acts of heroism, as a Plainsboro resident witnessed Howard’s fall, and plunged into the frigid waters after her.

The resident, Austin Hearn, told police he was riding his bike along a nearby trail when he saw Howard and Apollo struggling to stay afloat.

“The woman was barely keeping her head above water and appeared to be growing weaker by the second,” the Plaisnboro police department said in a news release. “She was separated from the bank by a solid sheet of ice; the dog was also floundering in the water.”

Hearn first attempted to pull Howard from the pond with a branch, veering off about 15 feet away from the water’s edge.

“It’s impossible for me to imagine leaving someone there and abandoning her,” Hearn told NY 4 News. “My first priority was to get her to safety. That’s why I got the branch.”

Yet the initial rescue attempt “didn’t work out,” Hearn said, after the ice caved in under him, too.

Despite his 15 years of experience as a lifeguard, Hearn recognized that the circumstances were challenging, at best.

Note: when I searched for information on emergency scene safety to link to this story (as a former HAZMAT responder and trainer, this is something I’ve drilled into many people’s heads) I found that more EMS providers are injured or killed from motor vehicle collisions and roadside incidents than from violence each year.  Violence is a very real threat to first responders — and so are drowning, being overcome by toxic fumes, falling — and back injuries.  Dying or getting severely injured is a bad idea under any circumstances.  Don’t go there.

Last, A Bit of Heart-Warming NewsDallas News writes that:


David Hartwig’s beloved dog, Skidboot, had died, but the phone kept ringing with performance requests.

Bring your other dogs and do your routine, they told him. We love it.

But Hartwig wasn’t in the mood. His new batch of Australian blue heelers were just “average dogs of average intelligence.”


Fans kept calling, however, and Hartwig eventually caved in. Now his trio of doggies – Tiedown, Bois’d’arc and Little Skidboot – entertain audiences in the spirit of Skidboot, who died in 2007.

“I had to let the public convince me it was still worthy,” he said. “They said, ‘You have something, and we want it.’ “


“If you had never seen Skidboot, you’d think this was a real smart dog,” he said, talking about one of his new charges. “But compared to Skidboot, this dog has a bad case of dumbworms.”

But the new dogs are talented, and audiences can’t get enough of them.

In a time when the main message behind the top-rated movie in the U.S. is that dogs are furry, lovable members of the family especially when they’re undisciplined and obnoxious — and that it’s perfectly acceptable to raise enable them in an utterly passive way; a story celebrating trained dogs and the people who love them truly warms my heart!

January 7, 2009 at 12:54 am 4 comments

The Universe Frowns on Houston


…because something this horrific demands an astronomical sense of outrage.

The sad news comes from BadRap via our friends over at YesBiscuit.

I am deeply saddened and disappointed to learn that all 187 dogs saved from the Houston dogfighting ring have been killed by their “rescuers”. BAD RAP tells it like it is:

They did it. They went for the easy out: The most convenient, economical way to deal with an unwanted excess of abuse victims.

Thank goodness they don’t “help” battered women, I guess.

‘Biscuit’s analogy to battered women brings up a disturbing and interesting point. Something is really wrong with a society where pathetic bastards men convicted of beating their wives get treated with more loving kindness fairness than dogs whose only crime is belonging to the wrong person — and the wrong breed.

What am I talking about? Restraining orders. Those esoteric bits of paper armor intended to protect women from their abusers – that have now fallen victim to a labyrinthine system where procedures differ from stationhouse to courthouse and where, sadly, violators often benefit more than the violated.

I’m not going to argue that dogs should be granted personhood, however… when a man who brutally beats his wife isn’t just given a free legal aid attorney and habeas corpus protection from arbitrary imprisonment but is also – all too often– given little more than a wink and a nudge when he violates a TRO; and a dog who belongs to a law-breaking, abusive bastard (or worse yet, to an innocent person) is seized and killed with less thought than we give a Thanksgiving turkey (and this, in the name of “rescue”) — we really need to re-examine our cultural mores.

[apologies for the rambling, disjointed structure of that last paragraph… The Cold From Hell has my brain stuck somwhere between park and neutral and I fear that I didn’t coast smoothly to the conclusions I was trying to make]

December 3, 2008 at 3:51 am 6 comments

Stray Dog Saves Woman and Toddler

From a ZooToo story posted earlier this month:

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The wandering 65-pound Pit Bull mix might have seemed menacing to some passerby, but one woman will always remember him as her “guardian angel.”

The dog, which authorities think is lost and not a stray, successfully thwarted a robbery attack on a mother and her 2-year-old son, who were held at knifepoint Monday afternoon.


OMG! This fellow’s not only handsome – he’s a four-legged Guardian Angel!

“I don’t think the dog physically attacked the man, but he went at him and was showing signs of aggression, just baring his teeth and growling and barking. It was clear he was trying to defend this woman,” Animal Control Lt. Brian Jones told Pet Pulse.

“I don’t know what this man’s intentions were, but it is very possible this dog saved her life.”

The exceptional part of the story, Jones said, is that the dog had never met or even seen the people it quickly jumped to defend.

Because he was fit, healthy and well-mannered; animal control workers and shelter staff who are caring for the dog believe he was lost rather than abandoned. The woman that he rescued has said that she plans to adopt “Angel” if his owner doesn’t come forward to claim him.

November 21, 2008 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

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