Reacting to protests that erupted after a court decision declaring all pit bull type dogs “inherently dangerous,” the Maryland Senate has approved a new dog bite law that holds all breeds — and their owners — to the same standard.
The bill, considered emergency legislation, now goes to House of Delegates. Once signed by the governor, it becomes law, overriding the state Supreme Court decision that singled out pit bulls as dangerous and ended the requirement that, in liability cases, they be shown to have a history of aggression.
That resulted in a different standard for pit bulls, or any dogs deemed pit bull mixes, at least when it came to civil suits. While all other breeds would still have to be proven dangerous, pit bulls would not because, as the judges saw it, they were that way by definition.
Pit bull owners and lovers saw the dangers inherent in that — from the difficulties it could pose for those who rent, to pit bulls being abandoned at shelters — and began campaigning to have elected officials do something about it.
“It’s definitely a win for pit bull owners,” Katie Flory of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told WJZ in Baltimore. “We really do feel this is really the best way to go … It is very important that we look at the animal as an individual and not just the breed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, animals, bites, breed-specific, breeds, civil, courts, dangerous, decision, dogs, inherently dangerous, laws, legislation, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, senate, supreme court
The dog whose only crime was resembling a pit bull was euthanized today, after a deadline for legal appeals expired.
His execution – despite 200,000 signatures supporting a reprieve — brings an end to an international effort to save him.
The BBC reports that the city council issued a statement that read:
“Whilst there is an exemption scheme to which dogs of this type (pit-bull terrier type) may be admitted as an alternative to destruction, there were no such measures that could be applied in this case that would address the concerns relating to public safety.”
“The council’s expert described the dog as one of the most unpredictable and dangerous dogs he had come across.”
In June, after two lower courts had already ruled that the dog should be put down, Northern Ireland’s highest court rejected Caroline Barnes’ legal bid to overturn an order calling for the destruction of her pet.
Ms. Barnes insisted that Lennox was not dangerous, and her battle to save Lennox snowballed into an often-heated international campaign to save his life.
One Belfast councillor has received a death threat over Lennox’s proposed destruction, the BBC reported, and workers in Belfast City Council have become the target of a fresh series of intimidating messages.
Lennox was impounded by Belfast City Council’s dog wardens in May of 2010, when a new breed specific law went into effect, banning pit bull types in the UK.
Among those calling for Lennox to be spared were boxer Lennox Lewis, Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, and television dog training expert Victoria Stillwell, who had offered to have Lennox re-homed in America where he would not be in contact with the public.
Stillwell said she was “absolutely devastated” that Lennox had been put down. “I hoped Belfast City Council would realize that there were alternatives that provided a sanctuary for Lennox in the USA where he would be safe but they did not listen,” she said.
Stillwell said requests that the family be allowed to visit the dog one last time before he was put down were declined — as were requests to allow the family see the dog after he was euthanized.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: belfast, belfast city council, breed bans, breed-specific, breeds, campaign, dangerous, denied, dog, dogs, euthanized, executed, global, international, ireland, killed, laws, lennox, news, pit bull, pit bull type, put down, put to sleep, resemblance, uk, victoria stillwell, visits
Lennox the alleged pit bull is scheduled to be euthanized in Belfast this week, despite continuing international efforts to save him.
A protest Saturday in Belfast included demonstrators who flew in from the U.S., England and Dublin, according to UTV in Belfast, and demonstrations are scheduled at the British and Irish consulates in New York today, organized by No Kill New York.
Victoria Stilwell, host of “It’s Me or the Dog” on the Animal Planet network, offered to find Lennox a new home in the U.S., and cover all expenses, but on Sunday she told msnbc.com she has received no response.
The 7-year-old dog was seized in 2010 after pit bulls were banned under the UK’s Dangerous Dog act.
The dog’s owners say he is an American bulldog-Labrador mix, but dog wardens, after taking measurements, declared him a “possible pitbull type” and claimed that — though he has bitten no one and been the subject of no complaints — he had a personality disorder.
Protesters say they are trying to raise awareness not only about Lennox but also to show that breed specific legislation is unfair.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, bans, belfast, breed, breed bans, breeds, dangerous, demonstrations, dogs, euthanasia, execution, facebook, ireland, laws, lennox, news, offer, pets, pit bull, pitbull, protests, save lennox, twitter, uk, victoria stilwell
According to Klooff, what I need to do is get a golden retriever, or a Siberian husky, or a French bulldog — and then just wait for women to line up in hopes of dating me.
Based on findings in a survey conducted by Klooff, a new iPhone app for pet lovers, those are among the dog breeds that best attract women.
“Pets are great for lots of different things; for companionship, for fun romps at the park, and even for getting a date,” said Alejandro Russo, co-founder of Klooff. “That’s why we built Klooff, so people can express themselves through their pets. And possibly even find a little romance while at it.”
I find it revolting — maybe not Klooff itself, but this particular avenue the humans behind the app have chosen in a quest for publicity.
It’s dogsploitation at its worst. It reduces dog to an accessory — one that can help you “express yourself” and get you dates. It makes dogs the equivalent of those Axe products that purport to attract women, like flies to dog poop.
If the main reason you are getting a dog is to attract humans of the gender you are seeking — be it for a date or a long-term relationship — don’t get a dog.
If you are getting a dog for other reasons, but want to factor in which breed would serve you best as you go about your courting and woo-pitching, don’t get a dog.
If you think that a dog’s breed is all you need to know — that breed alone determines every facet of a dog’s personality and behavior, thereby making him 100 percent predictable — don’t get a dog, at least until you do a little more research.
Here’s a sample of their pun-laden press release:
Just what are the best breeds for singles?
It’s no secret that taking your dog for a walk during these upcoming dog days of summer is a great way to meet other singles, make a connection, and potentially land a hot date. But what dog breeds give men and women the best chance of getting a “leg up” on the competition in the “dog eat dog” world of dating and romance?
A new international poll on what goes on in one of the hottest singles scenes – at the dog park – suggests certain breeds are the “cat’s meow” in navigating the “ruff” world of dating, whereas others hinder their chances of success. The survey illuminates what types of dogs men and women should own to attract their next girlfriend, boyfriend, hookup, or soulmate…and which dogs to completely stay away from.
I will point out here that my dog Ace has gotten me dates — in fact, pretty much every date I’ve had in recent years. I would go so far to say that, while he smells much worse, he works much better than Axe deodorant, or body spray or hair styling products. But that’s an unexpected benefit, not the sole or even main reason he came into my home.
Although it was once the case, in today’s society most of us no longer choose dogs based on the work they can do for us – unless you are a shepherd, or a hunter, or a dog show ribbon seeker.
Today we choose them for companionship — for the love they bring into our homes, as opposed to the varmints they can chase away, or the potential suitors of our own species they might attract.
The Klooff app, though, is indicative of a mindset that still lingers – despite the evolution of dogs, despite the evolution of our thinking about them:
Looking at dogs solely in terms of what they can do for us.
The notion of getting a dog for the purpose of spicing up your romantic life is selfish — on par with ruining a pristine natural environment to feed your whims.
The notion that you should choose a dog based on how well its breed reportedly attracts humans of the gender you are seeking is equally unwise.
Klooff ranks breeds in terms of their ability to attract dates. The lists are based on a survey Klooff says is ”representative of 1,000 pet owners and non-owners.” It presents the results in countdown style:
The top dog breeds to attract men were:
2. Labrador Retrievers
1. Golden Retrievers
The top dog breeds to attract women were:
5. French Bulldogs
4. Siberian Huskies
3. Labrador Retrievers
2. Golden Retrievers
1. German Shepherds
Klooff is a newly launched mobile app that lets users create profiles for their pets, allowing them to upload pet photos and interact with other pet lovers, “and maybe make the dog park dating scene a little easier.”
According to Klooff, men who own retrievers are seen as “great dads,” men who own a Siberian Husky are seen as “manly,” and men who own bulldogs, boxers or Rottweilers are seen as “just a hook up.”
According to Klooff — and this is the one that bothers us most — the man who owns a pit bull or Rottweiler is seen as ”slimy” or “sketchy.”
Klooff calls their rankings “scientific.”
If you believe that, you probably own a Chihuahua.
(Photos by John Woestendiek)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alejandro russo, animals, app, appeal, beagles, breeds, chihuahuas, dating, dating scene, dog, dog park, dogs, dumb, exploitation, french bulldog, gender, german shepherds, golden retrievers, iphone, klooff, love, mates, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, poodles, romance, sex, siberian huskies, sketchy, slimy, stereotypes
Bruschi, a Boston terrier, has the biggest eyes of any dog in the world.
So says Guinness World Records, which measured them.
Bruschi’s eyes measure 28 millimeters — more than one inch in diameter. Each.
The four-year-old dog’s owner, Victoria Reed, adopted him from a shelter in 2009, according to People.com.
She said she sought out the official distinction after all the comments she’d get on her dog’s bulging eyes – from friends, family and even her own vet.
We won’t diminish Bruschi’s achievement by getting all bogged down in how some breeders attempt to produce caricatures of dog breeds, including pups with bigger eyes — that being considered the foremost factor in how much dogs appeal to us humans.
We won’t question whether, by shining a spotlight on Bruschi, Guinness is encouraging breeders to create even more freakish dogs.
And we’ll just barely mention that one of Bruschi’s eyeballs popped out of its socket last year, and that he has only peripheral vision in both eyes.
People.com says “the energetic and playful pooch loves to play dress-up and is otherwise in perfectly good health.”
“Some people do make fun of him for his looks,” she told Guinness. “But I feel like he would go up to them and say, ‘Haha, look where I am now, I’ve got a record for my looks!’”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, biggest, biggest eyes, boston terrier, breeders, breeds, bruschi, bulging, caricatures, dog, dogs, eye popping, eyeball, eyes, guinness, guinness world records, health, pets, records, socket
Forbes, the magazine best known for listing the world’s richest people, now brings us a list of the riskiest dog breeds.
Or at least what insurance companies say are the riskiest dog breeds.
The magazine, to its credit, makes a point of saying the breeds aren’t the likeliest to bite, but, as the article points out, that often doesn’t matter to your insurance company.
The list starts out with Rottweilers, pit bulls, Doberman pinschers and German shepherds — the breeds that most seem to frighten insurers.
And when insurers get frightened, you, the insuree, usually pay the price.
Fearing lawsuits from people hurt or bitten by dogs, companies offering homeowners and renters insurance are pickier than ever about which types of dogs they’ll insure, said Jeff McCarthy, an agent with Harrington Insurance Agency in Woburn, Mass.
Insurance companies, the article points out, may deny you a policy, or drop you like a hot potato if your “risky” dog causes harm, or even if he doesn’t.
That leaves you having to find a carrier that will cover your dog, which could cost more. It could also mess up your bundling discount.
While some people try to skirt the issue by not telling their insurance company about a new dog, insurers say that is risky.
“If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t disclose this information, the insurance company may deny your claim,” one said. “That could cost you thousands and it’s better to be safe than sorry.” Spoken like a true insurer.
Most commonly, insurance companies tend to resist covering these 11 types of dogs — or any mix of these breeds:
1. Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
2. Doberman Pinschers
4. German Shepherds
6. Great Danes
7. Presa Canarios
9. Alaskan Malamutes
10. Siberian Huskies
The article concludes:
“This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get a pit bull — those little guys can be pretty darn lovable! — or another kind of ‘risky’ dog, but you should call your insurance agent to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, akita, alaskan malamutes, animals, breeds, chow chow, dangers, doberman pinschers, dogs, forbes, german shepherds, great danes, homeowners, insurance, list, perceptions, pets, pit bulls, presa canarios, renters, riskies, risks, risky, rottweiler, siberian huskies, stereotypes, wolf hybrids
In another study buttressing the belief that people tend to get dogs that match their personalities, British researchers say they concluded that disagreeable people prefer to own aggressive dogs.
The study, by a research team from the University of Leicester’s School of Psychology, was based on personality tests, filled out by participants.
Participating humans, we mean.
For the dogs, researchers seemed to mostly fall back on old stereotypes.
Researchers say they found that younger people and people with low levels of agreeableness were more likely to prefer dog breeds that were rated more aggressive. As examples of those breeds, they cited bull terriers or boxers.
Here’s where I’m going to have to be disagreeable. While I’m certain a trained psychologist with a clipboard and a questionnaire can confirm disagreeability in humans, I have my doubts about their labeling dogs aggressive, epecially if, as it seems, that is based entirely on perceptions, which are often misperceptions, about breeds.
Did the scientists actually meet any disagreeable people and their aggressive dogs? (Perhaps it was wisest not to.) Or did they just work from a checklist of allegedly aggressive dogs — Rottweilers? Akitas? Pit bulls? Dobermans. German shepherds?
I don’t dispute the conclusion the study reached; it seems somewhat obvious. I just question what they base the label of “aggressive” dog on. If it’s solely breed, and perceptions of breeds, that’s not science; it’s stereotyping.
And you’ve got to wonder too — assuming there is a connection between disagreeable people and aggressive dogs, whether dogs belonging to disagreeable people started out that way, or became aggressive while living disagreeable people?
Humans generally make dogs aggressive — sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. An aggressive dog usually has a disagreeable human behind it. (Check out some of the comments we’ve received from supporters of dogfighting for proof of that.)
According to the scientists, disagreeable people are typically less concerned about others’ well-being and may be suspicious, unfriendly and competitive.
The study, published in the June edition of the journal Anthrozoos, found no link between liking an aggressive breed of dog and delinquent behavior, or that having an aggressive type of dog is a “status display,” lead researcher Vincent Egan said in a university news release:
“This type of study is important, as it shows assumptions are not the whole picture. It is assumed owners of aggressive dogs … or dogs perceived as aggressive … are antisocial show-offs.”
If one is relying on “dogs perceived as aggressive” to build their database, isn’t one making some assumptions oneself?
(Photos: We don’t think Rush Limbaugh has a dog, so we went on Google and picked him out a Chihuahua. No slur to Chihuahuas is intended)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 31st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, animals, behavior, breeds, disagreeable, dog owners, dogs, humans, match, misperceptions, perceptions, personality, pets, pyschologists, reflect, research, study, university of leicester
A new study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that charting the DNA of modern dog breeds doesn’t likely hold the answer.
The study, authored by 20 scientists, concluded that testing the DNA of today’s dogs does not “get us any closer to understanding where and when and how dogs were domesticated.”
According to Greger Larson at the University of Durham in England, the DNA of modern dogs is so mixed up that it is useless in figuring out when and where dogs originated. Only with the analysis of DNA from fossilized dogs, now underway, will the answers be found, he says.
Larson and colleagues took DNA from 1,375 dogs of 121 breeds, and 19 wolves in connection with the study.
While it’s still unclear what, if any, breeds can rightfully be called “ancient,” the study did find six breeds the were labeled basal — the basenji, shar-pei, Saluki, Akita, Finnish spitz and Eurasier, according to the New York Times. That means their DNA was less mixed.
Among the dog breeds most commonly mentioned as ancient, or at least closest to their ancient predecessors are basenji, shar-pei, shiba inu, chow chow, Afghan hound, saluki, Siberian husky and Alaskan malamute, lhasa apso and samoyed.
Reports the Times:
“Just as DNA from Neanderthals has helped illuminate the origins of modern humans, DNA from ancient dog fossils should help illuminate the story of early dog domestication in the next few years.
“We’re not a million miles away,” said Larson. “We’re close.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ancient, animals, breeds, dna, dog, dogs, domestication, fossilized, fossils, genetic, greger larson, modern, national academy of sciences, origin, pets, study, testing, university of durham, wolf
The Maryland Court of Appeals opinion declaring all pit bulls — and conceivably any dog with any pit bull in it — “inherently dangerous” shouldn’t be interpreted as outlawing the breed.
It applies only to litigation, and law-abiding pit bulls and their owners should have nothing to fear, those who see reason in the opinion will point out.
But there’s a lot to fear. Even though the opinion directly affects only those who get sued, it indirectly affects everyone — in the form of pets being abandoned, overcrowded shelters, difficulty finding rental property and giving Maryland a reputation as a state where beings are judged, discriminated against and persecuted, all based on looks.
It’s definitely a step in the wrong direction, fraught with connotations of racism, or its canine equivalent; and, like most exhibits of intolerance, it shouldn’t be tolerated.
B-More Dog, a group that’s been fighting on behalf of pit bulls for a few years now, is among the organizations offering advice to pit bull owners, aimed at better understanding the opinion, undoing the damage it did and dealing with its after-effects.
The same case that led to the court opinion played a role in B-More dog forming. In 2007, 10-year-old Dominic Solesky was bitten by a pit bull that escaped from its yard. Not long after that, a Baltimore County councilman introduced legislation that would have required pit bulls to be muzzled in public, among other restrictions.
At a rally to protest the proposed law, the founding members of the organization met, went on to fight the legislation and formed B-More Dog to promote responsible dog ownership.
The Solesky family, meanwhile, filed a civil lawsuit in 2008 against the owners of the pit bull and their landlord. In 2009, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County ruled that the landlord, could not be held (monetarily) responsible for the dog bite because there was no way she could have known that the dog was “dangerous”.
The Solesky family appealed this decision to the Court of Special Appeals which found in favor of the Solesky family. Then, the landlord’s insurance company asked the Maryland Court of Appeals to hear the case. Its opinion last week, saying in, effect, that all pit bulls are dangerous and owners and landlords should know that, is the one that has sent some pit bull owners into states of near panic.
“B-More Dog has been in touch the best and the brightest people, both locally and nationally, who fight breed discrimination,” the organization said in a newsletter this week. “We remain confident that breed discrimination laws will be defeated in Maryland and we are preparing for the marathon battle ahead.”
B-more Dog isn’t the only organization that’s working to inform pit bill owners of the court opinion’s implications.
The Animal Farm Foundation put together information for pit bull owners that you can find it here. The Humane Society of the United States has some advice for renters and others that you can find here.
Those organziations and others are also looking at legal options, including the possibility of the Maryland General Assembly passing a law to undo the court decision. More information on this possibility can be found on this HSUS Facebook Page.
B-More Dog is planning a “Rally to Support Dog Owners Across Maryland,” and has scheduled some other events as well.
They’ll be on hand May 12, handing out stickers and more at the Baltimore Humane Society’s Paws on Parade event this Saturday (May 12).
Next Saturday (May 19), they’ll be holding ”Pins for Pits, a family-friendly bowling fundraiser at Country Club Lanes, 9020 Pulaski Highway in Baltimore, from 5-7 p.m.
And on Sunday (May 20), they’ll be holding their regular “Pit Bulls on Parade”
walk at Rash Field at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, starting at 11 a.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animal farm foundation, animals, b-more dog, breed-specific, breeds, court, court of appeals, discrimination, dogs, events, general assembly, help, hsus, implications, inherently dangerous, law, litigation, maryland, mixes, opinion, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls
After an outcry from angry pet owners, United Airlines is lifting a ban on transporting nine breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and others the airline previously listed as dangerous.
United had stopped transporting those breeds when it adopted the animal transporting policies of Continental Airlines. The two carriers are merging this year.
“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a non-plastic, reinforced crate,” United said in a statement.
The carrier previously listed the following breeds and types as ineligible for air travel: pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers, Presa Canario, Perro de Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and Ca de Bou.
An online campaign on Change.org collected more than 45,000 signatures on a petition to lift the restriction, according to the Los Angeles Times. The campaign was started by Hawaii resident Jessie Huart, whose 10-year-old pit bull was denied for transportation on the airline.
“This change is a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere at a time when many are facing breed discrimination,” Huart said in a statement.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air travel, american staffordshire terrier, animals, ban, breeds, ca de bou, cane corso, change, continental, dangerous, dogo argentino, dogs, fila brasileiro, jessie huart, lifted, lifts, merger, pet, petition, pets, pit bulls, policies, policy, presa canario, tosa, tosa ken, transportation, transporting, united