Dog lovers walk to support anti-bias measure

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  • jimy St. Geroge, UT
    March 12, 2014 2:43 p.m.

    The House passed (and the Senate is considering) prohibiting cities from “discriminating” against dogs based on “breed.” While some argue this as a promotion of individual liberty, I think it is (if we peel back the layers) probably anthropomorphism. The House is not promoting the freedom of citizens to own animals on their property (Will this bill let me keep some milk cows in my back yard? No).

    Rather it applies “equal protection of law” to a type of animal (the domesticated descendants of the wolf), arguing that much like laws that discriminate against races are violations of the equal protection clauses of the Constitution, public ordinances that approach dog breeds in divergent manners are “violations” of animal rights. I think there are problems beneath the surface of this innocuous-appearing law.

    Remember, no personal freedom is promoted—cities can still ban and regulate all dogs theoretically. The bill merely prohibits humans from regulating (by ordinance) a Pomeranian distinctly from a Doberman because “all dogs are created equal.” The key to treating animals kindly is teaching love, not enshrining rights.

  • jimy St. Geroge, UT
    March 12, 2014 12:50 a.m.

    Applying human rights to dog breeds is anthropomorphism.

  • neece Logan, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Unfortunately I think Pit-bulls have the "Bad Rap" because they can be very aggressive. It is mostly because of bad trainers that teach their "Pits" to fight and for protection. Even police dogs are trained when to "work" and when to "play" Pits only learn aggression, fighting, killing. I used to have the same opinion about Pits, however have changed that opinion when I see "Proper" training. I totally love Cesar Millan the "Dog Whisper" he has trained hundreds of Pits. Even he has trouble untraining a Badly trained Pit. So my end Opinion is a dog is as only aggressive as their trainer. Maybe they should be jailed or fined heavily for training the dog that way in the first place.

  • Debbie Bell Provo, UT
    March 11, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    "Pit bulls may not be any more likely to attack someone than say, a cocker spaniel or a chihuahua. "

    Irrelevant. The laws in question don't seek to outlaw outlaw large dogs but allow small dogs. They differentiate among (relatively) large dogs with laws against so called 'pit bulls' but not other similarly strong dogs.
    But *no* actual animal science or veterinary organization supports the idea that so called 'pit bulls', a vague appearance category not a breed anyway, are more inherently inclined to human aggression than other *similar size* dogs. Merrit Clifton is an amateur, and his supposed statistics have no credibility. They are based on media accounts to determine the 'breed' of the dog, and don't correct for any other variable (spay/neuter, type of owner, etc). But every real study by actual scientists has shown those other factors dominate the risk of a dog becoming human aggressive. There is no evidence breed plays any systematic role, and again, 'pit bull' as the term is used in media accounts and 'Breed' Specific Laws is not a breed anyway.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 10, 2014 9:48 p.m.


    Insurance companies are ruled by statisticians. They tend to dislike the breeds most often cited by Clifton.

    The Wiki folks list by year and then by breed the Fatal Dog Attacks in the United States. In the last 10 years the list is led by pit bulls, mixed breed dogs (obviously), and rottweilers. Given that pit bulls and rottweilers are not the most common breeds, this is significant.

    Does it mean all such dogs are bad? Of course not. I have known and owned dogs that at least partially qualified and they were great. Are owners likely responsible for at least part of this? Of course - there are idiots who want attack dogs.

    Yes, there are lots of bites form certain small breeds as well (and I wouldn't own most of them) but their bite is just less dangerous. Not only are some of these breeds much larger and stronger, they just won't let go easily.

    When all is said and done, the risk factor for certain breeds is higher (and from every source you consult).

  • beresponsible SLC, UT
    March 10, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    Which breeds bite most often? Which breeds do the most damage when they attack?

    Do not ask the Centers for Disease Control.

    Breed "is no longer considered to be of discernible value" when addressing dog bite prevention, according to a CDC spokesperson.

    The most important factors affecting the odds of a dog bite or attack have always
    been the ones any dog person can rattle off: Puppy socialization. Training. Pack behavior. The dog's health. The dog's care and condition.
    For facts on dog aggression, read A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention, the AVMA& groundbreaking 2001 task force report. Seminal quote:

    Dog bite statistics are not really statistics, and they do not give an accurate picture of dogs that bite.

    The AVMA task force included representatives from the AVMA; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Emergency Physicians; Professional Liability Insurance Trust; American College of Veterinary Behaviorists; American Medical Association; National Animal Control Association; Centers for Disease Control; and the HSUS.

    For those with boundless, staggering ignorance that influences so much public debate on the subject of dog bite prevention, -- the Clifton report is the go-to reference.

    I am embarrassed for people who cite it.

  • Mike W Syracuse, UT
    March 10, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    MerrittClifton's post has more significance than the article does! Of course some, if not most pit bulls will never attack, but the stats clearly show that when they do they are FAR more likely to cause serious injury or death. Given all the different breeds, I have no idea why anyone would own one except as a way to intimidate others (i.e. crime, drugs). I would like to see the breed(s) banned or hit with significant permit costs to ensure responsible ownership.

    WestCoast1, I agree with you and would have done the same thing... pass on the house, as great as it may have been. We had a careless neighbor with two young pit bulls, they'd get out a couple times each year - fortunately she moved (was foreclosed on - shocker). Better to feel safe about your kids than have your dream house but be afraid to let them play outside.

    Ban these dogs already!

  • truth_avenger Lehi, UT
    March 10, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    Okay gun-toting, God-fearing Utahns--tell me this how many of those arguments can be leveled at gun ownership? A gun by it's very design is meant to kill--oh wait, neutralize the threat. A Bull Terrier owner is more likely than a Cocker Spaniel owner to be afraid of the world around him/her--much like your standard issue gun owner. I don't get to choose the level of gun crazy my neighbors are--and that's a right guaranteed by the Constitution. Which you wave every time there is a mass shooting and the killer uses semi-automatic weapons--again, when operating properly rip through walls, fences and flesh. So by your analogy, they are "born killers" just like Bull Terriers. I have a better idea, control the humans--they are the ones who choose violence for sport. Let's make raising children, pets, all controlled by you people who know so much more. You don't have the moral high ground on this issue--if you're that afraid buy a can of mace; it will protect you from more Bull Terriers than int will protect me from you idiots with guns!

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 10, 2014 12:39 p.m.


    Thank you.

    How much of an influence do you think is due to the owner? I know there are folks who get these dog breeds and specifically "train" (abuse) them to create a monster.

    Not saying that explains it all, and statistics likely cannot account for idiot owners (how do you measure idiocy?) but I still wonder.

    If you have any thoughts/stats on this, I would appreciate knowing them.

  • Mountain Bird West Jordan, UT
    March 10, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    All my life I've had a dog and love dogs. However, you won't get any pitbull support whatsoever from me. A couple of years ago I survived a terrifying pitbull attack in my inlaw's backyard after 4 of these beasts knocked down a fence and charged me. I had been trying for months to make friends with these dogs to no avail. They're just too vicious. Fortunately I had some gardening tools handy to fight them off with and miraculously walked away without getting bit. I honestly thought my life was going to be over or severely injured. There was really no choice but to get animal control involved and have the dogs removed. These notoriously vicious breeds should be banned. Period!

  • Grammy3 SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    March 10, 2014 2:16 a.m.

    Years ago I had a friend in Calif. who's three year old daughter was killed by a Pit Bull since then I have so afraid of them. They all might be o.k. but just thought of what happened to my friend and her daughter haunts me.

  • 1Reader Sunnyvale, CA
    March 9, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    I think this protest may have actually hurt their cause by shining light on the reality of the situation and the numbers--even in this absurd 'mandated absolute equality for everyone in all ways' age.

  • West Coast1 Secane, PA
    March 9, 2014 7:01 p.m.

    Merritt those are great stats. We are looking to buy a home currently. One home I really liked had two Pit bulls next door. I have a young family and didn't want to take that risk. I really wish this area had a no pit bull rule, that would have been great because I loved this house! Every year people are killed and disfigured by these dogs. It is just not worth the risk for the owner of these dogs or those living around them.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    March 9, 2014 5:41 p.m.

    Pit bulls may not be any more likely to attack someone than say, a cocker spaniel or a chihuahua. But when a cocker spaniel or a chihuahua bites someone, the damage will be small. When a pit bull attacks, the ability for its jaws to lock, the size of the animal, and the strength of the animal makes it much more likely that severe damage will be done. If you own large, strong animals, keep them on a leash when in public, do not let them roam the neighborhood, and ALWAYS supervise them when they are around others, especially children.

  • MerrittClifton Greenbank, WA
    March 9, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    Of the 4,558 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 3,079 (68%) were pit bulls; 548 were Rottweilers; 3,887 (85%) were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 541 human fatalities, 281 were killed by pit bulls; 86 were killed by Rottweilers; 408 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,734 people who were disfigured, 1,848 (68%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 320 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,305 (84%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls--exclusive of their use in dogfighting--also inflict more than 70 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are less than 6% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

  • collegestudent25 Cedar City, UT
    March 9, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Why does it seam like 90 percent of the serious dog attacks that I hear about involve pit bulls. You can train lions to be nice as well but that doesn't mean people should be allowed to own one. I feel safer in a town that does not allow pit bulls