Monday, October 01, 2007

More of ERVs Woo

Yes, Im afraid I have even more woo to admit to (well, at least to you newcomers).

See, I own an American Staffordshire. This automatically makes me a pit bull denier, thus any opinion I express on pit bulls is an irrational position (joining the ranks of notoriously irrational people like Jon Stewart, and Rachael Ray).

So try to act surprised as I tell you this no doubt made up story that somehow really proves that pits are mindless killers:
Tonight on our walk, Arnie was attacked for the third time by the same dog. A toy poodle.

"AHAHAHAHA! A toy poodle attacking a pit bull isnt that funny AHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


This damn dog is owned by a ~200 lb, football stature male who runs in the evenings when I run Arnie. His dog is never on a leash. Arnie is. His dog sees Arnie, makes a beeline for him, teeth baring, while Arnie and I are trying to cross a street. So 130 lb ERV has to throw 75 lb Arnie over her shoulder in the middle of traffic to keep this 12 lb dog from hurting Arnie, or heaven forbid Arnie defend himself, a crime that would no doubt mean Arnie would be put to sleep. Meanwhile, 12 lb dog is clawing at my legs trying to get Arnie. In the middle of traffic.

This happened a second time a few weeks ago (luckily not in traffic), but 200 lb football player was nowhere to be seen. I had to kick the poodle and scream at him to get him to go away.

For the third time tonight, 200 lb football player was running with his 12 lb dog not on a leash, and poodle tries to attack Arnie.

I had a *talk* with 200 lb football player. I will be having a talk with the campus police tomorrow morning to file a complaint. This asinine dog ownership would not be tolerated for 5 seconds if I owned the poodle and football player owned the pit.

But dont forget everyone, Im just a Pit Bull Denier.


J-Dog said...

I hate poodles.

I hope you discussed his parentage and gene flow pattern severely with him, along with intimations of inter-species cross-breeding experiments gone awry.

Damn Poodles. Only good if you raise them for Korean Restaurants.

Mike said...

I have a pit-bull mix. She's the sweetest dog I've ever known. Only twice have loose dogs really pressed home an attack. The first time I picked her up. The second time I bared fangs and snarled at the attacker who promptly ran off.

ERV said...

j-dog-- Its an ugly dog. It reminds me of Casey Luskin.

mike-- No, see, you own a pit mix. This means youre a Pit Denier too. Your dog isnt sweet-- she just hasnt killed anyone yet. Ugh.

Got pics of your puppy?? Do you know what shes mixed with?

Bob O'Hara said...

Please Mike, let it be a poodle.


Charles said...

My wife has two poodles, one weighs 3 pounds, the other 6.

The little one can be very aggressive, despite (or because of) his small stature, and he is missing 6 of his front upper teeth due to periodontitis, a common affliction in the breed.

Once at a work function hosted by my manager, he was sitting on my wife's lap and lunged at a German Sheperd. Went right for the jugular. Luckily the Germy was a beautifully trained dog, it's owner heavily involved in tracking and field trials, and only looked curiously at the minor nuisance.

Reminds me of the character "Big Fido" in Men at Arms, if your a Terry Pratchett fan.

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

It takes a big man to walk a little dog...

Mike said...

No, not a poodle. 'Ginger' was a rescue, the shelter believes she's mixed with Jack Russell. She's small for pit, about 35 pounds, 18 months+ old.

Sorry, no pictures handy. I'll see if I can dig some out. As for sweetest, well maybe I am in denial, but the day we picked her up she lay on the back seat with her head in my 6-year old daughters lap for the whole 45-minute drive home.

Anonymous said...

I don't hate pit bulls. I hate a lot of pit bull owners, though.

Iron Soul said...

My brother had a beautiful buckskin Staffordshire. Possibly the friendliest (though energetic) dog I've met.

ERV said...

Anon-- Me too. :( I think I rescued Arnie from those sorts of people.

But you know whats weird, though? The majority of pit owners I have met are young-middle ages women, and are just wonderful people and responsible dog owners!

Iron-- Yeeeeah... As Im typing this, taking a break from take-home tests... Arnie is going on a rampage through the apartment with a squeaky tennis ball... LOL!

Xixen said...

I know it's a bit late to be commenting on this post, but as someone who has a crippling and pathological fear of pretty much all dogs, I'm constantly surprised by the venom people direct at Pit Bulls.

You see, I may be totally terrified of dogs, and I may never ever be a dog person - but from where I'm standing, it's not the dog that's the problem, it's the owner. Living in London, I've noticed how popular certain types of dogs have become - particularly Pit Bull and Staff crosses. As breeds, these wouldn't normally cause me any more anxiety than any other, if it wasn't for the fact that too many people get these dogs to make themselves look 'hard' and then fail to train them properly - or worse, train them to be aggressive and violent as some kind of status symbol. Then they walk them, unleashed, down my road.

I'm not saying that I think these dogs are 'evil' or should be destroyed - that would be a blinkered fear response. I do think, however, that there needs to be more control over some dog owners. Perhaps only walking your dog off the lead in a public area if you have proven that your dog/s is/are well trained enough to be allowed off the lead, something like that.

Now, I like cats, and rats. I understand that people are scared of cats and rats. If said people come to my house, I make sure the cat is out of the room, the rats are in their cage etc. Which is why I'm so shocked by the amount of people who watch their dogs come charging up to strangers - whether aggressively or not - and just say "Oh, he/she/it's just being friendly." To me, that is pretty unacceptable behaviour as it totally fails to show any care for other people.

I'm sure, of course, that your (ERV's) dogs are very well trained, lovely creatures and that whether or not they have a greater potential to do people harm if they do bite, you would have trained them well enough not to ever, ever do so. I would vehemently protest against putting all 'dangerous' dogs down; it's inhumane and deeply unfair as it's not the dog's fault in the majority of bite cases, but the owner's.

I think the histrionics over dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Alsatians etc. possibly stems from an unwillingness for many 'dog lovers' to admit that the fault lies with them, not the dog. Any dog can be vicious, any dog can give a pretty nasty bite. The worst experiences I've had are with terriers and other small dogs, where people treat them more like children or toys than pets, and fail to properly train them.

In conclusion, I may be about as far from a "True Dog Lover(TM)" as you can get, but I'm on your side here - punish irresponsible people, not badly trained animals. Any animal is a responsibility - every time I get a new pair of rats I spend months training them in acceptable behaviour; no biting, no pissing on the furniture etc. If it can be done with rodents, there's absolutely no reason it shouldn't be done with canines.

Jamie said...

Tara said...

The BSL currently being proposed around Baltimore is pretty bad. If it's passed, pit bulls must be kept enclosed at all times, with enclosures allowed to be as small as 4' wide x 6' long x 4' high. They'd be muzzled any time they were out of their enclosure. In nearby PG county, they've been banned for years - they're seeing a lot more rottweilers, presa canarios, dogo argentinos, and cane corsos there. Plus, there are still pit bulls - they're just taken away and euthanized if a neighbor complains or animal control sees them. It's sad.

Xixen - in many areas in the states, it's illegal to let your dog run around off leash, period. In my area, for example, your dog or cat must be under your direct supervision and control at all times. The laws for making people into halfway decent pet owners may already be on the books in a particular jurisdiction, but there's often no funding to back them up. If you've got a huge county with great laws, but enough budget for three animal control officers who don't even work the full week, you're not going to be able to police dog owners very well. It's a shame, but animal control is terribly underfunded in many areas.

Xixen said...

The pattern of dog ownership in places where pit bulls are banned is not surprising to me at all. Pit Bulls are, I believe, mainly banned in the UK (I'm not certain of that) and it doesn't stop people owning similar dogs. It's the status symbol they're after, not the breed as such. I think in the case of dogs, it isn't often you get a completely aggressive, untrainable dog: although I have met one - it was a Cocker Spaniel. Now, I've heard that Cocker Spaniels are prone to something called 'Cocker Rage' whereby some remain aggressive and unpredictable no matter how well they are trained. Supposedly this is a result of their being so highly bred. Now, I was told this by the owner of the dog in question, who had been told it by the dog breeder, so how accurate it is I couldn't say. But what I do know is that the dog owner was extremely responsible and competent and had rescued two other dogs that had been in terrible circumstances; and the spaniel - not a rescue dog but got, and trained, as a puppy from a reputable breeder - was frankly, the scariest dog I've ever met. It would just stare at people, sizing them up. It stalked people like prey. It bit several people in the house before it was put down, and the owners tried everything they could to deal with the problem first. I mean, everything. They had to have it put down, because no animal shelter was prepared to take a dog so aggressive.

Of course, this is an isolated incident, and there was clearly something very wrong with this dog's mentality. However, I have heard second or third hand stories describing similar Cocker Spaniels. I don't hear anyone clamouring to put all of them down. It wouldn't surprise me if one breed was more prone to producing aggressive dogs than another - but it doesn't then follow that every single animal in every single one of those breeds must be wiped out, or kept in an animal prison. Many Pit Bulls live their entire lives and never attack anyone, some Yorkshire Terriers don't go a day without biting anyone they can. I honestly think people should need to display a certain level of dedication and knowledge before they are allowed to take care of a pet - although I realise how difficult and expensive that would be to enforce, never mind how impractical.

Anyway, in the UK we are lucky to have the powerful and effective RSPCA to help detect and enforce animal laws. Plus, of course, we are much, much smaller than the U.S. On the whole, irresponsible ownership is detected and punished, but unfortunately not without the loss of animal life some of the time.

Jamie - That's pretty fascinating, and something I hadn't come across. Hopefully, the aggressive variety won't be on sale in my local pet-shop any time soon! I can't help wishing I could get me some of those friendly rats - I've had my run-ins with bonkers rats as well - usually a painful and scarring experience.

Shirakawasuna said...

Wow, I just read the nasty back-and-forth of 'denialism' vs. those Sb bloggers... and it makes me have less respect for Science Blogs in general. Do those guys get respect, what with sourcing studies into dog behavior that use *media reports* alone, small numbers of them, without correcting for biases (you can't add controls for this kind of study)? It's like trusting those studies into ESP or prayer that show positive effects - if you do a bad enough job collecting data and analyzing it, you can say almost anything. The most honest thing the CDC data can tell us is that "pit-bull-like" dogs are reported to kill more often by the media. Anything after that is a plea for more funding to do a real study with hard data.

Sorry, had to vent ;). I hate it when people, especially ones associated with science/reason/etc, trust terrible studies to learn anything. When a study is bad, you ask yourself how interesting the topic is and wonder about future funding, you don't actually use the thing.