Last updateFri, 04 Jul 2014 5pm

Pro BSL Experts

Denver BSL Expert Alan Beck Part II

Denver BSL Expert Alan Beck
How Does He Justify Breed Specific Legislation?


Part II
Deposition of Alan Beck

It's All Politically Motivated 

Yesterday we analyzed the first 50 pages of Alan Beck’s deposition in the Denver case, which can be read here. Now we will look at the next 20 pages. Read the excerpts below and be astounded.

Q: If the fatal attacks were underreported, would that affect the reliability of that 67 percent number? T53
A: I actually don’t know. As I said, there’s a belief that fatal dog bite is actually fairly well reported.

Q: The number of ….fatalities might be reliable, but the breed identification could be unreliable, isn’t that true? T56
A: I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Q: Do you know if breed reporting was reliable? T57
A: I don’t understand. You mean, llike….How would I know that?
Q: (D)id the researchers themselves identify that as a potential flaw…
A: I believe they did. And, or course, any study always mentions the potential limitations.
Q: And you seem unconcerned about that. Why is that not something to be concerned about, if the researchers themselves – You believe that this study is valid?
A: Right, right.

Q: (W)hat does that paragraph say? (referring to the CDC report) T58
A: Very little. It is clearly a political, let’s make nice paragraph.

Q: “It does not specify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill and thus is not appropriate for policy making decisions related to the topic….These relatively few fatalities offer the only available information about breeds involved in dog bites. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs in a particular breed, and consequently, no measure from which breeds are more likely to bite or kill. More practical alternatives for breed specific policies exist…..Would you agree that this is a document from the Center For Disease Control on dog bites? T59
A: If that’s where you got it from, sure.
Q: What would you like to say?
A: (T)hat’s not the right question to ask. The question is, how many child fatalities are acceptable to society before we ask people to keep a different breed of dog…? (C)hild loss risk…. Can be balanced out by asking people to keep a different breed.
Q: And the different breed?
A: Almost any breed other than a pit bull.
Q: (I)f you got rid of all pit bulls…would you eliminate all child fatalities from dog bites?
A: In the experiences that exist, it has very much close to that effect. When Winnipeg, Manatoba…banned the pit bull in 1991… they have not had a fatality since. (T)he slope of the dog bites has been going down. In other cities that have had some kind of management of pit bulls, there’s been a significant drop in fatalities.

Q: So what do you make of the CDC’s statement that their study does not identify specific breed that are most likely to bite or kill? T62
A: I thing the AMA, which has a lot of influence on that thing, is ignoring the fact that this CDC said, by the way, the vast majority that are killing are this one breed, and that can be ignored as well. Well, they’re not making any value judgments, or they are not saying anything, is just really, I think, criminal…
Q: You surely aren’t saying the CDC is criminal.
A: I’m saying the people – Well I say there were forced – I’m just saying I – I think they are minimizing the issue by not really asking the right questions.
Q: Why would the CDC do that?
A: Because they’re government. And government has legitimate concerns with many constituencies. Sometime the constituencies that are the most vocal sometimes have a disproportionate influence on the outcome.
Q: And so, are you saying that the language was politically motivated by the CDC?
A: My personal feeling is, it’s motivated, but that a personal feeling. The first time I read it.
Q: Do you have any basis?
A: No. I said it was personal.

I don’t think any analysis is needed here.

And that’s where we will end it tonight. It is, after all, Friday night. Your thoughts?

Readers Rebut Alan Beck's Testimony

Readers Rebut Alan Beck's Testimony


Depostion of Alan Beck

What Statistics Was He Referring To?

Readers have responded to some of the statements made by Alan Beck in his deposition, and statisitics of the National Canine Research Council have been cited.  Below I will show the statment made by Beck and the readers' rebuttal.

Q:           (I)f you got rid of all pit bulls…would you eliminate all child fatalities from dog bites?
A:           In the experiences that exist, it has very much close to that effect. When Winnipeg, Manatoba…banned the pit bull in 1991… they have not had a fatality since.  (T)he slope of the dog bites has been going down. In other cities that have had some kind of     management of pit bulls, there’s been a significant drop in fatalities.


There has NEVER been a fatal attack by a pit bull or pit bull type dog in Winnipeg. Prior to the ban a young child was killed by a husky-type dog in Winnipeg. Most of the severe attacks in Winnipeg, prior to the ban, were by non-pit bull type dogs. A study* of severe and fatal injuries done in a Winnipeg Pediatric Hospital listed 3 life-threatening and 1 fatal attack by dogs. None of the dogs involved in these incidents were pit bulls or pit bull type dogs. 

* Major Dog Attack Injuries in Children, Journal of Pediatric Surgery, October 1983, Vol XVIII, No.5

*     *    *    *    *
There has only been ONE fatal attack by a pit bull or pit bull type dog in Canada over the past 45+ years. See complete list of fatal attacks in Canada at:

Also, see the "success" of Ontario and Winnipeg's BSL in "reducing dog bites" as compared to Calgary 

I welcome all scientific rebuttal commentary and will publish it here for people to evaluate.


Denver BSL Expert Alan Beck Part III

Denver BSL Expert Alan Beck
BSL Justification?


Part III
Deposition of Alan Beck
There Are Some Studies Somewhere....... 

We’ve managed to publish Part I and Part II, so now it’s time for Part III. The excerpts below have been edited for brevity.

When last we left our intrepid expert, he had testified that the CDC limitations against using their statistics for BSL were politically motivated.

Q: (D)o you believe that the CDC would make a recommendation that it thought was inconsistent with public safety?
A: I think the CDC did make a recommendation…it appears to be a breed specific problem with fatalities.

Q: To what would you attribute this breed specific problem that you think exists?
A: The actual genetics of the dog. When I see a border collie herding kids, toys, sheep, I am not surprised. There’s a long history of how genetics influences behavior, especially in breeds being selected for specific behaviors. So when you have a dog that since the 1800s have been selective behaviors, fighting, tolerance of pain, intolerance to their own kind, it doesn’t surprise me…..that you have a higher frequency in that breed to bite and attack.

Q: You indicated that pit bulls have been selected for aggressive behavior; what’s your source of information for that?
A: (R)andy Lockwood’s original article, 1987, when he talks about how the Staffordshire terrier was sort of driven out the United States and underground into England as a fighting dog…..And if you look at the breed histories of the AKC or the UKC books, they talk about the gladiators, the climbers, the animals that are great fighters. So that’s – The history is actually the dog literature itself.
Q: Do you review this with genetics expertise?
A: I’ve taken genetics.
Q: Do you consider yourself to have expertise in genetics?
A: I’ve taught genetics in high school. I’m not sure what you mean by “expertise.” Do I know more genetics than the average person? Probably.
Q: Is your competency in genetics comparable to a faculty member who teaches genetics on this campus?
A: On this campus, no…. Can I read the genetic literature, especially this kind of general behavior genetic literature? Yes.
Q: Have you done any additional studies besides reading the literature that’s out there?
A: (I)’ve looked at pit bulls and other dogs in shelters….So I’ve had some slight personal experience…but otherwise, it’s literature review, like many scientists.

Q: Although they (pit bulls) were bred for aggression to other dogs, it’s possible when they were selected from pets, that the aggression may have been directed towards humans?
A: No. What I said was, Dr. Lockwood suggested in his writings…..that….selecting for dogs that are not aggressive to people may have been lost.
Q: And did he have any substantiation for that?
A: No, I think he wrote it as an opinion.
Q: Do you have any basis for believing that might also be the case?
A: No. I’m looking at empirical observation of many cities and countries that pit bulls seem to disproportionately ….. attack especially young people.
Q: (T)hat empirical observation comes exclusively from the CDC study?
A: No, other articles….
Q: Well, what are they?
A: I don’t have them in front of me. I mean, over the years.
Q: Can you give me even a couple of even vague references as to what these other reports are?
A: Martin Large did some stuff in England. I will have to look it up.

Q: This idea that people stopped selecting for breeding purposes, dogs that were not human aggressive, that’s speculation?
A: That’s Randy’s speculation. Perhaps you will have to ask him.
Q: And you’re speculating, likewise, at this point?
A: Uh-huh.

Q: (Y)ou have encountered non pit bull dogs that have been inclined to attack other dogs?
A: Isolated dogs, sure.
Q: How do you explain that?
A: Because you – There are individuals versus a population….If you look at a population of golden retrievers and a population of pit bulls, I suspect you will find differences in interactions.

Q: What is known (regarding breed population)?
A: In the case of….Fort Wayne, it’s registrations. These are all estimates.

Q: So besides Fort Wayne….are you aware of any reliable evidence about the number of dogs per breed in the United States?
A: One estimate that we used is a surrogate estimate, AKC data, which I know is often considered a good estimate…It does represent at least 30 to 40 percent of the dog population….

Q: So the AKC says that it encompasses…..
A: 30 to 40 percent of the dogs that are registered.
Q: How on earth would they know that?
A: There’s a lot of marketing data on how many dogs that are out there…..One of the major problems is that the dog population is not part of the U.S. census. It’s all marketing data, and that has to be accepted.

Q: And the AKC, do they register mix breed dogs?
A: No.
Q: And what percentage of the dog population is…(mixed breed)?
A: It’s about 50%.

Q: You say that (pit bulls are) ..probably a bad choice as a pet….What’s your basis for that assertion?
A: (I)t’s one of the more common dogs being relinquished to shelters today….not because they are being kicked out of homes by the law; they’ve turned out to be dangerous, unfriendly, unsafe pet.
Q: How do you know that?
A: Because people don’t turn in dogs they love very much….

And with that kernel of wisdom, we end today’s visit with Dr. Alan Beck.

Comments anyone? Love to hear from you guys in Fort Wayne!