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Dogsbite.org Dogbite "Statistics" - The Fox Guarding the Henhouse?

Dogsbite.org A "Victim" Advocacy Group

Special Interest Adocacy Groups Statistics Objective? 

Dogsbite.org is a "victim" advocacy group founded by Colleen Lynn.  Its goal is to advocate on behalf of Breed Specific Legislation by lobbying legislators, aggressive internet advocacy, and most importantly, creating dog bite statistics that meet their agenda. PBLN previously highlighted the overall lack of objectivity at dogsbite.org here. This article will discuss why dogsbite.org statistics lack scientific basis, and how mainstream organizations have discredited attempts to create breed specific dog bite data.  Relying on dogsbite.org bite statistics, is like allowing the fox to guard the henhouse.

CDC Says Breed Dog Bite Statistics Cannot Be Measured

Since the late 1990's the Center for Disease Control ceased tracking dog bites by breed/type, as it was their determination that such studies do "not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy making decisions related to the topic....There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are likely to bite or kill." Makes a little sense; if you don't know the total number of dogs in a breed, you can't create a percentage of the number of dog bites per breed.

So where are recent statistics generated from that are often published in news stories today? More importantly, how are they obtained? Is there any science behind the methodology of compiling these bite statistics by breed/type?


Who is Merritt Clifton And What Are His Credentials?

Most news stories obtain their Pro-BSL statistics from dogsbite.org. As noted above, Colleen Lynn started this anti-pitbull blog in 2007 as a result of what she decribed as a vicious pit bull attack.  PBLN has previously reported on the evolution of this preventable accident into the myth of vicious pit bull attack.  Initially, Lynn compiled her dog bite data from a study done by Merritt Clifton. Nobody has any idea what his raw data was, and none of his statistics are consistent with what independent peer reviewed research shows. He has no qualifications to do scientific research into dog behavior. Out of all the dog bite reports and information available in 2008, including the CDC and AVMA, Lynn chose Merritt Clifton's self published unscientific and uncredentialed report? Yes. It is the only report that agrees with the agenda of DBO.

DBO Fatal Dog Attack List Number Conflicts With CDC

Lynn has complied a Fatal Dog Attack list which includes 130 fatal dog attacks in the United States between 1900 - 2004. The problem with this list?  The CDC shows 300 human dog fatalities between 1979 - 1996. Thus the 100 year DBO list has less than half of the total number of bites than the CDC 17 year list.  Which list comes from a more objective source?

Identification of A Pit Bulls In Attacks Misrepresented

Lynn admits she has no expertise in dog behavior, identification, or dog bites. She is simply a web designer. So how does she decide what dog to put in the pit bull category? As many as possible?

PBLN has already exposed the Philadelphia case where news sources unanimously agreed they had initially misrepresented the breed involved in a fatal attack: it was not a pit bull but a Cane Corso. DBO's response? The ASPCA conspired to change the breed to Cane Corso.  Did this attack end up as a fatal pit bull attack in the statistics?

This is not the only case of misrepresenting the breed of dog involved in an attack.  In looking at DBO's historical attack list linked to actual media stories, one can quickly find stories that list the breed of dog as English Bull Dog, Boxer, or Boxer mix. Others fail to list the breed of dog at all, other than to identify it as a mixed breed.  Yet all of them are classified under the pit bull breed.

There are numerous examples of editorialization by Lynn when the breed of dog does not support her agenda. "It couldn't be more clear that Harrison is dealing with a pit bull owner and his dog" after a Hyannis ME resident reported he was bitten by a black lab.

In another story, Lynn reports a 2 year old child was air-lifted after a pit bull attack stating, "Pit bulls were selectively bred to attack; they do not need a reason." Yet the child was attacked by shepherd mix dog, not a pit bull.  

Historical List Mistaken or Intentionally Slanted?

PBLN made a  cursory effort to confirm the information contained in the "historical list." There were errors. Were they simple mistakes or an intentional slanting of the facts to support an agenda?

  • Court documents proved that an attack on an Illinois jogger in 2003 did not involve a pit bull dog;
     
  • A New Jersey resident did not die as a result of a dog attack according to a medical examiner's report and the dogs who were initially suspected of killing the resident were returned to their owner;
     
  • A 2001 account of a pit bull actually involved English Bulldogs according to a report from Animal Care and control;
     
  • A young victim that DBO says was killed in a pit bull attack in 2001 actually strangled by the tether of the dog, not the dog itself;
     
  • A Florida case from 2000 involving a toddler is on Lynn's list. According to the Alachua County Sheriff incident report obtained by PBLN, "the dog which bit the victim, a Labrador/mastiff/rottweiller mixed breed name RED, was in fact NOT a pit bull."
     
  • A case of a young child in California involving an unchained Rottweiler was incorporated by Lynn on her list based on Merritt Clifton's report;
     
  • A fatality for SC was listed by DBO as a pit bull. In fact, a report issued by the Fairfield County Sheriff's office, the Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center conducted a necropsy on the dog and clearly described it as a mixed breed;
     
  • Alexandria Reeves, a 4 day old infant, is on the list as the victim of a fatal dog attack. However, the San Jose Mercury News and Houston Chronicle Archives stated the victim was treated for cuts and bruises at a nearby hospital and released, according to Lt. Robert Armstrong.
     
  • Let's not forget the Cane Corso classified as a pit bull in conspiracy with the ASPCA discussed above.

In all, more than 17 cases were confirmed not be be a pit bull or inconclusive as the breed or type of dog.  In one case the victim did not die from the dog attack, and in one instance, the attack was not related to the dog at all.


Conclusion: If The CDC Can't Do-Neither Can DBO

PBLN's investigation was not intended to be exhaustive or complete.  It was an effort to illustrate that major problems exist in the methodology of DBO regarding correctly identifying the dog breed involved and the cause of the incident. 

Further, the discrepancy between the CDC report of the total number of incidents compared to the DBO list, shows a major shortcoming in the reliablity of the list. The CDC is a major governmental agency with no interest in the outcome. How is it that DBO can scientifically and reliably state the number percentage of pit bull related attacks, when nobody knows how many pitbulls or the total number of any breed of dog? 

The CDC has concluded it can't be done.  Not even worth tracking.

If the Center for Disease Control can't do it, what special expertise does Colleen Lynn and DBO have that the CDC doesn't? How can they scientifically and reliably compete with the resources of the CDC?

When DBO adequately answers this question, they might make a step toward credibility.


Lisa 26.03.2012 (18:51:59)  
Dogs bite getting it wrong again No0  

Its not just pits she gets her facts wrong about she even thinks the bullmastiff a tracking breed bread to teack pochers on big english estates was bread for fighting and is innately vicious as well she didn't like it when I corrected her

 
   
       
Caveat 26.03.2012 (19:15:54)  
No0  

The thing is, 'pit bull' is not a breed. It can be short-hand for American Pit Bull terrier, which is a breed, but most often it is just slang applied to a short-haired mutt.

Which is why all this 'breed' focus is out to lunch. The internet is a great leveler - it gives a platform to anyone with something to say. That includes hysterics such as Ms Lynn, which is fine by me. Freedom of expression is important. Somehow, I don't think the nutjobs at DBO would agree with me.

Keep up the great work!

 
   
       
Douglas Wolfe 27.03.2012 (13:23:41)  
Inherent deliberate misstatements in your post No0  

You say so many things that just are not true. Such as the fatality numbers. For example you say dogsbite.org lists only 130 attacks, yet I just looked at that site and found a list that even they say is not complete that shows 388 fatalities. Anyone can verify that for themselves at http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-study-dog-attacks-and-maimings-merritt-clifton.php
You attack them because you do not like what they say. How do you sleep at night knowing you put people in harms way with your lies and misinformation?

 
   
       
Jo Stats 02.04.2012 (02:58:16)  
Wolfe comments No0  

Mr. Wolfe, thank you for your input. I must point out that, as stated in the article, the list that I examined was the historical fatal dog attack list. The fact that you provide yet a different list with a different number of attacks tallied seems to confirm my personal question of the level of credibility of DBO. You feel I am being untruthful, I would like to present you with the opportunity to share your view in an article here on PBLN. I've sent you a private message requesting an interview. If you're interested, please let me know.

 
   
       
Brooke Collier 27.04.2012 (08:43:12)  
Coleen Lynn and discrepancies No0  

So, Lynn has always believed it's all just a conspiracy against her! Even said ASPCA conspired to change the Pit Bull to a Cane Corso, all just to throw her off. The ASPCA has so much more to do than conspire against Coleen Lynn. Who does she think she is anyway? I really can't wrap my head around WHY she has been allowed to continue spreading lies to the public. She is actually faking statistics to her liking. That is fraud I'm pretty sure! I have a question, has she ever been accused (formally) or charged with anything of the sort? If not, can someone please explain WHY? I'm baffled by how delusional she, and her followers really seem to be. They're on a dangerous level of crazy! It's almost as if DBO is a cult following! Very disturbing!! She shouldn't be allowed to keep feeding the public with these falsified statistics. Reporting someone was killed by pit bull, and that person is really alive? I would have sued her and her cult and wouldn't have given up until she had NOTHING left. WHY hasn't this happened?

 
   
       
Donal 02.05.2012 (16:21:37)  
Pitbull No0  

Only two types of people believe Pitbulls are not a threat to anyone within their reach, idiots and imbeciles. I will shoot on sight any dog that sets foot on my forty acres that resembles a Pitbull, no questions asked. I love dogs and other animals but despise Pitbulls. I seriously wish every person who owns one would be a victim of their own selfishness and ignorance instead of some innocent person, especially a child. They should be made extinct from the planet unless provision was made to keep a few in zoos.

 
   
       
Jo Staats 02.05.2012 (20:19:55)  
Answer No0  

...I have a question, has she ever been accused (formally) or charged with anything of the sort? If not, can someone please explain WHY? I'm baffled by how delusional she, and her followers really seem to be. WHY hasn't this happened?

There really is not a viable legal avenue for such an action, and even if one got a judgement against her, how would they ever collect?

 
   
       
Jo Staats 02.05.2012 (20:40:47)  
Idiots and Imbeciles No0  

"Only two types of people believe Pitbulls are not a threat to anyone within their reach, idiots and imbeciles."
...Strangely, you've just referred to a U.S. President, several political commentators, motivational speakers, celebrity personalities, attorneys, doctors, and thousands of other professional, well educated people as idiots and imbeciles.
"I will shoot on sight any dog that sets foot on my forty acres that resembles a Pitbull, no questions asked."
...And most likely your state code will allow prosecution, for instance, in the state of Ohio the code clearly outlines the 'needless killing' of a companion animal (1st offense) will result in a misdemeanor conviction with upto 90 days incarceration and a $1000 fine, 2nd offense is a felony with upto 12 mos incarcerations and a $2500 fine.
"I love dogs and other animals but despise Pitbulls. I seriously wish every person who owns one would be a victim of their own selfishness and ignorance instead of some innocent person, especially a child. They should be made extinct from the planet unless provision was made to keep a few in zoos.

Your logic is impeccable. Your analysis objective. What is missing is a question regarding the "misinformation" cited in the article above that you would like addressed.

 
   
       
Jamie 12.06.2012 (16:54:08)  
Could anyone answer this No0  

There was a blog called http://whoiscolleenlynn.blogspot.ca/
They were doing a great job of exposing some truths about Ms Lynn.
It mysteriously disappeared yesterday.
Would anyone here happen to know what happened to it.
Thanks in advance if you know anything about this.

 
   
       
Fred M. Kray 12.06.2012 (17:11:16)  
Whoiscolleenlynn website No0  

It would appear that the Lynn camp complained to Google and Facebook that copyrighted materials were being used without permission, so the site was shut down. However, it has moved to:
http://www.whoiscolleenlynn.com/

 
   
       
 
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