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Dogsbite.org - An objective source?

Dogsbite.org
 
rottweiler 

An Objective Resource or "Bully pulpit?"

Almost every Pro-BSL article or argument cites to dogsbite.org for the proposition that 1) Pit bulls are the most dangerous dogs and 2) that BSL is an efficient, fair and workable way to deal with the dog bite "epidemic." I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here, but there have been others who have looked into this site, in order to determine whether it is an objective resource.

http://www.nopitbullbans.com

February 11, 2011

This blog is the most recent, and can be read in its entirety here.  There is also a blog dated June 24th 2010 entitled Debunking Dogsbite.org which can be read here. The February blog deals in part with the HSUS flip flop on euthanising fighting dogs, but if you read further, there is information about Coleen Lynn, who is the person behind dogsbite.org. The author makes the following point:

1.  “[Lynn said] all fighting dogs should be euthanized because they are too unstable…Despite temperament tests given by some shelters, Lynn said a dog that has been trained to fight will always be a risk to people and their pets.”

This despite the rehabilitation of Vick's fighting dogs, and the recent bill passed in Florida requiring evaluation of fighting dogs before euthanasia.  At no point in the article is Lynn's scientific basis for her wide ranging opinions provided or even probed. The author concludes, "So, which should the public, elected officials, and the media trust, the findings of a scientist/researcher who is an expert in the training, behavior, and anatomy of bulldog breeds, or the opinion of a former dog bite victim who offers up junk science and faulty statistics and who just might have an agenda?

The June 24th article is even more detailed on the flawed manner in which dogsbite.org provideds statistics and is a must read. 

http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog

March 27, 2010

Brent Toellner did a piece back in March of 2010 on KC Dog Blog, which can be read in its entirety here. Quoting liberally from Brent's aritcle, "(D)ogsbite.org is simply a website run almost entirely by an individual person who has an expertise in web design, access to google, and a desire to seek revenge on an attack that happened to her several years ago. Those are the qualifications behind the website. (D)ogsbite.org is a website run by Colleen Lynn. In June of 2007, Lynn was an unfortunate victim of a dog bite while she was out jogging. Because of the dog bite, by a dog that is said to be a 'pit bull', Lynn decided to create the website dogsbite.org. According to the original "about us" section of the website, the intent of the website was (to): -- Distinguish which breeds of dogs are dangerous to have in neighborhoods (and)-- Help enact laws to regulate the ownership of these breeds.

And so you have a website whose major premise is to support BSL. And don't confuse them with the "facts." Toellner wrote, "There is the reality that they claim dogs of even distantly-related breeds -- including Boxers, Bulldogs and Mastiffs - to all be 'pit bulls' in their "statistics". They consistently claim that all of the professional organizations that oppose BSL are only doing so because they are supported by dog fighters. They sensor all comments on their website that even come remotely close to disputing anything they post -- even if it is someone who is providing acutal data that is correcting something they misspoke about -- again, censoring other types of thinking isn't exactly something you'd expect from a "public education" website....And this doesn't even include their inaccurate use of case studies to support their point of view vs reporting the actual data. Or the reality that one city that allowed them to influence their policy-making, Omaha, has had a disasterous year."

The only reason they get so much press, is that they are the only thing out there that gives the other side of the BSL story; the pro BSL side. They have no special expertise with dogs, training, or anything else.  Their only support comes from Tom Skeldon (a dog warden who resigned) and the Denver City attorney.

September 15, 2008

In an article entitled "Dogsbite.org - When A Quest for Vengeance Becomes Dangerous" which can be read here, Toellner examines dogsbite.org representation on its site the BSL works, with statistics showing just the opposite.  It's a great example of "opinion" vs. fact, and cannot be summarized.  You are just going to have to read it. Suffice it to say, that dogsbite.org cannot be confused, or bothered with, the facts in its quest to ban pit bulls.

http://rdows.wordpress.com

January 17, 2008

On the issue of the Denver City Attorney, there is an equally interesting article on a blog from the Responsible Dog Owners of the Westerns States or RDOWS, which alleges the Denver City Attorney's involvement in dogsbite.org. The full article can be read here. Note that this blog is from 2008. And I must qualify this post with the fact that there was very bad blood between RDOWS and Dogsbite.org. Quoting from the article, "Having been a recent target of the Dogsbite.org blog, I decided to do a bit of research to find out who, and what is the driving power behind this radical website. It is the brainchild of Kory Nelson, Assistant District Attorney Denver Colorado who feeds biased information to Ms. Colleen Lynn of Seattle, who is a graphic designer, and website builder. Apparently Kory Nelson researches the same news articles that I, too research."  

 Ms. Lynn was bitten by a dog while jogging in June 2007

http://www.kirotv.com/news/13541159/detail.html 

Having continued to research Colleen Lynn I’ve discovered some very interesting ommissions. The owner of the dog that allegedly bit Ms. Lynn has never been referenced in print. The dog was allegedly immediately euthanized, which is unorthodox, as most dogs that cause severe injury are held in quarantine, and then ethanized and the head sent for rabies testing. I have not yet been able to find a police report of the incident. Ms. Lynn has not filed suit against the dog’s owner in Seattle, or King County. Instead, Ms. Lynn would far prefer to cause harm to all of the dogs that were not involved in her alleged bite, and to all of the owners of those dogs. 

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004112928_brodeur08m.html?syndication=rss

I found a whole lot more background when researching Ms. Lynn, she is quite the self promoter, and far from being unable to work at her chosen profession, she is now the mouthpiece for “Kill ‘em All” Kory Nelson. Her business Vain Notion lists her clientele, and it is available to anyone running a search engine. (It appears that the referred to client list has been removed as of this date).

(Most recently, her advocacy has shown up at Lynn Media Group, featuring, you guessed it, dogsbite.org. - fmk)

But the most interesting pieces of information in the blog are actually contained far down in the comments  Two letters purportedly written by Kory Nelson attempting to help another municipality in passing and defending BSL.  I am copying them in their entirety below. They are a must read - the level of detail and opinion masquerading as fact are astounding.

Hey Kory,
How’s this? And on Denver’s Letterhead!!
I guess we can chalk this up to paranoia, too?
Cherie

OF DENVER
JOHN W. HJCKENLOOPER Mayor
Wednesday, August 03. 2005

DEPARTMENT OF LAW
COLE FINEGAN
CITY ATTORNEY

OFFICE OF CITY ATTORNEY PROSECUTION & CODE ENFORCEMENT
201 WEST COLFAX AVENUE
DEPT. 1207
DENVER. COLORADO 80202
PHONE: (720) 913-8050
FAX: (720) 913-8010

RE: Offer of Assistance on Pit Bulls & Breed Specific Legislation

To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to my attention that your community is contemplating governmental action regarding pit bull dogs in some type of restriction or ban, generically referred to as Breed Specific Legislation (aka. “BSL”). I would like to offer my assistance in this area, as I have obtained a significant amount of expertise in this area as a result of my recent involvement as the lead attorney in litigation on behalf of the City & County of Denver, Colorado against the State of Colorado over Denver’s pit bull ban ordinance (enacted in 1989) and municipal home rule authority, in response to the Colorado Legislature’s attempts to prohibit BSL in Colorado by enacting HB04-1279 in April of 2004. Denver was successful in its litigation as our ordinance was determined to supersede the state statute as the regulation of dangerous dogs is a matter of pure local concern.

Through this litigation, I have obtained a high level of understanding of not only the legal issues surrounding the constitutionality of BSL, but also the underlying factual issues that provide a legitimate and logical basis for BSL. As this issue usually brings a large amount of irrational emotional rhetoric from anti-BSL advocates. it is easy for any governmental official to become confused over what are the relevant facts, .and who are the reliable sources of. information. I believe I have a number of resources that may be helpfuI to you along these lines.

First, you have to understand tbat tbe anti-BSL pundits organize over a number of web group sites that help distribute mass emails to al1 of tbeir registered members. While you could find these groups on any major web group site, one I recommend to examine and sign up for is BSL-­This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I find this site to be a good source of information and strategic intelligence gathering. If you have been targeted by these groups (most likely how I found out about your recent interest in this topic of BSL). that your organization will be flooded with emails, letters, and telephone calls from members of these groups. You should contact your leaders and advise them of this, as it has been my experience the same members will send emails. letters, or telephone calls to each jurisdiction revjewing this issue in hopes of intimidating them into a full retreat away from the issue. I can cite you specific examples where these groups have promised to bring litigation against local governmental entities, but failed to follow tbrough with the threat when their threats bad been called. Many of these emails and letters will have either fake or bad names and/or addresses. as our attempts to respond to them resulted in this discovery.

Second, many of these groups have questionable funding sources., as they are usually willing to take donations without keeping records of the true identity of the donor. For this reason, the rumors of big donations from dog fighting proponents have been unconfirmed. But it would make sense that with all of the money involved in the illegal dog fighting circles, those involved would be donating funds to support their straw man advocates.

Third most animal control organizations tasked with duties on behalf of loca1 government take a position against BSL. This is to be expected, given two important facts: (1) Many of these animal control personnel have either come from or have been trained by non profit animal welfare organizations. (2) The ongoing “political correctness’” involved within this field .would prevent any organization from admitting the obvious truth that “The Emperor Has No Clothes”, because these organizations are heavily dependant upon the donations of charitable individuals who are either incapable or unwilling to learn the truth, and are more susceptible to the emotional rhetoric of anti-BSL advocates.

Fourth, there are no known organized groups. of victims of dog attacks. Only plastic surgeons, prosecutors, and a few brave legislators appear to be the publicized advocates in favor of BSL

Fifth, the anti-BSL pundits will attempt to bring illogical emotional phrases such as “breed racism” against BSL efforts or mottos as “it’s the deed, not the breed”. They will also attack the only statistical studies on dog bites resulting in fatalities as being unreliable. In only the last point do I occur, as BSL is independently justifiably rational on other evidence.

The truth is this: No on e can perform a satisfactory reliable statistical study of dog bites to determine the rankings of dangerous dog breeds braced. upon their probability of biting or attacking human beings or other domesticated animals. However, it is easily proven that SHOULD a pit bull attack a person or other domesticated animal, the attack is significantly more likely to result in serious bodily injury or death. It is not the probability but the severity of an attack that makes pit bulls more dangerous.

I would invite you to examine two separate web pages for more detailed information and documents that may be helpful to you:
I. The official webpage of the Denver City Attorney’s Office regarding our pit bull ordinance and the litigation against the State of Colorado, including a complete historical review of the ordinance and the prior judicial reviews:

http://www.denvergov.org/City_Attorney/54517143template3jump.asp

2. A restricted web group site for local government officials interested in the factual and legal issues involved with BSL and the strategic and tactical issues involved in dealing with the anti BSL advocates:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you have any questions. please do not hesitate to contact me.
Respectfully,

Kory A. Nelson, Esq. Assistant City Attorney-Senior

****************

More from Kory Nelson:

http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/SB_861

The opponents to SB861 and BSL have interjected irrelevant issues and misleading facts into the debate. Those California legislators who are interested in objective analysis should consider the most recent results of actual legal litigation over the same issues, as courts of law consider only relevant legal issues and reliable evidence. During the recent litigation in 2004-2005 in Denver, Colorado, I was the lead attorney for the City and County of Denver against the State of Colorado, which passed a state statute prohibiting breed specific legislation. In the litigation, there were 2 legal issues: (1) Who gets to decide what the regulations are over dangerous dogs – local government or state government? And (2) Is there rational evidence to support the differential treatment of pit bulls from other breeds of dogs. While much more detailed information, including the full judicial rulings, copies of legal briefs, trial exhibits, and full historical reviews of Denver’s ordinance and the litigation is available online at the official website of the Denver City Attorney’s Office at: Link I will summarize the two answers here.

Regulation of Dangerous Dogs is a “Municipal Affair” w/o a Need for Statewide Uniformity

The State of Colorado, like the State of California, has provisions in their state constitution that provide that matters of pure local concern should be decided by local government. Local government’s regulations in such an area would supersede conflicting state law. The propriety of such regulation of a matter of local concern is not for the State or the Courts to decide. The decision on the type and manner of Breed Specific Legislation, which is a matter of pure local concern, should be decided at that level of government that is closest to the people and is most informed about the unique nature of their community’s problems and attitudes. The Denver District Court ruled in favor of the City & County of Denver on this issue, stating:

The Court concludes that the issue of which dog breeds are permitted, prohibited, or restricted within a city is a matter of purely local concern. The State has not articulated, and the Court cannot conceive, a need for statewide uniformity. In fact, there seems to be a need for local control in this area. Each community has its own attitudes and preferences with respect to dogs. In each community, depending on culture and demographics, dogs occupy a different role. It would not make sense for the owners of mountain dogs in Telluride, farm dogs in Lamar, and urban dogs in Denver to be subject to the same kinds of laws and restrictions. . . . local control of breeds means flexibility in crafting locally-acceptable solutions to the problems created by dogs. As the largest and most populous metropolitan area in Colorado, Denver faces unique challenges in ensuring that dogs enhance the lives of citizens rather than threaten their safety.

The California Constitution, Article XI, § 5(a), states:
(a) It shall be competent in any city charter to provide that the city governed thereunder may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations in respect to municipal affairs, subject only to restrictions and limitations provided in their several charters and in respect to other matters they shall be subject to general laws. City charters adopted pursuant to this Constitution shall supersede any existing charter, and with respect to municipal affairs shall supersede all laws inconsistent therewith.

The California Supreme Court has already determined that matters that are a “municipal affair” supersede any conflicting state law:

When the charter city measure “‘implicates a “municipal affair” and poses a genuine conflict with state law,’ ” the determinative question is whether the subject of the statute is of statewide concern. (Johnson v. Bradley, 4 Cal. 4th 389, 399 (Cal., 1992)) If it is not, “‘the conflicting charter city measure is a “municipal affair” and “beyond the reach of legislative enactment.” Cawdrey v. City of Redondo Beach, 15 Cal. App. 4th 1212, 1222-1223 (Cal. Ct. App., 1993)

A Constitutional Rational Basis for Differential Treatment of Pit Bulls Continues To Exist

In 1991, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in the case of Colorado Dog Fanciers v. Denver, that there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to find that despite there being unreliable evidence as to which breed of dog may be more likely to attack, should a pit bull attack it was more likely to result in severe bodily injury or death.

The history of pit bulls clearly shows these dogs were selectively bred by humans to maximize their dog’s chances of winning in a fight against another animal – initially bulls, then other dogs. Humans bred these dogs in order to enhance specific behavioral traits: strength, agility, tolerance to pain, tenacity to continue attacking, and the infliction of maximum damage to their opponent. Other breeds of dogs, when they do attack, are more likely to bite their victim and release. Pit bulls were specifically developed for their bite, hold and shake behavior. They will bite their victim and hold that bite for long periods of time, refusing to let go. Some mistakenly use the incorrect term “Lock”, but there is no physiological mechanism – these dogs just are so tenacious that they refuse to release their bite, despite having massive pain and injuries inflicted upon them. One reported incident had the pit bull owner cutting off their dog’s legs, one at a time, to display their dogs continued drive to attack their opponent in the ring (the dog died, but its progeny’s value multiplied several times). Once a pit bull, with its well developed and stronger jaw muscles, has grabbed its victim, it will shake its head back and forth, ripping the victim’s skin, muscle, blood vessels and tissue. Pit Bulls were first selected to encourage its predatory behavior passed down from their wolf ancestors, who would run along side larger caribou, elk, and moose, jump up and bite, holding their bite until joined by other pack members to drag the large animal down for a kill. Single Pit Bulls would hang onto fighting bulls for hours! Their advocates call them loyal – sure they are – they will engage in a battle to the death for their masters – that’s loyalty no one needs.

Randall Lockwood, one of the nation’s leading experts on pit bulls, has reported that pit bulls were also selected for their tendencies not to display body language or other behaviors that might tip off an opponent of their intent to attack. The tactical advantage of getting one’s pit bull attack to come off as a “surprise” has been intentionally bred into these dogs, resulting in a breed of dog that would similarly surprise any human victim. The lack of growling, barking, etc., which may give a human sufficient warning to avert an attack or retreat to a location of safety will obviously increase the likelihood of serious injuries being sustained. Furthermore, because pit bulls were bred to be tenacious despite the infliction of pain or injury, stopping a pit bull attack is extremely difficult.

No one can define an “irresponsible” pit bull owner until their dog has attacked someone – and then it’s too late. In balancing the right of the public to keep their innocent members of their community safe from such horrific, gruesome, and mutilating maulings by such strong animals – it is the weakest amongst us that need our protection : the young, the elderly, the weak. The attempts of anti-BSL advocates only offer up the non-existent right of dog owners to own the breed of their choice to attempt to counterbalance the interests of the public’s safety. If there is no debate over a citizen’s right to own a tiger or lion, there is no logical reason to even consider this debate. If we could have removed all Weapons of Mass Destruction from the hands of terrorists, they would switch to conventional explosives; but the result would be that their explosions would have a lessor likelihood of causing serious bodily injuries or death. People will still be hurt by dog bites – but that doesn’t mean communities should allow lions or tigers or pit bulls.

Finally, those who support pit bulls support dog fighting, by providing dog fighters their favorite gladiators. Dog fighting is still a multi-million dollar illegal enterprise that goes on across this county in closed groups, like the mafia, that are extremely difficult for law enforcement officials to penetrate. As these dog fighters’ activities are so “underground”, do you believe that they would obey any ban on pit bulls – of course not! But, if pit bulls were illegally to possess, law enforcement officials could obtain search warrants where pit bulls are discovered and during such a search, additional evidence of their dog fighting could be discovered and seized for felony prosecutions. By giving them the legal ability to possess their favorite gladiator, they are insulated to continue in their horrible acts of cruelty. These dog fighters can’t hire their own political lobbyists to openly advocate their position, so as to protect their millions of gambling income. So how and where are they going to oppose such BSL activities? These anti-BSL groups who accept anonymous donations to support their organizational efforts are being deliberately indifferent to the support they give dog fighters.

There is no legitimate necessity for the pit bull breed to continue. They provide no unique traits that are beneficial to any organized society based upon socially redeeming qualities that can not be provided by other breeds. Nothing offered by pit bulls can possibly justify the deaths and maiming this breed has inflicted upon innocent humans and other domesticated companion animals. The bite of a Chihuahua is one thing, the bite of a pit bull is of a completely different category, described by doctors at the University of Texas Department of Medicine as being closer to a “shark attack”.

As no litigation on the merits of the increased dangerousness of pit bulls has ever resulted in a victory for pit bull advocates, their emotional illogical anthropomorphic rhetoric should be discounted and disregarded, and the results of actual litigation should be respected and followed. America had long ago decided where disputes of fact and law should be decided, and the pro-pit bull advocates can’t win there. SB861 should be passed so that each and every charter municipality in California can decide for themselves if they want to avail themselves of a very practical tool in the form of BSL to protect their community.

Kory Nelson, Esq.
Denver, Colorado
–Kory Nelson, Esq. (07-25-05)


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