“Pit Bulls” Bad Rap From Half-Truths & Uninformed Journalists
Fun Paw Care is a big fan of freedom of speech. In the United States, it is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and one of the greatest rewards of having your own blog. As a Los Angeles certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) and certified dog behavior consultant (CDBC), The recently irresponsible article written by a confused writer Stanley Coren, a writer for Psychology Today. I like some of his articles but certainly not this one. The title of the article should have read “Dogs That Don’t Bite and People/Journalist That Don’t Listen.” Like many authors, Stanley has a case of “selective facts. In my humble opinion, these are the height of irresponsibility and discouraged. Below is my response to Stanley’s myopic half-truths about “Pit Bulls” that were not able to be posted after my numerous attempts to do so from several browsers and devices. I invite you to read his Psychology Today article and then my rebuttal below. Stanly’s ad hoc approach and article/argument are atavistic and characterized by unctuous remarks throughout.
UPDATE: Another example of pure and utter ignorance factually, intellectually, morally and the height of irresponsible journalism is from the recent relic Time article from a green reporter Charlotte Alter.1 While other articles as described below are from “respected” individuals who should know better.
Please don’t tell me you took over for Lee Charles Kelley with this piece. This was a very disappointing article strewn with incomplete and misleading data that was very superficial and lacked substance. “Facts” are not always what they seem. Especially when more than 75% of experts (veterinarians, behaviorists, ethologists, who train, breed and study canids for a living) misidentify the breed!
Now tell me about these “facts.” Who identified these dogs as “Pit Bulls”? The police who took the bite report? The hospital staff or administration? The ambulance EMT? The bite victims? In the end, it really doesn’t matter who took the reports and claimed that they were “Pit Bull” bites when the most informed experts in the world cannot tell a dog’s breed over 75% of the time. It is strikingly shocking and irresponsible to propagate incomplete stories as “facts.” As per your quoted fact “What is striking in this report is the fact that of all of those injuries where the dog’s breed was identifiable, 50.9% were due to pit bulls (55.7% if we include crosses). “ A moot point when the breed “identification” is incorrect, wouldn’t you agree?
Please educate yourself regarding this topic before writing incomplete pieces such as this.
Another notion that also needs clarification regarding your vague, misleading sentence: “Aggressive tendencies are part of those breed-specific differences in a dog breed’s personality.” It also depends on how you define “aggression?” Please read this responsible scientist’s explanation of your oversimplification.
Regarding your flawed bite statistics, it would help to provide some perspective about bites and real statistics from credible sources before superficially opining.
As per your additional comment in the comments section of your article “Scientists report data. Sometimes the data does not agree with what one might have wanted the outcome to be, or believed previously. However the data say what they say, and editorializing does not change the collected facts. “ Yes, just as if you asked a color-blind scientist to report on the colors of a rainbow you would call his findings “fact.” But wouldn’t it be responsible and your duty to report the “facts” with a bit more (color) integrity and give a full account of the context and what took place? It isn’t always so black and white (puns intended) and to mislead readers is negligent.
There are many ways to rid society of Breed Discrimination Legislation, BSL, myths and to debunk half-truths. Propagating Breed Discrimination Legislation, fears, and misleading numbers is the height of irresponsibility and an abdication of animal rights.
PS: I am not the guardian of, nor am I defending my “Pit Bull” as you claim your detractors are. But it is important to represent the “facts” and the context surrounding them before commentating “factually” as you do. Here are some more scientific journal articles for you to read prior to writing a half-truth and ill-thought-out article.
Please do a better job next time for the sake of our animals, society and journalistic integrity.