Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oh, does that matter?

From the Toronto City News:

It's usually the perfect combination - a loving youngster and a gentle dog.

But something went horribly wrong at an Oshawa home Tuesday and now a three-year-old girl is facing the possibility of having plastic surgery.

Police say the youngster was being cared for by neighbours at 506 Lanlark Drive just after 1pm, and was petting a normally friendly pit bull.

Cops aren't sure what provoked the animal, but it suddenly turned on the child, mauling the tot from her eye to her cheek.

The toddler was rushed to Lakeridge Health Centre, where plastic surgeons began examining the damage. It's believed her eyesight will be O.K. but she may require surgical repairs to her cheek.

The same people looking after the child were also looking after the dog for the day.

"They were petting the dog," relates Richard Ovila, the babysitter's husband. "I don't know if they were patting together or what, when all of a sudden the dog turned around and took her on the left cheek."

The dog has been seized by animal control and those who know the creature are baffled. Pit bulls are generally among the most gentle of dogs and are usually excellent with children.

"It was a very serious dog bite," confirms Dave Selby of Durham Regional Police.

The youngster was surprised by what happened and reportedly continually asked the doctors who were treating her why the dog bit her. But like police, they didn't have those answers, either.

"It's just a very unfortunate incident and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with that young girl right now to make sure she can get through this situation and hopefully not have too many damages as she grows older," Selby concludes.

It's not clear what will become of the canine, but the owner is the neighbour's son and he has no idea about what's happened to his beloved pet. He's currently away on vacation down south for March Break.

Authorities hope this tragic event will provide a lesson for others.

"The best thing to do is keep your children away from unknown dogs or strange dogs that you don't know their personality or behaviour," suggests Tre Smith of the Toronto Humane Society.

The little girl has been taken to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto for further assessment. She'll be staying there until at least Wednesday.

Something is off, you say?

Why, how could the gentle pet who "turned on" the toddler be a pit bull, when Ontario has criminalized them?

Where are the cries for the dog's death, the smug Itoldyasos, the obligatory accounts of locking jaws?

Why isn't anyone being investigated for dogfighting? Cited for harboring a vicious and dangerous animal?

Oh, sorry. My bad.

My computer must have a virus that searches text and autoreplaces. "Pit bull" for "golden retriever."

Feel better now? No?

This toddler will grow up with a scar on her cheek, and maybe her psyche, but secure in the knowledge that the Ontario government has wisely protected her from all possible harm.


  1. The giveaway: "Pit bulls are generally among the most gentle of dogs and are usually excellent with children."
    Never in any newspaper article about a Pitbull biting a kid in the face. And NeverEvah in a Toronto newspaper article.

  2. True, I've never read that either. Never mind it's a pretty accurate statement. Assuming minimal training and socialization, pit bulls do tend to be good with kids, better than a lot of breeds in my experience.

  3. I liked how that sentence came out with the substitution because it is both absolutely true and absolutely never going to appear in a newspaper.

  4. I was wondering if there was a sudden attack of sanity in Toronto. Using the word 'pitbull' without hysterics struck me as way off.

    But darnit, you got my hopes up that someone was behaving sensibly.

  5. I was going to jump onto that, but then I remember I used this story in a blog post about four or five days ago. I forgot that it was in Toronto!

  6. Big Daddy Kane's tame jaguar was a wonderful pet all it's long life. So what. Pitbulls and all other dogs bred to fight are rediculoulsly bad choices as pets.

    If one ends up in a shelter, it should be exterminated as quickly and humanely as possible, so as to make room for non-game bred dogs. Or sent to a farm where it can live out it's days as a wild hog catch dog, a wonderful, legal bloodsport-type activity that fighting dogs are good at.

    Read old texts about the training of champion fighting dogs. There was no abuse involved, just physical conditioning and development of their natural instincts.


  7. I figgered this post would flip over some rocks so things could ooze out.

    I'm sure "Bill" didn't read to the end.

  8. Bill -- that was great! Can you explain to me again how sheep's bladder may be employed to prevent earthquakes?

  9. I remember a while back a Golden in a freak accident caused a child to strangle to death as they were playing. Much concern for the dog and he was eventually rehomed.

    I have to wonder...you know...

  10. I did read it to the end - 4 days before you copied it off the R'man website.

    You people are fooling yourself. I really love to watch catch dogs work, don't own one, but i have hunted with them dozens of times in GA, AL, FL and SC, and held one between my knees as she was stitched with catgut and staples in the field after getting cut by a hog.

    The only thing dispicable about game bred dogs are the PEOPLE that try to convince others that they are just like any breed of dog, and it's "all how you raise them". This my make you feel better about your choices but it also causes inexperienced adopters to bring these dangerous animals home to apartments and homes with little kids and out to dog parks.

    Fighting dogs are like landmines in the Sudan. Most will never go off, but they are still horrible invention by man to accomplish a terrible mission that no longer exists.


  11. I'm enjoying the picture of anonymous authority "Bill" stitching up the "game-bred" golden retriever catch dog out in the swamp.

    Because that's what attacked this kid. A golden retriever. And NO ONE could have predicted that the levies would fail. The newspaper reporter (another "authority") made that perfectly clear.

    As such "authorities" always inform us, dog attacks are invariably inexplicable. They are either bolts from the blue that could never have been predicted and cannot be explained in hindsight, or they are 100% inevitable based on the label some high-school dropout dogcatcher slaps on the dog. No cause or explanation other than the animal's "breed."

  12. (Tried to send a reply, but is didnt post, so i'll try once more. Apologies if it double posts.)

    It might look to an outside observer that you are positively giddy that a non fighting-bred dog bit someone hard.

    I, like everyone, occasionally see news stories about women sexually asaulting men, and serial killers who are not white males. But they are not representative of the likely profile.

    A lot of life's decisions are based on probabilities, whether we ralize it or not. I usually believe in "live and let live", and I think BSLs are silly. BUT sometimes it's ok to tell someone that their decisions are stupid and dangerous. Adopting a game-bred dog, as a pet, in the suburbs. Is one of those dumb decisions, that is more LIKELY to be dangerous to other people and dogs.

    And i'm no expert, but i do have an informed opinion. I field trial spaniels as a hobby and i had to look away when the catch dog was being helped.


  13. And btw:

    The whole argument about how a "high school dropout" can't discern between a APBT, AmStaff, or SBT is SUCH a straw man.

    It doesnt take a masters degree to ientify a dog bred to fight other dogs.

    Like Justice Stewart said; Porn may be hard to defne, but I know it when i see it."

    Remeber that email sldeshow that had pictures of 17 or so rare fighting dogs and said "pick the pit bull"? what a joke.


  14. oh Bill, I love you! How do you tell if a dog is bred to fight?


  15. Yes Emily, that sweet dog nuzzling the cat looks like he does beacuse his type/breed was created to kill other dogs (usually while we watched and gambled).

    If i am wrong, please educate me about why pit-type dogs look like they do. I promise, i can be converted, but not by a video of a pit playing with a cat.



  16. also, please know that i used "we" above in the historical/societal sense, as in "mankind"


  17. oh Bill, I love you. You play the game so well.

    What does a dog bred to fight look like?


    p.s. is your real name Kory or Connie? They like to play this game, too!

  18. I don't know who those people are. My last name is Maggert, and I'm listed in the Tampa phone book.

    I really like dogs, have two right now. I guess I'm just fascinated about why people choose game dogs as pets.


  19. oh Bill, are you still playing? You're so sweet.

    I too wonder why people would choose a game dog.. to do anything. They are so completely useless, unpredictable and dangerous


  20. No, I agree that there are nice and trustworthy individual fighting dogs. I also believe that a good trainer could teach an English Pointer to ignore birds.

    I just don't know why people gravitate toward game dogs as pets. I googled Chinaman (the most famous pit, right?) and had a hard time even reading his history. They say he sired literally hundreds of puppies. His progeny still command top dollar it seems.

    If I'm missing something about the history of game dogs, please set me straight.


  21. How does training a dog to fight other dogs make it dangerous to be around humans? If a dog can differentiate between a bee, bird, rodent or badger, surely they can tell the difference between a human and a dog.

    Doxies were bred to kill badgers, but no one considers them too dangerous to have around children. The majority of dogs in the world would probably happily tear apart a cat, but cat-aggressive dogs are not considered dangerous around humans. So why are dog-aggressive dogs?

  22. oh Bill, how wonderful -- You just wrote that dogs are individuals, whatever their breed/type! Under the rules of the game, that means: I WIN!!!

    Thanks for playing.

    Here are a few final links to help you understand why people might want a pit bull as a pet:


  23. If the question we were discussing was "are dogs individuals?", then yes, you won. Though i certainly didn't help my cause by saying essentially that same thing in several previous posts.

    If, however, we were discussing whether owning a fighting dog as a pet was much more likely to be dangerous and irresponsible for people and other animals, compared to owning a non-game bred dog, well, i'm not so sure.

    I understand about doxies and their original purpose. But, unless i am mistaken, there havent been working U.S. dachshund/badger trials in several decades, if ever. (P. Burns may know?). But, i would guess that there were many organized dog fights right here in the USA LAST WEEKEND, attended by dozens, or hundreds of unaltered pitbulls. Where do the offspring that are not culled end up?

    It was not helpful of me to include anecdotes as part of my argument. I would never deny the existence of trustworthy pitbulls or viscious retrievers. I am just talking about danger, which is a fuction of probabilities, which i think are way out of whack for game-bred dogs.

    I wonder what insurance comapnies and organizations like the USMC base their anti-pit decisions on. Beacuse these decisions cost them real money in terms of lost "customers", right?


  24. Holy crap!

    I did it! I found actual DATA, not anecdotes.

    Pits make up 2-3% of dogs, and 50% of injuring dog bites. The report says the results are so disporportiante that even if half are misidentifications, and even if the data was split 3 ways (APBT, AmStaff, SBT) it would still vastly outnumber any other breed or group.


    I am sorry to have irritated you all so much. I will try not to post here or argue anymore.

    BTW, bites by pits vs. goldens during the period was 1,451 to 9.

    -Bill, FTW

  25. Bill, you're joking about that source, aren't you?

    Because it is a joke. Did you ever go to school? Take a course in critical reading?

    Apparently not.

    And we weren't discussing anything. You were spewing crap, and I was deriding you.

    clear now?


  26. Why would someone do that? Falsify a study so obvoiulsly, i mean. I now look stupid because i thought i had found the answer, but it was just a hoax, a joke, like you said.

    What is their agenda? It takes a real jerk to falsify 1,442 news reports of pitbull bites.

    -Bill (retracting FTW)

  27. Em-

    Another study from the JAVMA attributing 30+% of deadly bites (not just serious, as in the other report) to the same 2-3% of dogs.

    All the world is in conspiracy against your dogs. The JAVMA, those breed-bigoted bastards.

    I bet you drive drunk while texting a lot. Just because you usually arrive at your destination unharmed, doesn't mean it's not dangerous.

  28. ok Bill, let me help you out:

    What is the source for the data in the report you found? Answer: Newspaper accounts.

    Is there any centralized source for dogbite statistics?: Answer: no

    How many dogbite incidents occur in the U.S? Answer: an estimated 4.7 million, of which 800k required treatment. Source: CDC
    http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/sep03/030915i.asp (note: some dispute this figure as an inappropriate extrapolation of survey data; see http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dog-bites/)

    Do the data reported in your source constitute a statistically valid sample that can be extrapolated? Do newspapers report bites from ALL dogs? Do newspapers treat bites by "dogs identified as pit bulls" the same as they do bites by dogs of other types? http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/pitbullpaparazzi-2008.pdf

    But don't trust NCRC (though unlike your "find", they do describe their methodology and cite sources) Do your own research: how many articles does your local newspaper print about dog bites? What "breed" is identified? Now find out how many dogbites occur locally. What do you conclude?

    Drunk driver anonymous: please read the report to which you apparently refer. It specifically cautions against using the data in a breed specific way.

  29. Emily-

    You must listen to a ton of Rush Limbaugh to believe that the entire liberal U.S. media is in concert to make your game dogs look bad.

    I wonder where local beat writers meet in secret to falsify 1,400 pit incidents and and further ignore/supress an equal number of serious golden-doodle bites.

    Let's just agree to disagree. As a favor to us all in the suburbs though, please don't forget your break stick when you go to the dog park. (insert behind the molars and turn just like you're revving a motorcycle throttle. He'll spit that Brittany right out.)


  30. Back to Heather's point -- the media _does_ treat dog bites by breeds other than pit bulls differently.

    I have a dog that nips people's fingers when they try to pet his head. It's a fear thing. He's otherwise a cuddly, smart dog with a good sense of humor, but there's just that one issue... We've been working on the problem (teaching 'touch'), but I don't think he'll ever be safe for strangers to pet, so we have to have a "don't pet the dog" rule for visitors. Which is hard, because he's so pretty everyone just wants to reach out and touch him. So long as that rule is observed, we do just fine.

    He's a herding-breed dog. You couldn't ask for a more "classic" looking dog -- Ol' Shep in person.

    None of his "finger-nipping" episodes have been reported to the authorities (thank goodness). If he were a pit bull, I bet he would have been put down long ago -- probably before I adopted him, even.

    So, maybe pit bulls are more bite-prone; I don't know and can't say. But I'm sure there's a lot of reporting bias there as well.

    Collies (the Lassie kind) had a reputation for being biters, back in the 1950s when they were one of the most popular household breeds. Maybe it's because they tend to nip at kids' heels when kids run away from them; maybe because they have some guardian instinct -- who knows. Or (more likely) because humans have bad dog manners and try to hug pretty dogs around the neck, and the dogs try to defend themselves (this has happened with my dog).

    It wouldn't take much for herding dogs to get that kind of reputation again -- and get outlawed, even though they are lovely, wonderful dogs who do valuable jobs (herding, SAR, etc.). And that's what we have to guard against. If pit bulls can be outlawed, so can other breeds.

  31. Sorry to interrupt all the bill baiting, but I just wanted to mention that this isn't the first Golden biting incident in the Toronto area - a few years ago, a Golden in an eastern Toronto suburb killed a toddler.

    The irony is rather inescapable.


I've enabled the comments for all users; if you are posting as "anonymous" you MUST sign your comment. Anonymous unsigned comments will be deleted. Trolls, spammers, and litigants will be shot.