Check the latest school closures and delays
Track snow and rain with Q13 News Interactive Radar

Girl with autism turned away by Santa because she brought pitbull service dog

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Abcde Santos and Pupcuke, courtesy Facebook

Abcde Santos and Pupcuke, courtesy Facebook

MISSION VIEJO, California —  After waiting patiently for more than a half-an-hour to meet Santa, a family of a little girl with autism says they were cold-heartedly turned away by the less than jolly fellow and his elf.

That Santa Claus and elf have summarily been fired and both the company that hired them and the mall where they were working have offered very public apologies to the little girl.

In a written statement posted on Facebook, the family said it all started Sunday at the Shops at Mission Viejo in California.  Abcde Santos wanted to ask Santa what he would like for Christmas.  But her autism can make large crowds and public places very scary for her.

“[Her] autism is accompanied by many sensory issues, including self-harm behaviors and feeling overwhelmed at times by lights, sounds and especially waiting,” the family wrote on Facebook.

That’s why Abcde has had her dog Pupcake by her side since 2009.  Pupcake is a service dog trained to intervene before these sensory issues take hold of Abcde.

It seems the problem for Santa and his elf wasn’t Abcde, but the fact that Pupcake is a pitbull.

“Santa was afraid of her service dog,” wrote the family.

The family said they were turned away because Santa told them “those dogs eat people.”

“After the Santos family offered to remove the dog from the area, the building, Santa still refused to see the child; sending her away heartbroken leaving a family to comfort a child instead of celebrating her accomplishments,” wrote a family spokesperson on Facebook.

The family’s outrage quickly reached the ears of mall management who posted an apology on their Facebook page.

“We share in your concerns regarding the situation today involving a Santa at The Shops at Mission Viejo.  We do not condone the behavior displayed by Santa and have worked with our partners at Noerr, the company that hires our Santas, to replace this Santa with one that is more compassionate to our guests’ needs.”

In a follow up statement from the family, a spokesperson confirmed that news.

“Santa and the Elf have subsequently been fired.”

In response the mall posted on its Facebook page that it would be expanding its yearly ‘Caring Santa experience’ which it calls a ‘sensory-friendly environment for families of children with special needs.’

The names names of this faux St. Nick and elf were not released.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

19 comments

    • Momma Rose

      Even if he was, there was an offer for the girl to stand away from him, by the gate, and have him smile and wink to her…and he STILL said no. However according to the article (or the post within the article at least,) Santa first used the “those dogs kill” and then claimed allergies AFTER being reminded of the law.

      • Rabbits

        People on the mall’s Facebook page who say they were there/know people who were there say they didn’t hear the family offer to take the dog away.

        Also, is it not strange to even think to take a picture of your crying distraught child to put on your Facebook page, then decline interviews and direct people to talk to your PR agent about the incident?

  • Russell Albright II

    You know what is really interesting, I have spoken (yes I have been on the phone with them) to multiple people that were present at the event. And guess what, this family is FULL OF CRAP!! The parents are the ones that got argumentative, not Santa or his Elf. Santa did say that he had an allergy and was beginning to wheeze. The Miranda story is more fitting of what really happened, according to 3rd party witnesses (Didn’t fit entirely, but the whole line of “those dogs eat people” and “those people support those animals” is completely FALSE!! . The only reason they were fired was to protect the company as a whole.

    And coming from someone who has a cat allergy, I can be around people who have cats all day long, but those lovable animals bring my eyes to tears, nose running, and problems breathing. It is not a matter of dander so much as it is a matter of quantity of dander. By the time that cat person comes up to me, there has been at least 30 minutes of time (give or take) since they were with their animal (factor in the fact that the air is probably on in their vehicle, so that means that there is less dander really on the person.) This entire smear campaign is crap against a loveable man with a heart of gold.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    In North America, from 1982-2013, Pit Bull breeds and mixes have seriously attacked 2,990 humans that resulted in 1,777 maimings and 275 deaths.

    The bullmastiff is a Pit bull type dog with the same genetic makeup and danger of a pit bull.

    The Bullmastiff was a cross of 40% Old English Bulldog or pit bull type dog and 60% English Mastiff

    In North America, from 1982-2013, Bullmastiffs have been responsible for 105 serious attacks on humans, resulting in 61 maimings and 15 deaths.
    In North America from 1982-2013, Rottweilers were responsible for 514 attacks on humans, resulting in 81 deaths.

    Rottweiler mixes were responsible for 30 attacks on humans, resulting in 4 deaths
    ********************************************************************************
    The following is a list of the top 10 dog breeds involved in dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada involving humans from September 1982 to December 31, 2013, based on a larger table compiled by Merritt Clifton, former editor of Animal People, an animal rights charity/news group. Clifton now is the editor of Animals 24-7.

    A Bullmastiff is considered a pit bull type dog and a pit bull mix between a pit bull and a mastiff and is 40% pit bull.

    Breed ****** Attacks doing bodily harm ****** Maimed ****** Deaths
    1. Pit bull **********2792 ***********************677 **********263
    2. Rottweiler *******514 ************************294 **********81
    3. Bull Mastiff ******105 ************************61 ***********15
    4. German Shepherd 102 **********************63 ***********15
    5. Wolf Hybrid ******85 *************************49 ***********19
    6. Akita **************68 ************************50 ************8
    7. Boxer *************62 ************************29 ************7
    8. Chow *************58 ************************39 ************7
    9. Pit bull/Rottweiler mix 50 ********************15 ************15
    10.Labrador ********50 *************************39 ************3

    The report states that the numbers are compiled from press accounts dating to 1982. It only includes attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, which have been kept as pets.

    All accounts are cross-checked by date, location and identity of the victim, according to the report.
    Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs and dogs trained specifically to fight are not included in the report.
    ********************************************************************************
    About 31,400 dogs attacked about 61,500 other animals in the U.S. in 2013, killing 43,500 and seriously injuring 18,100.

    The animals killed included about 12,000 dogs, 8,000 cats, 6,000 hooved animals, and 17,000 other small domestic animals, primarily poultry.
    The seriously injured included about 12,400 dogs, 4,000 cats, and 1,700 hooved animals. Few small mammals and poultry survived reported dog attacks.

    Pit bulls inflicted 99% of the total fatal attacks on other animals (43,000); 96% of the fatal attacks on other dogs (11,520); 95% of the fatal attacks on livestock (5,700) and on small mammals and poultry (16,150); and 94% of the fatal attacks on cats (11,280).

    About 30,000 pit bulls were involved in attacks on other animals, many of them killing multiple other animals.
    There are about 3.2 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, according to the annual Animal24-7 surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption via online classified ads.

    Thus in 2013 about one pit bull in 107 killed or seriously injured another animal, compared with about one dog in 50,000 of other breeds.
    Nationally, fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 since 2010, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.

    Altogether, 33 U.S. shelter dogs have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.
    The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone before 2000 were two wolf hybrids, rehomed in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
    ********************************************************************************
    Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to May.25, 2013.
    By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.

    Study highlights
    Pit bull type dogs make up only 6% of all dogs in the USA.
    The combination of Pit Bulls, rottweilers, their close mixes and wolf hybrids and other Pit Bull Type Dogs:

    84% of attacks that induce bodily harm.

    75% of attacks to children.

    87% of attack to adults.

    72% of attacks that result in fatalities.

    80% that result in maiming
    ********************************************************************************

    Merritt Clifton Editor Of Animals24-7:
    I have logged fatal & disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada since September 1982.

    Of the 5,131 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, 3,558 (68%) were pit bulls; 559 were Rottweilers; 4,396 (85%) were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes.

    Of the 574 human fatalities, 305 were killed by pit bulls; 88 were killed by Rottweilers; 437 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 3,229 people who were disfigured, 2,208 (68%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 329 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,687 (84%) were disfigured by molosser breeds.

    Pit bulls–exclusive of their use in dogfighting–also inflict more than 70 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class.

    Fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 in the past four years, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.

    The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone, ever, before 2000 were two wolf hybrids in 1988 and 1989. 33 U.S. shelter dogs & one U.K. shelter dog have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.

    Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are together less than 7% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    41 People dead by dog attack in 2014

    Pit bull type dogs killed 33 of them directly.

    17 killed by pit bull type dogs directly of the 32 dead are children.

    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had

    been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression

    before’, and knew the victim.

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (17):

    Kara E. Hartrich, 4 years old, Bloomington, Illinois. **

    Je’vaeh Maye, 2 years old, Temple Texas. **

    Braelynn Rayne Coulter, 3 years old, High Point, North Carolina. **

    Kenneth Santillan, 13 years old, Patterson, N.J. by a Bullmastiff

    Raymane Camari Robinson, 2 years old, Killeen, TX by a Bullmastiff **

    Mia Derouen, 4 years old, Houma, Louisiana **

    Christopher Malone, 3 years old, Thornton, MS **

    John Harvard, 5 year old, Riverside, AL **

    Kassi Haith, 4 years old, Felton, Del.

    Demonta Collins, 13 years old, Augusta, Georgia

    he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car and was killed.

    Davon Jiggetts,17 years old, Riverdale, Georgia

    he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car as was the pit bull, both were killed.

    Holden William Garrison-10 weeks old, Springfield Township, MI **

    Friends of family state that the dog is a Pit bull Mix a Catahoula Hound mixed with Pit Bull.

    Logan Shepard, 4 years old, Riverview, Florida **

    Jonathon Quarles Jr, 7 months old, Dayton, Ohio. **

    Joel Chirieleison, 6 years old, Fanning Springs, FL **

    Deriah Solem, 22 months, ST. Charles, Mo. **

    Javon Dade, Jr, 4 years old, Goulds, FL **

    Adult fatalities by pit bull type (15):

    Christina Burleson, 43 years old, Houston, Texas. **

    Klonda S. Richey, 57 years old, Dayton, Ohio. by two Bullmastiff’s

    Nancy Newberry, 77 years old, Phoenix, AZ. **

    Dorothy Hamilton, 85 years old, Kaufman, TX **

    Petra Aguirre, 83 years old, San Antonio TX **

    Betty Clark, 75 years old, San Antonio TX **

    Katie Morrison, 20-years old, Smiths Station, AL **

    Rita Pepe, 93 years old, Branford, Conn by a rescued pit bull

    Craig Sytsma, 46 years old, Metamora, Mich.2 cane corsos and Italian Pit bull type dog.

    Jessica Dawn Norman, 33-years old, Sebring, FL

    Cindy Whisman, 59 years old, Madison Township, Ohio **

    Daniel Glass, 51 years old, Lamar, Mississippi.

    Alice Payne, 75 years old, Cave City, AR. **

    Juan Fernandez, 59 years old, Modesto, CA

    Alemeaner Dial, 83 YEARS OLD, Robeson County, N.C. **

    That’s 89% killed by attacking pit bull type dogs.

    Pit Bull type dogs are only about 6% of the entire dog population.

    Deanne Lynn Coando 40 years old, Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming

    8 year old girl, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota

    Stella Antanaitis, 91 years old, Stamford, CT, Keeshond mix **

    Bobbie Cheveallier, 85 years old, Pollock, LA

    Summer Sears, 4 years old, Tallassee, AL by Husky/German Shepard Cross

    Nyhiem Wilfong, 1 year old, Caldwell County, N.C. by Rottweiler. **

    89-year-old Annabell Martin, Corona, CA. by her grandson’s three Rottweilers.**

    7 years old, Logan Meyer, Hustisford, WI by a Rottweiler. **

    Non-bite fatalities:

    Carlos Eligio Trevina – 54 y.o. – Idaho Falls ID ** – [Jan 9] – Died of a heart attack immediately after breaking up a fight between his seven pit bulls / pit mixes

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

    33 People dead by dog attack in 2013.

    Pit bull type dogs killed thirty of them. sixteen of the twenty-nine dead are children.

    Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression before’, and knew the victim.

    Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (16):

    Christian Gormanous – 4 yrs old Montgomery County, TX

    Isaiah Aguilar – 2 yrs old Sabinal, TX

    Ryan Maxwell – 7 yrs old ** Galesburg, IL.

    Dax Borchardt – 14 mos old ** Walworth, WI.

    Monica Laminack – 21 mos old ** Ellabelle, GA.

    Tyler Jett – 7 yrs old Callaway, FL.

    Jordyn Arndt – 4 yrs old ** Prairie City, IA.

    Beau Rutledge – 2 yrs old ** Fulton County, GA.

    Ayden Evans- 5 yrs old ** Jessieville, AR.

    Nephi Selu – 6 yrs old ** Union City, CA.

    Arianna Jolee Merrbach – 5 yrs old Effingham, SC.

    Daniel (surname as yet not revealed) – 2 yrs old (Gilbert, Arizona) **

    Samuel Eli Zamudio – 2 yrs old** Colton, CA

    Jordan Ryan– 5 yrs old Baker city, Oregon

    Levi Watson-Bradford-4 years old** White County, Arkansas

    Jah’niyah White – 2 years old ** Chicago, Ill

    Adult fatalities by pit bull type (13):

    Betty Todd – 65 yrs old ** Hodges, SC

    Elsie Grace – 91 yrs old ** Hemet, CA

    Claudia Gallardo – 38 yrs old Stockton, CA.

    Pamela Devitt – 63 yrs old Littlerock, CA.

    Carlton Freeman – 80 yrs old Harleyville, SC.

    Linda Oliver – 63 yrs old Dayton, TX.

    James Harding – 62 yrs old -Baltimore, MD

    chased into traffic by two attacking pit bulls

    Juan Campos – 96 yrs old Katy, Texas.

    Terry Douglass 56 years old. **Baltimore, MD

    Katherine Atkins-25 years old ** Kernersville, NC

    Nga Woodhead-65 years old Spanaway, WA.

    Joan Kappen, 75 years old Hot Springs Ark

    Michal Nelson, 41 years old Valencia County, New Mexico **

    (1 non-pit type killing) [Rachel Honabarger – 35 yrs old – mauled to death by her own GSD mix] Coshocton, OH.

    (1 husky-mix killing, unknown if the other half of the dog was pit bull) [Jordan Lee Reed – 5 yrs old] Kotzebue, AK

    (1 Shiba Inu killing) Mia Gibson – age 3 months, of Gibson, OH – mauled to death by family Shiba Inu.

    Three of the pit bull type dogs were BULL mastiffs, ie 40% pit-fighting bulldog.

    If 27 of 33 dead were killed by pit bull attack, that’s 82% dead by pit attack, 9% dead by ‘molosser’, 3% by some kind of GSD mix, 3% by a husky + possibly pit mix, 3% by Shiba Inu.

    If you count the pit-mix mastiffs as pit bull types, that’s 91% killed by attacking pit bull types. Pit types are only about 6% of the entire dog population.

    The man who ran into traffic kept pit bulls himself. He knew perfectly well what the two stranger pit bulls that were chasing him would do if they caught him, so he preferred to risk a swift death by oncoming car.

    534 maimed by pit type dogs 2013 (as of November.28).

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    Dog trainers/animal control, Pit Bull breeders, owners, fanciers, experts

    TRISH KING, Director, Behavior & Training Dept. Marin Humane Society

    “There is no direct eye contact or very little direct eye contact. It is very quick and over with. Which is one reason why with pit bulls and rottweilers, we have problems. Because they’re bred to do direct eye contact and so they are off putting to other dogs and actually scary to other dogs.”

    The fourth undesirable characteristic – arousal or excitement – is actually the most problematic. Many bully dogs cannot seem to calm themselves down once they get excited. And once they get excited all their behaviors are exacerbated.

    Thus, if a dog is over-confident and has a tendency to body slam or mount, he or she will really crash into the other dog or person when he’s aroused, sometimes inadvertently causing injury. He may begin to play-bite, and then bite harder and harder and harder.

    When you try to stop the behavior, the dog often becomes even more “aggressive.” In this way, play can turn into aggression fairly quickly. Research on the brain has shown that excited play has exactly the same chemistry as extreme anger. This allows a play behavior to switch quickly into aggression. And, once the dog has become aggressive a few times, the switch is much easier.
    HORSWELL BB, CHAHINE CJ, oral surgeons

    Dog bites of the facial region are increasing in children according to the Center for Disease Control. To evaluate the epidemiology of such injuries in our medical provider region, we undertook a retrospective review of those children treated for facial, head and neck dog bite wounds at a level 1 trauma center.

    Most dog bites occurred in or near the home by an animal known to the child/family. Most injuries were soft tissue related, however more severe bites and injuries were observed in attacks from the pit-bull and Rottweiler breeds.

    Younger (under five years) children sustained more of the injuries requiring medical treatment. Injury Severity Scales were determined as well as victim and payer mix demographics, type and characteristics of injury, and complications from the attack.

    DR RICHARD SATTIN, chief of unintentional-injuries section of the Centers of Disease Control

    We’re trying to focus public attention on this greatly underestimated public hazard.

    In 1979, pit bulls accounted for 20 percent of fatal attacks by dogs. That figure had risen to 62 percent by 1988.

    Nobody knows the dog population of the United States or the exact breakdown by breed. We do not believe that pit bulls represent anywhere near 42% percent of dogs in the United States. Therefore, we believe that the pit bull excess in deaths is real and growing.

    ROBERT D. NEWMAN, M.D.

    As a pediatrician I was disturbed to read Vicki Hearne’s assertion that there are no bad breeds, just bad dogs (Op-Ed, April 15). There is ample evidence to suggest that certain breeds of dogs are more dangerous to children than others.

    From 1979 to 1994, there were 177 known dog-bite-related fatalities in the United States. Of these fatalities, 66 percent were caused by five breeds: pit bull, Rottweiler, shepherd, husky and malamute.

    If you include crosses among these five breeds, that number rises to 82 percent. Other breeds, like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers were not implicated in a single fatality during this same period.

    I laud the American Kennel Club’s attempt to include information about dog breeds considered ”not good with children” in the coming edition of ”The Complete Dog Book,” and lament the fact that the book is being recalled at the request of some breeders.

    Seattle, April 16, 1998

    Dr. EDGAR JOGANIK (after trying to reattach scalp and ear to a pit bull victim)

    Pit bull attacks are typically the most severe, and in about one-third of all attacks, the animals are family pets or belong to close friends.

    That should be the message, that these dogs should not be around children, adults are just as likely to be victims.

    Everyone should be extremely cautious.

    DR. MICHAEL FEALY

    When a Pit Bull is involved the bites are worse. When they bite, they bite and lock and they don’t let go… they bite lock and they rip and they don’t let go.

    DR. CHRISTOPHER DEMAS

    Bites from pit bulls inflict much more damage, multiple deep bites and ripping of flesh and are unlike any other domestic animal I’ve encountered. Their bites are devastating – close to what a wildcat or shark would do.

    DR. AMY WANDEL, plastic surgeon

    I see just as many dog bites from dogs that are not pit bulls as bites from pit bulls. The big difference is pit bulls are known to grab onto something and keep holding so their damage they create is worse than other breeds.

    DR. PATRICK BYRNE, Johns Hopkins Hospital

    I can’t think of a single injury of this nature that was incurred by any other species other than a pit bull or a rottweiler.

    ANDREW FENTON, M.D.

    As a practicing emergency physician, I have witnessed countless dog bites. Invariably, the most vicious and brutal attacks I have seen have been from the pit bull breed.

    Many of the victims have been children. In a recent study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, pit bull attacks accounted for more ER visits than all other breeds combined.

    In young children, the most common part of the body injured was the face. Numerous studies have proven that the number-one cause of dog bite fatalities is the pit bull breed.

    I am certain that many attacks are due to owner negligence, but the fact remains that many were unpredictable and were perpetrated by formerly “loving and loyal” pets.

    Dr. Chagnon has every right to leave our town as she claims she will if pit bulls are banned, just like every one of her patients has the right not to attend her clinic where she brings her pit bulls.

    I applaud Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders for bringing this issue to the forefront. In the interest of public safety, I recommend we enforce a spay/neuter requirement on pit bulls while reviewing and revamping all of our policies relating to animal bites.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    KEVIN COUTTS, Head Dog Ranger, Rotorua, New Zealand

    There was concern among dog authorities about American pitbulls being allowed into New Zealand as they were dangerous, unpredictable animals, Mr Coutts said.

    “A lot of people in this town get them because they are a staunch dog and they will fight. They are perceived as vicious … It’s frustrating they were ever allowed in the country … we can’t go back now though,” Mr Coutts said.

    COUTTS’ comment on a pit car mauling

    This sort of thing happens when people own this breed of dog and then don’t look after them.

    VICTORIA STILWELL, celebrity dog trainer

    Presas are not to be fooled with, they’re dangerous. You’ve got a fighting breed here. You’ve got a dog that was bred for fighting. You’ve got one of the most difficult breeds to handle.

    CESAR MILAN, celebrity dog trainer

    “Yeah, but this is a different breed…the power that comes behind bull dog, pit bull, presa canario, the fighting breed – They have an extra boost, they can go into a zone, they don’t feel the pain anymore. He is using the bulldog in him, which is way too powerful, so we have to ‘make him dog’ (I guess as in a “regular” dog) so we can actually create the limits.

    So if you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender.”. If you add pain, it only infuriates them..to them pain is that adrenaline rush, they are looking forward to that, they are addicted to it…

    That’s why they are such great fighters.” Cesar goes on to say…”Especially with fighting breeds, you’re going to have these explosions over and over because there’s no limits in their brain.”

    GARRETT RUSSO, dog trainer

    I estimate Medical & Veterinary bills related to injuries caused by pit bulls in the Tompkins Square dog run in 2011, $140,000.00. Estimated Medical (human) & Veterinary (canine) bills from all other breeds and mixed breeds combined during the same period, $5,000.00. (Estimate gathered from reports to by owners to the dog park association.)

    STEVE DUNO, dog trainer, pit bull owner

    “The dogs that participated in these attacks weren’t Pekingese. You don’t have herds of Pekingese roaming the city attacking people. When someone says all breeds are created equal, well then they’re denying the definition of what a breed is. Breed serves a particular purpose.”

    “I like them. They’re eager. They’re athletic. They’re aesthetically pleasing. But even if they’re bred perfectly, they can be problematic, particularly with other dogs.”

    “When you combine the breed specific behaviors … with owners who either don’t give a rip, or with owners who (have) too much dog, you have a problem.”

    JEAN DONALDSON, dog trainer

    Most commonly, she sees dogs with aggression problems. While she’s a fierce opponent of “breed bans” like the proposed outlawing of pit bulls that San Francisco debated two years ago, she believes it’s undeniable that some breeds are predisposed to violence.

    Many breeds that were bred as guardians or fighting dogs were carefully designed to not like strangers, she says. She thinks it’s disingenuous of breeders to further enhance this trait, and then expect owners to compensate with training.

    ARLENE STERLING, Newaygo County, MI Chief Animal Control Officer

    “It is genetically inbred in them to be aggressive. They can be very nice dogs, but they are very prey driven and they are extremely strong. It makes them high risk dogs and it makes them extremely dangerous.”

    BOB KERRIDGE, New Zealand SPCA executive director

    “That is the only real way to solve this problem – is to license owners and to give them the responsibility that goes with owning a dog. It would be extremely useful when you have a neighbour who is concerned about that dog next door. You can look at it and see they don’t have a license and take it away. That’s owner responsibility.”

    “We led the charge to stop the importation of the pitbull because of the concerns they would be crossbred with other dogs… But there’s not a lot we can do about that because it’s happened. We wish someone had listened all those years ago.”

    JIM CROSBY, pit bull hired gun

    “Line breeding tends to concentrate recessive traits. The propensity for violent attacks by a dog would be a recessive trait.”

    MELANIE PFEIFFER, veterinary assistant

    Working in a veterinary hospital, you are exposed to all kinds of animal trauma. One of the more common ones is dog fights. I can honestly say that in three out of four cases, an American pit bull terrier is involved. Many times, we are able to save the life of the afflicted, but yesterday, we were not.

    I propose that all owned American pit bull terriers be registered and all breeding be halted indefinitely. How many mutilated faces, mangled limbs, butchered pets and even human deaths does it take to convince us that this breed needs to be phased out?

    DIANE JESSUP, Washington pit bull owner and expert

    “It’s not sensible to get an animal bred for bringing a 2,000-pound bull to its knees and say I’m going to treat this like a soft-mouth Labrador,” says Jessup, the former animal-control officer. She blames novice owners, as much as actual criminals, for bringing the breed into disrepute. “It’s a capable animal, and it’s got to be treated as such.”

    JOHN ROCKHOLT, South Carolina dogman

    “It’s inhumane not to allow them to fight. If you have to encourage them to fight they are not worth the powder it would take to blow them away. To never allow them any kind of combat…That’s inhumane.”

    RAY BROWN, former pit bull owner, breeder, dog fighter

    Pit bulls didn’t become dangerous because we fight them; we fight them because the English specifically bred them to be dangerous.

    MARK PAULHUS, HSUS southeast regional coordinator

    If it chooses to attack, it’s the most ferocious of all dogs. I’ve never known of a pit bull that could be called off (during a fight). They lose themselves in the fight.

    F.L. DANTZLER, HSUS director of field services

    “They’re borderline dogs. They’re right on the edge all of the time. Even if the dogs are not trained or used for fighting, and even though they are generally good with people, their bloodline makes them prone to violence.”

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    ALEXANDRA SEMYONOVA, animal behaviorist

    You will also not prevent the dog from being what he is genetically predisposed to be. Because the inbred postures and behaviors feel good, fitting the body and brain the dog has been bred with, they are internally motivated and internally rewarded.

    This means that the behavior is practically impossible to extinguish by manipulating external environmental stimuli.

    The reward is not in the environment, but in the dog itself! As Coppinger and Coppinger (2001, p. 202) put it, “The dog gets such pleasure out of performing its motor pattern that it keeps looking for places to display it.” Some dogs get stuck in their particular inbred motor pattern.

    As pointed out above, this kind of aggression has appeared in some other breeds as an unexpected and undesired anomaly – the golden retriever, the Berner Senne hund, the cocker spaniel have all had this problem.

    The lovers of aggressive breeds try to use these breeding accidents to prove that their aggressive breeds are just like any other dog, “see, they’re no different from the cuddly breeds.” But a cuddly breed sometimes ending up stuck with a genetic disaster does not prove that the behavior is normal canine behavior. All it proves is that the behavior is genetically determined.

    “These dogs aren’t killers because they have the wrong owners, rather they attract the wrong owners because they are killers.” The 100 Silliest Things People say about dogs.

    JOHN FAUL, animal behaviorist

    Faul said they were dangerous and a threat to life. He said the pitbull was bred to be absolutely fearless and had a “hair-trigger” attack response.

    “The cardinal rule is that these dogs are not pets,” he said.

    “The only way to keep them is in a working environment.”

    He said the only relationship one could have with the pitbull was one of “dominance, sub-dominance”, in which the dog was reminded daily of its position.

    ANDREW ROWAN, PhD, Tufts Center for Animals

    “A pit bull is trained to inflict the maximum amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. Other dogs bite and hold. A Doberman or a German shepherd won’t tear if you stand still.

    A pit bull is more likely to remove a piece of tissue. Dogs fight as a last resort under most circumstances. But a pit bull will attack without warning. If a dog shows a submissive characteristic, such as rolling over most dogs wills top their attack. A pit bull will disembowel its victim.”

    “A study by Dr Randall Lockwood of the US Humane Society found that pit bulls are more likely to break restraints to attack someone and that pit bulls are more likely to attack their owners, possibly as a result of owners trying to separate their dogs from victims.”

    Jørn Våge, Tina B Bønsdorff, Ellen Arnet, Aage Tverdal and Frode Lingaas, Differential gene expression in brain tissues of aggressive and non-aggressive dogs

    The domestic dog (Canis familiaris), with its more than 400 recognised breeds [1], displays great variation in behaviour phenotypes.

    Favourable behaviour is important for well-being and negative traits such as aggression may ruin the owner-dog relationship and lead to relinquishment to shelters or even euthanasia of otherwise healthy dogs [2,3].

    Behavioural traits result from an interaction of both genetic and environmental factors. Breed specific behavioural traits such as hunting, herding and calmness/aggression are, however, evidence of a large genetic component and specific behaviours show high heritabilities [4-8].

    ALAN BECK, Sc.D

    However, Alan Beck, director of the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine Center of the Human-Animal Bond, favors letting the breed go into extinction.

    “This breed alone is a risk of serious public health factors,” Beck said. “We are keeping them alive against their own best interests.”

    Beck said while he does not advocate taking dogs from current and caring owners, he does feel that it has become more of a social and political issue for people than a health one.

    “If these dogs were carrying an actual disease, people would advocate euthanizing them,” Beck said. “This breed itself is not natural.”

    “It has this sort of mystique that attracts a population of people. Of course, most of these dogs are never going to bite, as champions of the breed will tell you. But most people who smoke don’t get cancer, but we know regulations help reduce a significant risk.”

    “I know you’re going to get beat up for this. But they just aren’t good dogs to own. That’s why so many of them are relinquished to shelters. There are too many other breeds out there to take a chance on these guys.”

    MERRITT CLIFTON, journalist, Animal People editor

    There are very few people, if any, who have written more on behalf of dogs over the past 40-odd years than I have, or spent more time down the back alleys of the developing world observing dogs in the habitats in which normal dogs came to co-evolve with humans.

    But appreciation of the ecological roles of street dogs & coyotes, exposing dog-eating and puppy mills, opposition to indiscriminate lethal animal control, introduction of high-volume low-cost spay/neuter and anti-rabies vaccination, introduction of online adoption promotion, encouraging the formation of thousands of new humane societies worldwide, etc., are not to be confused with pit bull advocacy.

    Pit bull advocacy is not defending dogs; it is defending the serial killers of the dog world, who kill, injure, and give bad reputations to all the rest. Indeed, pit bull advocacy, because it erodes public trust in dogs and people who care about dogs, stands a good chance of superseding rabies as the single greatest threat to the health, well-being, and human appreciation of all dogs worldwide.

    STANLEY COREN, PhD

    “A dog’s breed tells us a lot about that dog’s genetic heritage and makeup. Genetics is a strong determinant of personality. In the absence of any other information, we can make a reasonable prediction about how the dog will behave based upon its breed.” p 84

    “When we crossbreed, we lose some of that predictability, since which genes will be passed on by each parent and how they will combine is a matter of chance. Fortunately, there is some data to suggest that we can still make predispositions without knowing much about its parentage.

    John Paul Scott and John L Fuller carried out a series of selective breeding experiments at the Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine. By happy chance, their results revealed a simple rule that seems to work. Their general conclusion was that a mixed breed dog is most likely to act like the breed that it most looks like.”

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    Ottumwa, Iowa
    Population 24,998

    In July 2010, Police Chief Jim Clark said there had been no recorded pit bull attacks since the city’s 2003 pit bull ban. Between 1989 and 2003, the city had a pit bull ordinance, but still allowed pit bulls as “guard” dogs.
    “Police Chief Jim Clark says since the ban, there have been no recorded attacks by the animals.

    “We haven’t had any attacks since then for one thing because it is illegal,” said Clark. “Most people are keeping their dogs inside their house or inside their basement and not letting them out loose so therefore they’re not around other people to attack them.”

    “In the two-and-a-half years before the 2003 ban, Ottumwa police recorded 18 pit bull attacks, including the death of 21-month-old Charlee Shepherd in August 2002. There were at least three other attacks on children during this time.”
    ************************************************************
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    Population 189,515

    When the City of Indianapolis was discussing a pit bull sterilization law in April 2009, Little Rock Animal Services Director Tracy Roark spoke about Little Rock’s successful 2008 pit bull ordinance:

    “There was a day when you could walk down any street in center city Little Rock, you could see several pit bulls chained up. You don’t see that anymore,” said Tracy Roark with Little Rock Animal Services.

    Roark told Eyewitness News over the phone that pit bull attacks have been cut in half and credits their new law with getting them there.
    “This is the most abused dog in the city,” said Roark.

    The Little Rock law passed last year and requires pit bulls to be sterilized, registered and microchipped. Also dogs – regardless of the breed – are also not allowed to be chained up outside.”
    ************************************************************
    Fort Lupton, Colorado
    Population 6,787
    When the City of Fort Collins was mulling a pit bull law in March 2009, Fort Lupton’s Police Chief spoke about Fort Lupton’s successful 2003 pit bull ban, including zero pit bull biting incidents since the law’s adoption:

    “Fort Lupton Police Chief Ron Grannis said the city hasn’t had a pit bull bite since the ban was enacted, but it still has the occasional pit bull that is picked up and taken away.

    Although he said the ban has not been well-received by every resident, he thinks it was the right decision for the city.

    “I believe it makes the community safer,” he said. “That’s my personal opinion. Pit bulls are not the kind of dogs most people should have. They are too unpredictable. … These dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be fighters.

    You can’t take it out of them. A lion cub may be friendly for a while, but one day it can take your head off.”
    ************************************************************
    Reading, Pennsylvania
    Population 80,560

    After an 8-year legal battle, pit bull advocates dismantled a pit bull law adopted by Reading in 1998. It was reported in the same news article, in February 2008, that the law had significantly reduced biting incidents:

    “Reading’s 1998 law required that aggressive or dangerous dogs, when outside the home, be muzzled and kept on a leash shorter than three feet long with a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds.

    The law also punished violators with fines of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail.
    The law is credited with helping to reduce dog bites from 130 in 1999 to 33 in 2006. As a result, the law – or at least elements of it – were not being actively enforced, the Reading Eagle reported last year.

  • Tom McCartney (@TomM1933)

    Aurora, Colorado
    Population 339,030

    Also in March, Aurora released statistical data showing a significant reduction in the volume of pit bull attacks and pit bulls euthanized after adopting a pit bull ban in 2005.

    “Since the ban has been in place, bites are down 73 percent from pit bulls,” said Cheryl Conway, a spokeswoman for the city’s animal care division.
    She described various problems the city encountered before enacting the ban in 2005 that included irresponsible owners letting the dogs run at large, and owners using pit bulls to taunt pedestrians.

    She added that the dogs placed a tremendous burden on city staff. According to city documents, before the ordinance was enacted in 2005, up to 70 percent of kennels in the Aurora Animal Shelter were occupied by pit bulls with pending court disposition dates or with no known owner. That number is now only 10 to 20 percent of kennels.

    “There hasn’t been a human mauling in many years. Complaints and requests related to pit bulls are down 50 percent. Euthanasia of pit bull dogs is down 93 percent. Of those few that are put down, they are primarily those that come in as strays and their owners don’t come to claim them,” she said.
    ************************************************************
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Population 415,068

    After the City of Omaha adopted a pit bull law in 2008, Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society, who opposed the law, said in September 2009 that pit bull biting incidents were down 35% since its adoption:

    “Despite the attack of Haynes, The Humane Society’s Mark Langan says pitbull bites are down since new laws went into effect last year. Langan says so far this year 54 bites have been reported compared to 83 last year.”

    In September 2010, the Nebraska Humane Society provided bite statistical data to city council members and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the pit bull ordinance adopted by the City of Omaha in late 2008.

    “It is the position of the Nebraska Human Society that this ordinance has been effective in reducing bites involving dogs defined as “Pit Bulls” in the ordinance.”

    Judy Varner, President and CEO, Nebraska Human Society
    Varner’s attached statistical data shows that bites by pit bulls dropped 40% after one year of the adoption of the ordinance, 121 bites in 2008 down to 73 bites in 2009. The bite rate dropped even further in 2010.

    2008 Pit Bull Bites: 121 Total
    2009 Pit Bull Bites: 73 Total
    2010 Pit Bull Bites (through August): 28 Total

    In January 2013, the Nebraska Humane Society reported that pit bull bites dropped to 31 in 2012, down from 121 in 2008 (a 74% reduction), the year that Omaha enacted a progressive pit bull ordinance.

    2008 Pit Bull Bites Total: 121 (pre-breed specific ordinance)
    Level 2: 52; Level 3: 58, Level 4: 8; Level 5: 3 (69 were Level 3-5 attacks)

    2009 Pit Bull Bites Total: 73
    Level 2: 49; Level 3: 17; Level 4: 4; Level 5: 3 (24 were Level 3-5 attacks)

    2010 (through August) Pit Bull Bites Total: 28
    Level 2: 19; Level 3: 6; Level 4: 2; Level 5: 1 (9 were Level 3-5 attacks)

    2012 Pit Bull Bites Total: 31
    No bite level break down provided
    ***********************************************************
    Saginaw, Michigan
    Population 51,230

    In November 2012, Saginaw reported a reduction in dog attacks eighteen months after enacting a “Light” BSL ordinance1 requiring owners of the top 5 dangerous dog breeds2 to comply with new regulations.

    Eighteen months after Saginaw created its dangerous dog ordinance, put into effect in June 2011, Saginaw City Chief Inspector John Stemple said it has helped to lower the amount of dog attacks in the city.

    “It was the government reacting to a problem,” Stemple said. “And if you look at the numbers, it’s been very effective.”

    The ordinance requires residents to register dogs whose breeds are deemed “dangerous” at the City Clerk’s office, post a “Dog on premises” sign in the front of their homes and when outdoors, keep their animals either on a leash or within a 4-foot-high fenced area or kennel.

    The breeds included in the ordinance are pit bulls, presa canario, bull mastiffs, rottweilers and German shepherds.

    Stemple said he has heard from employees at Consumers Energy and the U.S. Postal Service that the signs and tethering rules have made their work safer. The number of reported dog bites fell in 2011 to nine, from 24 in 2009.