Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Merritt Clifton doesn't sound like much of an "Animal Person" to me...

It is incredibly irritating to me when people cite unreliable, shoddily done studies from unqualified sources. Especially when they are passed around out of context (like the CDC study, I'll have to get into that one another time) by people who have never looked at the actual report. Case in point: Animal People's editor creating a report based on press accounts. I'll address at a later date why press accounts are horribly flawed when it comes to covering dog bites.
this perfectly illustrates why the Merritt Clifton article is completely bogus.

A few things that weren't included in the above excellent critique of the report: "Pit mix unknown", "Sharpei/unknown mix" and the innumerable "/mix" dogs are obviously not "clearly identifiable breed type or ancestry" as he claims are the only reports used in the study. Also, thirty bites are attributed to the "Bull mastiff (Presa Canario)" A Bull Mastiff and a Presa Canario are two completely different breeds.

"The humane community does not try to encourage the adoption of pumas in the same manner that we encourage the adoption of felis catus, because even though a puma can also be box-trained and otherwise exhibits much the same indoor behavior, it is clearly understood that accidents with a puma are frequently fatal. For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people to regard pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any other, no matter how much they may behave like other dogs under ordinary circumstances."

The arguments comparing certain breeds of dogs to big cats, bears, sharks etc are beyond absurd. The domestic cats and dogs are (by definition) domesticated animals that have lived with humans for thousands of years being specifically bred for tameness. I have seen no evidence that any big cat or bear species has been bred with this same goal even over multiple generations, and they certainly do not have anything approaching the longevity of dog's domesticity. I hope that there is no need for me to make it clear to anyone why it is ridiculous to compare a dog's relationship to humans to a shark.

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