National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack

May 17-23, 2015 marks the annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week, an initiative sponsored by a coalition which includes the American Humane Association and The American Veterinary Medical Association. This campaign is useful — to a degree. But it does nothing to acknowledge the increasing number of fatal maulings that are occurring throughout North America.

And that’s why we must continue to speak up.

In the interest of community safety, Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) seeks to educate the public on the inherent dangers of dog breeds which were purposefully created to be aggressive, fearless and tenacious. So while the AHA and AVMA does offer some useful tips to avoid regular bites, those guidelines would have done nothing to prevent the deaths and disfiguring injuries of thousands of humans and pets each and every year — the unfortunate victims of unprovoked attacks by pit bull type…

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One thought on “National Dog Bite Prevention Week

  1. Dear Jeff, Kim, and Susan,

    I read your story and many of the comments on your site. While I hold an opposite viewpoint, I do not want to be the type of person who can only communicate constructively with people who share my beliefs. In fact, I went to your site with the express intention of seeing the controversy from your point of view and being open to letting it inform mine. I have no angry capital letters to shout at you or arguments to try to change your mind, only two aspects of my own reaction to your heartbreaking experience.

    First, in reading the various commentaries, one thing that struck me was the posts, however well-intentioned, of pit bull advocates whose messages, you often note, contain the “inevitable ‘but.’” While I sympathize with their point of view, I think these messages are grossly inappropriate in this context. I offer a message in the reverse the order: you and I disagree – which is to say, I respectfully disagree – on the subject matter of the controversy, but I have no wish to engage in debate. Rather, I simply want to offer my heartfelt sympathy for your profound loss. I do not have children, but losing a child – let alone in such a violent way then exacerbated by controversy – is the worst suffering I can imagine.

    Second, I want to offer an apology. I am a dog trainer certified as professional (CPDT-KA) and acknowledged by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, not just a self-proclaimed expert, as the certification requires 300 hours of training before one can even qualify to take the certification examination. Again, I do not mean to antagonize; my credentials have no bearing on the message I wish to express. I only mention them to show that I have made a concerted effort to inform my opinion rather than just asserting beliefs without backing them up. Anyway, in my capacity as a volunteer at a local shelter, I train many pit bulls and pit bull mixes. I also have a dog of my own, a pit bull mix, whom I love very much.

    I cannot claim to represent all pit bull advocates, but on my own behalf and, I hope, on behalf of at least some others of us, I want to express my sorrow – and I do apologize, for though this is the first I have ever commented online on either side of the controversy, I realize that I too am guilty of participating in this – that the discourse of the debate has become so impoverished and acrimonious that all communication seems to be reduced to arguing and antagonizing. I hope that, in the future, we can focus more on searching for common ground – such as a commitment to retire dogs judged by behaviorists as even potentially dangerous to animal sanctuaries where they will never interact with the public – rather than simply name-calling and lobbying insults at those who disagree with us. In this vein, I promise to try to be more understanding of those on the other side of the controversy and to try to increase my respect for your point of view.

    I want to be sensitive to the fact that simply receiving yet one more message from another pit bull advocate may offend you, and if so, I apologize for adding to your pain. Heaven knows you have suffered enough (and I imagine you will continue to do so). But, again, I am so very sorry to read of your loss, and I hope you can find some measure of peace. I read in one of the articles that you have turned to faith to help you deal with this tragedy and I gather from the mention of a pastor that it is a Christian faith, which we therefore share. I pray that you might find some comfort in the words of one of my favorite passages in the Bible (with which you are probably already well familiar), the Beatitudes: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

    Finally, I want to reiterate my sympathy as I feel I cannot overstate it or repeat it enough to adequately express its depth.

    Very sincerely,

    p.s. I address this also to Susan, not because she lost her own child, but because she lost a child about whom she must have cared very much and whom she did her best to protect; and because I can imagine the sense of betrayal she must have felt by the dogs for whom she doubtless loved as well. In no way do I wish to equate this with Jeff and Kim’s grief in suffering the death of their child, but neither do I want to ignore the pain this must have caused Susan.


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