Oklahoma City Animal Services workers, Tommi Aldridge and Shannon Koenig Brakebill, call public safety advocate a “cunt” and “bitch” and tell her to “go fuck yourself” in disagreement about pit bulls and public safety.
Shelters lie to the public all the time, but not YOUR shelter, right Tommi? Just look at SOME of the labels placed on the OKCdogGov website
I’m not approving your comment, Doug Aldridge. Rather, adding it to this post along with my commentary.
“I’m sure we are all sorry for your loss.”
Your empathy and concern are oozing out of this statement. Do you realize that neither you OR your friends have not asked one question about what happened to my son? All your concern has been for the dogs and this is exactly why the shelter system cannot be trusted in matters of public health and safety.
In your book, the behavior you and your friends have exhibited was appropriate because they applied “generalizations to specific people or organizations”. You then go on to state that “Neither my wife nor her fellow workers proliferate, apologize for or lie about the animals they care for.” I have looked at the animals up for adoption at the Oklahoma City Animal Services shelter, the place where your wife has listed as her place of employment, and can clearly see that many of the dogs up for adoption are mislabeled. Do you really think the dog posted in the first screenshot above is an Australian Cattle Dog? There are also several “Retriever Mixes” that resemble pit bulls more than retrievers. Don’t you find this a bit deceptive? How is this building trust between the shelter and the community? What about the family that adopts that “cattle dog?”
So, this person made a generalization that more people would be adopting instead of seeking out breeders or pet stores if the shelters/rescues were more honest with their information, and your wife’s own place of employment confirms deception in the rescue community. This person also stated that they did have some good rescues in their community, but most were not.
People like you should find more effective avenues for your pit bull advocacy than commenting on the father of a child killed by pit bull’s blog. Instead of ending a conversation with the “go fuck yourself” that your friends seem to be fond of, I am just going to no longer approve or post your comments. Your point has been made. We should both go back to our advocacy movements. I wish you the best of luck. I really do hope that the dogs that deserve to get adopted are adopted to good families. I am a dog owner myself.
More on the identification issue:
The term “pit bull” in lower-case letters refers to three closely-related breeds. The original breed was the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a dog bred for pit fighting in the 18th and 19th centuries in the UK. After importation to the U.S. in the late 19th century, they continued to be used for fighting, but were bred to be taller and heavier. These larger cousins were then registered in the UKC as “American Pit Bull Terriers” (1898) and in the AKC as the “American Staffordshire Terrier” (1936). Note that these are identical breeds under two different names, and many individuals hold conformation championships in both registries. In addition, some of the original, smaller dogs were reimported from the UK and were recognized in the AKC as the original “Staffordshire Bull Terriers” (1935).
A 2013 ASPCA double-blind study revealed that shelter workers were able to correctly identify dogs with significant ‘pit bull’ blood (‘pit bull’ = the 3 breeds above) 96% of the time, as confirmed by DNA tests.
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.
Thus, the conclusion to be reached is that if it looks like a pit bull, it probably is a pit bull. Which is why most breed-specific legislation is aimed at the “pit bull class” of dogs that includes its close mixes. Pit bull mixes that look a lot like pit bulls have most of the same personality and genetic traits of pure bred pit bulls, and should be regulated the same way.
Why not just call them pit bulls?
We, dogfighters, and the law used to. Even the fur-mommy pit bull fans did. When the first laws were introduced to restrict or ban the ‘pit bull’, its fur-mommy fans were alarmed. They suddenly appeared everywhere to explain to us: “You can’t ban pit bulls, because it’s not a breed but a type of dog.” As deaths by this type of dog continued to mount, wise lawmakers listened to the fur-mommies’ wisdom – laws began to specify that restrictions applied to various ‘breeds’ that were of the pit bull type. The laws included all dogs (regardless of breed labels or mixed background) that displayed the main characteristics of this type of dog, and they include any mixes thereof. The American courts have also repeatedly taken this same position.
Most of the public understands nowadays that the distinction between the various fighting bulldog ‘breeds’ are a fiction, and that they are all included when we say ‘pit bull’. There is still some confusion about the pit bull – mastiff mixes. This is likely partly because they are so much larger than what people generally think of as a pit bull, and partly because of the invented ‘breed’ names that suggest these mixes are some local invention, unmixed with anything outside their area of origin. This is a fiction – the common thread that runs through all of these ‘mastiff’ types is the mixing of already inherently aggressive local mastiffs with fighting bulldog types.
All of these dogs come from juggling with the same narrow gene pool. In the end, they are all descended from dog types that were used either to maul bears, cattle and humans to death for entertainment, as well as to eradicate native populations in various colonies, and/or from pit fighting bulldogs that were mostly only pitted against each other and wild boar. They are a result of centuries of human selection for abnormally disinhibited behavior, a specific tenacious and deadly bite, grip and shear attack pattern, and the physical characteristics to make defense against an attack almost impossible.
They are all of them genetically and behaviorally closely related, all of them pit bull type dogs.
Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of ‘Ordinary Intelligence’ Say the High Courts
Why This Myth Must Be Destroyed
The myth that it is impossible to identify a pit bull or that only an “expert” with a suitcase of science can achieve this task must be discredited. Nowhere do the high courts make any presumption of “expert” knowledge being necessary to identify a pit bull. Specifically, the high courts state, “a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull” and the “American pit bull terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen.”
In upholding Denver’s pit bull ban in 1991, the Supreme Court of Colorado wrote, “The city, however, is not required to meet its burden of proof with mathematical certainty of scientific evidence,” when identifying a pit bull. Death investigation reports prepared by police and medical examiners are sufficient to determine dog breed.
Source: The Colorado Dog Fanciers, Inc. et al. v. The City and County of Denver, 820 P. 2d 644 (Colo.1991)
“Dog breeds of all type are misidentified a large amount of the time.”
This talking point is a favorite but has no basis in fact. Appellate courts state, “a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can identify a pit bull.” We find this decision in the Ohio Supreme Court ruling, Ohio State v. Anderson (1991) and similar language in other jurisdictions as well, including Colorado, Florida and New Mexico. Below are excerpts from appellate court decisions.
State v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St. 3d 168 – Ohio: Supreme Court 1991
Pit bull dogs possess unique and readily identifiable physical and behavioral traits which are capable of recognition both by dog owners of ordinary intelligence and by enforcement personnel. Consistent and detailed descriptions of the pit bull dog may be found in canine guidebooks, general reference books, state statutes and local ordinances, and state and federal case law dealing with pit bull legislation. By reference to these sources, a dog owner of ordinary intelligence can determine if he does in fact own a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog within the meaning of R.C. 955.11 (A)(4)(a)(iii). Similarly, by reference to these sources, dog wardens, police officers, judges, and juries can enforce the statute fairly and evenhandedly. – Ohio Supreme Court
American Dog Owners Ass’n v. Dade County, Fla., 728 F. Supp. 1533 – Dist. Court, SD Florida 1989
Despite the absence of scientific testing procedures for dog breeds, however, and the absence of pedigree in the majority of dogs owned in Dade County, the evidence demonstrated that the majority of dog owners know the breed of their dogs … Veterinarians opine that ordinary citizens may be trained to identify the breed of a dog based on the dog’s physical appearance. In fact, one resident of the County gave testimony that he was able to determine the breed of the dog he owned after comparing its physical conformation to that of other pit bulls he had seen in the media … The AKC or UKC standards at issue describe the pit bull dog as well as words can do. (T.R. at 406). Most of the terms in the standards are understandable to reasonably intelligent persons. – United States District Court, S.D. Florida
2011 – Court of Appeals of Kansas
State v. Lee, 257 P. 3d 799 – Kan: Court of Appeals 2011
Given the holding in Hearn, the common meaning of the term “predominantly” as used in the ordinance, and the existence of physical characteristics that make the breed of these dogs recognizable upon visual observation by an owner, veterinarian, or breeder, we conclude as a matter of law that the ordinance sufficiently conveys a definite warning and fair notice of the proscribed conduct and adequately guards against arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement. – Court of Appeals of Kansas
2009 – United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Dias v. City and County of Denver, 567 F. 3d 1169 – Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit 2009
The Ordinance provides a clear standard to determine violations—it references breed standards articulated by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club. Denver, Colo., Ordinances § 8-55. The City of Denver keeps a copy of these standards on file at their office for reference by the public, id., and the breed standards are available online at http://www.akc.org (American Kennel Club) and http://www.ukcdogs.com (United Kennel Club). Although the standards are somewhat scientific in scope, they are not so scientific that a person of ordinary intelligence would be unable to understand their meaning. The Ordinance, therefore, certainly specifies a normative standard to which members of the public can conform their conduct. – United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
2007 – United States District Court, N.D. California
American Canine Foundation v. Sun, Dist. Court, ND California 2007
In any event, given that the Ordinance, on its face, applies to, inter alia, “any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, [or] Staffordshire Bull Terrier” and provides that the “AKC and UKC standards for [those] breeds are listed on their websites as well as online through the Animal Care and Control Department`s [ ] website,” see San Francisco Health Code § 43(a), it is difficult to imagine, at least with respect to purebred specimens, how the breed could be identified more precisely in the Ordinance. Indeed, courts regularly have rejected vagueness challenges to ordinances, on similar grounds, albeit based on an evidentiary record. See, e.g., American Dog Owners Ass`n v. Dade County, Florida, 728 F. Supp. 1533, 1541-42 (S.D. Fla. 1989) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance defining “pit bull” by reference to AKC and UKC standards); Colorado Dog Fanciers, Inc. v. City and County of Denver, 820 P.2d 644, 650-52 (Colo. 1991)(rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance containing identical definition of “pitbull” as instant ordinance); Greenwood v. City of North Salt Lake, 817 P.2d 816 (Utah 1991) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance applicable to, inter alia,American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers); State v. Anderson, 566 N.E. 2d 1224 (Ohio 1991) (rejecting vagueness challenge to ordinance applicable to “any dog that . . . [b]elongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pitbull dog”). – United States District Court, N.D. California
2007 – Supreme Court of Ohio
Toledo v. Tellings, 114 Ohio St. 3d 278 – Ohio: Supreme Court 2007
Finally, the court of appeals erred in holding that R.C. 955.11 and 955.22 and Toledo Municipal Code 505.14 are void for vagueness. This court has previously held that the term “pit bull” is not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. In State v. Anderson, we stated: “In sum, we believe that the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog.” – Supreme Court of Ohio
2004 – Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
City of Pagedale v. Murphy, 142 SW 3d 775 – Mo: Court of Appeals, Eastern Dist. 2004
Here, City Ordinance No. 1169 states, “No person shall within the City raise, maintain or possess within his or her custody or control a dog of the ‘pit bull’ breed.” (Emphasis added). There does not appear to be any Missouri case addressing the precise issue of whether the use of the term “pit bull” in an ordinance or statute without a definition is so vague and indefinite that the law is unconstitutional. However, the Supreme Court of Ohio in State v. Anderson, 57 Ohio St.3d 168, 566 N.E.2d 1224 (Oh.1991), cert. denied, Anderson v. Ohio, 501 U.S. 1257, 111 S.Ct. 2904, 115 L.Ed.2d 1067 (1991), has addressed the constitutionality of a similar law in their jurisdiction. We find its reasoning and holding instructive and apply it here.
In that case, the Ohio statute stated that a “vicious dog” was any dog that “’belong[ed] to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog,’” and that “[t]he ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.’” Id. at 1225 (quoting Ohio R.C. 955.11(A)(4)(a)(iii)). The dog owner in that case claimed on appeal that this statute was unconstitutionally void for vagueness. Id. at 1226.
The court disagreed with the dog owner and held that the statute was not unconstitutionally void for vagueness. The court reasoned that “pit bull dogs are distinctive enough that the ordinary dog owner knows or can discover with reasonable effort whether he or she owns such a dog.” Id. at 1227. The court specifically discussed certain distinguishable physical characteristics of pit bulls, as well as certain distinctive behavioral features. Id. at 1227-28. 779*779 The court concluded that “the physical and behavioral traits of pit bulls together with the commonly available knowledge of dog breeds typically acquired by potential dog owners or otherwise possessed by veterinarians or breeders are sufficient to inform a dog owner as to whether he owns a dog commonly known as a pit bull dog.” – Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District
1993 – Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
Dog Federation v. City of South Milwaukee, 178 Wis. 2d 353 – Wis: Court of Appeals 1993
Although there are decisions that have ruled pit bull ordinances too vague to pass constitutional muster, see American Dog Owners Ass’n v. City of Des Moines, 469 N.W.2d 416, 417-418 (Iowa 1991) (ordinance banning Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier or dogs of any “other breed or mixed breed … known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers”); American Dog Owners Ass’n v. City of Lynn, 533 N.E.2d 642, 646 (Mass. 364*364 1989) (identification by breed name insufficient) (dictum), the Federation and the individual appellants here have not carried their burden of demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt that the City of South Milwaukee ordinance is impermissibly vague on its face. As Peters notes, “’the dog owner, who harbors the dogs at his residence, is the one subject to the penalties of the law. He should know the kind of dogs he owns.’” 534 So.2d at 768 n.13 (citation omitted). Simply put, a person acquires a dog for certain physical and mental characteristics. The ordinance puts persons who have or acquire dogs on sufficient notice of the type of dog that is prohibited. Accepting as verities for the purpose of this decision Dr. Brown’s conclusions that there is no absolute way to determine whether a dog is in fact a pit bull as defined in the ordinance, those conclusions do not overcome the presumption of constitutionality. Problems of ultimate proof do not make the ordinance unduly vague on its face. As succinctly phrased by Peters, whether a dog is within the ordinance “is a matter of evidence, not constitutional law.” – Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
1991 – Supreme Court of Iowa
American Dog Owners Ass’n v. Des Moines, 469 NW 2d 416 – Iowa: Supreme Court 1991
Subsections vi, vii and viii of the ordinance refer to particular breeds of dog. The record shows that the determination of a dog’s breed can be done according to objective standards, although there are limits on the precision of such classifications. We believe the breed classifications listed in subsections vi, vii and viii give the reader as much guidance as the subject matter permits. We believe these subsections permit a reader of ordinary intelligence to determine which dogs are included. – Supreme Court of Iowa
1989 – Court of Appeals of Ohio
State v. Robinson, 44 Ohio App. 3d 128 – Ohio: Court of Appeals 1989
In Garcia v. Tijeras (1988), 108 N.M. 116, 767 P. 2d 355, a New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a municipal ordinance banning the ownership or possession of a breed of dog “known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” As in the case at bar, the animal owners in Garcia challenged the ordinance as violating due process on the basis of vagueness for failing to adequately define “American Pit Bull Terrier.” The trial court found that American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed readily identifiable by laymen, and rejected the dog owners’ argument that the ordinance lacked meaningful standards that could be used to identify those dogs subject to its prohibition.– Court of Appeals of Ohio
1989 – United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, W.D.
Vanater v. Village of South Point, 717 F. Supp. 1236 – Dist. Court, SD Ohio 1989
“The Court concludes that the definitions of a Pit Bull Terrier in this Ordinance are not unconstitutionally vague. An ordinary person could easily refer to a dictionary, a dog buyer’s guide or any dog book for guidance and instruction; also, the AmericanKennel Club and United Kennel Club have set forth standards for Staffordshire BullTerriers and American Stafforshire Terriers to help determine whether a dog is described by any one of them. While it may be true that some definitions contain descriptions which lack “mathematical certainty,” such precision and definiteness is not essential to constitutionality. – United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, W.D.
1989 – Supreme Court of Kansas
Hearn v. City of Overland Park, 772 P. 2d 758 – Kan: Supreme Court 1989
The New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a similar local ordinance from a challenge for impermissive vagueness in Garcia 644*644 v. Village of Tijeras, 108 N.M. 116, 767 P.2d 355 (Ct. App. 1988). The village ordinance prohibited the ownership or possession in the village of “any dog of the breed known as American Pit Bull Terrier.” The Court of Appeals concluded that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the findings of the trial court.
“The trial court found that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen. We understand the trial court’s finding to have been that the breed can be identified by persons who are not qualified to be dog show judges….
“There was testimony at trial that the term ‘pit bull’ is the generic term for ‘American Staffordshire Terrier.’ There was also testimony at trial that there is no difference between the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier.
“In addition, there was testimony that each breed of dog has a typical physical appearance termed as ‘phenotype,’ and that an unregistered dog can be identified as being of the breed ‘American Pit Bull Terrier’ by its physical characteristics, or phenotype. Several witnesses testified that they could recognize an American Pit Bull Terrier by its physical characteristics.
“We believe this evidence supports a determination that the breed American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed of dog recognized by its physical appearance. Given our obligation to indulge every presumption in favor of constitutionality, we interpret the term ‘known as’ in light of the testimony at trial. Thus, we interpret the ordinance to include not only dogs that are registered, but also dogs that are recognizable, as American Pit Bull Terriers or American Staffordshire Terriers.” – Supreme Court of Kansas
1988 – District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District
State v. Peters, 534 So. 2d 760 – Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 3rd Dist. 1988
As the ordinance makes clear, a dog is a “pit bull” if it substantially conforms to the American Kennel Club standard for Staffordshire Terriers or the American Kennel Club standard for Staffordshire Bull Terriers or the United Kennel Club standard for American Pit Bull Terriers. An owner or prospective owner of a dog need only look at each of the three standards and determine whether the dog is described by any one of them; if it is, then that the dog is not described by the other standards is irrelevant. – District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District
1988 – Court of Appeals of New Mexico
Garcia v. Village of Tijeras, 767 P. 2d 355 – NM: Court of Appeals 1988
The trial court found that the American Pit Bull Terrier is a recognized breed of dog readily identifiable by laymen. We understand the trial court’s finding to have been that the breed can be identified by persons who are not qualified to be dog show judges …
In addition, there was testimony that each breed of dog has a typical physical appearance termed as “phenotype,” and that an unregistered dog can be identified as being of the breed “American Pit Bull Terrier” by its physical characteristics, or phenotype. Several witnesses testified that they could recognize an American Pit Bull Terrier by its physical characteristics.
We believe this evidence supports a determination that the breed American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed of dog recognized by its physical appearance. Given our obligation to indulge every presumption in favor of constitutionality, we interpret the term “known as” in light of the testimony at trial. Thus, we interpret the ordinance to include not only dogs that are registered, but also dogs that are recognizable, as American Pit Bull Terriers or American Staffordshire Terriers.” – Court of Appeals of New Mexico
Now that it has been shown that high courts credit dog owners of ordinary intelligence with the ability to identify pit bulls, we come to research announced by the ASPCA in 2013 revealing that shelter volunteers’ visual identification of a pit bull agreed with the DNA test 96% of the time.
Dog owners of “ordinary intelligence” can identify pit bulls and shelter volunteers can identify pit bulls. Who else can manage this magical task? Please visit a dog show in your community and watch the judges work. Every dog show ever held relies on a visual identification system. Dog show judges are mere mortals like the rest of us, but they visually identify breeds, and also identify minute deviations from individual breed standards in order to pick breed winners.
So, “ordinary” dog owners, shelter volunteers and certainly dog show judges can identify pit bulls, but veterinarians regularly state that they are unable to identify pit bulls.
The official position of the veterinary profession is found in a statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
Since no scientific proof is required to establish breeds and inaccurate reporting of alleged breed has such great repercussions, it is now recommended that veterinarians and shelters refrain from trying to identify breed mixes visually. Dog DNA tests reveal that even professionals experienced at identifying dog breeds (veterinarians, dog trainers, breeders, animal control officials, shelter workers, etc.) are unable to reliably identify breeds. – American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
The reason these reluctant veterinarians and shelters are unable to “scientifically” prove breed ID for pit bulls via DNA test is that canine DNA tests are wildly unreliable, and no company producing canine DNA tests has been able to build a DNA profile for pit bulls.
The most widely used canine DNA test, the Wisdom Panel by Mars Veterinary, provides no independent scientific testing for the accuracy of their test. Mars claims 84% accuracy for offspring in first-generation crossbreds of known parentage. The accuracy of the test in dogs with more than two breeds and in dogs “lacking any purebred heritage” is unknown.
All of the pseudo-scientific papers by pit bull advocates attempting to show that visual identification is unreliable use this highly unreliable and unverified DNA test. One of these papers was obliged to disclose this about the Mars Wisdom Panel test they used attempting to discredit the accuracy of visual identification:
Limitations of our study include unknown sensitivity and specificity of the DNA breed testing and lack of a DNA test for American pit bull terrier. There is also no DNA test for ‘pit bull,’ since this term refers to a phenotype, not a pedigree. The test for the Bayesian analysis used by providers of the DNA testing relied on breed signatures of purebred dogs selected for the database and not a representative randomized sample of all dogs, which might be a source of inaccuracy. In addition, relatively little information exists regarding the accuracy of the DNA test for identifying the breed composition of mixed breed dogs. – Study authors
The Wisdom Panel does not include a DNA profile for the American Pit Bull Terrier, the most populous breed in the pit bull group. You could test every dog at a Pit Pride Parade and likely not get a single positive for pit bull. From the Wisdom Panel FAQ: “Due to the genetic diversity of this group, Mars Veterinary cannot build a DNA profile to genetically identify every dog that may be visually classified as a Pit-bull.” An additional quote states that the test is not to be used for BSL issues “Wisdom Panel® 2.0 is designed and intended to be used solely to identify the breed history of a dog and no other purpose is authorized or permitted. Wisdom Panel 2.5 and 3.0 are intended to be used to identify the breed history of a dog, as well as screen for the MDR1 genetic mutation and no other purpose is authorized or permitted.”