Reliable, factual information about a population has never come from a hate group dedicated to the eradication of that population. Such facts can only come from the population themselves, and those people who live and work with them on a regular basis.
As with certain populations of people, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and other stereotyped types of dogs are also targets of hate groups. The dogs themselves cannot speak, but the people who live and work with them can, and these people are often the most reliable sources of information about these types of dogs. It is important to note, however, that not all handlers of these types of dogs are reliable and factual, usually because of a particular bias, motivation, or lack of experience.
Below I have listed various sources for information regarding types of dogs and dog behavior, including non-reliable sources, with an explanation as to why these sources are or are not reliable.
These sources can and should be used for information and quotes when writing an article regarding breed-specific legislation or a particular breed/type of dog. (Note: only the breeds/types most commonly targeted by BSL are listed here; for other breeds/types, a national or prominent breed- or type-specific rescue group or breed club is recommended.)
Karen Delise. Delise has studied and analyzed dog attacks for well over a decade. With regards to the causes behind dog attacks, Delise is the most knowledgeable and experienced person in the United States. Her information consists not just of data but of a thorough analysis of the data. Her own publications, all of which are worth reading, include:
- National Canine Research Council website
- Book. Fatal Dog Attacks: The Facts Behind the Statistics
- Book. Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myth, and Politics Behind Canine Aggression
Marcy Setter. Setter is the Director of Education and Public Relations at Pit Bull Rescue Central and has her own website, Understand-a-Bull. She is extremely knowledgeable about BSL, pit bulls, and pit bull rescue, and has done many interviews on these topics. She can answer your questions and get you factal information for your article.
Pit Bull Rescue Central. The national website contains information written by extremely knowledgeable, experienced pit bull handlers, trainers, owners, and rescuers. This is the best place to go for factual information about pit bull type dogs. Media contact page is at: http://www.pbrc.net/mediacenter/mediaoffice.html
BAD RAP (Bay Area Dog Lovers Responsible About Pit Bulls). BAD RAP is the largest pit bull rescue group in California, and it holds a prominent position on the national stage as well. This group has helped rehome several Vick dogs. Media contact phone number is: 510-414-6461.
A Rotta Love Plus. An active Rottweiler and pit bull rescue group in Minnesota.
North East Rottweiler Rescue and Referral. This large group of volunteers and foster homes has been rescuing Rottweilers for ten years.
Doberman Pinscher Club of America. The only AKC-affiliated national club for Doberman Pinscher owners and breeders.
Payton’s Place Doberman Rescue. A large and active Doberman rescue group in Ohio.
These groups and websites have shown bias, hatred, and/or spread of misinformation.
Dogsbite.org. The website author, Colleen Lynn, a website designer, was allegedly bitten by a pit bull-type dog; consequently, her site’s goal is to spread as much misinformation as possible about pit bulls and dog attacks, primarily by twisting statistics to suit her ends and invoking damaging and hateful stereotypes. She is also known to viciously disparage and ridicule anyone who disagrees with her.
PETA. This radical “animal rights” organization uses twisted logic to justify their support of breed bans and breeding bans (pit bull specific). They fail to acknowledge the dog deaths that result from BSL, stating that their support of BSL stems from a desire to “save” pit bulls from abuse. (Never mind that BSL affects all pit bulls and pit bull owners, and often kills innocent dogs whether abuse is occurring or not.) PETA is also guilty of spreading myth and misinformation about pit bulls.
Families and Dogs Against Fighting Breeds. This Seattle-based group, run by Ellen Taft (who was attacked by alleged pit bulls), in conjunction with Colleen Lynn (Dogsbite.org, above), has modeled their proposed fighting-breed ban in Seattle after the UK’s Dangerous Dog Act, which has shown to be a miserable failure. On a national level, Taft is also trying to get “service animal” redefined to exclude “fighting breeds,” despite the value and rarity of service dogs of all breeds (the Delta Society, which trains service dogs, does not support Taft’s efforts). It should be noted that Bull Terriers are included in Taft’s list of “fighting breeds,” though the breed was never prominently used for dog fighting (the breed’s creator tried to create a canine gladiator but failed miserably; the breed then became common as a “gentleman’s dog”—a pet). FDAFB uses emotionally-charged, nonfactual arguments to support their poorly researched positions.
Richard Stratton. Stratton is an author of many popular books on the American Pit Bull Terrier. Stratton’s older writings are overtly supportive of dog fighting and he revels in the “culture” of “dog men” (dog fighters). In his books, he writes to an audience that desires an extremely tough/macho dog; image is very important, and to him, a dog that doesn’t fight is simply not a “real” dog. Therefore, much of the information in his books is heavily biased toward a macho audience.
Average dog owners (of any breed). Dog owners of all breeds, for the most part, have not taken the time to educate themselves about canine behavior and responsible dog ownership. Furthermore, many owners of targeted breeds such as pit bulls actually believe the myths about this type of dog (in fact, some may have obtained a pit bull specifically because of the stereotype), and will inadvertently perpetuate misinformation while believing that they are telling the truth. Dog owners should be quoted or used as sources with great care and with the understanding that these individuals are not experts, scientists, or reliable sources of factual information. Simply owning a dog does not make one an expert on dog behavior. Merely owning a pit bull does not make one an expert on pit bulls.