What does Bad Rap commenting on the “nanny dog” really tell us?

Posted September 25th, 2014 in BSL News by Josh

There’s many things that irrational dog-hating and BSL-pushing exploitation artists say and do that will never add up, make any kind of sense, or be backed up by actual reality and evidence. That aside, it’s still comical when these persons act in such ways that clearly show their bias and their hypocrisy to the core. I present to you… The “nanny dog” and Bad Rap commenting on the “nanny dog”!

Okay, so let’s see here. How many things has Bad Rap ever said in regards to Pit Bulls that a dog-hating, BSL-pushing exploitation artist would ever agree with? Close to nothing, right? Instead, they’d likely spend a lot of their time and energy mocking and/or trying to discredit Bad Rap and anything that they do in regard to advocating for Pit Bulls… Yet as soon as Bad Rap posted the below Facebook comment from a few years back they were all of a sudden being held up by their mockers as 100% accurate and completely “right” on the topic of Pit Bulls never being nanny dogs.

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This comment continues to be rolled out by random anti-Pit Bull scaremongers as “proof” that Pit Bulls were never “nanny dogs.” They’ll then try to use this narrative to imply that Bad Rap has had a hiccup of dignity while the rest of us (millions of people) continue endangering all of America by allowing our “landsharks” to walk public streets as the innocent dogs that they actually are.

Let’s unpack this nanny dog topic a little bit, shall we? First off, whoever got the opportunity to wake up 1 morning and unequivocally proclaim that there was even such a thing as an entire breed of canine being labeled as nanny dogs? Did this factoid make it into a presidential speech from the past? Was there some kind of parade that I missed? I mean, they do realize that this term grew from different people referring to their own INDIVIDUAL dogs as nanny dogs, right? Yet somehow this label gets placed on an entire group or breed or characterization of dog as if it was/is 100% fact 100% of the time. Everyone who actually knows anything about dogs, and thus knows that dogs are individuals, knows that this isn’t true. Yet the Pit Bull haters will act as though everyone who has no problem with Pit Bulls believes it is true so that they can then try to discredit those same people through denying this dumbed down soundbite/talking point. See how that works?

All that Bad Rap is basically saying by posting what they did was that you can’t look at any group of anything and state with specificity that all of those individuals making up whatever group are each going to be like “x.” That’s blatant common sense. Dogs are individuals. So to imply that every dog from any breed or group of breeds/types is completely safe left around children unattended would be doing a disservice to reality and thus public safety. Bad Rap is simply saying supervise your kids around any dog! That’s the responsible thing to do. Know your individual dog, know your individual child. Don’t excuse potential recklessness by justifying that reckless with a false sense of security. It’s that simple, and quite obviously.

So… I mean, my God, what is wrong with that? Does that mean that all of those vintage photos showing kids and dogs didn’t exist? No! Obviously they exist. Does that mean that those Pit Bulls pictured didn’t serve as nanny dogs in those individual households? No! Obviously many did.

Still, the mentally ill who want nothing more than to see piles and piles of dead Pit Bulls will spin and take out of context and flip and flop and turn on a dime any comment, so long as it allows them the opportunity to fool useful idiots into supporting their scapegoating nonsense. Truth be told, they don’t believe nor have they moved to validate a single thing that Bad Rap has ever said about Pit Bulls… Unless, of course, it aligns (out of context) with something that they already believe! Then they’ll comically move to treat Bad Rap (in this instance) as if they are the grand poobah on the topic… Just picture someone who wants all Pit Bulls banned or dead running down the street saying “see, Bad Rap said it, it must be true!” Um, okay… But yet nothing else that Bad Rap has ever said gets acknowledged as “factual” by these same persons. That’s what we call a confirmation bias. End scene.

L.A. Times article reveals the attitude of select rescuers towards the homeless

Posted September 24th, 2014 in Community, Discrimination, Rescue by Josh

Last week I read a piece in the L.A. Times that really bothered me. It was entitled “Hounding a homeless man into giving up his dogs” and was written by Gale Holland. There were a few local animal rescuers quoted within the article (Jennifer Pryor and Wendy Smith) and their way of dealing with this situation was both ugly and embarrassing.

The article centered around Gerrick Miller, a man living on the street, and his dog Sugar, who had just had a litter of 10 puppies. Shortly after they were born a rescuer (Smith) began videotaping the puppies and prodding others to drop by and photograph Sugar. Los Angeles Animal Services then began receiving email blasts accusing Miller of “operating a puppy mill for profit.” That accusation is just patently ridiculous. Further, the “rescuers” demanded that the department confiscate Sugar and her 10 puppies. Brenda Barnette, head of LAAS, replied that the dogs could not just be seized without cause, which is absolutely correct.

Just think… Do we really need a group of self-righteous animal rescuers deciding who should be able to have dogs and who shouldn’t? How subjective and outrageously draconian would that process quickly become?

Meanwhile, Smith continued videotaping Miller and his dogs, as well as different interactions that he had with a bicycle officer. Her video was then sent to Pryor and used as evidence showing the city’s “inaction.” Mind you, there’s no evidence of the dogs being treated poorly or being abused, and there’s no evidence to show that Sugar didn’t absolutely love Mr. Miller. Regardless, Jennifer Pryor let it be known that she was outraged that Barnette didn’t cite Miller for “breeding without a permit” or for “breaking the city’s spay and neuter law.” Wait, you mean the law that isn’t even enforced across the board? Why should a homeless person be targeted by a law that no one else in the city is targeted with? Where in the hell is your empathy?

Here’s an idea… How about promoting the concept that the city start policing their own ranks before harassing the most vulnerable members of Los Angeles? For example: How many animal rescuers are blatantly violating the pet limit within the city, but then turning around and calling other people hoarders? Any? I know that this number isn’t zero. How many animal rescuers are publicly condemning the concept of breeding but then privately breeding toy dogs on the side for profit? Any? I know that this number isn’t zero. Shouldn’t the department be focusing on them foremost? If a law, any law, is going to be enforced then it damn well better be enforced equally and consistently. Meaning, it damn well better affect everyone and not just target certain classes or types of people. That way we can all have a stake in seeing if it’s a decent law or a terrible one, and then have an honest go at communicating about it.

Jennifer Pryor is quoted in Holland’s article as saying “the homeless have become a serious problem of abuse and contributing to pet overpopulation.” Shame on you, Jennifer Pryor. That is a total misrepresentation steeped in exaggeration and completely barren of specifics. Whitney Smith chimes in that “if people are struggling, homeless and have addictions, another responsibility is not appropriate,” and that “it’s very easy to give a sob story for homeless, but the endgame for the animals isn’t pretty.” One of them also claimed that “homeless people breed Pit Bulls to sell as fighting dogs.” Ugh, total nonsense.

Below is a man that my girlfriend met when she happened to be carrying 1 of my cameras in her car. He would usually be very near to where she would exit for work, and he absolutely cherished his dog.

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Dianne gave him a new leash, and he gladly accepted it and used it immediately. As you can see in the top photograph, he was using a pretty large chain. Should he be demonized for having a chain? Absolutely not. Offer him something to use instead. Dianne was very touched by the connection that this man had with his dog, and he was so proud of his pet. I could cite many more interactions like this and my point is that you just have to treat people like you want to be treated…

Just last week we drove up to San Francisco and made multiple stays throughout Big Sur. It was here where we’d see a woman walking alongside Hwy. 1 with her recyclables attached to her bicycle and her 2 dogs (below). We had to see her about 5 different times in the span of a few days. On our way down we pulled off to talk with her and then met her again at the general store where she was pulled off to get cleaned up. She was making her way to Carmel because she had been offered a job on a farm. Her name was Lisa and she had a little scruffy dog named Sandy and a Pit Bull named Baby. They were both adorable and loved their momma very much.

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Anybody advocating to take these dogs from their people are authoritarian monsters who should be a million miles away from crafting any kind of policy.

Is there a homeless person out there somewhere in America that is being abusive or sending a dog to a dog fighter? I don’t know, I’m sure there might be. But does that represent 99.9% of the people living on the streets with pets? Hell no! So instead of all of that bad energy, where’s the offered resources? Where’s the helping hand? Homeless people are people without a home, but they are still people. How about you give them something else to remember you by other than condemnation and judgment?

Also, when does the collective blaming stop? People do it to different breeds of dogs all the time. People do it to low-income communities all the time. People do it to folks out living on the street and right here is a grand example of it. And these are all just issues linked to a dog issue. Sadly, my fear is that in reading the condescending statements from Pryor and Smith, many uninvolved readers might now move to typecast all “animal rescuers” or “activists” as control freaks or bullies towards the poor. See the perpetuated cycle when people group-blame? It promotes and greases the skids for further group-blame. Obviously they should stop the selective enforcement and move whatever mountain to end that load of hypocrisy. But until that environment manifests itself homeless folks should be the last people Jennifer Pryor and Wendy Smith should be out targeting. Yet they are always the first because they are the easiest to target and least likely to have any recourse to defend themselves. Most importantly of all, the vast majority of these people very deeply love their pets. That love is being reciprocated. So many of these pets were homeless themselves prior to striking up a bond with whatever person. In comparison to you, think about how much more time and attention goes into keeping a pet with you 24/7. To downplay these connections, to look down upon this reality, to take away this possibility is just utterly outrageous and offensive.

Thankfully the article does include a few voices of reason. First, from Genevieve Frederick from Pets of the Homeless

A quarter of the nation’s 600,000 homeless people keep pets. Shunned by many, ignored by most, homeless people live lives of piercing loneliness. These pets provide them with something they need to feel human: unconditional love, loyalty.

And then from Claudia Perez, a skid row rescuer…

The problem is they stereotype all homeless people. Gerrick loved his dogs.

Notice how in Holland’s article it’s revealed that Perez is actually the person that convinced Miller to relinquish the dogs. She told him that they’d all be fixed and vaccinated, and that the shelter would hold them as his. She drove him to the shelter to see how they were doing. None of that access is by coincidence, as he trusted Perez and that’s directly due to Perez NOT judging him or treating him like a 2nd class citizen. Jennifer Pryor and Wendy Smith act in the opposite ways, and make up the “they” that Perez is referring to in the above quote.

The article ends by stating that Gerrick Miller was oddly arrested a few days after surrendering his dogs and is now serving a 1 year sentence in a drug rehabilitation program. Sugar’s puppies will very likely be adopted or rescued. Sugar’s future is unknown but she is most likely still at a city shelter. If you happen to have her ID# please email it to me on Facebook.

This most ridiculous headline attempts to demonize Pit Bulls twice

Posted August 26th, 2014 in Media by Josh

When we talk about Pit Bull demonization and misinformation that gets spread around the internet as if it’s fact, I’d offer up this headline and article as a pretty good example of such foolishness…

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So as you can see, not only does it imply that a Pit Bull’s head can shatter bullets, which it can’t, but it also overlooks the level of force that was rolled out and attempts to blame the dog for the outcome. Look, if you take a head shot then the inside of your skull is going to shatter, not the other way around. What very likely happened is that the cop shot at the dog, missed, and then part of the bullet ricocheted off of the ground and hit his fellow officer. Daugherty wants you to believe that the bullet was shattered over the Pit Bulls head (which lived, mind you) and then parts of it went downward into the ground and back upward into the officer’s arm. Further, she writes her piece as if the Pit Bull is actually to blame for the 2nd cop being shot, as if its head did the shooting. No inquiring into why such force was necessary in the first place, just blamed on a “charging” dog which has been labeled a Pit Bull through God only knows what channels and is now said to have a bionic head. Preposterous. Lastly, why is the dog’s breed or type relevant in this context unless you are trying to paint a dim picture of that breed or type? Phyllis Daugherty is known for this type of stuff, just Google her name.

PETA ideology showing itself in the concerns over artificial intelligence expansion

Posted August 22nd, 2014 in Parallels, Prejudice by Josh

Speaking to a conference room full of people in Sweden, engineer Nell Watson sought to ring the alarm on the ever-expansive use of artificial intelligence in the future world. She and others believe that droids, once developed to a certain level, could eventually come to kill human beings out of both malice and kindness.

Teaching machines to be kind is not enough, as robots could decide that the greatest compassion to humans as a race is to get rid of everyone to end suffering.

Yikes. That sounds like a national security issue and not a path that any rational person would ever want to go down. In regards to dogs, this concept mirrors the PETA mantra of killing dogs (primarily Pit Bulls) before they ever find themselves in a situation where there’s a chance of being abused by someone, thus “saving them from abuse.” Even though most all dogs won’t ever be abused. But that doesn’t matter to a group like PETA, who will lobby for legislation ensuring these deaths anyways. They will then say that they did it out of the kindness of their hearts. Death is so loving, right? Wrong.

Recording a roundtable discussion with a major focus on community

Posted August 12th, 2014 in Community by Josh

I hope that many of you will take numerous things away from this filmed conversation between Myself, Tino Sanchez from Peace Love & Pit Bulls, Dana Keithly from THAT Group, Kim Wolf from Beyond Breed and Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent director Jeff Theman…

Issues discussed include BSL, anti-dog policy, housing, insurance, judgment, lack of resources, community engagement and outreach, condemnation, poverty, messaging, media, shelters and shelter politics, mandatory spay and neuter, mandatory training, enforcement, animal abuse registries, Michael Vick, dog fighting, owner vs. guardian termanology, rescue rejection, using tools, dog bite-related human fatalities, responding to hit-pieces, protest, verbal delivery, infighting, amongst other things.

The connection one has with their dog is not a trivial thing

Posted July 24th, 2014 in Inspiration by Josh

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I find it really difficult to write about Sway. I’m not sure why. I think it may be because whatever I do write, I have this fear or this belief that it will just never be able to do her justice. To be clear, it won’t. There’s nothing that I could write that could ultimately do her justice, and with that, the concept of trying has left this wake of procrastination that’s kind of stalled numerous ideas and plagued requests that have come in about her from other people. But I also can’t carry that around, that need to live up to this ever-escalating vision of what she deserves, and not try to be vulnerable about how having her as such an important stalwart in my life was an absolutely priceless thing. She was incredible. Both incredible in general and incredible for me, to me, to my life.

It’s often these same conflicts that arise when I speak about her to other people, if they ask me in person or what have you. I rarely let myself go there, so to them it may come off as more of a canned response that leaves them kind of confused. I don’t know. One thing about me is that I kind of have a reputation for being outspoken and opinionated and raw, and vulnerable. But the loss of Sway throws a wrench into all of that. Point is, my emotions are heavily invested and have been interwoven amongst all of my memories that I carry in my mind. That’s all that I have. It’s quite tough to try to unpack my thoughts and this post may read awkwardly or come off as being all over the map. But instead of not saying anything I want to say some of these things that are in my head.

I physically lost Sway 5 years ago today. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes it feels so far in the past that I can’t even remember. Both thoughts are scary. Feeling like whatever wounds haven’t even scabbed is scary. Feeling like I have no scabs, like I have no scars, like I forgot something, and thus worrying how much more I’m going to come to forget, is just as scary.

No bullshit, I cannot watch the video that I made of her, the one that sits at the top of the right column of my website, without absolutely losing it. That doesn’t stop me from watching it. I usually watch it really late at night, and my reaction is silent, but it is a massive reaction, and still. I also cannot listen to those songs, even though they are some of my favorite songs, without gazing out of whatever window is nearby and deeply missing her. To be totally honest, I cannot even write what I just wrote without crying. This is the weird thing. After losing Sway I became more hardened in a sense that I cried less. I’m a sensitive person and somebody who isn’t scared to show my emotions, but for years after losing Sway it was damn near only the topic of her that could make me cry. My work in and around shelters, and the bonds with the shelter dogs, brings with it some really difficult pain. As much as I cried for those incredible dogs with the slanted fates, and still do, I could’ve cried triple. It’s like you power on through. Same goes for the non-dog-related issues of life in general, and there’s plenty of that to cry about, but my bond with Sway has this unique way of always cutting through. And that’s the odd thing, even now, that it’s like a faucet of immediacy. I miss her so much. For example, when I was last back home I had asked my mom to sit down and talk about Sway on video. I had a few questions for her and I sat behind my camera and asked them. I was watching her eyes well up with tears because she was seeing my eyes well up with tears. Rather quickly I literally couldn’t breathe because I was sobbing from how much I missed my dog.

How does this happen? It’s been 5 years, right? I’d just say that it speaks quite loudly to the connection between a dog and their person. What else can it say? That I’m crazy or unstable? I’m not. That I love animals more than people? I don’t. It simply states that dogs are extremely important to most folks, that they have a gentle and subtle power about them, and that their relationships with their people are not to be taken for granted or made to seem unimportant. And no matter what breed or mixed breed they might be!

But to keep going, a little over 2 years after Sway passed away I wrote an article for StubbyDog about grief. It’s still very tough for me to read. I’m very proud of what I wrote, but this grief does remain in part. It’s changed, I’ve come a long way with it, I’ve tried to turn it into many positive things, and that’s all that you can do. I imagine that it will always be tough. But love does give you the strength to always keep trying, to always try to find a way to make a difference, and love will always be the light at the end of the tunnel when you are having a really bad day. My dog certainly helped teach me that, and I’d say that that’s a pretty instrumental lesson to learn.

Speaking of bad days, I’ve had a lot of those lately. My life is in a different place than it was 5 years ago, and I’ve really expended a lot of energy trying to do all that I can do on the dog-related issues. Many other areas of my life have changed, some efforts have taken back seats to others, and this world keeps going full speed ahead regardless. I hope that my choices do make a continued difference, and will be something that will eventually propel me to a better place of comfort. It’s tough TRYING TO DO the good and the right instead of the passive or the easy. We all fail at times. I just know that with my own life I want to be able to continue to follow my passions and not have them be tossed into a ditch. It’s doubly tough to compartmentalize whatever efforts you are making and not have the consequences of those efforts trickle into your day-to-day unrelated life. But I only want that comfort if it comes aligned with doing the good and the right. To avoid having turmoil erupt while trying not to stray from that premise is an equally difficult thing to try and maneuver. So amidst the turmoil I often think back to my life with Sway, before all of the advocacy and becoming really tuned in with what goes on, and I wish that I could just lay down on the couch with her or go to the beach and watch her chase her football around. That would certainly lift my spirits.

To close, I couldn’t even fathom being deprived of having Sway in my life. That would’ve been such a shame. I am so grateful that we crossed paths and that she was able to live out her life as a loved dog and not anything less than that. Sway was a dog, and an amazing one at that. She was a great friend to our family cat Rufus and a great friend to my nephew Jaelon. She was a conduit for a personal experience, a changer of minds, an integral part of our family unit, loved by many, and my absolute shadow and friend. Those are the facts. No one can change that.

It breaks my heart that there are actually entities out there that make it their obsessive objective to render these dogs as caricatures of the worst possible thing imaginable. This aims to disregard and end connections like the one that I’ve had, and this is happening every single day. They do these things while ignoring all of the rules of the universe, the golden rule, the concepts of freedom and individualism, and the power of love. To wade through that delusional hate is a tough ask in any number of ways. It absolutely can challenge your senses. But at the end of the day it’s an easy choice to make because they are wrong.

I remember holding a picture of Sway up to the Pasadena City Council on the first night that I spoke in front of them, asking them not to scapegoat dogs that they will never know. Telling them how important she was to my life. Simply telling them that she existed. She was not a stereotype, nor was she a soundbyte, nor was she a news headline. She was a wonderful dog that lived a loving life and made a positive and multifaceted impact on the universe. The news normally doesn’t want to cover that kind of thing. But if for some reason they ever did, lord knows there’s enough examples out there for them to choose from.

Calling Craven Desires to jump on video chat

Posted July 23rd, 2014 in BSL News, Prejudice by Josh

My Google Hangout ID is swayloveorg@gmail, ADD ME, LET ME KNOW CRAVEN. While you’re at it, try to prompt Jeff Borchardt into doing the same thing. All I’ve heard is silence, as I’ve put myself out there 100% and you guys continue to yap through text but evade any medium that would require an actual human interaction. I’m also sorry that our video of Clifton has upset so many people, but at least he had the courage to stand there and dialogue with people. I did send him the debate proposal that he wanted and I haven’t heard anything about it. William Johnson has put my request off until potentially 2016, due to a pending lawsuit that he states he is involved in. So honestly, the only trends that I’m seeing is that I’m putting myself out there repeatedly, and that no one is actually willing to step up and have any kind of a public conversation on the issues. Also, Colleen Lynn, consider this another public challenge to fire up your webcam. If your information is so amazing, if it’s so honest and genuine, then why would everyone run from the opportunity to make a fool out of me? And further, if you think that I’m some kind of a loose cannon or something then wouldn’t that make you want to take me up on my offer even faster? You could show how unintelligent and unhinged I am, right?

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Talking with Merritt Clifton

Posted July 19th, 2014 in BSL News by Josh

So last Friday I had the opportunity to attend the Animal Rights 2014 National Conference where Merritt Clifton, former editor of Animal People and current editor of Animals 24-7, was set to co-present on a panel entitled “Moving away from shelter killing.” I know… It seems contradictory to have such a person speaking on such a panel, considering Clifton is a pusher of BSL and the concept of eliminating all Pit Bulls. Anyways, after the panel wrapped up numerous people (including Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent director Jeff Theman and Kim Wolf from Beyond Breed) had an opportunity to engage Clifton on some of the questionable claims that his “statistics” aim to support.

During a downtime in the panel Kim interjected to ask him a question about his statistics and why they haven’t been peer-reviewed in scientific journals, to which Merritt said that he has “more than 100 peer-reviewed publications.” That’s a dubious claim, at best. Being quoted in a printed or online publication by a source unaware of your lack of credentials doesn’t exactly count. Clifton then claimed that the JAVMA publications, which is a scientific journal that is peer-reviewed, are authored by “paid, professional Pit Bull advocates,” who he claims he’d be happy to debate at any time in a public forum. Um, okay. I’m certainly not a “paid” advocate but I chimed in from the crowd that we’d be attempting to hold him to that. He asked me what my name was, and I told him, and then he called me a heckler who hollers anonymously from the back of the crowd. I repeated my name again, so I don’t know, apparently we have different definitions of the word anonymous.

After the panel wrapped up I approached him and apologized for being a “heckler,” introducing myself and asking him what his deal was against our dogs. He claimed that “you’re not going to reduce the shelter killing of Pit Bulls unless you have breed-specific legislation.” Holy crap. That’s not true. To his point about “needing” BSL, Merritt gave no acknowledgement to the perpetuation of harsh, negative, inflammatory and untrue stereotypes that his cherry-picked (and often unverified) data tries to promote. He paid no attention to the lack of housing, renter restrictions, insurance restrictions, and so on that that stuff constantly feeds. He gave no acknowledgement to how these laws are often actually used as end-arounds to human being profiling. And he paid no attention to the shelter system structure, many of which practice (off the books) in-house BSL, which obviously feeds the shelter killing of Pit Bulls. All of these quite necessary elements were conveniently left out of his explanation as to “why” we need BSL. Not very genuine, to say the least.

At 1:48 Merritt says “when you consider that there are around 150 recognized breeds, for any 1 breed to make up more than 1% is actually significant.” Wow, well that’s odd. Because when dog-banners talk about Pit Bulls they always say that “Pit Bulls ONLY make up 4-6% of the total dog population.” Key word: Only. First of all, that claim is totally untrue and most definitely dwarfed by reality. But even if it was true, Merritt just said that it’s significant for any breed to be over 1% of the dog population, right? But then that rhetoric is conveniently flipped when it needs to serve another purpose, and in an effort to try to claim that there’s not a lot of Pit Bulls that exist in the country. See, if dog-banners admit that there’s a lot of Pit Bulls in existence then they ultimately have to admit that there’s a lot of Pit Bulls that have never harmed anyone. That’s the reality, to the 99.99999 percentile, and no matter the numbers that you want to work with.

At 3:44 he says “very often, a breeder, if a certain dog becomes dog of the year, they’ll just change which dogs mate, so they’ll turn out Goldens 1 year and Chocolate Labs the next, and out of the same mother.” See the dilution of breeds taking place in just that example? I bet if you saw those dogs most people wouldn’t even be able to tell. Just think about that for a second, and how dogs are clearly dogs. Yet Golden Retrievers are held up on their own, and Labradors on their own, and so on and so forth. But what if a Golden Retriever or a Labrador is mixed with a mixed dog, or is mixed with a random dog that someone considers to be a Pit Bull? Is it now a Pit Bull? At what point does it become a Pit Bull? Dogs are dogs folks.

At 4:38 Clifton starts to talk about high-volume, low-cost spay and neuter programs in a way that implies that it was being tried and done in all of these states (he gives both Ohio and New York as examples), but that nobody seemed to want to take advantage of it. This is just fundamentally not true! Kim Wolf, who resides in Brooklyn, intervened to state that in NYC people actually line up at 5am for the clinics but that 2/3rds of those people are normally turned away due to the demand not being able to be met. Her point is that it was incredibly difficult to access these things, and these are the people with the means to access them! Much more pertinent are the lower income folks who may not have the appropriate information or the transportation to get to such an event. Kim’s point aligns pretty well with what I’ve come to understand and see when talking with different communities from California who are being focused on by animal control without being given access to proper resources that would make voluntary compliance far more likely to happen. For instance, in the city of Indio a 2013 spay and neuter clinic which had 40 spots available saw over 500 residents come out in an effort to get their pets sterilized.

At 10:08 Merritt claims that “media reports are the most accurate.” In comparison to what? I then try to ask him why breed remains the primary focus in the face of reckless circumstances like loose dogs, chained yard dogs and unsupervised children. Based on those “media reports” that he claims are the most accurate, 26 of 31 dog-bite related fatalities from 2013 and at least 15 of the 21 from 2014 have involved 1 or more of those 3 reckless (human controlled) circumstances. I tell him that he chooses to focus on breed, which “can’t even be determined.” Obviously I meant that it can’t be successfully determined simply by a media report mention. He says this is not the case. I try to explain that there’s not even a specific or consistent definition of what a “Pit Bull” is, to which he asks me if I can identify Santa Claus… This brings to mind Riverside County’s veterinarian Dr. Allan Drusys and his comparing Pit Bull breed identification to watching pornography, meaning that “you know it when you see it.” Total insanity. Numerous scientific studies reject this notion, including a 2012 study completed by Dr. Victoria Voith. Geneticist Kristopher Irizarry tried to explain this to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors back in October, and they, already having their minds made up prior to even entering the meeting, totally ignored his information.

At 12:00 Clifton makes it seem as if certain dogs come out of the womb pointing, retrieving, fighting. Dog men have stated openly how difficult it is to find a true fighting dog, no matter how they are bred, but Merritt Clifton wants you to believe that every Pit Bull that is born is basically a “fighting” dog. This is a massive load of crap. At 13:22 Jeff directly asks him if he is stating that these dogs were specifically bred for fighting and fighting only. Merritt’s answer? “Basically fighting and baiting.” This, while 99.99999% of all dogs neither fight nor bait in their actual lives. Should I start calling all Latin people reflections of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, just because they may look alike or have the same physical characteristics? Or are people individuals with their own track records and behaviors? This same premise applies to dogs. Dogs are not objects coming off of an assembly line. They are individual dogs!

At 14:31 I ask him if he believes that dogs are individuals, just as a basic principle… Clifton doesn’t really answer, opting to say that “dogs have extremely strong breed-specific characteristics that have been bred into them for years” instead. He then says that people don’t, which makes us all “mutts and mongrels.” He then says that “characteristics and behavior go together,” to which I’d immediately say, well, how do you then account for the actual positive behaviors of the many millions of Pit Bull-type dogs that exist in the country today? He can’t talk out of both sides of his mouth.

At 15:19 he states that he’s been talking to a geneticist that believes that she’s identified the gene that carries the trait for “idiopathic rage,” which they’re now going to try and pin on all Pit Bulls. Clifton states that it “occurs in roughly 1% of the dog population at large, but that it occurs in over 90% of Pit Bulls.” Wait, what? Alert the math police! First of all, based on Merritt’s own 2014 report, Pit Bulls and their mixes make up 6.7% of the dog population. This can in no way be proven, and in reality is likely triple or quadruple that, especially when taking into account how the mainstream media identifies dogs… But anyways, based on Merritt’s 6.7% and a dog population of 70 million, that produces 4.69 million “Pit Bulls.” 5.025 million based on a dog population of 75 million and 5.36 million based on a dog population of 80 million! Now look at their “idiopathic rage” claim again… 1% of a dog population of 70 million dogs is 700,000 dogs (750,000 out of 75 million, 800,000 out of 80 million). Based on Merritt’s own research there’s 4.7 million Pit Bulls in that same 70 million population group. Yet they are trying to pin “idiopathic rage” on Pit Bulls, and stating that it occurs in 90% of Pit Bulls, while at the same time stating that it only occurs in 1% of the total dog population. Using Merritt’s population claim: 90% of Pit Bulls in a total population of 70 million dogs would equal 4.22 million Pit Bulls. 1% of that same dog population equals a total of 700,000 dogs. Their math is ludicrously flawed. Even if every single dog from the “idiopathic rage” group was a “Pit Bull,” that still leaves 3.99 million Pit Bulls! It’s junk science. It’s crap. It’s lies. Just for fun, if we quadrupled Merritt’s estimated amount of “Pit Bulls” from a dog population of 70 million dogs (which is probably far more genuine and honest), that equals 18.76 million Pit Bulls. Now run that number through the same formulation from ^above. You get the point.

At 16:10 Jeff references a behaviorist that appears in his film, and how he states that “we have a lot of genes in our hand, but does it make my hand ball up into a fist and hit you?” Merritt says “if you were better qualified than someone else to be successful, as a behavioral strategy, to ball up your fist and hit somebody, uh, that could evolve the ability to do that successfully, which could evolve into a successful trait.” Keep in mind that Merritt’s claims are based in his belief that all Pit Bulls are dog fighting dogs… Now he’s trying to say that if you were “better qualified” to punch somebody in the face, that that could evolve into a successful gene or trait? I know a lot of people that are “better qualified” to be able to knock someone’s block off if they were to get into a physical fight! Does that mean that they are a fighter? Does that mean that they are a vicious person? Does that mean that they are a detriment to public safety? I mean, where does this type of crap lead? Think about The Rock, think about Jon “Bones” Jones, think about Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, think about Karl Malone or Ray Lewis, think about any professional athlete, think about any athlete at any level whatsoever! What about anyone over 6’5″, or anyone over 225 pounds? Where does the profiling end? This is all profiling pseudoscience!

At 18:25 Jeff talks about how his dog Preston loves to retrieve (my dog Neola also loves to retrieve). He asks Merritt “is my dog a retriever because he displays that trait, or is he now a Pit Bull because he looks like something?” Based on the road that we’ve been going down, this leaves Clifton kind of flustered. We then get back into his data, which he says comes from “classified ads,” but he leaves out the part about it never being made available to be publicly vetted in any way. I ask him how many dogs are not fatally wounding or mauling someone? He knows that the answer is 99.99999% of them, and no matter the breed or type, but I don’t get that answer. He instead claims that 1 out of every 107 Pit Bulls kills another animal each year. I ask him where that data comes from. He tells me to go to his website. How in the world can anyone even attempt to claim that they know this to be true? There’s literally no possible way to know such a stat, and for numerous reasons. None.

At 20:28 a lady who had been standing around the entire time that we were talking to Merritt chimes in and implies that I don’t want to protect these dogs. Protect them by passing BSL and/or phasing them out/killing them? Very PETA-ish of her. I try to explain how breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter is always rhetorically pitched. She doesn’t care. She says that I “agree with breeding,” and in a way that’s surely meant to make me seem as if I’m anti-spay and neuter. I’m not anti-spay and neuter! I just don’t think it should be mandated upon people (especially in a breed-specific fashion), and for a lot of different reasons that go well beyond a soundbyte or a statement that I could just flippantly toss out. I actually believe in voluntary spay and neuter, and making resources available and accessible, and educating people about those resources. My own dogs are sterilized. So put your simplistic breeder-related stuff back in the drawer. I’m not a breeder. I again try to explain how breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter is rhetorically pitched, which is the main reason why I don’t support it. It’s not to get at shelter killing, it’s not to get at overpopulation. It’s to criminalize the dogs as a whole and phase them out by circumventing state law. Look at California for the finest example. Somehow she doesn’t find any of this relevant. She claims “that’s not a good reason to fight it.” I’d strongly disagree! She says that we should be focused on stopping them from being killed. I’m trying to tell her that they are being killed mainly because of the perpetuated stereotype that continues to exist. At 21:45 Clifton tries to claim that the Pit Bulls coming into shelters are coming in because they’ve “had some kind of an incident.” There he goes again, speaking on behalf of countless individual dogs without having a damn clue about any of them. Unreal. We then get into landlord/tenant issues that are far more complicated than Merritt leads on, but that’s another discussion for another day. Merritt totally misses my point about renting and insurance blockades.

At 22:36 I ask him about a debate for a 2nd time. I’m certainly not a “paid” advocate, like he alluded to earlier, but I’ve publicly (and respectfully) debated in the past. I can’t get him to commit to anything. I offer to fly to Washington. He tells me to send him a “proposal,” but won’t just commit to the premise of at some point doing it. The other lady then interjects and makes a point about why a law is needed, while at the same time admitting that the BSL from the town in which she lives isn’t even enforced. Kim points out that if they won’t enforce that then why/how do you think they’d enforce a mandatory sterilization law?

At 26:15 Clifton basically admits that MSN-BSL and bans are both used for the same purpose, stating that “I don’t see any reason at all to breed Pit Bulls, or any other dog who is inclined or produced to kill or injure other animals.” There he goes again, condemning a massive group of dogs for things that the vast majority of them haven’t done. I try to explain this to both Merritt and the lady, but they state that if it isn’t born then you aren’t condemning it. Um, but you’re not having it be born precisely for the reason that it’s a condemned dog in your own mind! Hello!

This then delves into a side conversation between myself and the lady over dog fighting. She believes that if Pit Bulls cease to exist then the concept of dog fighting would cease to exist. That basically equates to blaming the dogs and ignoring the actual human being and their criminal behavior of illegally fighting dogs. I state that they’d probably just do it with another dog. She says “are you telling me that they’re going to fight Beagles?” Sidebar, but have you ever noticed how often this type of a tactic is used by proponents of regulating dog breeds? For example, if we are talking about fatalities, someone might say “well, is a Chihuahua going to kill somebody?” Um, are Chihuahuas (and in this case Beagles) the only other dogs available to make a valid comparison with? It’s funny that someone picks the tiniest dog in an effort to make their counter-point. There’s about 50 breeds of dog that are LARGER in physical size than a Pit Bull and just as (if not more) capable of killing a human being. That’s a fact.

At 29:59 the lady asks me “what are you looking to see in the end?” She, like PETA, views the concept of dogs as human companions as dogs being exploited. She admits that she wants to end dog companionship, and that that’s the “only” animal rights position. Yikes.

At 31:51 Kim asks Clifton if he has any peer-reviewed research that’s been published in the United States. He claims that he does. He states that he has an award from ProMED. He does, and it was given in 2010 regarding the controlling of the rabies virus in Asia. It’s not for anything relating to dog-related human fatalities, breed-specific legislation, or Pit Bulls, which is what she was specifically asking him about. Clifton explains why he doesn’t publish in JAVMA, but that he does provide data to them as a supporting writer, and states that he doesn’t make his living writing for journals. Kim asks him that if his data is so good then why isn’t he trying to get it published in peer-reviewed journals. He doesn’t really answer her directly. He justifies his publishing decisions by stating that he simply wants to reach the most people. But what if what he’s writing about is flat out wrong, unscientific or not able to be proven? Isn’t that relevant? He doesn’t seem to care much about having his information vetted in these ways, just that it reaches who it reaches. Okay, fair enough. But that’s kind of an incredible evasion of Kim’s point.

At 35:17 I again ask him about a future debate, because at this point my battery is about to die. He again tells me to send him a “proposal” (which I’ve since done).

At 36:23 the lady who had been talking with us brings up PETA. She doesn’t believe what Jeff and Kim are trying to tell her so I try to hand her a sheet of 40 sourced PETA quotations since the year 2000 which have been used to promote breed bans, all forms of breed-specific legislation, and the no adoption policy for shelter Pit Bulls that Ingrid Newkirk has lobbied for. She refuses to take, or even look at, the paper.

At this point we are out in the hallway, and the lady who had been engaged in our conversation for the last 30 minutes incredibly asks me if I’d been videotaping her. She knows that I had been, as any time I would address her I would physically turn in her direction and point my open video camera at her, but she strangely starts to play dumb. She then asks me for my name, and I give it to her, and then she runs off to get staff members in an effort to have them strong-arm me into giving up my memory card so that it could be erased/destroyed. I told them that that wasn’t happening, and that she was watching me record the conversation for damn near 40 minutes! She could have left the open room at any time. Also worth note, she opted to join the ongoing conversation that we were already having with Clifton, not the other way around. She goes on and on about them taking my camera, which they don’t try to do. Now this lady comes unglued and threatens to sue me. You’d think that if people were knowingly being recorded, and chose to stay around, that they then wouldn’t try and pull this type of crap after the fact. Stand on your information/pov! What are you afraid of other people hearing? If you’re correct then I/we should be looking like fools on my own video, right?

PETA still running from their anti-Pit Bull reality

Posted July 17th, 2014 in BSL News, Prejudice by Josh

Lisa Lange from PETA, upon being approached by myself in the hallway of the Pasadena City Council on Monday night, denied that PETA supports Pit Bull bans or any other form of breed/type regulation outside of spay and neuter. She denied that Ingrid Newkirk promotes/encourages/recommends/lobbies for actual shelter policies of not adopting Pit Bulls out to the public. She told me more than once that I was to blame for Pit Bulls being killed. She told me that since I didn’t support BSL-MSN and MSN that I actually supported dogs being chained and abused. She repeated numerous times that Pit Bulls are “the most abused dog in dogdom,” as if to justify their positions, but while not admitting or acknowledging them publicly. She actually told me that I kill dogs, calling me by name and pointing in an animated fashion at my camera. Her PETA affiliated supporters were chiming in but, to be honest, I was tuning them out. Lange then began to walk away and I followed her, asking how she could wear the shirt that she was wearing (this shirt) while at the same time working for an organization that supports any and every form of breed-discriminatory legislation. She told me again that my “shit” gets Pit Bulls killed and that “I should be ashamed of myself.” As they were at the end of the hall and about to turn the corner Lange yelled back at me “have fun with your little YouTube video.” Condescend much? Lol. I said that I would, and asked her if she liked my last one. Still scattering away, she said that she “doesn’t watch my stupid videos.” At this point their group is about 50 feet ahead of me. I shouted that I didn’t really care if she watched them, but that other people do, which is the point. And all of this was on video, until it wasn’t. Apparently when I unplugged my recording camera from the charger to roll out into the hallway it stopped recording, so then when I went to stop the recording it actually started to record. That’s when I knew that my video was fucked. It’s a damn shame, because the fraud that is Lisa Lange was hitting me with doublespeak like it was nobody’s business, and while wearing a t-shirt with a Pit Bull’s face on it! High comedy if it wasn’t so incredibly depressing, sad and terrifying.

Coincidentally I had just watched Lisa speak 3 days prior at the 2014 Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles, where I was attending in order to try and get a word in with anti-Pit Bull “statistician” Merritt Clifton. Lange started off the Friday festivities giving a speech about Sea World and their cruel and inhumane practice of containing orcas and dolphins in tiny tanks for entertainment. I clapped through most of her speech, as I obviously support the efforts to end the captivity of these incredible creatures, just as I support PETA in their attempts to end cruel practices like vivisection and factory farming, among other things. Many affiliated persons risk their lives to gather footage of these heinous things, and they also confront different folks and (at times) pull all kinds of extreme stunts in order to garner attention for the different issues. All that aside, Lange wrapped up her speech on Friday saying 2 things that I found pertinent to my attempt at exposing PETA’s utter hypocrisy on the related Pit Bull topics…

1) “The key here as activists is that we just have to look for every possible opportunity where it exists, and even if you think it doesn’t exist, it does exist. You just have to sit and have a think and go out and do what you can.” And 2) “Realize that our theme is to never be silent. No matter where you are, what you’re doing, what you see. Say something, because if you don’t no one will.”

Now kick around both of those quotes for a second. Isn’t that what I’m doing? Yet, it seems that they only respect these things when it’s regarding something that they approve of. On the other hand, if they don’t agree with you then having those concepts actually play out is frowned upon, and in my case, mocked by the very same lady that spoke those words to a conference room full of people 3 days prior to our run-in at City Hall.

Liberty > Fear

Posted July 16th, 2014 in BSL News, Inspiration by Josh

Sometimes natural happenings are just too rich to describe with just words… We are less than 2 weeks away from the latest BSL-related Pasadena City Council meeting, which have (up to this point) mainly centered around the Pit Bull targeting desires of authoritarian Steve Madison, and I just happened to notice a rather pertinent quote that was planted directly on the corner of Madison Ave. (anti-Pit Bull discriminator Steve Madison) and Colorado Blvd. (Colorado being the home to the city of Denver, which has the country’s most infamous Pit Bull ban). This is mere blocks away from the Pasadena City Hall…

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