July 15, 2007

AVMA: Dog Bite Prevention

I've added a link to A community approach to dog bite prevention, the AVMA's groundbreaking report, in the sidebar* under More Dog Links.

Statements from this comprehensive report were taken out of context, distorted and misinterpreted by supporters of the California mandatory spay/neuter bill, AB 1634. [More information on that here.]

What the report does say:
Which dogs bite?
An often-asked question is what breed or breeds of dogs are most “dangerous”? This inquiry can be prompted by a serious attack by a specific dog, or it may be the result of media-driven portrayals of a specific breed as “dangerous.” Although this is a common concern, singling out 1 or 2 breeds for control can result in a false sense of accomplishment. Doing so ignores the true scope of the problem and will not result in a responsible approach to protecting a community’s citizens.

Dog bite statistics are not really statistics, and they do not give an accurate picture of dogs that bite.
[A] dog’s tendency to bite depends on at least 5 interacting factors: heredity, early experience, later socialization and training, health (medical and behavioral), and victim behavior.

Note that the Task Force report does not recommend breed specific legislation, nor does it recommend mandatory spay/neuter.

I hope everyone will give it a read, but particularly reporters, editors, and municipal groups concerned with public safety and responsible dog care.

[*AKA the "gutter column," as Terrierman renamed it for all time.]

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