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Two pit bulls shot after they killed a small dog

Original post made on Dec 3, 2009

An East Palo Alto police officer shot two pit bulls that had mauled a small dog being walked by its owner Wednesday evening and then approached officers in a "vicious manner," police Captain John Chalmers said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 3, 2009, 1:35 AM

Comments (58)

Posted by stool
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 2:57 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Pit Bull Owner
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 7:55 am

Be happy that these dangerous dogs have been taken off the streets.
Kudos to the PD fpr their fast actions..

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 9:36 am

Irresponsible owners like that give all pitbulls (or dogs that look like them) a bad name. To shame.

Posted by Saddened by this
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

Why is it that two pitbulls who killed other dogs were still free to kill again????? I didn't understand how this was possible. I thought they put dogs that killed down. I am so sorry for the little innocent dog and its owner who had to watch that helpless. Being a dog lover, yet having been attacked by dogs twice in my life... one when I was walking my little brother and another when I was riding my bike in Barrow Park, makes me angry at not only the negligent owners, but also at a system that let's them get away with it.

Posted by Outlaw the breed
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

Pitbulls are not safe. The breed should be outlawed. It's fortunate that the dogs never mauled or killed any children. Shame on the owners.

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:54 am

Never leave your house, that way you will never be exposed to anything dangerous. Keep your blinds closed to block out the harmful sun rays.

Posted by Outlaw the breed
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:01 am

Koa -- I don't understand your point. Do you think it's normal to have to fend off vicous attack dogs with a prior history of killing anytime you go for a walk?

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:06 am

No, in fact I think it is extremely unusual to fend off vicious attack dogs that have a history of killing, which proves my point. Most people will never in their life get mauled by a dog, shot by a gun, or hit by a car; Outlawing these things is knee-jerk and hysterical.

Posted by KD
a resident of Los Altos
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:17 am

Koa has a point. I don't think we need to outlaw these things (and personally, I know a number of utterly charming pitbulls), we just need to be able to defend ourselves and our property. I recently found out - and am fascinated by the fact - that the more lenient the (gun) carry laws in state, the lower the crime rate. Interesting. Evidently, people wouldn't let dogs they care about terrorize others if they knew citizens could shoot them. And people don't break into houses when the homeowners can defend their property. Something to think about. I am all for fewer laws and more personal natural consequences.

Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:21 am

Tell that to the woman whose dog was killed, Koa. In fact, it's the owners of the pit bull who are to blame, not the breed. They made their dogs into killers and allowed them to run free. But then, if they had killed before, why were they not put down at that time? Koa's going a little overboard in making his point, is all.

Posted by stretch
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:22 am

What on earth is a "personal natural consequence"?!?

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:25 am

What? Did you even read my post?

"Posted by Koa, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, 1 hour ago

Irresponsible owners like that give all pitbulls (or dogs that look like them) a bad name. To shame."

Once again, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Say I raised my son from birth to be a vicious monster who knew nothing but violence. Who would you blame when he inevitably acted out of line? Should we outlaw children?

Posted by Agree with Koa!
a resident of University South
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:48 am

I agree - it's the owners - they should be in jail - send the dogs to rehab. There are MANY who have been rehabilitated after being raised to kill.

Posted by whaaat
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm

How are pitbulls not safe? You realize that the actions of these dogs is because of the way the dogs have been treated right? If you put a german shepherd with an owner like the same owners of the 2 pits I can bet money that the german shepherd would do the same thing. The reason is because some people don't use their dogs as pets, they use them as intimidation. Show no love to the pet, and receive no love back. Some people won't even let you pet the dog because they think it'll make the dog go soft. You obviously aren't around enough pits to realize how good these dogs can really be.

Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

There is reason for “Pits” to act this way EXCEPT the owner….

IT is NOT the dog’s problem. It is a HUMAN problem.

Now for all you that have problems with that comment please check out Dog Whisperer, every Friday night around 8 PM, Palo Alto COMCAST Channel 273. You might even try 6 and 7 pm for “reruns”…

It is suggested that the Police and the Humane Society check out Dog Whisperer too...

Dog Whisperer, aka Cesar Millan, does not "train" dogs in the sense of teaching them commands like "sit," "stay," "come," and "heel" - he rehabilitates unbalanced dogs and helps "re-train" their owners to better understand how to see the world through a dog's eyes.

Check out the following links:::

Who is Cesar Millan
Web Link

Cesar’s Approach
Web Link

Common Questions
Web Link


100 percent of the problems we have with any dog are due to the owners and not the dogs…..

It would be nice if our judicial system would require owners to complete a course with Cesar Millan except that Millan does not have a formal school.

He has a system that WORKS..

***I would greatly appreciate if people would check out the show and his methods before you all start “flaming” me, i.e., know what you are talking about FIRST.***

Posted by Caroline
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Retrievers retrieve, terriers dig, and spaniels swim. Dogs bred over the years to have certain characteristics continue to demonstrate them unless they have the great good fortune of having a Cesar Millan in their lives. So no surprise that Pits are dangerous and often owned by people who take no responsibility in keeping them from inflicting harm. A very dangerous combination indeed.

Posted by Dog
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Dog owners are parents. They have a lot to do with the way their dogs act. Unfortunately, a lot of people get aggressive breeds like pits to protect their homes and they don't take proper care of them. These types of owners often abuse their dogs and really have no business being dog owners.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:22 pm

There are places which for profit train large numbers of pit bulls to fight other dogs in arenas. Many of these dogs do end up as rescue. Not all of them are adequately rehabilitated.

One demented neighbor of mine used to walk a VERY aggressive pit bull around my neighborhood. No mouth harness even. If it came close to another person or dog it would go ballistic. She would mouth "he's a fear biter" as if that both explained and excused it. I would always not walk away and say "I am a fear dog kicker". I haven't seen her around lately so maybe she moved or the dog got put down (or both!).

On the other hand if I had a magic wand and suddenly could make all those pit bull arena "trainers' be convinced that a far superior dog for the arena was in fact standard French Poodles (and that keeping them show-groomed added to their aggressiveness) no doubt very soon afterwards rescue Poodles would be found to be the number one killer of humans.

But Pit Bulls have been bred to fight other dogs for centuries. Bull baiting was a sport going back even further (people used to think that cattle killed with fear produced better meat--who knows adrenaline release releases glucose in a pre-marinade fashion?).

And indeed same for many other "fighting dogs"--that is what they were originally bred for, although many have now been "watered down" as pets. Boxers, bulldogs, bullmastiffs trained to go after human poachers, etc.

Some of the rescue'd Pit Bulls are adequately "rehabilitated". But even so, would anyone leave such a dog alone with small children? Or other dogs? The trigger is always still back there.... lurking.

And many people who get rescue dogs don't do it with the adequate and necessary follow-up. They just want a cheap dog and rescue is so PC. If a purebred dog was similarly as cheap and a rescue dog cost thousands......(which they can when all the necessary training and care is done)...

Viewed from a 747 down, it's kind of crazy. We have people breeding training these dogs to be super aggressive and fight in arenas for money and sport. Then they get rescued and rehabilitated to live among humans and animals.

Others kept as "pets" with the macho image intact.

My little sister has a pit bull. Nice dog. But one day a school bus went by and it attacked the wheels. Big vet bill.

Posted by Saddened
a resident of University South
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Kudos to PAPD! At least they took care of these vicious dogs!!!

I have 2 little dogs and watched them get brutally attacked a few years ago by a dog (not a pit!) in my bldg in SF. SF Animal Control deemed the dog vicious and dangerous and only put the dog on probabtion (not even with a muzzle requirement). The dog has subsequently gone after additional dogs in the city after attacking my dogs and nothing was ever done which disgusts me. The owner finally took the dog to Seattle because residents in SF were harrassing her so much about her not taking responsibility for the dog.

My condolances to the owner of the dog that was killed. It is horrifying to watch - I still have nightmares of my dogs attacks every day! It does get easier over time - but the memory is always there. Please hang in there and I am so sorry for your loss.

Posted by No logic...
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm

People who say "ban pit bulls" are the same people who say "ban guns", etc. IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE! If that same person and her innocent little dog were to get run over by an SUV, I doubt that people would be shouting "ban SUVs!", altho I wish we could. :)

Instead, we need to focus on how people treat their pets, because 9 times out of 10, if they mistreat/neglect their animals, they will do the same - or worse - to those around them (kids, family, neighbors, strangers). I feel for the animals.

Posted by dog owner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm

A couple of years ago two pit bulls ran past me when I was walking on the Baylands walk near the Palo Alto Airport. They ran to the bridge that goes into East Palo Alto. I wonder if they were them? I was so happy that I didn't have my small dog along.

Posted by Ted
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:37 pm

If we all carried pistols when we walk around the neighborhoods we could respond to these incidents directly and not have to involve the police-and probably have save the poodles too...

Posted by Random Resident
a resident of Hoover School
on Dec 3, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Ted, although I'm generally in agreement with concealed carry licensing, you might want to tread lightly around this issue on a Palo Alto forum....

Nature vs. Nurture. Of course one can argue that pitbulls are bred to fight, but in the end it's the owner's liability- they weren't FORCED to get that specific breed, and if they don't train their dog or keep it under control, it's their fault if the dog does anything malicious, and they should be held accountable! </run on>

Posted by Jennifer8
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Pit bulls have a bad rap - due to terrible "owners" (or whoever was responsible for breeding them). According to national standard dog behavior tests, they're rated one of the most gentle with respect to people, especially young children (i.e., VERY LOW human aggression - don't let the few hyped up news stories get to you; the ones in the news were all unneutered, unspayed AND not familly dogs who lived inside the house as part of a family unit AND mistreated in general). However, they can be highly animal aggressive (as opposed to HUMAN aggressive, which is totally different from animal aggression) due to their breeding history (i.e., dogfights).

Pit bulls who are properly neutered/spayed make the best pets.

Summary: There are NO BAD DOGS - just BAD DOG OWNERS.

Posted by Sola
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Most of the pit bulls who KILL KIDS start by attacking other pets.

And pit bulls are NUMBER ONE for killing people and pets.

Until there are some regulations for pit bulls, the blood will continue to flow. And as long as animal control enables vicious dogs, they will be responsible eventually for a human fatality.

Look at

The body count thanks to pit bulls is rising. Pit bulls have problems that other dogs don't have because pit bulls are not bred to be pets. They are bred to be FIGHTING DOGS!

YES, pit bulls are different, but thanks to the dog fighters and breeders who make money from them, the lies to cover up pit bull problems abound.

Posted by Ann
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:01 am

Captain John Chalmers, why has your department done NOTHING about dogs that have already attacked and killed? These dogs should have been seized and euthanized long ago.

When one of these vicious dogs that your department is enabling kills a child, then your department will be held accountable.

You are helping vicious dog owners potentially murder someone by doing nothing about these vicious dogs.

Posted by Onetime Attackee
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:40 am

Koa, just because something is "rare" doesn't mean it shouldn't be guarded (or legislated) against. BTW, I WAS once attacked by a loose dog (not a pit bull, but half-dingo) as I was merely walking down a street. Its own owner couldn't even get it off me, and had to run into her house to get a broom to beat it off me. The only reason I wasn't seriously injured is that I was heavily dressed for the Michigan winter weather. (This dog also had a history of attacking other people in the neighborhood.)

Also, even the best-trained dogs, if running loose with other dogs in a pack, can revert to aggressive pack behavior, and do things they never would on their own.

Ted, would you advocate that all small children playing out in their front yards should carry weapons to defend themselves from loose dogs? Or are leash laws perhaps a more reasonable option?

Posted by William Smith
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:23 am

I am both amused and saddened by those like KD who turn every event into an argument for more guns. They also tend to butcher and misuse logic and statistics, such as this case where he tries to turn an incidental association into a causal event without any real understanding of causality or statistics.
Get a clue, KD. The more guns there are floating around, the more that some of them are going to wind up in the hands of those who shouldn't have them or don't know how to use them properly.

And for those of you who don't know what "personal natural consequences" means, just open up your paper and read about another accidental shooting of children or a heated quarrel that turns deadly or a drive-by shooting or some whacko who takes out his anger by killing his ex and all her family, etc etc. It happens virtually every day.

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 4, 2009 at 9:40 am

Onetime Attackee-
I'm not saying that bad dogs shouldn't be taken away from their bad owners, regardless of the breed. My point throughout this forum is that it is irresponsible and hysterical to outlaw and entire breed based on the actions of a handful of bad owners.

I have an American Staffordshire Terrier (similar characteristics to the American Pit Bull Terrier) named Koa. Amstaff's have the well-deserved nickname of the "Nanny Dog" because of their affection and gentleness to humans.

Posted by dogs
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 9:41 am

Folks who do not live in the community of topic, please just read. You do not know what it is like to be in EPA. Outsiders come into EPA to support illegal activity. So eave our dogs alone.

I agree pets are pets so keep them as such. Guard dogs are guard dog, however they should not go out into the streets or off their property. Pit bulls can be friendly. More people die on the road, lets ban driving!!

I guess we forget how to rationalize.

I love dogs.

Posted by Cynthia
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:33 am

I have encountered MANY ignorant people who own vicious dogs-and always want to debate that THEIR dog doesn't bite! Two of these people, one black man and one white man, both parked their dogs where small children had to pass. One at the library entrance, in EPA-the couldn't fathom why I had a problem with his pit bull parked at the entrance of a library? The white man, in front of TOGO's, never said a word, just called the police (which I'd also done) and tried to have ME arrested. Guess whose side the police were on (even though other patrons complained about the vicious dog barking at their children). My question to all IGNORANT people with Pit Bulls who always say "My dog doesn't bite", Is "How in the Hell do they eat their food it they don't bite!

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Someone asked why the dogs were still alive after the first incident. It's due to the fear of the victim dog owner that more wasn't done the first time. The owners of the attacking dogs sound like, from what I've heard, total losers. Awful, awful situation. The dogs were unaltered, which also makes them more aggressive, more territorial, more likely to wander.

Posted by To Ann
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Capt. Chalmers is not in charge of dealing with vicious dogs; neither is the rest of the police department. The responsibilit lies with animal control in the county, and there is a process afte a dog attacks another animals off of its own property. The owner of the previous victim dog was too scared of retaliation to do much about what happened to their dog. If you really want to get the facts, call the Peninsula Humane Society to see what info is public knowledge and what the process is to go about getting the info.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 12:40 pm

As a long time EPA resident, I see stray dogs all the time, unfortunately. Many of them are pit bulls. I have successfully dealt with many of them, without getting attacked. The friendly pit bulls don't make headlines. I'd like to read more news stories about other breeds of dogs when they behave viciously. However, there are also plenty of dangerous pit bulls in EPA. I am a dog lover and a dog owner. We have to always be realistic about our pets and what they're capable of, whether it's our cat that if allowed outdoors can decimate small wildlife, or a dog which injures other animals. This made the news because the cops decided to issue a press release, probably because of the fear and controversy the term pit bull causes. You can't get an adequate idea of the breed from these types of new reports. I suggest 2 books, in addition to Cesar Millan's books:

Fatal Dog Attacks
The Pit Bull Placebo

Both are by RVT Karen DeLise: Web Link
Both are excellent books for those interested in what really happens behind the headlines, historically and currently.

Note that the dog with the 2nd highest dangerous dog designation (the pit bulls is the first) in San Mateo County is....the labrador retriever.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm

"There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners" -- ridiculous. Look in any guide to selecting dogs, and you will see that some breeds are likely dangerous and known to bite and attack, and, others are not.
Large, strong dogs that bite and attack are dangerous.
In fact, people knowingly acquire such dogs, often for "protection", precisely because they are dangerous, and territorial.

The owners should be held fully liable for the actions of their dogs. Pit bulls are known to be dangerous, and anyone acquiring such a dog should be prepared to keep the dog under complete control at all times. But, pit bulls are not the only such dogs. I have read that drug dealers favor Doberman/Shepherd mixes, as well as Rottweilers, because they are very territorial. Yes, I'm sure that you can find very safe and friendly "Doberman Shepherds", but, you will have to excuse me if I cross the street when I see one coming, just as I might stop to pet a female retriever with two kids hanging on it.

Bottom line: you can't have it both ways. Either the dogs are bad, or the owner is (or both). Vicious dogs can't be allowed to wander the streets attacking other dogs, children, or even adults (does "Presa Canario" ring a bell?).

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

John, I get tired of the no bad dogs, just bad owners thing, but I believe at the beginning, it's true. I'm a dog handler, so I have a lot of experience.

Bad dogs start with bad owners - and bad breedes. Some of it is genetic, some of it is the owners. As the dog's behavior forms and it gets older, traits show up and have to be managed by the owner.

These dogs were unaltered, allowed to roam, had recently bred, had attacked dogs before, and had irresponsible owners - in other words, all the ingredients needed for the recipe for dog disaster.

Readers, please note: dog aggression towards other dogs, towards other animals and towards humans are different types of aggression. The first type is not uncommon, and is more common with dogs of fighting breeds, even is the dogs never fight. The second kind of aggression, known as prey drive, is often directed at smaller animals, and not necessarily otehr dogs. The third kind is what people mistaknely, commonly conflate with the other 2. The first 2 don't lead to the third, but a dog can have all 3, or a combo. My point is that you can't say a dog aggressive dog will attack people, just because it's dog aggressive. Hope this makes sense.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Do you also look at crime stats regarding humans as to when you do or don't cross the street when you see "one of them" coming? Do you think that the conditions under which certain people are raised breeds them such that a law should ban them or restrict their movements, allow default pro-active profiling?

I get it that certain breeds do have an image and have been bred for certain things. But it's a slippery slope to ban "breeds" because the "get arounds" will still occur and only an illusion of safety will be attained.

Of course all owners should be held fully liable for the actions of their dogs. Though what the "devil in the details" means may differ.

A while back one of the biggest biters was the Cocker Spaniel. Still if one sees a Cocker Spaniel on one side of the street and a St. Bernard on the other.....the reality entails how many of the dogs are owned, the breeding done for a purpose, social raising of the dogs, size of the dogs, etc.

Many years ago I worked as a garbageman up north and central. By far the most vicious dog was a female black lab. It would literally rip pieces of the fence out in it's attempt to get us. One time a guy walked into the yard (new and thought it was OK). Bitten, big fight, ER visist, etc. Dog still lived.

Most of the time when a dog got loose (seemingly vicious St. Bernard on a leash which broke, German Shepherd which knocked down a fence slab and literally "surfed" down an icy driveway...the heretofore vicious dog looked started and retreated towards their house/yard.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

The discussions about outlawing breeds is utter nonsense, as I think there is a current law in this state that prevents the banning of dogs by breed.

This issues always flair up when these types of headlines hit. In truth, if we really wanted to prevent humand and pet injuries from other pets out in public, we would allocate more funds to new laws and the enforcement of current laws.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm

"A Noun Ea Mus": As a follow-up to this, I looked up a paper easily findable on the web, "Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada
September 1982 to November 7, 2007", by Merritt Clifton. There are other sources of similar information, but, this one covers almost everything and is well-written. After you read the remarkable statistics regarding just how much of the problem is due to Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, note this:

"The humane community does not try to encourage the adoption of pumas
in the same manner that we encourage the adoption of felis catus, because even though a puma can also be box-trained and otherwise
exhibits much the same indoor behavior, it is clearly understood that
accidents with a puma are frequently fatal.

"For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people
to regard pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any
other, no matter how much they may behave like other dogs under
ordinary circumstances.

"Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is
relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment,
someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed,
and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull
terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed
or killed--and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk,
for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price."

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm

So even if we were to totally ban and remove Pit Bulls...and then Rottweilers...

What next? German Shepherds? Dobermans? Chow chows?

House cats and Pumas are different species. No one (I know of anyway) is inter-breeding them ("Catgour").

There is no such "line" as regards dog breeds and various crosses/mutts.

"Actuarial risk" could also be used in a similar fashion to advocate for profiling and other stances as regards ethnic or racially among humans.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 6, 2009 at 4:09 am

Went and looked at the link posted by John...(I think this is the link)...

Web Link

Very few dogs have a totally unblemished record.

I wonder what the ratio of total dogs are to the attacks/killings/maimings? For instance, look at the Akita. Relatively rare I suspect, but it racks up a total of 48.

I remember Stanley Cohen's book "The Intelligence of Dogs" where he states that he would be very nervous with a child around an Akita or a Greyhound. But the Greyhound has almost zero attacks.

A lot of people own Pit Bulls and Rottweillers. Many of them indeed do so for the image/protection. There are a lot of short cuts to making a dog territorial and vicious. Often they are kept outside on a leash. The worst mix of years of breeding and conditions.

But look again at the Chows, the Presa Canario (not of lot of them, or are their numbers growing?), indeed even the Boxer (used to create the Argentine Dogo to enable it to be a dog good with children) stands out-----almost on a par with Presa Carnario and I suspect the size difference accounts for more fatalities with the Presa.

The "fearsome" Doberman seems about even with the Lab....but again, probably more people own Labs....

Wolf Hybrids seem to account for a lot considering their small numbers.

Considering their size, even the Jack Russell Terrier stands out...

Yes when one comes to both Rottweiller and Pit Bulls the numbers achieve a bit of a relative tsunami.

But is it a solution to then just ban the breeds? (assuming it could be done)

Where do you start? And where do you start?

Let's say that a nationwide total ban on owning, breeding, importing any and all....let's see....Rotties, Pits and Wolf Hybrids. And of course the Presa Canario for good measure. Can we stop there just for starters?

OK imagine you are one of the types who used to own an out of control Pit Bull owner and now years for a replacement.........what ya gonna do when they come for you? Bad dogs, bad dogs.....

You hear on the corner that this guy has bred these great Chow/Akita/Boxer mix dogs that put the old Pit Bulls to shame....this "breeder" looked for the most aggressive dogs in each breed and, like that old German tax collector, threw them into the mix.....

Meanwhile, before this new hybrid "breed" take off the people eager to ban dog by breed next look at Shephers and Dobermans......

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm

John, reading info on the web does not an education make, about any issue or animal breed.

Pit bulls have been owned for hundreds of years, with few problems related to humans. Conflating human aggression and dog-dog aggression is wrong. Pumas are wild animals, so your analogy doesn't work. Dogs, unless they've turned feral or been born feral, are domesticated animals. Some are stronger and more tenacious than others. When assessing a dog's temperament, many factors need to be taken into consideration, including bite inhibition, biddability, affection towards humans, and overall demeanor - no matter what their size and strength, which also do have to be factored in.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 6, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Well, certainly for someone looking at the web link I posted (per John's text for a Google entry), the huge increase of attacks--fatal and not, adult and child---by both Pit Bulls and Rotties is immensely higher than probably all the other breeds combined.

It is a little sobering and sad to just look at the numbers and imagine the resultant suffering behind them.

And so the default mindset is to just ban those breeds.

If only it were that simple. It would only create at best a brief time period of less attacks before the gap was filled.

Others may look at the numbers and suggest then that all dogs should then be banned. And people should instead all just own cats. But then no doubt someone would be trying to cross Cougars and domestic cats. Or owning large Monitor Lizards instead (name one "Heart Rate" and take it for a run at The Dish).

A possible solution?....

Perhaps giving specially trained "Canine Temperment Evaluators" authority to test any and all dogs, their situation, etc. Sort of like child protective services for kids.

Whether it be some large German Shepherds living behind a fence in Atherton, or a Pit Bull in EPA...a complaint or request by any citizen would then allow them to evaluate the dogs, their habitat and training and temperment, human interactions and training done or not,.etc. Then there might be any number of rules specified----from outright seizure and charges to rules such as "dog must be kept in enclosed outside area and only in public with muzzle on", etc.

The problem is if you put two dog trainers or experts in a room together you almost need to call in a mediator at the least, if not the PD Domestic Violence experts to deal with the resultant rancor!

But if this were feasible, I'd bet one could go back and look at the details behind every attack and, had their been this service in place, the attacks could have all been prevented.

Right now you almost have to wait for the tragedy to occur before any action is taken.

And then just blame the breed.

Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2009 at 7:06 pm

The Orca is a beautiful (and very deadly) beast. It CAN be trained to make splashes at theme parks, but it belongs in the ocean, where it can go about its free business of chomping on white sharks. Why are dogs, which are derived from wolves, considered to be in their proper element in urban environments? It is both cruel and dangerous.

Just outlaw the presence of any dog, within city limits, that weighs over 20 lbs, at two years of age. If that doesn't do the job, then move the weight limit down to 15 lbs.

Posted by Koa
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years. Orcas are wild animals. If you are still puzzled by this apparent paradox, read up on the process of domesticating animals. Also, France has similar laws to the ones you proposed, you can move there to avoid the chance of being mauled.

Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Dec 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm


Just allow dogs to go feral, and they will revert to the calls of their wild genes in no time. Same with domestic pigs and horses and cats. "Domestication" is an arrogant human attitude, as applied to animals. We exploit animals, for our own use, but should we make false assumptions about their instincts?

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Jim you are of course entitled to your opinion as to what laws should be passed to deal with "the dog problem".....

just as many people throughout history have had various angles and ideas as regards how to deal with various "people problems"..

But from a practical standpoint do you think advocating such an extreme "solution" would do anything more than cause dog lovers and owners to do anything else except circle the wagons? It is precisely that type of perspective and advocacy which is a big impediment to "opening the floodgates" in order to find rationale and reasonable solutions.

Is your ultimate goal is to stop the domestiction of all animals (be it as farm animals or as pets)? If so then why should the dogs under 20 lb.s not also be "freed" to go back and try to survive in "the jungle"?

For that matter people can also be "allowed" to go "feral" and will soon resemlbe tribes of chimps, "Lord of the Flies", prisoner or biker gang "society", etc. Let's all go howl at the moon and have at it!

In a way modern society is just a domestication of the human animal. Dogs have been our closest animal in and the bond is there strong.

We have just not held up our part of "the bargain" as well as they have.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 7, 2009 at 1:50 am

Why are humans, which are derived from chimpanzees, considered to be in their proper element in urban environments? It is both cruel and dangerous.

Wearing ties, high heels, workplace cubicles, traffic,Beiruit, Manteca, ....

Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 8:44 am

A Noun Ea Mus,

I agree with much of what you say. I made my proposal to limit the weight of dogs, because if an off leash dog attacks my toddler (or me), I prefer that it be a little dog, instead of a big dog.

Posted by Reason
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

It is easier to jump to conclusions when readership/viewership grabbing headlines hit. And many people that don't know dogs well will naturally jump on the "ban them" bus. But the truth is, domesticated or not, well trained or not, dogs are animals and we take too much for granted. Now, it might sound like I am going to advocate the same "kill em" attitude as has already been expressed, but I'm not. I am going to try to explain the nature/nurture thing so that some, not all, see it for what it is. And to advocate for being responsible regardless of the breed you own - because cockers do bite (look at bite reports after the original release of Lady and the Tramp if you want to see a direct cause and effect), dachshunds have killed children and pits have been therapy pets.

Just like people, animals have individual personalities. Just like I have friends with a calm, even keel I also have friends that are anxious, hostile and erratic. Part of this is their own genetic makeup and part of it is how/what they were raised with. Children shown love and support, more often than not, grow up to be adults that can show love and support. Sometimes there's a short circuit in the process and someone shown love and support grows up to be a killer, and sometimes someone shown nothing but conflict grows up striving to not repeat that history. Nature gets us only so far.

Enter our closest historical domestic partner, the family dog. Because remember, Dog is with us by our own making and at the mercy of our various whims. Sometimes the best people can raise a dog with love and support, but poor breeding shows through and they get an anxious dog that might bite when startled. You then have to choose to either be a mega-responsible owner to protect the public, or you feel a great deal of pain and put the dog down. Conversely, most dogs bred for aggression and fighting have been "genetically altered" to enhance their fight and aggression and reduce their trusting, bonding nature. But sometimes, there is one that despite all the efforts to produce a killer, the dog-fighters get a dud and instead have a dog that has no fight in it. Now, usually that dog is thought of as useless to the dog fighters, so they use him/her as bait to make their other dogs more aggressive and then dump the body when it finally dies. But sometimes they just turn it loose or sell it or drop it at a shelter. These "losers" didn't have the right temperament. So then there are also breeders/owners that love this breed for it's sweet temperament and strive to keep the lines that have the best characteristics and not the aggressive ones.

Obviously, these pits had "the perfect storm" for dog-dog, or dog-prey aggression - hard to say because often our "genetically altered" small dogs appear as prey to some dogs. They may or may not have had the instinct to attack humans - when they charged the police they had the small dog so you have guarding behavior there. And previous reports seem focused on dogs - which they were bred and trained for most likely. Still, not exactly the best situation and if I had a gun I would have fired too.

So, part of the point I wanted to make is that bad people are doing bad things, and both the public in general and dogs specifically are victims. Wee will never get rid of all the bad people, and they will always find a breed of dog, or make a new one, that fills their need for aggression, violence, blood, and money. If you don't concentrate on the human population you will never get ahead of the vicious dog problem. One day you might find yourself fearing for you life while staring at killer Standard Poodles, or Blood Hounds, or ????

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:11 am

Why are people arguing about ridiculous things such as orcas on this thread? None of what we say matters because it has no impact on dog behavior, dog owners, current laws or their enforcement. What is extra ridiculous is given how much ignorance there is on the subject of dog behavior and current laws, people are posting as if their opinion matters. My opinion matters because of the work I do, but I know it's limited. Have a dose of reality, folks!

Posted by Reason
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 11:08 am

to Hmmm. Unfortunately some of the ignorance expressed here does not mean their opinion doesn't matter, or that they don't have jobs or other means to exact an influence on all or part of these discussions or public policy. The alarmists often ARE the ones that get heard at the expense of "reason". Here's hoping that fact-based arguments on this forum might influence even 1 person to take an unbiased look at the facts and history and not jump straight to conclusions. It's amazing what you learn when you do the research yourself and don't take the web or news for fact.

Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm

"Just like people, animals have individual personalities"

Probably so, but how do I know when the dog is charging me? Many dog owners claim to 'know' their dogs, and they are always the most wonderful 'friends'. The problem arises when your friend bites my kid or me. If I bite your dog, then put me on a leash.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:33 pm

To Reason - you have a very logical mind! However, I don't think people on this board are going to do anything in San Mateo County or EPA w/their opinions.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 7, 2009 at 10:29 pm

A couple of things--

A Noun Ea Mus: I agree with some of what you say, but, forget about the racial prejudice analogy. I know this will hurt your feelings, but, dogs are *not* people, and your analogy makes no sense. Yes, I have lots of experience with different kinds of dogs, having spent about 40% of my now long life with them. They are not people. You seem very sensitive about prejudice against breeds -- unfortunately, as you yourself noticed, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are, statistically, much more dangerous than beagles, despite how nice an individual Rottweiler may be (I confess I have met several really nasty Rottweilers but have not yet met a nice one. But, I'm sure they exist.)

Jim: I believe that there have been at least attempts to charge dog license fees on the basis of weight. I have heard of the idea before a number of times. I don't know if anyone has ever actually made it work, but, it makes sense to me. Yes, this proposal is not a panacea -- I would guess pit bulls weigh less than golden retrievers -- but, it would help.

Hmmm: Sorry, I'm not with you. As someone who works with dogs must know, there are huge differences among breeds-- as well as individuals. If it came down to taxing, my formula would include a breed factor, a weight factor, a gender factor (yes, females are statistically safer), a factor for neutered/unneutered, and a bark factor (I hate Chihuahuas almost as much as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers!). Even so, there will be outliers. Although, as far as I know, the recorded Lab/Dauschund death was probably caused by the Lab knocking the old lady over and she tripped over the Dauschund. Likewise, one of the deaths caused a Shepherd -- knocking an old person over. Likewise, the sad strangulation deaths caused by the beagle and the retriever -- a child safety lesson for sure, but, not examples of how dangerous beagles and retrievers are.

This brings me to another point -- I have noticed how many older people have more dog than they can handle, and, this can be very dangerous. This is definitely a case where smaller is better. It happens all the time that large dogs will get excited and knock older people over, sometimes via the leash. There are a number of recorded deaths this way, where the dog had no ill intent. I've met several Newfoundlands that were so friendly that the major threat was from drowning in happy slobber -- but, they could also easily knock down an older person while playing. A broken hip can be debilitating, even fatal, for someone over 75 or 80. So yes, even friendly dogs can be dangerous in the wrong situation.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2009 at 9:27 am

John, have you been a professional dog handler? Have you truly researched the issues you've formed opinions on? Have you consulted with othe experts?

Your opinions don't matter unless you change laws or vote your opinion or work successfully to get current laws enforced.

Your opinions may seem logical, but what are they based on? For ex., your opinion that dog licenses can be based on weight,among other factors. Do you know the purpose of dog licensing?

My point is, getting a solid education in dog behavior and laws governing pet ownership is an undertaking, and since probably no one on this board works in animal welfare or has taken on the issues as a taxpayer, our opinion's don't really matter. Mine may matter a little more in some cases because of the work I've done, but I'm a realist about my impact.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2009 at 7:36 pm

John how can you be so quick to forgo the racial analogy?

Yes dogs aren't people. And people aren't dogs. That in now way hurts my feelings, despite your attempt to lift your leg on what I said.

But default prejudice backed up with stats arises from a copycat mindset.

You freely call your stance towards certain breeds a "prejudice" and then back it up with statistics.

I'm sure somewhere someone is also looking at the racial aspects of certain violent crimes and using that to justify their prejudices.

For both humans and dogs you have to take into account ALL the factors..

If you are a tourist walking alone 1AM in a low income area of Miami and a young black male.......VS walking on University Ave. PA at 2PM

Or if you are 5 years old and accidentally wander into a yard where a Pit Bull has been living outside tied to a post with a doghouse....VS being at a dog park in PA where a pit bull is bought into (I know 5 yr. olds not allowed in dog parks but for illustraion).

Banning a breed or two won't fix the problem. The people and the mindset, if ever successful, would keep looking for the next breed to ban. Meanwhile the breeders of the current fighting and macho dogs would easily march around it.

Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm

"If it came down to taxing, my formula would include a breed factor, a weight factor, a gender factor (yes, females are statistically safer), a factor for neutered/unneutered, and a bark factor".

This has got to be one of the funniest things ever. It belongs as a funny scene in some type of Pink Panther movie, where the Homicide Inspector has been (temporarily) demoted to serve as the "Breed Evaluator and Tax Collector". Steve Martin could play it well.

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