My post of two years ago about the horrible anti-pit bull website dogsbite.org continues to attract comments from dog breed bigots who have either been deceived by dogsbite, or who go there to confirm their own ignorance. What is remarkable about these posts is that they are almost identical. They repeat the same falsehoods and the same debunked arguments, as if every one of their points hadn’t been thoroughly discredited by experts, dog breeders, researchers, and rational sites like Ethics Alarms. Pit bull hysterics simply will not yield to reality, and they don’t appear to care how many families their disinformation harms and how many loving dogs they kill with the “dangerous breed” legislation they extract from lazy lawmakers.
Here is a recent story showing how deranged these laws are, their cruelty, and the kind of scenarios dogsbite.org and its fans encourage.
In June 2016, Waterford Township, Michigan, resident Dan Tillery and his girlfriend Megan purchased their first home. The couple wanted to adopt a dog, and eventually found Sir Wiggleton, a big, white, happy canine nearing the end of his stay at a shelter after 100 days. Dan posted a photo of him with his new companions, with the caption, “We know this photo is going to break the internet and we apologize, but we had to share…Sir Wiggleton and his new Dad are celebrating adoption day with huge smiles all around!”
Damned if the photo almost did “break the internet.” But the viral picture of Sir Wiggleton, now renamed “Diggy,” inspired nightmares in some local pit bull phobic, so he or she reported Dan, Megan, and Diggy to the police.
The officers knocked on the door and informed Dan that he had violated Waterford’s ban on owning pit bulls. According to the township, pit bulls and pit bull mixes are considered to be “dangerous dogs.” Obviously Digby was a killer…
This possessing a vicious canine like Digby…
was a punishable crime. The dog police told Dana and Megan that Diggy would have to be returned to the Detroit Dog Rescue or else there would be consequences, even though Diggy’s adoption papers stated that he was an American bulldog.
American bulldogs are not pit bull breeds or mixes, but they are among the non-pit breeds most often mistaken for pit bulls. Dogsbite.org takes the cretinous position that “if it looks like a pit bull, it’s a pit bull,” even though multiple studies have shown that even experts misidentify these breeds, and people who are not familiar with dogs literally have no clue at all. (The usual criteria is “if it bites someone, it’s a pit bull.”)
For the record, I doubt that Diggy really is an American Bulldog. I think the shelter, being aware of the awful anti-pit bull legislation in various towns in Michigan, intentionally misidentified the breed. Diggy looks exactly like an American Pit Bull Terrier:
The ears are the tip-off. Here’s an American Bulldog:
I could be wrong. It’s close. But this is also an excellent example of how unreasonable and unethical the “dangerous breed” laws are…talk about void for vagueness.
Never mind though. Lt. Todd Hasselbach of the Waterford Township Police, no dog expert he, told The Detroit News that Diggy didn’t pass “the eye test.” “It looks like a pit to me,’’ he said. So Dan was given three days to send Diggy to his doom. Dan’s social media posts prompted an outcry by animal rights activists, but the officers said that they were “just doing their job,”as in “just following orders,” as the SS would say. “From our standpoint, it’s a pretty clear case of an ordinance that makes it clear what’s permissible and what’s not. Our job is to enforce the ordinance,” Chief Scott Underwood of the Waterford Police explained.
Dan was facing a $500 fine and jail time if he risked inflicting the monster known as Diggy
on his community.
To his credit, Dan didn’t give up on Diggy despite the risks. Bolstered by thousand of pro-pit activists, he set out to challenge the order on the grounds that Diggy isn’t a pit bull <cough!>.
Some have criticized the owner for “throwing pit bull breeds under the bus” by not challenging the ban itself. I can’t criticize him for concentrating on saving his own dog. That was the immediate mission.
“My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Dan posted online. “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.” The fight dragged on for months, with Diggy in limbo. More than 100,000 people signed a petition demanding that officials to let Diggy stay with family that loved him. Diggy’s supporters even took over a town meeting in September to plead Diggy’s cause.
The 51st District Court finally sided with sanity, and Diggy. “We get to keep our boy!” Dan wrote in a Facebook post. What is more, the township changed the rules on its vicious breed ban. Veterinarians will be the ones to determine the breed of a dog going forward, and not police officers “eye-balling” the situation.
That still lets a terrible and ignorant law stand–“No longer will police be able to decide that you look Jewish; now anthropologists will decide whether you get sent to the death camp”—but it’s progress. Diggy’s just happy to be safe and loved.
A final note: I found this story on Life Buzz, which I now official designate an Unethical Website of the Month. I hate so called “slide shows,” which are stock devices of celebrity and gossip websites to make you click multiple times to read a single feature. At least slide show are so designated, so you and I can avoid them like ebola. Life Buzz does something even more annoying, and far more sneaky. It had a paragraph of the story, ending with a NEXT button, what we call “the jump,” to take readers to the rest of the post. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, there was a NEXT button after every paragraph, at least ten of them. This made reading the story take a ridiculously long time; there was no way to find out in advance how many “jumps” there would be, and it was a trick intentionally devised to multiply clicks while inconveniencing readers.
I hope Dan sics Diggy on them.