Monthly Archives: March 2009

Proof that Racism is at the heart of Breed Discrimination

Donald Butler, a member of the Public Safety Committee for Horicon, Wisconsin, believes that Horicon should ban Pit Bulls. His rationale for wanting Pit Bulls out of Horicon is simple, if shockingly discriminatory.

“Horicon is not a ghetto. This is one breed of dogs we do not need.”

Many educated dog advocates, attorneys, and scholars have stated that breed discrimination is often a guise for classism. Never before, however, has a public official come right out and admitted such a thing!

We applaud Donald Butler for his bravery. It takes guts to admit that the sole motivation for wanting to get rid of Pit Bulls is because one believes that only “ghetto” people own Pit Bulls. Is it possible that Mr. Butler believes that, by banning Pit Bulls, all the people with darker skin will leave Horicon with their beloved Pit Bulls?

Mr. Butler, despite his bravery, made quite the ass of himself for such assumptions. Even if true, he has shown himself to be a racist, pure and simple. However, Mr. Butler’s belief that Pit Bulls are “ghetto” is, of course, erroneous. People like Helen Keller, Michael J. Fox, and John Stewart own Pit Bulls.

The author of this blog happens to hold three degrees and has authored several serious works, including a law review article, a scientific journal article, and a nonfiction book.

Well, if Pit Bulls are “ghetto,” then Pit Bulls sure have improved the “ghetto!”

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.

Portis – penitent and perlexed

Clinton Portis recently expressed regret that he’d made comments trivializing dog fighting.In a May 21 interview with WAVY-TV in Norfolk, Portis said of accused dog fighter Michael Vick, “It’s his property; it’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”

After a firestorm of public criticism, Portis backtracked, stating, ” “I didn’t know it would affect that many people, didn’t think what I said was that offensive….I’ve never been into dogs, never dealt with dogs, don’t like playing with dogs. But at the same time, there’s a lot of people who are crazy over pets.”

It seems Portis just doesn’t know how to spin very well. What he’s made clear by his latest comments is that he doesn’t find dog fighting offensive, but he’s sorry he opened his mouth because there are a lot of crazy pet lovers out there who found his comments offensive and said so. Portis has revealed the lesson he’s learned from all this.

“From now on, I don’t comment on nobody.”

You’re a stand-up guy, Portis. Just please stand far, far away from me

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.

Media Bias: ‘The BLACK defendant’ syndrome

Is the media truly objective and unbiased? How media agencies report stories show their prejudices (and, no, we are not talking about FOX News!)

Let’s take this example –Pittsburgh Live! In this story, published May 12, 2007, about a dog attacking another dog, the headline reads: Pit bull attacks dog in Brackenridge (

In the following story, dated July 25, 2008, the headline reads: Dog attack in Erie County kills toddler (

At no time, in the second story, does the paper mention the breed of the dog. Other papers describe the dog (and include photos) as an Old English Sheepdog.

In April of 2005, News 10 of Sacramento reported a story where a Queensland Heeler and Pit Bull attacked another dog. ( The headline only referred to the PIT BULL. In response to this obvious bias in the reporting of the story, we sent the following email to News 10:

“Regarding this tragic story, we are almost as saddened by the bias displayed in the headline as we are by the horrible event itself. Why, if a Queensland Heeler AND a Pit Bull both attacked and killed the dogs was only the PIT BULL mentioned in the headline? That is akin to telling a news story about a white man and black man who rob a store together but having the headline read: Black man robs store.”

To News 10’s credit, they recognized the bias in the headline and responded as follows (in an internal email copied to us):

“The reader has a point. How about we change it to something like: Roseville Woman Mourns Pets Killed in Dog Attack?”

They subsequently changed the headline.

People who report the news are as subject to bias as the rest of society, but as the watchdogs of society, it is crucial that news professionals make a concerted effort to recognize their prejudices and report the news in as objective a fashion as possible. Bias in the media harms society by causing people to perceive issues in a certain way that may not represent reality, and these perceptions often find their way into laws that affect millions of people…and animals.

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.

Guest Blog: Who cares about THOSE dogs? by Jackie Marshall

For a year and a half, I have been dreading the inevitable: the criminalization of dog ownership.

At first, I approached the members of my German shepherd training club and asked them to support my pit bull friends by opposing SB 861. They would have no part of it. “It’s just THOSE dogs; it’ll never happen to our breed.” No matter what I wrote or said, such as “I guarantee that our dogs are next,” nobody would support me in my anti-BSL campaigning because nobody would bother with a bill that didn’t affect them personally.

Then, all of a sudden, the powers that be wanted to criminalize dog breeding in Sacramento County (with Sac City close behind), but this time it isn’t breed specific; it’s dogs of any breed. I spent quite a bit of time opposing that, too, but I couldn’t get any of my German shepherd buddies to support those efforts either. This time they said, “That law will never pass.” And of course it’s no surprise that it did. None of the dog people at those meetings would support each other; they just bickered in a “Well, why would I support poodle/spaniel/mutt breeders? Those dogs are useless anyway.” In other words, who cares about THOSE dogs, and who cares about the people who love them?

So now California wants mandatory spay and neuter laws statewide, which everybody says will never pass. It does not make exception for ranch dogs, unless they are registered AKC, which pretty much guarantees that they won’t work. All the people who swear by mutts will be out of luck forever. Breeders will have to pay fees. Breeders will have to get permits. Dogs will have to have paperwork about their shots, breeding, and residence addresses formally registered with the State. All of a sudden, again, no surprise, the German shepherd people are up in arms! Please, everyone, take action! They are going to make laws about breeding OUR dogs! Please help immediately! Fight this new bill!

But I for one do not care to participate any more. I have no sympathy for dog owners who don’t care a damn about other dog owners. Maybe the “Nazi” in German shepherd lineage has finally kicked in…well sure, make those dogs illegal, they are just show dogs or family pet mutts! Uh huh. Not the important kinds of dogs: OURS.

The ranchers with long lines of working dogs find them important, and so do people like me who have had a blessed experience with a mutt, and all the people who swear that their best dogs have been of indecipherable lineage and they’ll always adopt mutts from the shelter. It’s my opinion that MY dogs are important, as they are police K9 candidates (which may not matter to you if you’re a criminal). But it sure as heck is also my opinion that the State shouldn’t be determining what kinds of dogs THEY will let US find important. Who cares? It won’t be happening to MY dogs, because everybody wants my dogs. In fact, it just drives my puppy prices up, as they will be in demand when only Germans can breed them.

So the rest of the GSD people are out of luck, as far as finding support here. They let too many pit bulls go under the needle, so I no longer care about their rights to hobby breed. As far as I’m concerned, they’re on their own, like pit bull people have been for a long time. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson in modern self-centeredness.

Author: Jackie Marshall

When Public Officials Go Bad

Kory Nelson has declared War on Pit Bulls. He’s Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City and County of Denver, Colorado, and he has made it his personal mission to eradicate Pit Bulls from the United States, even going to far as to call up Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco to give him unsolicited tips on how to exterminate this breed of dog.

Nelson even wrote an article for Municipal Lawyer titled, “Why Pit Bulls Are More Dangerous and Breed Specific Legislation is Justified.” He is a man with a passion for killing Pit Bulls. In 2002, Denver euthanized 338 Pit Bulls.

A study reported in a 1994 Pediatrics article titled, “Which Dogs Bite? A Case-Control Study of Risk Factors” sought to determine dog-specific factors independently associated with a dog biting a non-household member. Cases were selected from dogs reported to Denver Animal Control in 1991 for a first-bite episode of a non-household member in which the victim received medical treatment.

The study found that children aged 12 and under comprised over half of the victims. The breed of dog responsible for the most bites — the German Shepherd Dog.

Kory Nelson’s article advocating the mass killing of dogs contains a small biographical blurb about the man who has made exterminating a breed he considers dangerous his personal mission in life. That blurb contains one very interesting piece of information.

Kory Nelson owns a German Shepherd.

Since German Shepherds were responsible for the most dog bites resulting in medical attention in the aforementioned study, we suggest Denver ban German Shepherds next. Of course, after German Shepherds, Denver will have to ban Chow Chows because they were second on the list of biting dogs (then Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Akitas).

German Shepherds, often bred for protection work, have frequently made the news for attacks. An 8 year-old Chicago boy was attacked by a neighbor’s two German Shepherds on Christmas Eve (2005). A Lancaster, PA police dog mauled a girl on a school playground. Little six year-old Bailey Prosser was mauled by a German Shepherd in 2005.

Kory Nelson proves himself to be the worst kind of hypocrite — one that uses the law as a weapon to embark on his own personal crusade to exterminate a breed he personally despises while owning a breed of dog that ranks #1 on the list of biting dogs for his own County.

German Shepherds, of course, are not banned in Denver, and Kory Nelson has no interest in banning them since he owns one.

Of course, CHAKO does not advocate a ban on German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, or any other breed. In fact, one of CHAKO’s most active volunteers is a German Shepherd Dog enthusiast. However, we believe that persons who are public servants and have authority and power to affect the lives of citizens should not be allowed to yield that power as a weapon to act on their own personal prejudices. They should not use the law to target others while exempting themselves. They are public servants, not dictators.

Kory Nelson should be removed from his position. He is a disgrace to lawyers, and an affront to a free and just society. He is a hypocrite on a personal mission of destruction.

“Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They believed the freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth… that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government…. “

-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.