Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: Some morning sun. Snow showers and flurries. Possibly some freezing drizzle. Temps slightly above normal. "D"
SUNDAY: Partly cloudy, warmer. "D"
I think it is clear to anyone who reads this blog that I LOVE dogs. Big ones, tiny ones, mutts and purebreds. I have a healthy respect for dogs as well. I never pet a dog until I ask the owner if it is OK. Then I go to the dog’s level, put my hand out for it to sniff me and then proceed to pet, usually the back so that it doesn’t think I’m lunging for its face. While I generally am not afraid of dogs I do realize that a strange dog is just that: strange until we get to know each other.
I’ve only met one Pit Bull in my life. He belonged to the in-laws of a friend. The first time I met this dog, I must admit I was uneasy around him. He did nothing to make me think he was going to push me to the ground and rip my face off. But just KNOWING his breed raised MY hackles. This dog’s disposition was actually “wimpy” to me. He stayed by his owners or other people he knew, begging for head rubs. He just had to be in the room where everyone was, wanting to be the center of attention. He was so clingy I actually found him to be annoying. But on top of the general annoyance of a dog who wouldn’t leave people alone, there was the fact that he was a Pit Bull. It just made me nervous. I thought to myself, “If I don’t pet this dog or show him the attention he wants is he going to go for my jugular?”
As with any controversy, there are two sides to the Pit Bull debate. For every person who fears this breed you can find a Pit Bull owner who can’t sing their praises loud enough. While I generally want government to stay out of my life and let me use the brains God gave me to make my own decisions on my own free will, there are times I feel a bit of extra legislation can help society remain safe and orderly. This brings me to the topic of breed-specific bans.
I supposed you can find at least one attack story for every breed registered with the American Kennel Club. But tell me… when is the last time you heard about a vicious attack on a person or another animal by say, a Schnauzer, miniature Poodle, or Shih Tzu? It’s much easier to site instances of Pit Bull attacks. On January 25th of this year a woman in Indianapolis was mauled by two of these dogs. It is a miracle she survived.
The Humane Society of the United States, in part of its statement against breed-specific bans tells us: “There are over 4.5 million dog bites each year. This is an estimate as there is no central reporting agency for dog bites, thus breed and other information is not captured. Out of the millions of bites, about 10-20 are fatal each year. While certainly tragic, it represents a very small number statistically and should not be considered as a basis for sweeping legislative action.”
That’s interesting because a brief internet search led me to the following information… From DogsBite.org:
2008 U.S. dog bite fatalities
Information gathered by DogsBite.org is verifiable through Internet archive services and our Fatality Citations section, which contains a copy of each article cited.
¨ 23 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2008. Pit bull type dogs were responsible for 65% (15). Pit bulls make up approximately 2-9% of the U.S. dog population.
¨ In 2008, only one U.S. citizen over the age of 3 was killed by a breed other than a pit bull. 74-year old Lorraine May was fatally mauled by her two dogs: an Australian shepherd-mix and a golden retriever-mix.
¨ 70% of the attacks occurred to children (11 years and under) and 30% occurred to adults (21 years and older). Of the children, half (8) occurred to ages 1 and younger.
¨ 39% of fatal attacks in 2008 involved multiple dogs; 9% involved chained dogs.
¨ 78% of the attacks occurred on owner property and 22% off owner property. All off property attacks (5) that resulted in death were attributed to pit bulls.
¨ 61% of the victims were male; 39% of the victims were female. Of the male victims, over half (8) were 3 years and younger.
¨ In at least three fatal attacks, a grandmother was watching a child aged 2 and younger. Two of these attacks occurred in Las Vegas; both involved pet pit bulls.
Hawaii is currently considering prohibiting ownership of this breed. Now, I understand that our current administrations, local and national, have much higher priorities than if Pitt Bulls should be legislated. But as I stated before, I feel that if legislation can help prevent dog mauling tragedies I fully support it. Don’t whine, “There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.” There are both, and BOTH should be locked up.
My turn. Time for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
Dog bites are no fun, but they are avoidable. So are dog germs.
Nose cancer is rare in dogs. But Max contracted the disease, after sniffing cocaine.
Rufus battles back.
Cloned dogs may look the same, but...
Two weeks ago, Jennifer wrote about foolish ordinances designed to curb dog barking. Phoenix is trying dog-noise mediation.
Jennifer blogged in a previous Barking Lot about Jana Kohl and her amazing dog story. Kohl's book got a review this week in the Christian Science Monitor. CSM also reviewed, "Animals Make Us Human."
How about this idea to raise money for animal shelters?
Dogs in Oregon this weekend are real gourmets.
These dogs don't look agile, but they are.
New TV show will teach old dogs new tricks.
Stetson is a good reason to watch the upcoming Westminster dog show.
Which Super Bowl team has the most pets named in its honor?
That's it for this week. Don't forget, on Super Bowl Sunday, it's the 5th edition of the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.
Here's a preview...
Like any important bowl, there are referees, and the one for the Puppy Bowl definitely has some perks...