Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some rebuttles from others who have read the recent article

Peter Worthington is not a stupid man. He is a seasoned veteran of the journalism profession. He knows how to do proper research and he knows how to write unbiased and reasoned articles and columns. Thus, the only conclusion to which I can logically arrive regarding his latest column (Pitbull attacks columnist's dog) is that he is writing this drivel simply in order to get a reaction (i.e., sell newspapers). It cannot be because he truly believes it. Mr. Worthington is a military man and, as such, is surely aware of the need for reliable intelligence and valid research. If someone were to suggest that the military use Mr. Worthington's latest research attempt as a model, they'd be laughed out of the war room.

A little research by Mr. Worthington would show that, in 2004, 0.05% of pit bull type dogs in Toronto were involved in bites to humans that required any stitches at all. That's one twentieth of one percent, one dog for every 2,000. Not exactly an epidemic.

I am sorry that this incident happened to Murphy and, if I were his owner, I'd be angry too. But this was not an all-out attack with the intention to kill. This was six stitches. Let's put this into perspective. Six stitches equates to a two or three inch cut. This is not, as Mr. Worthington describes, "ripping a chunk from her ribs". There are dog fights every day in this city that result in far more than six stitches, with the injuries perpetrated by many different dogs of many different breeds. This is not something that is unique to pit bulls, or even to dogs. Every day, in this city, children receive more than six stitches for falling off bikes, skateboards, and playground equipment. This can be substantiated from hospital records, particularly the Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP).

If Mr. Worthington did his research, he'd know this.

I have spent years at leash-free parks in Toronto and have seen many dog arguments and many real attacks. My own dog, a pit bull type, bears the scars from a Wheaton Terrier four years ago. Another friend's dog, also a pit bull type, had its side ripped open by a German Shepherd. As recently as last week in a local Toronto dog park, a dog sustained serious injuries from another dog (not a pit bull) that may require months of recovery. In Midland, an Airedale Terrier attacked and severely injured a seizure-alert dog, ruining that dog's future as a service dog. In Port Colborne, two loose Labrador Retrievers killed a Pomeranian and attacked an on-leash pit bull. They had killed another dog a year earlier.

A simple Internet search by Mr. Worthington would show him that a child has never been killed by a pit bull type dog in Canada. Yet, numerous other breeds, including breeds considered to be ideal family pets, have killed children in this country.

Scientific tests of the temperaments of thousands of dogs representing hundreds of breeds showed that, contrary to Mr. Worthington's unsubstantiated statement that they are dangerous to anything that irritates them, pit bull type dogs are, in fact, more tolerant of irritations than most other breeds, including the Golden Retriever, the poodle, and the beagle.

That is called research, Mr. Worthington.

A small number of attacks, no matter how serious, does not represent the nature or inherent temperament of an entire group. If applied to any group other than dogs, not only would this "painting with one brush" be politically incorrect and scientifically inaccurate, it would also be illegal.

I find it sad, frustrating, and insulting that the OPP feels it politically necessary to engage in a manhunt (doghunt) for a domestic animal that caused a three-inch cut on another domestic animal. This was an incident that, if it had happened in any dog park in Toronto, would have resulted in one owner paying the other owner's vet bill and both chalking it up to dogs being dogs.

Regrettable? Yes. Preventable? Absolutely. Worth the paper the story was printed on? I think not.

Steve Barker

Once again, Peter Worthington has launched an unfounded attack on pit bulls. At least this time, he admits that he has "minimally researched" the subject. Perhaps, like Dan Rather, he has simply become too old and feeble-minded to properly research his columns.

Like CBS, I expect the Sun to take action to uphold their standards of reporting, however. The standards shown by Worthington of late, are more suited to a supermarket tabloid than to a respected big city newspaper. Perhaps next, you will be running headlines of alien abductions and two headed men? After all, even minimal research could turn up such stories.

This is the second time in recent months that Worthington has chosen to libel pit bulls and their owners with an unresearched rant. As I have received no response to my previous complaints, I will be forwarding this to the Ontario Press Council for action on your breach of their ethical standards.

Bryan Dale


Blogger Conners said...

The rebuttals make a lot more sense than Wellington's article. I can't believe someone with his professionalism in the past would publish such rumbish.
To be angry over his dog, I can understand that, but to use the newspaper as his vent, he's do better to get a blog.

5:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home