Colleen Lynn – founder and president of dogsbite.org
Every country should help establish a human victim-centred organisation with resources and statistical studies.
This organisation should be independent of influence and funding by dog breeder, veterinarian and animal welfare groups.
We’re a US charity dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks. Every week, a person from the UK writes to DogsBite.org asking if a similar organisation exists in their country.
Thus far, we frustratingly write back: “Not to our knowledge.”
Based in Austin, Texas the website raises awareness about the potential danger posed by some dogs
It advocates changes in legislation and regulation to minimise the risk of dog attacks
In a recent letter to the editor of The Vancouver Sun, the founder of DogsBite.org, Colleen Lynn, shines a light of truth upon falsifications written in an “opinion” piece published by the same newspaper. Below is the submission, the published letter was edited.
DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims’ group, addresses falsifications written by Rebeka Breder and Rebecca Ledger published on Sept. 17. Their opinion piece responds to an article by Stephen Hume, “Hume: Certain dog breeds and owners combine for violence.”
The co-authors falsely state, “Hume bases his facts and statistics on data that is neither peer reviewed nor published in scientific publications, and is therefore unreliable.” The co-authors then cite DogsBite.org as one source of Hume’s data.
Both authors ignored the peer-reviewed scientific study that Hume wrote about in his article — Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs, by John K. Bini, MD, et al., published in the Annals of Surgery in April 2011.
Pit bull injury data from DogsBite.org is cited in several areas of this study. Thus the statement by Breder and Ledger is doubly fictitious. Hume indisputably relied upon peer-reviewed data and DogsBite.org data has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific publication.
The pair next state: “This American-based group is run by an attack victim whose only agenda is to exterminate what it considers to be ‘dangerous breeds.’”
DogsBite.org is a tax-exempt public charity organization with a board of directors, advisors and volunteers with the following mission: “A national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks.” Since our inception in 2007, DogsBite.org has corresponded with hundreds of dog bite victims. Such correspondences cannot be published for privacy reasons.
Hume got it right, which is what triggered the erroneous response by Breder and Ledger.
Dear Colleen Lynn,
First of all, your site does absolutely first rate research. Without your findings, when I had my pit bull moment, I would have been rudderless in a sea of inequity. For a non-profit to do the kind of work you do, informing people like myself about the grave realities of that breed, it’s really gratifying to see your growth and I’m really happy to give witness to your effectiveness in the battle against a true public safety menace.
One year ago I had a family move in next door to mine with what appeared to me to be some sort of Pit Bull mix. The dog was a female about 80 lbs. and just over one year old. I voiced concern with the owner, as I have a wife, 4 year-old boy, and infant daughter. After all, we shared common areas, the same fence dividing our property in the back, a car port, and our doors were roughly 5 feet apart in a town home association.
I was assured that the animal had no Pit Bull blood and was friendly with children. However, I had been advised by a good friend that the breed was nothing to take lightly, pure bred or not, so I started to search the Internet. When I found your site, I couldn’t believe the back log of devastation the pit bull breed had levied across our country. I tried to contact lawyers, the local animal shelter, etc., but was told by all the above they could do nothing unless there was an “incident.” Therein lies the rub. Any incident with that dog could result in a death or maiming to my family.
I contacted you and you provided information. Through my steps with the owners of that property, which resulted from my interaction with your site Dogsbite, I was able to influence the removal of that dog. I was also able to keep it from becoming a confrontational event, and insure timely action. For the two to three weeks it was still there, it rushed me twice as I was leaving my property through the back. If there is no gate or fence, I’m certain I would have been attacked. If that dog ever got a hold of my wife or children, I’m certain the results would have been ruinous.
Your site enabled a proactive response, which is really the only way to deal with a threat like that. Current laws demand some sort of violent and unchangeable actions to be carried out, which is completely unacceptable to people in danger, just like my family was at that time.
Thank you for your support in my time of need. – George, California
Annapolis, MD – In a rare decision by the high court to grant a motion for reconsideration, the Maryland Court of Appeals narrowed its April, 26 2012 ruling in Tracey v. Solesky by limiting its ruling only to pit bulls and removing the terms: cross-breds, pit bull mix, or cross-bred pit bull mix. The Court narrowed its original Opinion because the case before them, Tracey v. Solesky, had no references to cross-bred pit bulls. The dog in question in Tracey was a “pit bull terrier.”
The Court’s holding that “pit bulls are inherently dangerous” still stands, as does strict liability for their owners and landlords when a tenant’s pit bull attacks. – DogsBite.org
Dear Colleen Lynn,
So glad I came across your website, which I think is exceptionally well done and setting a high standard in terms of prevention and victim support.
I was pleased to see the South African media clips on your website.
No one will ever understand the sheer horror of being attacked by someone’s pet unless you have been a victim yourself, or, as in my case, being the daughter of one who was savagely attacked and killed a few years ago (in the week proceeding Father’s Day).
I wish you all the best and may you receive all the funding you need and more to keep things going strong.
– Leana, South Africa
Dear Colleen Lynn,
I want to thank you for your commitment to protecting innocent lives from the dangerous pit bull breed.
During my lifetime, I have witnessed 3 separate unrelated pit bull attacks. I witnessed these attacks over a 30 year period. In each case, the animal’s owners were completely shocked that their pet was capable of such an act of violence. I am now 50 years of age, and I am still frightened to go for walks in my neighborhood. These animals are inherently dangerous, and we should ALL have the right to feel safe in our community. I must say that I am shocked and appalled by the level of complete denial of facts and statistics that is demonstrated by the pit bull “advocates”. I absolutely believe that your diligence has saved lives, and with the thoughtful consideration of our elected and appointed officials, I believe that many more lives will be spared. – Mary E., Texas
Dear Colleen Lynn,
I started to do research into the dangers of pit bulls when it was announced in 2008 that the ban in Holland would be lifted. I searched the Dutch internet, but I could not find any information so I decided to search the American websites. I ploughed through 5 pages of search results before I found Dogsbite.org. All the time I was becoming more and more suspicious. Dog owners all agreeing on a subject? Doesn’t happen, never, but they all agree pit bulls are just like any other dog?
I started a website. Being warned by Dogsbite.org experiences, I registered ‘tegenpitjes.nl’ private. First the pit bull owners tried a DNS attack against my site. When that didn’t work, they harassed my domain registrar. It got so bad for them I had to pull the plug on ‘tegenpitjes.nl’ and register my new website, ‘tegenpitjes.info’, in the States.
Thank you Colleen, your help was invaluable. I admire you so much. I have no words to describe it because I’ve never known anybody who I admire this much. Your courage is a shining example for me. – Astrid, Founder of Tegenpitjes.info
Dear Colleen Lynn,
We corresponded via email late last year, I discussed the attack on myself by two pit bulls. I am having a tough time psychologically dealing with all the hatred directed towards the victims of these attacks. I have utilized your website regularly, and as a victim it has been most helpful, I continue to applaud you in your courageous efforts to stand firm against such hostile opposition. I wish you continued success with your ongoing attempts to educate others to the realities of certain breeds of dogs and hopefully one day eliminating these attacks all together. Kind Regards, – Luke, Founder of Sittingbull.com.au
“In Maryland now, if your pit bull bites, negligence no longer needs to be proven. Under the ruling, not just pit bull owners, but landlords who have the dogs living on their property are now liable for their actions … Colleen Lynn, who runs an education website about dangerous dogs called DogsBite.org, wrote a brief to the Maryland court supporting the decision. She told CBS News, “When they attack, they don’t stop. This is what ends up killing people. Pit bulls are the top killing dog breed.”
Thank you Colleen … After my child’s attack, your website was the first one that comforted me, because I saw I wasn’t only in wondering why, so many why’s … I try to follow in your groundbreaking footsteps, and advocate for victims, thank you for your bravery and continued hard work. – Anne King
Dear Colleen Lynn,
As the parents of a child who endured a disfiguring near-death mauling by a pit bull terrier, I can’t begin to express my gratitude by your founding Dogsbite.org. A lifelong dog enthusiast myself, I have also been concerned when mans best friend is bred to the extremes. That concern was realized in the nightmare our innocent 10-year old son endured — the carnage an extremely ill bred dog can bring. My interest in both animals, dogs in particular, and my love for children moved me to public protection and victims’ advocacy. I have been involved and often relied upon Dogsbite.org for guidance in the criminal and civil aspects of our ongoing ordeal that began over four years ago. Throughout this time and currently, I again rely upon you and the information collected on Dogsbite.org to compel public officials to see that this issue is not one of dog owners rights, but one that is a monolithic public health, welfare and safety threat.
My wife Irene and I both wanted to take the time to say that while your detractors are adversarial, well organized and effective at getting their message out, their legions are small. Ironically, their small pack and “big bark” crusade borders on vacuous in comparison to the vastly more representative concerns you address on behalf of the public on Dogsbite.org (you’ve got real bite).
Keep fighting the good fight. God bless.
– Anthony and Irene Solesky, Towson, Maryland