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Nigel Farage: PR Campaign Against Online Critics Makes EU No Better Than a Banana Republic

In News, Nigel Farage on February 8, 2013 at 11:49 PM

 

02/08/2013

As eurozone leaders lock horns over the budget deal, speculation is rife the EU is set to invest millions in a PR campaign against online critics. It puts the EU Parliament on a par with so-called ‘banana republics’, MEP Nigel Farage told RT.

“The words ‘legal’ and ‘European Union’ don’t fit together. Nothing matters here, there are no rules,” says the UK Independence Party’s Nigel Farage of the EP plan to spend huge sums of taxpayer money on social network smear campaigns against those who speak out against it.

It comes as EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day summit, where they are attempting to reach a consensus on the nearly 1-trillion-euro budget deal to support agriculture, transportation, research projects and infrastructure in the eurozone. The talks already appear to be on shaky ground. British PM David Cameron – the strongest supporter of budget cuts – threatened to pull out if the figure isn’t lowered. France’s President Francois Hollande expressed displeasure with Britain’s general relationship with the union and strongly advocated agricultural spending, on which many southern member-states depend. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that a deal on the thorny issue remains a long way off.

The leaders had already failed to see eye-to-eye in November, which raises the stakes, seeing as a repeat failure would force the EU to use provisional annual budgets. If no deal is reached during this summit a decision may be stalled until 2015 when the UK is set to hold a critical referendum on EU membership.

But whilst leaders in Brussels spar over the budget, the European Parliament has reportedly been busy planning to dish out 2 million euro to aid an online campaign to skew public opinion in its favor. Allegations that funds may be pumped into defending the EU on social networking sites were originally made by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. Nigel Farage of the UK’s Independence Party said the move is madness. He believes this is a sign of fear and the Eurozone’s utter denial of economic and political realities.

Via RT

5 Homeland Security ‘Bots Coming to Spy on You (If They Aren’t Already)

In Archive, DHS, Drones, Surveillance, Technology on February 8, 2013 at 11:23 PM

02/08/2013

It’s been 10 years since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) started up operations. During that decade, DHS has moved to the forefront of funding and deploying the robots and drones that could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

DHS funds research and development for surveillance robots. It provides grant money by the hundreds of thousands to police agencies to buy their own. And sometimes it’s bought and deployed robots — for their skies, the ground and the waters — of its own, usually concentrated along the border. It’s not clear how many of those robots police operate, and law enforcement isn’t by any means the only domestic market for the ‘bots. But the trend lines point toward more robotic spy tools for law enforcement in more places — with more DHS cash.

But it’s not going to be simple. The Federal Aviation Administration is cautious about opening the skies to unmanned vehicles — so much so that Congress and the Obama administration ordered it to ease up on restrictions by 2015. But not all spy robots fly. DHS is also developing robots that resemble fish, and deploys tunnel-bots deep into drug-smuggling tunnels along the border.

Here are five examples:

Predator B

Unarmed Predator surveillance drones inside the United States have had a rocky history. The Department of Homeland Security’s sub-agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has flown them off-and-on along the U.S.-Mexico border since 2004. Flights were suspended in 2006 after one of them crashed in Arizona, and drone flights were suspended again in 2010 after a Predator lost communications with its operators. At one point, drone boosters in Congress allocated funding for more drones than CBP had people to fly them.

How things have changed. In the past two years, DHS expanded Predator flights into the Caribbean to hunt for drug traffickers, and has taken to using the drones in an ad-hoc program to help out local police agencies, such as during a June 2011 standoff between SWAT officers and alleged cattle rustlers in Washington state. The drones have been used more broadly than that, reportedly assisting in police investigations from the Midwest to Texas. DHS has also gotten around to expanding its drone fleet. In November, DHS was revealed to be planning to expand its inventory of 10 Predators to 24, and is constructing a testing ground for small surveillance drones at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

But in the years to come, the Predator is likely to have a numerically more marginal role as more law enforcement agencies join the drone bandwagon — it’s exceedingly likely the Predator will remain an exclusive item for the federal government. That is, a federal government putting the machines to work snooping on domestic turf.

BIOSwimmer

Catch it if you can. In September, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate premiered a prototype of its tuna-shaped robot called BIOSwimmer, developed by Boston Engineering Corporation. The concept revolves around eventually deploying the swimming robot to use in port security operations, and could prove to have several advantages over human divers. For one, it can get into tighter spaces, and can work in areas that have been contaminated with oil or other hazardous chemicals that could pose a risk to human health. But mainly, it’s designed to inspect ships and “flooded bilges and tanks, and hard to reach areas such as steerage, propulsion and sea chests,” noted a DHS statement.

The flapping motion is also designed to reduce power consumption, and the robot itself is designed with the intention of its sensors being easily swapped out between missions. There’s no public timeline for when it’s expected to be deployed, if it makes it that far — the tuna ‘bot is still an experimental design. But it’s generally a good idea to start on a small scale.

ShadowHawk

In a way, the trials of the ShadowHawk represent why police drones remain limited, at least for the time being. The Department of Homeland Security handed $220,000 to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department — just north of Houston, Texas — for one of these 50-pound helicopter drones in 2011. Aside from a mishap in which developer Vanguard Defense Industries crashed a ShadowHawk into the department’s armored SWAT vehicle during a photo-op, it seemed like a great idea. The drone has a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour, a range of 15 miles, and a turbine engine powered by jet fuel that can keep it in the air for more than an hour. For surveillance, it can be equipped with a Sony FCB EX-1020 camera or a Photon 320 thermal imaging camera, and in theory would’ve allowed the county’s law enforcement to cease relying on over-worked and tight-budgeted agencies in Houston for aircraft.

In theory, that is. Actually using the drone is another question. The FAA has only granted Montgomery County authorization to train with the drone over a one-mile-wide piece of rural land in the county’s northwest corner — away from the county’s built-up suburbs to the south — and not for actual police work. The drone is also too heavy, exceeding the 25-pound limit for domestic drones set by the FAA. (The limit was 4.4 pounds until a 2012 agreement between the Justice Department and the FAA bumped it up.) That had the chief deputy in the county fuming. The deputy, William McDaniel, argued to the House Homeland Security Committee (.pdf) last summer that the FAA should be removed from overseeing and approving drone operations in the United States, “other than the regular, routine review of agency flight operations to insure [sic] flight safety rules are being followed.” That doesn’t sound too likely, which means Montgomery County might have ended up with a brick for a drone — at a cost of more than 200 K’s in DHS money.

Versatrax 150

The past decade has seen a big build-up in border security under Homeland Security’s watch, including a doubling of Border Patrol agents and hundreds of miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. But to keep their wares flowing, the drug cartels in Mexico have turned to an inventive tactic: digging more and more tunnels deep underground. Then in 2008, the DHS tunnel task force — a joint team of agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the DEA — got its hands on a Versatrax 150 crawler-bot, designed by Canadian robotics firm Inuktun.

But the Versatrax wasn’t first intended to be used for border security — it’s a pipe inspection robot more commonly used by sewage and water workers. The machine is waterproof, has a 500-foot tether cable and can travel at a rate of 30 feet per minute. A high-resolution camera can rotate in all directions, and the robot itself can squeeze through an opening as small as six inches in diameter. Border tunnels can also be dangerous places, at the risk of collapse and even booby-trapped — with no telling who’s inside or what weapons they may be carrying. The Versatrax was designed for sludging its way through sewer tunnels, so it’s not that big of a leap.

Draganflyer X6

The Draganflyer X6 mini-helicopter is perhaps the first police drone to see regular active use inside the United States by a local police agency. In July 2010, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in western Colorado used funding from the Department of Homeland Security to buy one of the machines, while also becoming one of the first police agencies for the FAA to authorize using the drones for police work. Weighing about four and a half pounds, the X6 can only stay in the air under its own power for about 20 minutes, but can travel at 30 miles per hour — allowing it to travel about six miles in one go. The drone packs either a Panasonic DMC-ZS20 camera or an infra-red thermal imaging camera, and can transmit video (when it’s not recording) in real-time back to an operator. The camera is stabilized against vibration, and a sensor head made of carbon fiber contains the gyros, accelerometers, GPS receiver and a barometric pressure sensor to keep it in the air. Mostly, the sheriff’s office claims it uses the drones to map out crime scenes and traffic accidents, although the office claims (.pdf) it’s been used to help a SWAT team track an armed suspect, and photograph a minor airplane crash.

Meanwhile, the DHS provided more than $80,000 to the Seattle Police Department for a pair of X6 drones. The department claims it intends to use the drone for criminal investigations and search-and-rescue operations. But Seattle hasn’t yet been approved by the FAA to use them in actual police work beyond training officers in how to fly it, and it hasn’t made it this far without objections from civil libertarians. On Feb. 4, Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell proposed legislation to prohibit the department using its drones for “general surveillance” — that is, spying on anything or anyone other than an individual suspect with a warrant.

Via WIRED

Christopher Dorner Investigation | DOCUMENTS: Deposition, Legal Papers Challenging LAPD

In LAPD Manhunt, News, Other Leaks on February 8, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Christopher Dorner v. LAPD Case File

 

02/08/2013

FOX 11′s Robin Sax obtained exclusive video that adds another piece of the puzzle to the Chris Dorner investigation.  (This video should be looked at with Board of Rights and Appellate court decisions as context).

Chris Dorner’s manifesto gave a specific call to action to all who read it — investigate his claims he was unfairly terminated by the LAPD. (Chris Dorner made a report that Sgt Evans kicked a suspect during an arrest.  The Board of Review deemed that a false report against an officer and Dorner was terminated).

The official LAPD Board of Review painted the termination case as the training officer’s word (Sgt Evans) against Officer Dorner.  They suggested it was a “he said, she said.”  There were civilian witnesses including the victim of the alleged kick–Christopher Gettler and his father who were called to testify.  Both recount, Gettler saying he was kicked.  While court documents suggest that, Gettler was too inarticulate and un-credible this video allows you to judge for yourself.

The person at the center of the brutality investigation Christopher Gettler. This video exclusively obtained through my sources shows Gettler’s testimony for the Board of Review. This is Gettler’s – the one Dorner says was kicked in the head — perspective on the incident.

Questioning Gettler is Randy Quan. Quan is the appointed advocate and lawyer for Dorner.   He is also the father of murder victim (daughters name) killed Sunday night in Irvine with her fiancé. Dorner is suspected in both their murders.


Legal analyst Robin Sax dug up 21 documents related to the instances of alleged police corruption that ex-LAPD officer Chris Dorner detailed in his online manifesto. Among the documents are Internal Affairs information, Court of Appeals documents and more.  You can read through the documents at the links below:

Dorner v LAPD Court Case

Petition for Writ of Mandamus (Robin says this is the document where Dorner asks the court to review LAPD’s Board of Review’s decision to terminate him):

Dorner v LAPD Apr2009

Dorner Board Selection Form

Dorner Application for Hearing LAPD

Dorner Power of Attorney

Dorner Board of Rights Time Waiver

Dorner Notice to Employee Representative

Dorner Substitution of Defense Counsel

Dorner Person Summary

Dorner LAPD Complaint Form

Dorner Interdepartmental Correspondence Jun2008

Dorner Interdepartmental Correspondence Oct2008

Dorner Addenda

Dorner Decision of the Board of Rights and Execution of the Order

Dorner Case Summary LA Sup Court

Dorner Board of Rights Appointment

Dorner Interdepartmental Correspondence Jul2008

Dorner Discovery Request Form

Appellate Court Decision:

Dorner v LAPD Appeal Oct2011

Other Documents:

Dorner v LAPD Attorney Change Oct2010

Dorner v LAPD Appeal Notice Aug2010

Dorner v City of Los Angeles Judgement May2010

Related Links:

Christopher Dorner v. LAPD Case File

LAPD Reopening Case That Ended In Christopher Dorner’s Termination

LeakSourceRadio: Tabanacle / L Jinny / Proverbz – #OpCensorDis2

In Anonymous, LeakSourceRadio, News, Viral Videos, World Revolution on February 8, 2013 at 8:40 PM

02/08/2013

 

LeakSourceRadio Playlist

Pitbulls Used to Be Considered the Perfect “Nanny Dogs” for Children, Until the Media Turned Them Into Monsters

In News on February 8, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Despite their reputation, the United Kennel Club doesn’t recommended using pitbulls as guard dogs because they’re too friendly with strangers.

01/31/2013

For most of the 114 years since the American pitbull terrier was first recognized by the United Kennel Club, the breed was rightly seen as the perfect “nanny dog” for children because of its friendly nature, loyalty and stability. As the ASPCA notes, the pitbulls were “once considered especially non-aggressive to people.”

Today, as any owner of a “pitbull-type” dog* can attest, parents often recoil in horror when they spot one of these animals, pulling their children close as if to protect them from a marauding werewolf. Fanciful myths about the breed abound, and some public officials have compared their bites to those of sharks and tigers.

Since the 1980s, the media have falsely portrayed the pitbull as a bloodthirsty monster, inherently more dangerous than other strong breeds of dog. There is absolutely no factual basis for that narrative, but it’s led to a vicious cycle in which people who want a badass dog to fight, or to guard property, or to intimidate rival gangs tend to choose pitbulls (or Rottweilers, another much-maligned breed). Pitbulls are the dog of choice for irresponsible breeders, dog-fighters, people who want a tough-looking dog to tie up in their yard and those who refuse to have their male dogs fixed because they think those big, swinging balls makes them look tough by proxy (86 percent of fatal canine attacks involve an unneutered male, according to the American Humane Society).

A 2009 study in the Journal of Forensic Science ($$), found that the owners of vicious dogs, regardless of the breed, had “significantly more criminal behaviors than other dog owners.” The researchers added that “vicious dog owners were higher in sensation seeking and primary psychopathy,” and concluded that “vicious dog ownership may be a simple marker of broader social deviance.” And according to the ASPCA, “Pit Bulls often attract the worst kind of dog owners.”

All of those human failings lead to poorly socialized and potentially aggressive dogs. It is because pitbulls are disproportionately favored by these kinds of owners that they’re responsible for a statistically outsized share of serious attacks on humans. These incidents are then reported – and very often misreported – with breathless sensationalism by the media, and the cycle continues.

Meanwhile, advocates say that pitbulls are the most frequently abused, tortured, abandoned and euthanized breed of dog in the United States. Shelters across the country are overflowing with pitbull mixes. Because of their stigma, they’re often difficult to adopt out; a ride to the shelter is almost always a one-way trip for pitties.

We have tragically betrayed our children’s beloved nanny-dogs, raising them irresponsibly, training them to be aggressive and then turning them into pariahs when they behave as any dog would in similar circumstances.

The Facts

According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, “controlled studies have not identified this breed group as disproportionately dangerous.” The American Temperance Testing Society (ATTS) puts thousands of dogs – purebreds and spayed and neutered mixed-breeds – through their paces each year. The dogs are tested for skittishness, aggression and their ability to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening humans. Among all of the breeds ATTS tested – over 30,000 dogs through May 2011 — 83 percent passed the test. How did pitbulls do? They showed an above average temperament, with 86 percent making the grade. Pitbulls are the second most tolerant breed tested by ATTS, after only golden retreivers.

Pitbulls do not have special “locking jaws” – that’s pure mythology. They don’t demonstrate some sort of special shaking action when they bite – all dogs display similar biting behavior. Pitbulls do not exert an unusual amount of bite-force for their size. Multiple studies have found that bite force correlates to body-weight, and tests of three breeds conducted by National Geographic found that the American pitbull terrier exerted less bite-force than German shepherds or Rottweilers.

While they have been a favorite of dog-fighters for a century, pitbulls weren’t originally bred for fighting. According to the United Kennel Club, sometime in the 19th century European breeders began crossing various terriers with bulldogs in search of a breed that had the former’s enthusiasm and the latter’s stamina and strength. The pitbull breeds that resulted were then imported and embraced “as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions.” (UKC also notes that pitbulls “have always been noted for their love of children,” but aren’t “the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers.”)

Pitbulls are among dozens of strong, muscular breeds of canine. All are capable of doing damage to humans if they’re not properly socialized and supervised. Most dogs do not, even when they’ve been neglected or abused. None are inherently monstrous – they are all just dogs. And we know what makes dogs of any breed more likely to be aggressive.

Karen Delise, research director for the National Canine Research Council and author of The Pitbull Placebo, has investigated hundreds of serious dogbite incidents in depth. As she explains:

My study of dog bite-related fatalities occurring over the past five decades has identified the poor ownership/management practices involved in the overwhelming majority of these incidents: owners obtaining dogs, and maintaining them as resident dogs outside of regular, positive human interaction, often for negative functions (i.e. guarding/protection, fighting, intimidation/status); owners failing to humanely contain, control and maintain their dogs (chained dogs, loose roaming dogs, cases of abuse/neglect); owners failing to knowledgably supervise interaction between children and dogs; and owners failing to spay or neuter dogs not used for competition, show, or in a responsible breeding program.

There are a tiny number of attacks that simply can’t be explained. Occasionally, a well-raised, beloved pet without a history of behavioral issues will hurt a human – dogs are animals, after all – but these incidents are incredibly rare.

Pitbull Takes Its Turn As Media’s Monster Dog

The pitbull is not the first dog to be seen as inherently dangerous. The media seem to feed off the idea of monster dogs — it makes great copy.

As Karen Delise details in her book, in the 19th century, bloodhounds were believed to be inherently vicious, having a taste for human blood. “Eventually,” she writes, “these bloodhounds fell from view, and we pushed other dogs into the spotlight, including the German Shepherd dog and the Doberman Pinscher.” (Dobermans were widely believed to have abnormally small brains, turning them into mindless killers, but this, like the pitbull’s “locking jaws,” was simply a myth.) Other breeds that have haunted the popular imagination in the past include mastiffs and Newfoundlands. In Canada, Siberian huskies have often played the role of killer-hound.

Delise, who reviewed news accounts of fatal dog attacks going back more than 100 years, also noted a shift in the way media report these incidents. Fifty years ago, she writes, dogs were “portrayed as sentient beings that reacted to pain, discomfort, or fear. Additionally, many reports of dog attacks conveyed the understanding that aggression was a natural and expected behavior of dogs in certain circumstances. Owners and/or victims were often identified in news reports as exhibiting behaviors (intentionally or unintentionally) that caused the dog to attack.”

That kind of understanding has since been replaced by an almost-singleminded focus on the breed of dogs that turn violent, stripped of any larger context.

Breed misidentification plays a significant role in the stigma attached to pitbulls. It’s difficult even for experts to properly identify a breed of dog. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science ($$) found that “87.5% of the dogs identified by an adoption agency as having specific breeds in their ancestry did not have all of those breeds detected by DNA analysis.”

hat problem is compounded by media sensationalism. Karen Delise studied every fatal dog bite reported in the years between 2002-2005, and found that “eleven dogs involved in fatal attacks with no Pitbull characteristics were counted as Pitbulls, while their ‘true’ breeds were not reported, and three dogs that were clearly not Rottweilers were identified as Rottweilers.” That was among a total of 47 fatal attacks (by all breeds) reported during that period.

This dog was involved in a fatal attack and the media called it a pitbull…

According to Delise, this dog was reported as a pitbull despite the fact that animal control officers told reporters that she was in fact a Labrador mix…

This kind of misidentification creates a feedback loop, as most studies of fatal attacks rely on media reports for breed identification.

The media’s role in amplifying the public’s fear of pitbull-type dogs was evident in a study conducted by the National Canine Research Council in 2008. When an Arizona woman was killed by one or more dogs identified as Labrador retrievers, one local newspaper reported the story. But that same year, when a California man was killed by one or more pitbulls, the incident was reported “by at least 285 media outlets, both nationally (in 47 U.S. states) and internationally (in eight other countries). MSNBC, Forbes, USA Today, Fox News, CBS News, and ABC News all picked up the story.”

And when an infant in New Jersey was reportedly killed by a Siberian husky, around a dozen local news outlets reported the tragic incident, according to the study. But when another infant was killed by what authorities described as a pitbull in Nevada the same month, it was reported by over 200 media outlets around the world, often with the word “pitbull” in the headlines. Like shark attacks, our perception of the risk associated with these dogs has a lot to do with this kind of sensationalism.

Dog Racism

Some people are understandably offended when the demonization of pitbulls is compared with bigotry against ethnic minorities, but there’s one aspect of the analogy that is just too apt to ignore.

Pitbulls are disproportionately involved in serious attacks on humans, just as African Americans are found guilty of a disproportionate number of crimes in the United States. That’s simply what the raw data say.

Most people consider the claim that blacks are inherently more criminal than whites, based on that raw data, to be pretty darn racist as it ignores the social, economic and legal context of crime and instead ascribes it to some imagined genetic or cultural flaw among African Americans.

And yet, when you strip away the overt falsehoods about pitbulls – those locking jaws and shark-like bites – the raw statistics, stripped of social context, is the entirety of the case against these animals (made even worse by the unreliable nature of data based on media-reported breeds in attacks).

So when Matt Drudge hypes stories of “packs” of black youths rampaging in America’s streets, he’s rightly called out for race-baiting. But when sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who writes numerous posts about pitbulls behaving badly with titles like, “Pit Bulls Should be Boiled Alive like Lobsters and Fed to Their Idiot Owners,” and compares these domesticated canines with wild tigers, he’s doing the exact same thing as Drudge. (Worse, Savage doesn’t appear to make any effort to confirm that the dogs implicated in the stories he promotes are actually pitbulls.)

Only a Monster Could Support Breed-Specific Bans

A number of municipalities have enacted breed-specific legislation (BSL), in some cases banning “pitbull-type” dogs (and/ or Rottweilers and other large breeds), and in others requiring that they be spayed or neutered, or imposing special restrictions on their housing.

These laws have been proven ineffective for the rather obvious reason that they fundamentally misdiagnose the causes of serious dog-bites, focusing on breeds rather than the interactions of dogs and humans. There are numerous studies showing that BSL laws don’t result in any decrease whatsoever in serious dog bites (see here, here and here, and a summary of several others here).

According to the ASPCA:

There is no evidence that breed-specific laws—which are costly and difficult to enforce—make communities safer for people or companion animals. For example, Prince George’s County, MD, spends more than $250,000 annually to enforce its ban on Pit Bulls. In 2003, a study conducted by the county on the ban’s effectiveness noted that “public safety is not improved as a result of [the ban],” and that “there is no transgression committed by owner or animal that is not covered by another, non-breed specific portion of the Animal Control Code (i.e., vicious animal, nuisance animal, leash laws).”

Following a thorough study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) decided not to support BSL. The CDC cited, among other problems, the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty in identifying dog breeds (especially true of mixed-breed dogs). The CDC also noted the likelihood that as certain breeds are regulated, those who exploit dogs by making them aggressive will replace them with other, unregulated breeds.

The term “breed specific legislation” is inaccurate. All sorts of dogs get caught up in the tangle of BSL laws because the definition of a “pitbull-type” dog is subjective. Denver’s infamous pitbull ban, for example, defines it as “an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics.”

What, exactly, are those physical traits? In the study cited above showing that adoption agencies frequently misidentify canine breeds, the authors conclude, “The discrepancies between opinions of adoption agencies and identification by DNA analysis suggest that it would be worthwhile to reevaluate the reliability of breed identification as well as the justification of current public and private policies pertaining to specific dog breeds.”

But the problems with BSL laws go way beyond their ineffectiveness at reducing serious dog-bites. All BSL laws, even those that stop short of outright bans, result in beloved family pets with no history of behavioral problems being destroyed. Simply put, these are monstrous laws.

There are better alternatives. San Francisco (which has a dumb law requiring that only “pitbull-type” dogs be neutered), has a “bad dog court.” When a complaint is filed about an allegedly vicious dog, the animal and his or her owner has a right to a hearing where they can present exculpatory evidence. The dog court can order truly dangerous animals to be euthanized, but frequently the sentences include things like mandating that owners fix a fence or muzzle their dogs in public.

The Good News

Fortunately, attitudes are beginning to change as good humans rally around these wonderful, loyal dogs’ defense. Actor Linda Blair is best known for her role in the The Exorcist, but she now devotes her time to rescuing pitbulls and other unwanted dogs. Shows like “The Dog Whisperer,” which features superstar trainer Cesar Millan, whose personal dogs (“Daddy,” and then “Junior”) were pitbulls with calm temperaments and a lot of patience with smaller dogs, and “Pit Boss” a reality series that follows Luigi “Shorty” Rossi, a little person who rescues pitbulls that are often bigger than him – help.

The fact that we now have an abundance of data showing that banning certain breeds of dog does nothing to decrease the number of serious dog bites helps as well. But really, public opinion is shifting because the case against pitbulls – like bloodhounds or Dobermans before them – was built on a shaky foundation of myths and media hype.

They’re just dogs.

* “Pitbull” is not a breed. It’s a term for a variety of breeds, including the American pitbull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and mixes of those dogs. “Pitbull-type dog” is basically meaningless – they’re dogs with various phenotypical traits that subjectively fit the label.

Via AlterNet

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