When they print "pit bull attack" articles. This one was written by
Leisa Boysen and can be found on the BSL Workshop site. I have added
a comment at the bottom.
The Media and BSL
by Leisa Boysen
As we are all well awareâ€¦the media holds a tremendous amount of power
over public perception of any given issue reported on.
We feel it is time to begin focusing on the media directly and asking
hard hitting questions of THEM regarding the information they are
putting out there regarding dog bites, dog attacks and breed
No one should ever be subjected to being approached by a loose dog or
to a dog bite. Children should never have to endure being in harms
way with a dog nor should our pets be at risk in their own yards or
How can these issues be addressed and community safety be provided?
By focus on those who are irresponsible owners and those parents who
do not properly supervise their children.
We have put together a list of questions we would like to see people
from across the country flood mailboxes with in the instance of a
less-than desirable account in the media of our breeds.
There is usually a link for the reporter and searching the "Contact
Us" link will usually produce the Editor's contact information, as
well. We encourage all to take a proactive stance and email/call or
fax questions to reporters to find out exactly where they got their
information and urge them to focus on the true issues at hand.
Some questions to ask have been listed below. You do not need to use
all of the questions and please add your own questions/information as
*Who identified the breed involved in this story?
*Who was responsible for the dog (s) (and child if appropriate)in
*What is this communities dog at large law?
*Do you forsee the responsible party being held accountable for this
*Are there Responsible Dog Owners groups in your area?
*Does Animal Control have a timely response to dog at large calls?
*What exactly is the dog at large call procedure in this community?
*Will you be doing a follow up on this story regarding the issue of
*I would encourage you, as a media source, to do some type of follow
up which would include a true community service by bringing up what
responsible dog ownership entails. I have taken the liberty of
including an informational sheet which highlights many things
responsible dog owners do in order to provide safety for their pets
and those in their community, as well.
*Not only are media sources responsible for bringing us our news they
are also responsible for truth in journalism and providing their
community and readers with helpful information that enhances and
encourages learning and change. I feel one of the greatest
accomplishment and public service a news source can provide is
accurate information and and what can be done to address the true
issue of the story. I would encourage you to follow up your story
with information which would focus on the irresponsible party and
what your community can do to address this issue.
Me again (Laura) Here are a few comments that I included in a recent
letter to a reporter (I copied the News Editor and the General
Manager of the TV station as well as a number of advocates).
While I understand that the phrase "pit bull" creates quite a buzz
for news stories, so-called pit bull attacks are reported at a rate
of up to 91:1 over attacks of SIMILAR SEVERITY by dogs of other
breeds. As evidence, I submit the fact that a Doberman attack on an
Indianapolis toddler (the child required about 300 stitches) went
virtually unnoticed by media while the two recent "pit bull" stories
are getting heavy coverage. For more information, please refer to the
attached item from the National Canine Research Council. (*a printout
of this report was attached:
http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org/top ... 5&topic=18
As you contemplate coverage of dog attacks in the future you should
be aware that, by perpetuating the misperception of pit bulls as
inherently more dangerous than other dogs, you are (presumably
unwittingly) perpetuating their marginalization by society and, as a
result, the staggering abuse and profound suffering of an entire
population of dogs. Additionally, you are misleading the public and
causing misperceptions about dog safety which could have lethal
repercussions. If you are going to report dog attacks, please report
ALL attacks or none at all. Anything less would be unethical,
irresponsible, inhumane, and flat-out sensationalism
There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.