Some fans of the pit bull breed have been mad at us ever since four members of their favorite dog family fatally attacked a jogger east of Palmdale last month.
It's not the first time we've reported on a fatal pit bull attack. But, for whatever reason, our report and others like it struck a chord: We were engaged in breed bias, they said. We were discriminating against a kind of pooch that might not have even been involved in the assaults:
A Change.org petition brought to our attention this week is calling on members of the “mainstream media” to only identify canines in such stories as pit bulls if we have commissioned or otherwise seen proof of DNA testing that verifies their breed.
The rambling, sometimes incoherent rant by L.A.'s Donny Morrison says we've been “falsely reporting” that pit bulls have been responsible for these attacks when, he believes, the dogs are “proven” to have been mixed breeds or not pit bulls at all.
Of course, we have to wonder here if Morrison went out and commissioned his own DNA tests in those cases.
Here's a sample of his entertaining rage:
We have to stop the media from falsely reporting, and I say we start today. I will no longer stand by and let a reporter, or an editor, or column writer attach the words Pit Bull to a story until the dog in question has in fact, been DNA tested, and it has been proven that the dog is in fact, 90% or more Pit Bull. If this is not done, then they MUST be forced to report the dog for what it truly is, a mixed breed.
He says reporters do not rely on experts when they “slap” pit bull on a mauling story. He's wrong, of course.
In the case of jogger who was fatally attacked in Palmdale last month, information that four pit bulls were involved came from both the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and the L.A. County Department of Animal Care & Control.
Is Morrison suggesting that Animal Care & Control workers, who see more pups than anyone in L.A., don't know what they're talking about?
In fact, it was an Animal Care & Control worker who told deputies that a man who lived in the neighborhood happened to have six pit bulls and two mixed breeds, dogs that had allegedly been involved in previous attacks, according to prosecutors.
The fact that county officials changed the story — on the day of the attack they said the suspect had four pit bulls, not six — means they examined the dogs and took a deeper look at what, exactly, they were.
Now that the owner in the case, 29-year-old Alex Donald Jackson, has been charged with suspicion of murder, the fact that the dogs involved are pit bulls is published in court records.
Maybe for the sake of his defense Jackson will have the dogs DNA tested. We'd love to publish a correction.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.