Monday, 3 March 2013

11:04 – We made it up to 72F (22C) yesterday. Right now, it’s windy with a cold rain and the temperature just over freezing. Tonight, we’re to have sleet and freezing drizzle and a low of 14F (-10C). Barbara drove the Trooper this morning, just in case the sleet and ice moves in sooner than expected.

Work on science kits continues. Things are slow this time of year. We’re shipping only one kit or so per day right now, but things should start picking up later in the month and into April. I’m still working on the manual for the earth science kit, which we hope to start shipping this summer.

Following the mauling death of a 3-year-old local girl by a Pit Bull, the lead article in the paper this morning was about Pit Bulls. It was surprisingly even-handed, pointing out that dog-bite fatalities are extremely rare, something like 25 per year in the US. In other words, the probability of being killed by a dog attack is roughly the same as being killed by a lightning strike. Pit Bulls do account for a high percentage of dog-bite fatalities, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Very few fatal Pit Bull attacks are committed by socialized family pets. Unfortunately, Pit Bulls are one of the breeds most likely to be trained to be vicious, and many or most Pit Bull attacks are by dogs that have been intentionally tormented and abused to make them mean. As the article points out, Pit Bulls were formerly considered among the safest breeds with infants and small children, and were known as “nursemaid’s dogs”. I would never leave a small child unsupervised with any dog other than a fully-socialized family pet, but I’d not worry any more about a Pit Bull than any other breed.

Pit Bulls weren’t bred to attack people. The converse, in fact. They were bred to attack other dogs in pit fights but never under any circumstances to attack a person. Otherwise, their handlers wouldn’t have dared risk handling a dog that had been injured in a fight. Of course, that also means that Pit Bulls cannot be trusted around other dogs, particularly in a male-on-male situation. That’s why I’m very cautious about Pit Bulls when I’m out with Colin.