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The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression Paperback – June 11, 2007


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The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression + I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet + The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Anubis Publishing (June 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972191410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972191418
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Delise's exhaustively researched, often riveting account of how America's most respected dog became its most reviled takes us beyond the pitiable plight of the Pit bull. It goes to the heart of the storied bond between dogs and humans and the ways the latter often corrupts it for their own craven purposes. By dispelling common misperceptions about certain dog breeds, Delise successfully shifts the onus for problem dog behaviors back to where it should be: squarely on us." --Charles Siebert, author of Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral and Angus: A Novel

"Delise provides common-sense solutions for public safety and sheds light on current media bias involved in the reporting of dog attacks. A compelling and thorough analysis of reckless owners and dangerous dogs in America. A must-read for any public official concerned with increasing public safety." --Ledy VanKavage, Senior director of Legislation and Legal Training, ASPCA

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Customer Reviews

This book is very informative.
Special Education Teacher
Read this book if you have ever owned a dog who is feared simply for its breed whether it be a pitbull, German Shepherd, Rottie, Doberman, Husky etc. etc.
B. Hrnciar
Great book for a long history of how the media has influenced the perception of dogs long before pit bulls.
P. Chavez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Steve Verdon on August 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Everybody should read this book as it would help reduce the level of ignorance out there. And not just about pit bulls, but about dog aggression in general and how it is reported by the media. All too frequently we hear about how the "family dog just snapped and mauled a child." The reality is that often times key information is not included in the article such as the reporductive status of the dog (a big factor in dog attacks), that a female just had puppies (another factor for female dogs) or that the dog was chained, emaciated, suffering from being in extreme heat, or taunted by a group of kids.

Further, the media seems to be completely unaware of the unwitting role they play in fostering fads amongst certain dogs percieved to be the new demon dog and the correlation between breed popularity and the number of fatal attacks. Like Homer Simpson the media blithely marches on almost gleefully publishing account after account of the current demon dog mauling someone and reaping the rewards for such yellow journalism. Delise even highlights one incident where a major magazine published such and article and provided a detailed description of how to turn a pit bull into a monster.

The level of detail of the information in this book is simply amazing. I'd highly recommend it for everyone.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By B. Hrnciar on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a pitbull owner who has had to face the condemnation of my dog and myself a number of times this book was a welcome read. The details provided as well as the insight into the mind of the american public and the media over the centuries towards dogs and dog breeds was fascinating. In a way it gives hope to the bully breeds that someday their time of being hated and feared can sometime come to an end.
Read this book if you have ever owned a dog who is feared simply for its breed whether it be a pitbull, German Shepherd, Rottie, Doberman, Husky etc. etc.
The author has researched back to the 1800's to provide actual documented accounst of attacks by bloodhounds and bloodhound type dogs straight up to present time and more importantly examines the circumstances behind the attacks. The moral is as usual, there are no bad dogs just bad owners.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Special Education Teacher on August 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very informative. During my years of fighting breed specific legislation, I thought I had heard it all but this book offered new and interesting facts and insights.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer D. Shryock on July 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a must read for anyone interested in learning the truth behind the various stories hyped up by media. Delise identifies a pattern over the years of our human need for drama through particular targeted breeds. It is time to step back and look at the human element and intentions of choice of dog.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jena McFall on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was a refreshing change from all the negative press about pit bulls. As a pit bull owner, I was more than presently surprised. It details the history of dog attacks related to dog popularity and shows that the more popular a dog breed is, the more instances of "attacks" there are just by sheer statistical necessity.

Karen Delise has my undying devotion and appreciation for her portrayal of my family pet as a loving, intelligent animal and not a monster!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Australian Canine Psychology Centre on September 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before the Pit Bull it was the Rottweiler. Before the Rottweiler it was the Doberman. Before the Doberman it was the German Shepherd and so on.
The truth is ANY dog can bite, and all do. The truth is ANY dog can be trained for aggression. The truth is ANY dog can be fodder for the media's insatiable appetite for tabloid TV and sensationalism.
Karen Delise has written what should become a must have on any dog trainers book shelf or in the library of anyone who cares about and respects dogs.
Here is an open ledger of the real Pit Bull. Here is a book that honestly exposes what every dog trainer and behaviourist should know - What our dogs do and how they behave is entirely due to how we interact, train and socialise with dogs.
This educative volume should be mandatory reading for every student journalist.
Reviewed by the Australian Canine Psychology Centre
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. Plank on May 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a pit bull owner, I am adamantly against Breed Specific Legislation and was excited to hear about Delise's book. The first two-thirds or so of this book contain a fantastic exploration of the history of dog aggression in the United States. However, when she gets into talking more specifically about pit bulls, her arguments become very passionate and emotional and she starts to move away from the logical rhetoric with which she begins the book. I believe that she fails to take advantage of a number of solid arguments against Breed Specific Legislation.

I would have liked to see data showing how Breed Specific Legislation has affected the number of serious and fatal dog attacks in communities, both by pit bulls and by other breeds. I also had hoped to see more well-researched responses to the common myths about pit bulls that she presents. I enthusiastically support Ms. Delise's efforts in this field, but I feel that this book fell short in its attempts to vindicate the American Pit Bull Terrier.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Bailey on May 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
Interesting reading for anyone concerned about dogs, breed specific legislation and the images the media create. I am not a pit bull owner and I do not live in the USA but by the end of the book I had more sympathy for this and other breeds of dog labelled "dangerous". The facts behind specific attacks and the historical news clips are quite compelling. Well written level headed exploration of an issue that puts the responsibility for dog attacks firmly back on the owners supposedly entrusted to care for them and explores issues that if implemented would do more to reduce attack rates than breed specific legislation.
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