Pit Bull + Blog = Volatile Cocktail
Columnist Paul Berton from the London Free Press recently commented on the "pit spamming" phenomenon. After the paper published a story that recounted the tale of a 22-month-old girl attacked by a pit bull, the writer of the story, Jennifer O'Brien, raised the issue on her blog. Doing so created a deluge of comments -- over 10,000 words. Pit bull defenders, it is presumed, left most of these comments.
"Letters are pouring in. Many have been printed in the paper, and dozens are posted at lfpress.com. Most say it's not the fault of the dog (let alone the breed), but the parents. O'Brien, meanwhile, raised the issue on her blog at lfpress.com -- and has been deluged by comments from dog owners, dog experts, dog critics, pit bull defenders, pit bull attackers, cocker spaniel owners, and anyone (maybe everyone) else with an opinion. It's difficult to know for sure, but most seemed to be pit bull defenders."
A Tactic Designed to Intimidate
At DogsBite.org, we are familiar with the game. It goes something like this: Stories about pit bull attacks (such as Jennifer O'Brien's) are immediately posted to pit bull forum websites alerting defenders to leave a comment. Often times, people cut and paste pre-written comments, also posted at the forum sites.
A Tactic Designed to Hide the Truth
Last month pit bull defenders skewed an online poll created by Loudoun County's animal shelter. The poll concerned whether or not the shelter should lift a ban on pit bull adoptions. Supporters of lifting the ban often cited the online survey, in which two-thirds of respondents favored change.
A shelter employee, however, discovered that pit bull advocates who lived outside the county participated in the survey. Postings were found on www.pitbullforum.com that encouraged users to vote in favor of lifting the ban. The poster provided a list of 20 Loudoun zip codes and instructed respondents to delete the cookies stored on their computer so they could take the survey multiple times.
05/08/08: Loudoun County "No Adopt Out" Pit Bull Policy Being Challenged
12/11/07: Online Pit Bull Forum Blamed for Skewing Survey Results