Before delving into the "professionals" and their evaluations/opinions of GRACIE, a few issues need to be addressed.
First, WAGMAN exaggerated the qualifications of the professionals who evaluated GRACIE in his brief and in the news story. Not a single one of the "professionals" that evaluated GRACIE qualify as BEHAVIORISTS. To qualify as an animal behaviorist requires an advanced degree; masters, doctorate or doctor of veterinary medicine. You can view the very short list of behaviorists in the U.S. HERE.
A Note About Animal Behaviorists: Many persons employed in the dog training field use the title "behaviorist" incorrectly. A Behaviorist is someone who has a doctorate level graduate degree. A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist is a Behaviorist who is certified through the The Animal Behavior Society. Persons who do not meet these qualifications should not be using the term "behaviorist" to describe themselves - in this case, the terms behavior consultant, behavior counselor or behavior specialist are acceptable.
Second, Dogs tend to shut down when housed in the shelter. Can any useful data about a dog's temperament be acquired from an evaluation that has been performed on a dog that has been housed in a strange and stressful kennel for 2 weeks?
Third, Who hired and foot the bill for the King and Filson evaluations? And should opinions of friends and employees of the owner be admissible as professional in a legal proceeding?
Fourth, It is not possible to test a dog's reaction to every conceivable stimulus that it might encounter. A dog might interact well with 50 unfamiliar people or animals during an evaluation or during the course of its life, but that does not mean it will be okay with every person or animal that it encounters. Behavioral evaluations can not predict how a dog will behave in every scenario. That's why TRISH KING explicitly states on her evaluation that she can not guarantee a dog's behavior and she is not liable for future aggression.
Fifth, It is absurd to extrapolate the data collected testing a dog in an artificially controlled environment with a confident experienced handler to the real world where unforeseen variables are left to chance with people who are not well versed in dog behavior. I believe these tests performed by KING and FILSON are essentially worthless. GRACIE failed the only test that matters. Her real world temperament test. Once on her own and outside the reach and supervision of the artificial and controlled environments - the shelter, the "behaviorists", her home, her owner - all bets are off and as we know from DULCE REYES, GRACIE is a "bit off" when she is estranged from her loving TOMTOM.
TRISH KING CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer), CDBC (Certified Dog Behavior Consultant)
KING is the only one in this lineup of "professionals" who even comes close to resembling a "behaviorist". I was so outraged by her report, that I entered all three pages. My comments are in italics.
Trish King, CPDT CDBC
Evaluation of Gracie Jorgensen
Gracie is a young Pit Bull Terrier, evaluated following the killing of a neighborhood cat.
During the evaluation, I evaluated Gracie for human sociability, handling, impulse control and arousal issues, and predatory instinct The evaluation was conducted in an outside yard, next to a chicken coop, and close to wildlife, including a feral cat that walked outside the yard.
During this test, the dog is allowed to roam in an enclosed area; the number and quality of interactions is analyzed. Gracie was moderately social, engaging with me when l initiated play.
Handling: During this test, the dog is handled extensively, from feet and head to a full hug. Grade tested out as extremely tolerant to handling, allowing me to manipulate any part of her body for extended periods of time (up to 2 minutes)
Note the use of adjectives "tolerant" for later commentary.
Impulse Control/ Arousal: During this test, the handler actively engages the dog in play, checking to see whether the dog tends to go out of control, to behave roughly, or engages in mouthy behavior. Grade's energy appears to be generally calm and relaxed. She engaged in play at a fairly high level of excitement, but calmed quickly when I stopped playing.
Note the use of adjectives "calm" and "relaxed" for later commentary.
Predatory instinct: During this test, the dog is exposed to other animals that commonly arouse the predatory drive. In this case, the animals included chickens and a cat. Gracie tested out as moderately predatory. Her attention was attracted by the animals, but she did not have a strong lock and was relatively easily distracted with obedience commands.
Exposure to chickens and cats in the presence of an experienced dog trainer vs a dog with a taste of freedom and away from her owner are simply apples and oranges.
Gracie was somewhat distracted during the sociability portion of the evaluation, and tolerated rather than sought handling. There appeared to be an element of owner searching" in her behavior. This is a behavior fairly common in shelter dogs recently separated from their owners. They tend to approach strange people and investigate them. Their body language changes from excitedly anticipatory to dejected when they discover they don't know the human. At no time did she appear to offer any threat, and was very friendly when a volunteer who had apparently interacted with her appeared.
Note the use of adjectives "anticipatory" and "dejected" and "friendly" for later commentary.
With regard to impulse control/arousal, Gracie scored very high. Her energy level was moderate, which is very unusual in a dog housed in a shelter environment Most dogs become highly energized, and are often out of control. The fact that Gracie was not was excellent.
Gracie's predatory drive would appear to be moderate. However, if she were to remember the location of a particular small animal. it would likely escalate with each sighting, much as a dog remembers other dogs in particular locations. This escalation could increase the predatory instinct.
It is very important to note that dogs are predators, and may tend to kill small animals, unless they are raised with them, much as cats will kill animals smaller than themselves. Humans should understand that these instincts are very strong, as they are connected with survival, and must be monitored.
First, dogs are SCAVENGERS and second, this dog lives right next door to small dogs. Pit bulls can live amicably for years with dogs and cats that they were raised with and then one day, the owner comes home to a blood bath. Survival in this case is the self rewarding flexing of her DNA.
Management: Gracie needs to be managed around small animals, particularly cats. She would benefit from a well fenced in yard, as well as walks that are always on leash. Obedience courses, wherein she learns to follow the instructions of her owner, would be invaluable.
Managed around cats? duh! Gracie already has 3 years of obedience training and a well fenced yard! The problem is not so much that she does not follow the instructions of her owner, the problem is she can not be safely contained.
Conclusion: I do not believe that Gracie is a threat to humans. Although people tend to think of dogs as "aggressive" or "not aggressive," that is no truer of them than it is of humans. Dogs may behave aggressively or not. In any case, predatory behavior is not true aggression - there are no emotions associated with the behavior. It is an instinct, and not one that transfers from one type of animal to a human being.
Well, we finally agree on something. Aggression is INSTINCTUAL with pit bulls!
Trish A King, CPDT, CDBC
Okay, remember when I told you that the perversity of this case would get better? Well, here it is.
After TRISH KING finished whitewashing GRACIEPOO'S evaluation, either on her own initiative or at the request of "the Shyster", she "evaluated" a witness statement! Yes, that's right. A former news reporter turned DOG TRAINER, not only assesses GRACIE'S aggression towards a human nearly one month after "the Incident", TRISH KING evaluates the witness via her written statement to AC!
Dear Bruce: (ooh they are on first name basis, this ought to be good!)
I reviewed the statement from Kellie Meyers regarding Gracie Jorgensen. I am very sorry Ms. Meyers was frightened, and can understand why the sight of a stray dog in her immediate vicinity might have made her think the worst. However, there was nothing remotely like the "raging pit bull" in the dog that I evaluated. Gracie allowed me handle her extensively and intrusively, and showed no signs of any aggression at any time during the session.
Gracie's behavior on Nov. 14 as described by Ms Meyers appears to have been more excited and curious than threatening and angry. The rather hasty and hysterical behavior of Ms Meyers would likely make the dog even more excited. From a behavioral point of view, a hunting dog does not behave in the way Ms. Meyers described - rather, the dog would be focused and quiet. Nothing Ms. Meyers describes would be interpreted as aggressive or threatening to humans. It would appear that Ms. Meyers was anthropomorphizing - that is, attributing motives to a dog based on human emotions.
In addition, it is extremely important to realize that dog behavior is actually relatively consistent. Aggression does not jump from species to species, and predatory behavior is aimed at prey, and not random human beings. Gracie's prey drive that day was focused solely on the cat, as evidenced by the fact that she did not bother any of the people at the she went to. I am sure Gracie would not have attacked Ms. Meyers or her mother in this situation.
~Trish (aka Carnac the Magnificent)
The fact that this evaluation was addressed to "the Shyster" answers one of my questions, Who paid for these evaluations. Btw, defense attorneys ONLY hire "experts" that will support their client's case. But I digress... let's take this second evaluation apart.
1) Anyone who sees a loose pit bull and doesn't "think the worst" and prepare for it, is an idiot.
2) KING states GRACIE is "Nothing remotely like a raging pit bull", yet TRISH KING recommends "a well fenced yard" and EVEN MORE obedience training for GRACIE who has been in a perpetual state of obedience training for the last 3 years.
3) Why is Ms. Meyers anthropomorphizing when she described "the Mutant" as aggressive and trying to get into her home but TRISH KING is not anthropomorphizing when she uses words like calm, relaxed, anticipatory, tolerant, dejected, and friendly to describe "the Mutant"?
3) TRISH KING blames Ms. Meyers for creating a potentially dangerous situation or at least escalating it by referring to Meyers' behavior as "hasty" and "hysterical". Part of the problem with these lion tamers is they expect everyone to not only love all dogs, but trust all dogs and be an expert at reading their behavior. But the issue here is that any attempt for any so called "professional" to explain or assess the behavior of GRACIE or Ms Meyers at 2:00 pm on Nov. 14th is PURE SPECULATION and should not be admissible in any legal proceeding.
4) Aggression is not consistent. Pit Bulls are just fine right up until the moment that they aren't. And often after "the Incident" when AC or the police arrive, pit bulls are once again "just fine". How many times have the owners of attacking pit bulls expressed their shock and horror with "they've never shown any aggression before."
5) Aggression does jump from species to species. Often after a devastating pit bull attack, the investigation reveals that the pit bull previously killed another animal. Prior to the family pit bulls killing Jacob Bisbee, they killed a chihuahua, an akita and a parrot.
6) Pit bulls regularly prey on random human beings. Kelly Caldwell was randomly killed by 3 pit bulls as she walked to the store. One of those pit bulls was touted by the owner as being a loving nanny dog. I could go on, but this blog post is already running long.
6) Just because GRACIE was solely focused on the cat at the time of the mauling, does not mean she wasn't solely focused on Ms. Meyers or her home at the time she was menacing her and attempting to get inside.
7) "Nationally recognized behaviorist" TRISH KING misinterpreted and criticized Ms Meyers eye witness description of GRACIE'S quiet frenzied behavior. Apparently KING is not familiar with dog behavior in fox hunting or hog hunting or deer hunting. That's not too surprising. KING is not familiar with the content of the witnesses' statement either which has NO mention of barking or growling. TRISH KING, the only "heavy weight" in this sham is a FUCKING JOKE. Her ignorance and arrogance are truly astonishing.
And I just LOVE the disclaimer at the bottom of KING'S official evaluation.
The analysis and recommendations contained herein were made based on a verbal history and brief observation of the dog, and in no way should be construed as a guarantee of future behavior. The client will not hold Trish King or her associates liable for any behavior which occurs prior to, during, or following any training, tutoring or consultation. The dog owner assumes all responsibility for the behavior of their dog.Well, I guess Ms King, the Clairvoyant Diva is NOT so sure that Gracie would not have attacked Ms Meyers or her mother after all.
The pro-Gracie camp is targeting Ms Meyers because she puts another ugly blemish on the "the Mutant's" fictitious impeccable record. They have attacked Meyers at every opportunity and they have completely ignored the fact that Ms Meyers was not alone that day and her witness corroborated her statement. "...at about 1:50pm I witnessed a dog (Pit Bull) pacing along the front of the house from one end to the other, over and over again. The dog was lunging and jumping at the front door and the kitchen and bedroom windows, clearly looking for a way into the house. When I got out of my truck I yelled "Hey" at the dog several times trying to get its attention. At one point the dog actually circled the whole house, jumping/lunging at every window and door along the way. After 20+ minutes of yelling and trying to distract the dog, it left the Meyers residence and went to the neighbor's house. Immediately after the dog left it attached and killed the neighbor's cat. The noise/screaming from the attack (the dog, cat and cats owner) was unbelievable and something I surely will not forget. In 33 years of going to people's houses to provide estimates I have NEVER witnessed anything like this before. I have encountered my fair share of scared and/or mean dogs (and owners), but I have never seen a dog so obsessed with getting into a house.
In my opinion this dog is clearly vicious and needs to be dealt with accordingly."
KELLEY A FILSON CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer)
Another artificial test in an artificially controlled environment conducted by a biased hired gun to rubber stamp a dog that should have been euthanized for failing her Nov 14th real world temperament test.
FILSON evaluated GRACIE at the animal shelter on Nov 30th, 16 days into her quarantine. FILSON leashed GRACIE in the kennel, walked her through the shelter and out into the yard. yadda yadda yadda... But I will give FILSON credit for conducting the most absurd test ever. "I requested a towel from a cat cage and presented it to GRACIE. GRACIE sniffed it briefly, but showed no interest." At least we know that GRACIE is not mentally retarded, as she knows the difference between animate and inanimate objects. Seriously, how do these people get away with this shit? Oh, wait, BILODEAU, never mind I answered my own question.
ERIC DORFMAN (no titles but claims he has certificates in dog behavior counseling and dog aggression)
"My name is ERIC J. DORFMAN of Dorfman Canine. I am a canine behaviorist and trainer who specializes in problem behavior. I am Certified in Dog Aggression towards both humans and other animals." Woops, there's that incorrect usage of the behaviorist title again. ERIC DORFMAN was GRACIE'S first trainer. DORFMAN stated that he met JORGENSEN in October 2009, approximately one month after he adopted GRACIE. JORGENSEN wanted to make sure GRACIE was carefully evaluated for a safe, smooth transition into her new environment which included a pug. Hmmm, JORGENSEN already had GRACIE for one month, shouldn't that that kind of extensive evaluation occur BEFORE you bring a new dog into the home? And GRACIE'S previous owner had a pug. Smells fishy."The initial meeting consisted of an overall evaluation including: temperament, disposition, separation anxiety, reaction to human hand, resource guarding, territorial behavior, reactivity to noise, quick movements, sight stimuli and other dogs." My gut tells me that GRACIE was exhibiting behaviors that caused JORGENSEN concern. Why else would you take your dog to someone who is certified in dog aggression and specializes in problem behavior???
STERLING TURNER CHU
This bio has just left me dumbfounded. Can someone please help me to understand how a young woman in her mid 20's graduated as a dog trainer in the spring of 2011, currently has 400+ hours towards her certification as a dog trainer, has worked for over a decade with pets and has met "thousands" of dogs, (is it appropriate to include dogs you have met during your tumultuous teen years with all of those raging hormones? can we trust the judgement of a 15 yr old who states two of her interests are "crying" and "fighting"? and is a young woman who leaves a 7 yr old tantrum on a public forum to shame her drunkard mother capable of critical thinking skills?) PLUS, CHU admits that she is friends with JORGENSEN and "the Mutant", how can she be considered a PROFESSIONAL in this very serious legal proceeding? How is it that not only JORGENSEN'S bottom feeder lawyer saw fit to include her in his line-up but BILODEAU didn't immediately kick her ass to the curb? I did a little digging and found STERLING TURNER CHU sitting on her ass with a video camera at a dog day care center giggling. On her video uploads, she occasionally types out a description of dog behavior to impress her viewers, for example, "extreme piloerection".
"I met THOMAS JORGENSEN at the end of 2009. He had rescued GRACIE from Montery County, and we began working together training GRACIE. Tom wanted ongoing instruction to further his knowledge of basic dog obedience training and his understanding of intra dog play and socialization." First, JORGENSEN AND GRACIE had just supposedly successfully completed a 6 week BASIC OBEDIENCE class with ERIC DORFMAN, the aggression/problem behavior expert. There are really only two explanations here. GRACIE already forgot everything that she had literally just learned in her first basic obedience class OR she shouldn't have graduated (or possibly didn't). Second, JORGENSEN did NOT rescue GRACIE from the shelter, his good friend SUSAN ACKERMAN (the pug owner) adopted her in August 2009 and quickly realized that GRACIE was too much for her so she pawned her off on TOMTOM. Third, my translation of CHU'S double speak sounds more like obedience classes with DORFMAN did not address the subtle and dangerous body language of pit bulls that JORGENSEN needed to master in order to be a responsible pit bull owner.
CHU worked with JORGENSEN from 2010 - 2012, trying to channel GRACIE'S energy and prey drive. I suspect CHU does not offer money back guarantees for her pit bull clients as GRACIE failed her real world temperament test on November 14, 2012. "GRACIE was moved to a secluded, big, empty space with hardwood floors, (oh my god, did CHU just identify a new pit trigger - flooring?) far different from her comfortable petite carpet condo with bustling people and friends, dog and human. He no longer lived on the 3rd story up the elevator and down the long hallway. Now outside their door call nature and the Hillsborough neighborhood full of critters like deer, skunk, squirrels, and outdoor cats. All of which would appeal to a dog's natural predatory drive. Tom consulted with me after moving, and he installed the deep and high fence completely around the back yard to ensure her enclosure when off leash. Tom took extra effort in working on GRACIE'S recall in this new environment (often dogs needs to relearn under new context), making sure she could leave the new and exciting distractions the world has to offer when called." It is stunning, the number of references to GRACIE'S prey drive from the pro-GRACIE camp and yet BILODEAU ignores them. This letter of reference is a joke. STERLING TURNER CHU tries to play the pity card with a big empty house with hardwood floors and nature provoking her. Poor, poor GRACIE, taunted by wicked squirrels and spooky cats. What's a frankenmauler to do?!
DR MICHELLE WALSH DVM
GRACIE'S personal vet provided a written statement attesting to her wonderful temperament based on the FIVE times she has seen GRACIE in her practice since March 2010. It is important to note that veterinarians do not possess any expertise in the area of animal behavior by default of their DVM degree and there is nothing that I can find on the internet to indicate that WALSH is any kind of behavioral expert. "She has never once shown any fear of humans or any aggression towards humans or animals in our hospital whatsoever. She has sat in our waiting room with other dogs while awaiting her appointments." I will go out on a limb here and assume that THOMAS JORGENSEN was accompanying GRACIE during these vet visits and therefore GRACIE was on her best behavior, per DULCE REYES. Also notice that WALSH does not specifically mention cats, only humans and dogs. And it probably doesn't hurt that there are separate waiting rooms for dogs and cats. Additionally, any knowledge that WALSH possessed about GRACIE'S behavior in the waiting room would be via the people who work at the front desk, making much of her testimony based on hearsay. "She has allowed us to do full exams, injections, blood collections, rectal exams and radiographs without struggle, resistance or growling..." Neither has my dog but I never needed to ask my vet to testify about my dog's behavior in a legal proceeding but seriously, the only thing missing here is the classic pit bull platitude "pit bulls are great with people because the dogmen needed to be able to handle them in the pit and sew them up afterwards". WALSH wraps up her plea stating that GRACIE was just exhibiting "natural predatory behavior" and she feels that GRACIE should not lose her life over this "one unfortunate" event. (note the sanitized language again - EVENT) Again, according to Hillsborough 6.04.010, "the severe injury or killing of an animal" requires just ONE victim, not a slew of them.
* Cat owning clients of Dr WALSH would be wise to seek veterinary care with a clinic that does not devalue their pet of choice.
QUESTION: WTF was BILODEAU doing during this legal proceeding? A crossword puzzle?
"Vicious animal" means any animal, except a trained dog assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties, which meets any or all of the following criteria:
1. Any animal previously designated as "dangerous," that after investigation by an animal control officer and/or peace officer is found under conditions which constitute a violation of this title or applicable dangerous animal permit and which demonstrates a significant danger to the public health or safety;
2. Any animal seized under Section 599aa of the Penal Code and/or upon the sustaining of a conviction of the owner or caretaker under subdivision (a) of Section 597.5 of the Penal Code;
3. Any animal which inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being or another animal;
4. Any animal which has engaged in any aggressive behavior which demonstrates that the animal represents a clear and present substantial danger to the public health and safety and that due to substantial risk to the public health or safety, it is unlikely that the animals could be safely maintained under a dangerous animal permit.
"Dangerous animal" means any animal, except a trained dog assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties, which because of its disposition, behavior, training or other characteristic, constitutes a danger to persons or property, or which demonstrates any or all of the following behavior:
1. Any attack or other behavior which require a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury or property damage or that results in an injury to a person or property;
2. Any aggressive attack or other behavior that constitutes a substantial threat of bodily harm to a person or animal, where such attack, injury or behavior occurs in a place where such person or animal is conducting himself or herself peaceably and lawfully;
3. An attack on another animal or livestock which occurs off of the property of the owner of the attacking animal;
4. Any animal that has been deemed by another governmental jurisdiction as "potentially dangerous," "dangerous,: "vicious," or any similar designation.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrified: Part 1, "the Incident"
Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrified: Part 2, The Appeal
Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrified:Part 3, "The Professionals"
Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrified: Part 4, The Brief - Lies, Exaggerations, Illogical Conclusions, Inconsistencies and Speculations
Lifestyles of the Rich and Terrified: Part 5, The miscreants, science whores, dirty hippies, kidults and philanthropic robber barons