Canine Attack Victims Release Public Service Announcement: “Won’t Back Down”

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Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) will premiere their PSA video involving participants from across the nation as part of Canine Victims Awareness Week - November 9-15, 2014 -- #WontBackDown

National ad hoc coalition Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) will release its first Public Service Announcement (PSA) to kick off its inaugural Canine Victims Awareness Week scheduled to take place November 9-15, 2014. The video will be hosted on AVOCA’s website at and will premiere on Monday, November 10.

Produced and directed by filmmaker MJ Maly, the PSA entitled “Won’t Back Down” was conceived as part of AVOCA’s ongoing campaign for the prevention of fatal and disfiguring dog attacks. The short film runs just over 5 minutes and features a music track, also titled “Won’t Back Down,” performed by Jimmy Solesky, whose brother Dominic Solesky is the survivor of a near-fatal canine attack which occurred in April 2007. Dominic’s attack was the basis of the landmark Maryland appellate ruling Tracey v. Solesky 427 Md 627, 652; 50 A2d 1075 (2012) that declared pit bulls “inherently dangerous” -

The moving PSA features dozens of photos of bereaved families, survivors and community safety advocates holding signs bearing the hashtag #WontBackDown. Some of the participants have also handwritten the stories of their loved ones in a heartbreaking visual display of preventable pain, loss and grief. Advocates, grieving families and survivors who appear in the video hail from 16 different states -- Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin -- as well as the UK and Canada.

Maly, who works in the advocacy movement under a pseudonym, was moved to help victims raise awareness of this community safety threat after friends lost their child to a pit bull attack. The creator of “Won’t Back Down” has chosen to remain anonymous to avoid being targeted and harassed by pit bull promoters as has happened to many other victims and advocates who speak out against the dangers of keeping fighting breed canines as family pets. In a piece entitled "Attack of the Pit Bull Advocates" published in the National Post (print version, May 6, 2014) Columnist Barbara Kay chronicled this systematic abuse of victims -

According to national non-profit organization, in 2013, 32 Americans (18 children and 14 adults) lost their lives to canine attacks. To date in 2014, 34 more have already been fatally mauled by dogs. At this rate, in the US someone loses their life to a canine attack approximately every 9 days.

In response to the growing numbers of dog attacks on both humans and animals throughout the United States, as reported by Merritt Clifton, Editor of Animals 24-7, on September 27, 2014, - - bereaved families and victims of canine attack feel an urgency and obligation to educate the public and to dispel widespread misinformation related to dog bite prevention. First among those myths is that breed is irrelevant to any discussion of canine attack risk. By telling their stories and raising awareness about the circumstances of their tragedies, these survivors hope to prevent further death, disfigurement and long-term suffering.

AVOCA maintains a list of canine attack victims and bereaved parents from multiple states who are available for interviews and further information.

About Canine Victims Awareness Week - November 9-15, 2014 - AVOCA is organizing its first-ever week of awareness and remembrance for victims and survivors of canine attacks. Participating advocacy organizations include, Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness, and Citizens for Canine Attack Prevention. #CanineVictimsAwarenessWeek

About Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) - AVOCA is a national ad hoc coalition of bereaved families and survivors of canine attack. Our mission is to educate the public about dangerous dogs, and in particular fighting and gripping breeds, with respect to the risk they present to human and animal health and safety.

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