Victims of Canine Attack Issue Open Letter to Arianna Huffington During Inaugural Canine Victims Awareness Week

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Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) urges Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post to reconsider her publication’s stance on the promotion of pit bulls as desirable family pets -- #VoicesoftheVictims

National ad hoc coalition Awareness for Victims of Canine Attack (AVOCA) has issued an urgent plea to Arianna Huffington in response to her publication’s recent promotional feature entitled “Pit Bull Week” (July 28-August 4, 2014) -

AVOCA released the Open Letter to Arianna Huffington, which is signed by over 100 bereaved family members, survivors and victim advocates, as part of its educational campaign for Canine Victims Awareness Week, occurring November 9-15, 2014. The victims’ coalition urges the Huffington Post’s Editor-in-Chief to reconsider her publication’s editorial decision to promote and encourage pit bulls as desirable family pets.

Along with AVOCA, victim advocacy organizations participating in Canine Victims Awareness Week include Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education & Awareness,, and Citizens for Canine Attack Prevention. The full text of “An Open Letter to Arianna Huffington Regarding the Promotion of Pit Bulls” can be found on the Daxton’s Friends website at

According to national non-profit, “Pit bulls currently make up approximately 6% of the dog population in the U.S. Yet, in 2013, pit bulls and their mixes caused 78% of all dog bite-related fatalities.” As canine attack fatalities continue to rise each year, as documented by Merritt Clifton, Editor of Animals 24-7, on September 27, 2014, - - AVOCA urgently seeks to educate the public about the risks of dangerous dogs, specifically fighting breeds and their derivatives. At the rate reported by Clifton, currently in the U.S. a citizen is killed by canine attack approximately every 9 days.

The Open Letter to Arianna Huffington outlines the devastation experienced by canine attack victims which can be overwhelming to body and mind, as well as financial status, as bills accumulate for emergency care, reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation. Families of the deceased struggle with profound loss and survivors often suffer post-traumatic stress disorder as reported by - AVOCA, as a support and advocacy network of victims of dangerous dogs, therefore, cautions the Huffington Post that encouraging the proliferation of fighting breeds as family pets is ill-advised and even potentially deadly.

Tragically, in the period following the Huffington Post’s “Pit Bull Week,” nine more Americans have lost their lives to canine attack, many by family pets. The recently deceased are:

Cynthia Whisman, 59 -- Ohio -- fatally mauled by her daughter’s pit bull, August 4;
Joel Chirieleison, 6 -- Florida -- fatally mauled by his aunt’s pit bulls, August 7;
Deriah Solem, 22 months -- Missouri -- fatally mauled by the family’s pit bull mix, August 9;
Javon Dade, 4 -- Florida -- fatally mauled by his father’s pit bull, August 13;
David Glass, Sr., 51 -- Mississippi -- fatally mauled by up to 6 neighborhood pit bulls, September 21;
Alice Payne, 75 -- Arkansas -- fatally mauled by her own pit bull, September 26;
Juan Fernandez, 59 -- California -- fatally mauled by 4 neighborhood pit bulls, October 15;
Logan Thomas Meyer, 7 -- Wisconsin -- fatally mauled by a Rottweiler staying with the family, October 24;
Alemeaner Dial, 83 -- North Carolina -- fatally mauled by her granddaughter’s 4 pit bulls, November 2.

So far in 2014 the canine attack fatality count in the US has risen to a total of 34 at the time of writing. The full list of dog bite-related fatalities with source citations can be found at

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. #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. #VoicesoftheVictims

About - is a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks. Through our work, we hope to protect both people and pets from future attacks. Our website,, was launched in October 2007 and contains a wide collection of data to help policymakers and citizens learn about dangerous dogs. Our research focuses on pit bull type dogs. Due to selective breeding practices that emphasize aggression and tenacity, this class of dogs negatively impacts communities the most.

About Daxton’s Friends - Daxton’s Friends was formed in honor of Daxton Borchardt, who passed away on March 6, 2013, due to severe injuries sustained in a dog attack. Daxton’s Friends strives to educate the public about the importance of understanding dog breeds and how, with proper education and pet care, the number of dog-related incidents can be reduced. Our goal is to serve as a resource for healthy canine pet ownership, and advocate for public safety and animal welfare. Through education, promotional vehicles, and providing resources, we aspire to function as an authority on these topics and serve our communities.

About Citizens for Canine Attack Prevention - Citizens for Canine Attack Prevention was founded by Collage C. Warner. Collage Warner is a canine attack educator and dangerous dog breed victims’ advocate. She is also a survivor who is passionate about turning her story into a movement for social activism, victim advocacy, human rights, children’s rights and public safety.

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