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EDITORIAL: RNRF Reports Controversial Topics and That Will Never Change – Pit Bulls and Arrests


On the very rare occasion I force myself to write an editorial, even though I know it’s probably not in my best interest. All my editorials have resulted in fiery debates and almost always lead to personal attacks against me by those sitting comfortably behind their keyboards. Well it’s that time again.

Online news has become the most readily available and popular form of broadcast in the world. Whether it be print, radio, or cable news, all forms of media have converted or added an online presence.

There are pros and cons to being a small online news outlet, thankfully most of them pros, but sometimes our stories raise the blood pressure of those who are either directly related to the subject or passionate about the content. In the last few days that’s exactly what’s happened and the outcome has not been pretty.

RNRF, like most media outlets, make errors from time to time, especially when stories are developing and the flow of information is constantly changing. This is an especially challenging for Real News Real “Fast” because, well, the entire premise behind our model – being fast. So, lets dive right in.

Over the last 6 or 7 years, RNRF has reported on dog attacks through Hernando and surrounding counties and the Pit Bull breed is almost always the culprit in every story we publish. Yes, I used the word Pit Bull; a word nearly as offensive as using a racial slur or someone admitting they cast their vote for Donald Trump. And that leads us to a story we ran last night involving a deputy who was bitten by a dog during an incident on Deltona Blvd. (CLICK FOR FULL REPORT)

Outrage over the already provocative article turned hostile after receiving information that the animal we reported as being a Pit Bull was most likely a different breed altogether. Of course we immediately corrected the article and noted that when full report was available, we would make a final update. But that didn’t matter because the anti-RNRF loyal viewers were already full steam ahead with how much they hate me and my reporting. Oddly, there were only one or two commenters who asked how the deputy was doing after he was bitten.Has it become so “PC” to use the word Pit Bull that a reporter is not allowed to mention the word in a news report? Do we have to add PitBulliphobe to our list of “phobes” in America?

People often refer to our articles as Pit Bull hate speech, rather than what they are intended for which is simply reporting an incident involving a Pit Bull. People ask, “Why don’t you mention other breeds in your headlines” and “Why do you always bash the breed”? Let’s be frank, the Pit Bull’s bite is more damaging than most other breeds. It’s not that a Pit Bull is “Evil” or that we search for stories on Pit Bull attacks, they happen every day and almost always lead to serious injury. People say, “It’s not he breed, it’s the owner.” Well, then should there be regulations that prevent irresponsible owners from possessing a Pit Bull? According to a popular website,, in 2016, Pit Bulls contributed to 71% (22 of 31) of all dog bite fatalities in the United States. The same breed, with Rottweilers coming in second, contributed to 77% (22 Pit Bull and 2 Rottweiler) of all recorded deaths between 2005 and 2016. There are also entire countries, states, counties, and municipalities that have banned or have restrictions on Pit Bull ownership.

Now, I know that Pit Bull owners will say “But mine has never hurt anyone” and “Pit Bulls are sweet loving companions”. That may be a fact for many, if not most Pit Bull owners, but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that when a Pit Bull bites, it’s not going to end well for the victim. And I have seen the damage Pit Bulls do to infants, toddlers, adults, and other pets – you don’t want me to share those images.

Let’s compare gun control to Pit Bull ownership. Anti-gun activists want to ban assault rifles, even though they are no deadlier than a handgun. It’s the scary appearance of an assault rifle that makes people think they are more dangerous, right? How about comparing them to exotic animal ownership. You can’t own a Cobra, Tiger, or other potentially lethal animals without a permit. So, if a Pit Bull’s attack is factually more destructive than a Poodle, Collie, or Chihuahua, don’t you think maybe there should be at least some restrictions, mandatory training, or something?

The point I’m trying to make is that RNRF is not anti-Pit Bull. We are simply reporting what the information we receive as it pertains to dog attacks in our viewing area. And without a doubt, Pit Bulls contribute to the vast majority of attack reports that we receive. If you want to quell the Pit Bull stories, then responsible Pit Bull owners should be proactive in proposing regulations.

It should be noted that just today a woman was bitten by a Pit Bull in Hernando County – but I don’t think I’ll be reporting that story.

Now, let’s move on to another hot topic that always stirs up controversy.

Today, RNRF reported the arrest of 31-year-old Debbie Dotson who, according to officials, slapped her boyfriend’s “ba**s” during a domestic dispute on Saturday. (FULL STORY) You would think that people might find a bit of humor in the story and as expected most did, but what I didn’t expect was the onslaught of viscous attacks by those who know Dotson.

After posting the article, Debbie Dotson and several friends and family members begged me to remove the article because “she was the one abused” and “I’ve never been in trouble before”. I explained to Dotson that we NEVER remove articles under any circumstance but I did offer Dotson an option to add her comments to the story. She refused and no matter how compassionate my responses, Dotson and her gang of keyboard bandits began a viscous social media campaign against me and RNRF.

I tried to explain that she was arrested because of stiff domestic violence laws but she continued to state that she has been abused for months and that I’ve ruined her life. No matter what I said, nothing was going to change her mind that RNRF and the arresting deputy destoryed her life.

So, the point I’m trying to make is that regardless of it’s a Pit Bull story, a Domestic Violence arrest or any other circumstance, RNRF just reports the news. We don’t have a crystal ball to view the lives of each subject and determine innocence or guilt. We can only go by the information that is provided to us through media releases and other reliable sources.

RNRF is controversial, that will never change. RNRF reports on issues no other outlet will ever touch, that will never change. RNRF will make mistakes and then correct them as quickly as possible, that will never change. RNRF does not hate Pit Bulls and we don’t judge those who are arrested. As a matter of fact, we don’t judge or provide opinion on anything unless we are editorializing, like I am right now.

I want to take this time to thank all our loyal and supportive viewers for standing by RNRF, whether you agree or disagree with our reports. That is the true meaning of Freedom of Speech.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2017 RNRF Incorporated.


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  • Tom… I love what you are doing for us here in Hernando. If it wasnt for you, we wouldn’t know half of the crazy stuff that goes on right in our own neighborhoods! Even next door. I look forward to visiting your site daily and reading the new stories available for us. And for the people who always have something negative to say about Tom or the news he presents to us, why don’t you stay off his page! Mind your own business. And go make your own news page. See if you can do better Tom. Because I bet you won’t even come close. Tom is an amazing person and let’s us know what’s going on around us, to keep us informed. We don’t hear these news stories on Bays News 9 or Fox 13. And they are very much newsworthy as the next story. Tom takes time out of his personal life to make sure we know what’s going around our county. Thank you Tom Lemons for everything you are doing for us! Ignore the haters and keep on keeping on! RNRF ROCKS!!!

    Sunday, 11 June 2017, 7:39 pm
  • just write the stories because the heated comments are what i love reading

    Thursday, 8 June 2017, 6:59 pm
  • gets paid big time every time someone visits the page. They are a extremely against Pit bulls and wants to end the breed all together. The information on their page is very biased and their stats not always accurate. Back yard breeders passing on bad genetics and distemperment are the reason we see pit bulls get a bad rap. Bad owners not properly raising there dogs as well. The American pit bull terrier is an amazing dog their loyal and loving. I’m so over the bashing of this breed when 90% of the time it’s the owner or the environment the dog grows up in. Plus if the dog is a mutt or a mixed breed it’s automatically called a pitbull which is r idicoulous especially news outlets that want sensationalize their articles

    Thursday, 8 June 2017, 1:18 am
  • the problem today is that most people are too worried about what the other person is doing or not doing rather than worrying about themselves. what happened to people getting along ? if someone wants to fight for something why not for the kids who are being abused or don’t have a home to live in or food to eat. too many people rush to judgement without knowing all the facts and feel it is ok to bash others… my nieces where in a serious car accident that one of my nieces fiance dies, and the comments that people made not knowing the facts was unbelievable. right down to saying he got what he deserved because he didn’t have a seat belt on… the fact is tom is just reporting what the news is why do people feel the need to make rude comments when not knowing all the facts… some of the people making these comments need to think how they would feel if that was their family member.. we need to all stop and think what is coming out of our mouths or fingers in this case before posting and trying only posting positive things… haven’t you heard positive brings positive… tied of all the hate

    Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 9:39 am
  • Tom did a story on me 2 1/2 years ago, and rightfully so because I was screwing my life up as well as so many other lives. My (then) dope boy boyfriend and I ran around this town doing whatever the hell we pleased – until, by the Grace’s of God, we got caught. The day that the police and Tom Lemons rolled up on us, was the first day of the rest of my life. I didn’t see the story Tom wrote on me until a year and half later when I got released from jail. Reading that story and seeing the way I was portrayed didn’t make me mad or make me want “revenge”, it pushed me harder than EVER to keep my new life on track. I look back on the story all the time, to help remind me that my life now is golden! That that year and half in jail
    Changed me in everyway possible. People can change, I’m the shining example. 2 weeks after I was released, I got sole custody of my son back, got federally bonded that way I could get a good job, and now I’m on my way to close on my first mortgage. If you look at my now exboyfriend dopeboy, well, he’s still sitting up at the Cumberland farms every night waiting for his next arrest.
    Tom, the story you did on me changed my life. Some people need the harsh truth and I thank you. Don’t worry about the HATERS because you never know who thinks of you as a HERO.

    Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 9:13 am
  • What some people don’t understand about domestic violence are that deputies are focused on what just occurred, not the past history. Who was the primary physical aggressor during the alleged altercation? She may claim she was abused in the past, but that does not change what she did. If it had been occurring for months and she has friends and family defending her, why did she not remove herself or her entourage help her get away from the abuse? Some people live for the drama and continue to stay in toxic relationships. Yeah, yeah, some will say “I had no place to go.” is a BS line. She knew the relationship was toxic, but she made the decision to continue staying there. Funny how friends and family will defend her online, but won’t let her stay at their house… I wonder why?

    Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 5:54 am
  • Tom does a great job posting local news, as for me, Im just here for the comments section

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 6:29 pm
  • We are blessed to have Tom Lemons reporting the news here. We wouldn’t have a clue without him about the goings on in the area or government sector. THANK YOU, TOM LEMONS, IS NOT ENOUGH FOR WHAT YOU DO FOR “WE THE PEOPLE”.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 3:25 pm
  • Jenny! you funny! l.o.l!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 3:18 pm
  • A-mason, i got ya,and i agree, long period between when i read article til all way bottom to of comments, l.o.l.! by the time i got to commenting i’m sure i already forgot some of what i read i (sucks getting old) i was maybe misunderstood,or misconstrued my comment/point, just that any gun 22-to darn missile will harm kill, and i am believer of right to protect me and mine,and i also feel the rifle’s themselves have been assaulted to point.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 3:17 pm
  • Bwahahahahahahahahahaha Spring Hill Neighbors is blocking everyone who agrees with Tom Lemons. What a bunch of wimpy women. A group of

    Karma is a b#&%* and so am I.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 2:05 pm
  • and concerning phobias and disorders, i have 2 new disorders, (both need cures soon, not treatment) 1 is what most of our youth and some adults even suffer, that is D.D.D. discipline deficit disorder, 2nd and very sadly, and alot of people across the world are STILL suffering the capital h here being very key……H.l.t.e.s……….HILLARY lost the election syndrome!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 2:04 pm

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 2:03 pm
  • chamberlain, funny,true, l.o.l.! bingo tonight community center,bring covered dish, beer and wine only, remember have a designated driver for your golf cart!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:48 pm
  • i forgot one key part of your story tom, your dead nuts on gun’s (assault rifle v pistol), a ridiculous false picture has been created, if everyone american citizen carried, and we all knew we carried………….there wouldn’t be near the crime i believe

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:40 pm
  • json2975, also spot on, the records / #s speak volumes, global guy, spot on, awesome, especially the election point! unreal, god help us.l.o.l.! i don’t post often but i get no replies to mine……any one
    love a surfadude?

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:34 pm
  • If you stick to the old journalistic criteria of “who, what, when, where” No one should fault you. Any editor worth the ink on his paper selects stories they feel have general interest to their readers. Otherwise your site would be full of reporting garden parties and club meetings. Of course all editors succumb to the old adage “if it bleeds it leads” from time to time. It’s human nature.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:28 pm
  • well, 1st tom, i will say very glad you brought up phobias and P.C.ness (L.O.L.! i’m sure that’s improper writing spelling) too many grammer n spelling nit pickers on here too………but,phobias,p.c. i’m sick of it, it has gone too far………..also just duplicate food for thoughts comment, spot on,also great point jimbo, shea, THE TRUTH………yes tom and all of you here remember the truth is (always best, has power, and will set you free!) and again tom and A-mason spot on! the #s don’t lie aka football……………..stats are stat’s, you are what your record says you are! aka dennis greens rant. they are what we thought they were! bethy you funny and spot on and many others i may be forgetting, like i told ya lst time i posted, D.CENTER………tom,keep pouding in search of TRUTH! thanks rnrf and all here for lettin me put my pennies in the ring! whether we acknowledge or not were all brothers and sisters……..PEACE!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:12 pm
  • you should have followed your instincts on this one. the reason you have your own ‘paper’ is that you are not a journalist, and would not be hired by any legitimate news agency. good luck.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:11 pm
    • And you can do a better job frank.Anyone would be lucky to have Tom work for them as a reporter.He chise to go on his own

      Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:31 pm
      • Oops he chose

        Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:32 pm
  • Mr. Lemons,

    You do a fantastic job with reporting from the reports you get. Please keep up the excellent work and disregard those who are bitter, by their own actions. As for Dotson being abused. I don’t believe it or she’s pretty darn stupid for not reporting that abuse to the authorities.

    Spring Hill Neighbors and the cohorts of that Facebook site are disgusting. They are not here for the community instead they are out for themselves.

    I applaud you for your excellent reporting and understand what a hard task that is. I wish you nothing but the best.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 11:21 am
  • Tom, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I live in the country and walk many miles each day. I carry a stun wand that has prevented me from dog bites on many occasions. The sound it makes sends dogs running. No harm to them or me. Many, but not all dogs that come out to bite are Pits because for some reason the owners of Pits let them roam loose, even though it is against the law in Hernando County. Staffordshire Terriors aka Pit Bulls are loving dogs that have been misused by owners for some time now. It is sad because they are truly loving dogs. There biologics make their bite more damaging because of the make up of their jaw. This was explained to me by a professional dog trainer. I love all dogs, but I really wish more Pit owners would be responsible and get their dogs neutered or spayed to prevent the destruction of these beautiful animals in the County Shelter. Thank you, Tom, for your reports, I have come to depend on them.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 10:42 am
  • Tom, youre always going to have ignorant careless people. Sorry you have to deal with it but you and I know you are on the front line in the spot light as a reporter. Think of it this way with out them, you would not have too much to report on.. You know the majority of people support you but a small percent of the population will be haters.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 10:39 am
  • Pit Bulls are only as dangerous as the ANIMALS who own them.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 9:55 am
  • Tom,I like the idea of your editorials.Some folk may learn something if even by accident.My 2 cents; Please have some follow up on some pertinent stories, ie; The pot bust at the airport(remember”they will be in custody very soon”),and,the school board holding a non published “meeting” at a gated country club? or,how about that gun that was found on school property?(a felony and loss of permit). You may have to look under a few rugs,that are always swept

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 9:00 am
  • When people get in trouble you reveal who they are RIGHT? SAME CONCEPT…if someone is that sensitive maybe they should guard what they watch and read…Stay In Your Own Bubble!!!

    Do u remember the T-shirt that says “If my shirt offends you…then stop reading it!” SAME RULE APPLIES…Unless their addicted to RNRF and then I would just have to point out the obvious…YOU MUST BE DOING A GREAT JOB TOM!!!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 7:43 am
  • Before RNRF, I had to get most of my in-depth information on local news stories from the UK Daily Mail! Keep up the good work, Tom.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 7:35 am
  • The problem I have with you on a lot of your stories is that you jump the gun & report things that are not true or verified just to get the artical to print & mostly sensationalized. Why not just say a large dog, a mixed breed, until you have VERIFIED your report? Also, I am not a fan of your intrusion into people’s tragedies by snapping gorey pics of accident sceens where their bodies/faces, etc are shown. Show a little compassion in your work, Tom. You will be better respected in this community.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 7:11 am
  • Please keep up the good work
    You give us information on our community that otherwise would not be available

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 6:53 am
  • “Don’t shoot the messenger” 🙂

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 6:26 am
    • Seriously because ending the breed is a solution. You think all these small dogs on that page are innocent that they never bite or went after someone. It’s not the breed come meet my dogs and I’ll show you. Backyard breeders and irresponsible owners are the issue. Enviroment the dog grows.up in as well.

      Thursday, 8 June 2017, 1:33 am
  • Tom you are the voice for our community. The TV folks don’t report 90 percent of the local news that residents may have interest in. Remember one thing, there are true idiots reading the same as concerned citizens, why even bother posting there drunken/drug fueled comments, we really don’t care. Keep up the good work

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 4:20 am
  • I think one of the issues here is agenda pushing. Domestic incidents happen all the time, but when the woman gets arrested, it will certailny be advertized here. Not fake news, but the choice of news to report is telling.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:39 am
  • People have nothing better to do but complain. Keep up the good work !!!

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 1:27 am
  • So, you don’t hate pit bulls at RNRF?

    LOL! Sometimes you just have to laugh and make fun. You should laugh of many of the comments Tom and not be so easily upset.

    Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 12:11 am
  • If your reporting all the information given and available then there isn’t any reason or need to explain. If the woman was abused, then good for her, to protect herself I hope she filed a few reports herself. Before she was arrested for it herself. As for pit Bulls I have met my fair share and some are great dogs and others I wouldn’t want to be in the same city. I have a pit she is the sweetest and laziest dog ever. We saved her from the pound 4years ago. I got pregnant and tried to find her a home, Even tried to take her back to the pound. They wouldn’t take her back only strays not pets. I am now glad they wouldn’t because of how gentle and protective she is to my baby. I didn’t trust her at all at first. I think some people trust to much to fast, not giving the animal a chance to know how to act. I would trust a pit over a chow or a few other breeds. Everyones oppion depends on their personal experiences es. So to write what you find with as much truth as you can find will always get under someones skin, but controversies get readers attention.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 11:20 pm
  • Refreshing when a media outlet reports the actual facts instead of “fake news” like the main stream media. Thank you for not being politically correct. Thank you for what you do in our community.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:11 pm
  • Thank you Tom…you are the best

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:06 pm
  • don’t change anything. RNRF is AWESOME

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:01 pm
  • In my opinion you always report the facts as they exist when you write your article(s). If facts change when additional formal information (final sheriff report) you have always revised your initial report if in error. Those who shoot arrows at you are clueless or still think that the other person won the election last November. You provide a GREAT service to this community filling a major void from the
    Fake News newspaper we were use to.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:00 pm
  • Keep on bringing the news. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t know anything that goes on in Hernando or Pasco. You’ll always make some mad, and never please everybody. But we need to know what is going on and I appreciate it. You gotta have thick skin to be in the news business, and I think you do. Keep bringing it.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:57 pm
    • Keep up the great work Tom

      Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 9:58 am
  • Keep up the great reporting!

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:36 pm
  • I appreciate all you do. We would not know half of what was going on in our community with out RNRF. Some people have nothing better to do than [email protected]%H. Thank you for all you do!

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:35 pm
  • Tom, I enjoy RNRF, I look it up everyday, but I would like to make a suggestion. Please consider disabling the comment section on all of the articles. Most of the comments are like a trainwreck…I know it’s going to be bad but I can’t look away!

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:33 pm
  • You have some very valid points. Facts are facts no matter how embarrassing or how much people don’t like them.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:33 pm
  • Fact is Pit Bulls are almost always the culprit to the the calls we run in Pasco

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:28 pm
  • well stated & written – ty for getting out the RNRF

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:24 pm
  • Keep up the good work Tom, I look forward to your news reporting.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:19 pm
  • Sorry but pit bulls are extremely dangerous animals and as such should be heavily regulated our banned.

    As for the woman, if she’s the one abused, than this arrest might have just saved her life. Good chance to get away alive.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:17 pm
  • Your and and should not be allowed to report the news.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:16 pm
    • You should not be allowed to leave comments especially when you can’t write Frank.Tom they will always bit$$.They probably call the news channels and do the same thing.Keep on reporting.

      Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:10 pm
    • not at all what i wrote. solid job. further proof of misguided and amateur journalism. good thing you have your own ‘paper’.

      Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 12:32 pm
  • I agree with you, you’re just reporting the news as it happens. You cannot control the news, just pass it along for those of us who are interested in the articles. Keep it up!

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:15 pm
  • Good job Tom, God Bless

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:12 pm
  • But, not EVERY story/incident needs to be reported. Especially if all the facts aren’t clear at the time it’s reported.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:09 pm
    • Then you won’t see stories about anything until that something happened 3 months ago.

      Monday, 5 June 2017, 11:46 pm
    • I agree.

      Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 7:14 am
  • You will NEVER please everyone ALL the time no matter what you say or do.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:08 pm
  • Well said Tom. I saw the stupidity today on FB over the “balls” story and it was ugly, but most of the people were there in support of you despite those that should have pulled the whole nonsense from the group page.

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:07 pm
  • Well said Tom! I applaud you!

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:01 pm
    • That’s EXACTLY why I don’t do Facebook!
      Too much drama!
      He said, she said…
      Complete BS!
      But that’s what happens when u put people under the bus. They get pissed!
      U need to toughen up Tom, u should expect this kind of stuff, really
      Opinions r like A-holes, everyone’s got one!

      Monday, 5 June 2017, 9:27 pm
      • People are vicious on facebook and I don’t use and social media sites.

        Wednesday, 7 June 2017, 1:09 am
  • Lol She was arrested for “stiff” domestic laws.I know you didnt mean it that way Tom but it is funny

    Monday, 5 June 2017, 7:59 pm
    • Surely I’m not the only one who sees Tom Lemons flippin’ us off. And I’m one of his supporters…:)

      Tuesday, 6 June 2017, 4:49 pm

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