Readers familiar with organizational or political excuse-making are likely familiar with the four-dog defense. The provenance of the defense is uncertain, but Acronym Required describes its four points nicely, citing a story from the St. Petersburg Times:
- First of all, I don’t have a dog.
- And if I had a dog, it doesn’t bite.
- And if I had a dog and it did bite, then it didn’t bite you.
- And if I had a dog and it did bite, and it bit you, then you provoked the dog.
Variations along these lines are commonly used to explain away mistakes, errors, or injuries, often in cases of negligence.