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Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Animal Planet "Animal Witness" Michael Vick Documentary - Not for the Faint of Heart . . .

. . .or faint of stomach for that matter.
I stayed up late last night watching this new series on Animal Planet. I read Donna's warning on the Bad Rap's blog last week and knew that I would be witnessing some rather graphic dog fighting footage. However, I was unprepared for the gratuitousness of the violence. I literally "threw up a little in my mouth" a few times. I also found myself covering the eyes of Sasha and Sparky (because in my mind this was like a horror film on crack...and even though they are dogs...I just couldn't let them "watch" it).
This morning I found a site for viewer comments to Animal Planet and posted the following statement:

I am writing to express my disappointment in the Animal Witness program about Michael Vick. The middle section was so extremely graphic in the footage of real dog fights that I was almost overcome with nausea. I expected more information such as the details from the case in regards to Vick crossing state lines to buy dogs, and the funding schemes of Bad Newz Kennels. I expected much more in terms of the details of how the dogs have been rehabbed. The last 20 minutes were the best in terms of demonstrating how dogs can come out of this awful situation. Perhaps more time could have been spent discussing the generalities of dog fighting. Some discussion of how laws have increased since the Vick case to help protect dogs might have been utilized. But the gratuitous violence of the dogs fighting…how is this any different than violence on crime shows? To show one dog pinning another down with blood spurting from its neck is, at the very least, needless violence. All this serves is to up the hype and to numb the viewers as to how truly awful it is. Also, why did you outline “how to host a dog fight”? You have provided an instruction manual. I am also disappointed that you included extensive interviews with PETA–who was never actually involved with the case! Also, there was an incorrect statement regarding the number of dogs sent to sanctuary–you stated 22 when it was actually 10. Please consider editing to focus more on the treatment of the dogs. This is Animal Planet – not the Sopranos!
If you would like to send them your own comment you can go to http://extweb.discovery.com/viewerrelations - you will be limited 1,500 characters so I suggest preparing something ahead of time. All that being said - the footage of Leo, former fight dog and now a therapy dog - is absolutely wonderful. And the interviews with the folks at Bad Rap show the real deal. Here's hoping that a few minds get changed this week!

8 comments:

kcdogblog said...

Yeah -- my thoughts exactly. Even if they would have not given every thug on the planet a blow by blow account of how to stage a dog fight, I may have been ok with the overall program if they would have at least mentioned that PETA and HSUS each told authorities that all of the dogs should be put down. As it was, it was gratuitous and misleading. Donna's words at the end were VERY powerful, unfortunately I'm not sure how many people made it that far into the program...

Anna Cluxton said...

You know Brent - I hadn't even looked at that aspect: it is quite possible that many people (average, ordinary thinkers) will not make it past the dog fighting to even see the dogs having been rehabbed. Therefore all the good of the documentary may be canceled out. Excellent point - though this makes me even more sad and angry.

Caveat said...

Animal Planet is just sensationalized garbage these days - I never watch it and I didn't see this show but have read all the comments around the 'sphere.

Maybe somebody should sue them for promoting dog-fighting, that might smarten them up. How about glorifying animal cruelty, is that a crime? If not, it should be.

I mean, who wants to watch that, other than sadists and those who are looking for tips - which I understand were provided in detail.

You have to wonder who their target audience is.

And yes, Brent, excellent point. If I had tuned in to this 'cold' I would have changed the channel pronto.

Cedric said...

Thanks for bringing this to light...I wanted to watch this to see how the dogs were doing with their rehabilitation...I did not want to see the graphic scenes described here. I'll wait for the September special on the National Geographic channel...http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/dogtown/3684/Overview

Anna Cluxton said...

Well Cedric - I would definately encourage you to watch the last 20 minutes - maybe tape or dvr/tevo it and fast forward to the end. Honestly the interviews with Donna and Tim from Bad Rap, and Marthina with Our Pack (she has Leo the therapy dog!) are really fabulous. Seeing Leo - with his scars - kiss up on a little old lady and a guy going through chemo are precious and tender reminders of the really wonderful things we as human can do for these dogs!

Cedric said...

Ok, maybe I'll do that...we just adopted a wonderful Pit Terrier from our local SPCA...she's great and I'm trying to raise awareness in my area that this breed of dogs are not the monsters that the media is making them out to be...like any pet, the owners are entirely responsible. Thanks for your reply!

salcedojaime said...

That is exactly why my dog chews on his Vick Dog Chew Toy everyday.

http://www.vickdogchewtoy.com

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