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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 19 March 2006 Issue

PAWPRINTS, FOOTPRINTS & ANIMAL CHATTER: HBO's "Dealing Dogs - The Betrayal of Man's Best Friend" - Why every animal person must see this show!! 
By Judith Marie Gansen


Don't you wish there were more heroes in our world? It's so great when we discover some we didn't know existed!

Over the years there have been many courageous undercover operations done by various animal groups. I often prefer not to view the films because they are so upsetting to me. There is something particularly horrific about some larger entity torturing or killing or harming something smaller than the abuser is--just because they are larger or have more power and they therefore believe they can get away with it. Seeing things like that outrage most people with any sense of humanity.

This time, for me, my decision whether to watch was different--I had to watch this HBO special myself. I think my prime reason was that my husband and I love our dogs and I felt I needed to know more about the bust of this specific Class B dealer to possibly learn more about ways to protect them, that's part of my job as a "dog mom." I am also fighting pound seizure in my own area. I also wanted to write about this to educate others and I couldn't do that unless I "bit the bullet" and watched. You can't accomplish change unless you have the courage to face an issue. I guess I also needed those pictures in my head to prompt me to fight on when I begin to feel it is all too overwhelming. I grabbed a box of tissues and with fists clenched I viewed the documentary. It wasn't pleasant until towards the end, but the learning I received far outweighed any discomfort I went through.

I had many questions after I heard about this largest ever bust of a Class B dealer in U.S. history. The largest fine every paid. His over 700 acres confiscated and the loss of his license. Over 500 violations of the Animal Welfare Act along with some other crimes. I wondered what did his house look like? did he get rich doing this? what did his kennels look like? where did he find the dogs? did he have pets of his own? what kind of person was he? how educated was he? what kind of person would treat Man's Best Friend as a disposable commodity when most of us consider them to be family members?

A very brave young man named "Pete" will be my forever hero, along with Last Chance for Animals and HBO for airing it and including all those involved--A Working Dog/Teale-Edwards production, it is a film Produced and Directed by Tom Simon and Sarah Teale, music composed by Jamie Lawrence, edited by Geof Bartz, A.C.E., camera Tom Simon. Supervising Producer was John Hoffman, Executive Producer was Sheila Nevins. God Bless all of you for your wonderful work!!

Rarely has a documentary moved me so much as this one did. The bravery of this young man struck me first of all. To leave family and friends and go undercover living in less than ideal conditions must have required a great deal of courage and compassion on his part and yet, like our undercover police officers, he had to go along with things that were so heart-wrenching so that he could obtain the evidence needed. I can only imagine what his nights alone must have been like--probably constantly telling himself that he had to keep on going because if he didn't do this horrible job, who would? At a time when self-absorbed people are worrying about their next expensive purchase to "keep up with the Joneses," this man risked so much for a cause that is still sadly undervalued by some in our society because it is not about people but "only about dogs."

What Will This Documentary Accomplish?

There is an old saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words." That is why everyone should view this documentary and I do believe it will have a profound effect. Everyone who does pet rescue and foster or anyone who adopts out dogs, every humane society, everyone working on pound seizure, every vet and grooming place, every breeder, every animal control person, everyone involved in the show dog circuit, every animal rights organization and every law enforcement officer as well as every judge and prosecutor needs to see this. When it comes out on DVD/video (which I hope it will) it should be donated to every library and any pet place having a library.

This documentary opened up a new world to me--one which I wish I didn't know existed but feel somehow stronger now that I know it does exist. The story had to be told so that people become enlightened and take action for positive change. For those who believe that all animals are equal in value, like it or not, some animals like dogs get one of the highest rankings by quite a few humans. We can interact with them, love and be loved by them. This show will help to verify the horrific abuse and exploitation of a creature that has done so much for humans. It will make people realize that the work of animal advocates has a valid basis and it will bring more people into the fight to help animals. It will create more "soldiers for the cause" so to speak.

After watching the show and after calming down, I began to think of the bigger picture here. Why does so much cruelty exist in the world? Children, women and animals seem to be the victims most of the time because they often make easy targets. But men get abused and killed too. The only good news about this violence is there are laws to protect most instances of people harming people. People take crime against people pretty seriously. Animals seem unfortunately to be somehow in a separate category even though they feel pain and fear like we do. Why is that? Crimes against them often are not treated with the same seriousness. This time, thanks to alot of hard work and dedication and courage by some wonderful human beings, justice was on our side.

As I watched the dogs cowering in the corner of their cages, my heart bled for them and for their unknown fate. I wanted all of them to be in a safe and happy home with lots of food and water and love and green grass to play on and to feel the sunshine on their faces. I wanted them far away from those who would hurt them just because they have the power to do so. I wanted them far away from anyone who would callously sell them to research especially now that I know that some of them would be put into experiments where known pain and distress was caused but PAIN MEDICATION WOULD NOT BE GIVEN because it would "impact" the experiment.*

If that were done to a homeless person, there would be a huge outcry. Why are these homeless dogs any different?

SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY AND PASS IT ON!!

If you love our four-legged friends (remember cats are taken for research too), watch this documentary. Let others know about it by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, donate to Last Chance for Animals to thank them for their courage and dedication and to continue their work and thank HBO so they will air more shows like it. Grassroots change happens in 3 stages: first there is awareness of a problem, second caring people come up with a plan, and third the plan is implemented and accomplished. There can be no awareness occurring if people don't know about the problem--that is why the media is so important to every cause that matters. It is also important for EVERY animal group to get this HBO show mentioned on their websites and as alerts out to their members. To do anything less is more about ego and who takes the credit, instead of really wanting to help Man's Best Friend. The show airs through March with some cable companies offering free showings.

Winston Churchill-- statesman, author, Nobel Prize winner and Brittish prime minister during World War 2 said: "Kites rise highest against the wind--not with it." Let's go "fly some kites" for our dogs!!

Contact Last Chance for Animals:
Dealing Dogs or http://www.dealingdogs.com/ 

*American Anti-vivisection Society, Paws for Thought--The Use of Dogs in Research, Spring 2004, P.13

Judy

Staff: Animals in Print (free online animal publication)
http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/ 

Pawprints, Footprints & Animal Chatter (my editorial opinions on mostly animal issues--if you email me please indicate in the subject column it is about one of my articles so it doesn't get deleted as spam--thanks)
shortietek@aol.com 

"We exist to educate and through compassion and knowledge improve the lives of all beings."

Return to Animals in Print 19 March 2006 Issue

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