In this Cutting Edge documentary, multi-award-winning filmmaker Penny Woolcock is reunited with former gang member Dylan Duffus to explore the criminal subculture of the dog fighting world, as they examine our conflicted relationship with animals.
Demonised by the media, certain breeds of dog are seen as status symbols, and some are also trained to fight. Dog fighting has been identified by the police and RSPCA as a growing problem in inner-city areas.
In this challenging film Penny engages with those involved in dog fighting and meets academics and historians to question attitudes to blood sports and our treatment of animals as commodities.
As an avid dog lover and dog behaviourist, I find any tv programme around dogs difficult to watch, as usually the dogs are showing subtle signs of stress or fear, which I can clearly see from knowing what I know. Before my training and experience I would have been none the wiser. Also, more often than not the program offers advice which is contrary to what is actually beneficial to the dogs. As it is on TV, viewers believe this to be expert advice, but sadly that often isn’t the case…
The advertised Channel 4; Going to the Dogs documentary really takes the biscuit though. I couldn’t watch something like this myself, as there is no way that I want to be exposed to the sorts of images and attitudes that will no doubt contain. Additionally, I don’t want to create the demand for this sort of programme continuing to be filmed. If Channel 4 know who is involved in organised dog fighting, surely they should be alerting the necessary authorities, enabling them to bring this hideous crime to a stop.
Those poor poor dogs. They have no choice in the matter, unlike humans who choose to get involved in fighting sports. These dogs would have been subjected to cruel training methods to make them aggressive. It makes me very sad. If anyone did watch it, I’d really like to hear what you thought about it, and whether there was anything positive to take away from the program?
The interesting part from this excerpt for me is the comment that certain breeds have been demonised by the media, and have thus become a status symbol. Perhaps this is part of the problem… Any breed can be trained to fight. Likewise any dog which is inclined to fight other dogs can be taught not to. Ultimately it comes down to one thing, every time: humans.