This week the BBC broadcast another documentary on dogs in the UK, but this time it wasn’t the Kennel Club and its attitude towards stud dogs that was under the microscope in the Pedigree Dogs Exposed programme. BBC3 were looking at the problem of dangerous dogs in the UK, or rather the problem of irresponsible owners who were treating their pets as weapons because of some desire to be seen as being tough.
The programme, “My Weapon is a Dog”, was hosted by Rickie Haywood-Williams from Kiss FM. He interviewed many owners of aggressive dog breeds such as pit bulls and tried to find out just why they wanted to use their dogs as weapons. One of things that Rickie uncovered was the synergy between dangerous dogs and US rap stars, as the US doesn’t have any ‘Dangerous Dogs Act’ such as the one seen in the UK, so pit bulls and other dogs are more freely available. US rapper DMX (pictured) is a known fan of the dogs and features them in many of his videos and album covers. Indeed DMX’s videos are at times bordering on dog fighting videos.
A self proclaimed dog lover, DMX has been arrested for animal cruelty and was sentenced in 2002 when 13 pit bulls were found neglected in his home.
Rickie spoke to one young dog owner who had trained his pit bull to be aggressive to strangers and to guard his home after he was once burgled. The man explained how you sometimes had to be ‘cruel’ to the dog to illicit the response you desired.
Rickie also spoke to Rukhsana Kahn, who was mauled by a pit bull as a child. Her dog attack prompted the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991. Rukhsana Kahn is now 23 years old.
The general tone of the documentary showed that the dogs themselves weren’t the problem. The problem lay in the dog owners who used the dogs as glorified weapons to improve their own status; owners who would abuse their dogs in order to make them more vicious, in order to make them better weapons.
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