One Nation Under Dog, the first in a series of HBO summer documentaries which originally aired last night, is a must-see for anyone working in animal welfare or rescue and for anyone who is an animal lover, for that matter. Divided into three parts, “Fear”, “Loss” and “Betrayal”, the program viscerally shows the dichotomous relationship Americans have with dogs and pets in general.
In the first segments, “Fear” and “Loss”, the show focused on a San Francisco pet loss support group. It showed excerpts of a dog bite case in which a doctor spent considerable time and money in court to prevent his dangerous dog from being ordered euthanized. It also featured a wealthy older couple who had their dog cloned.
The final section, “Betrayal”, showed the chilling other side of the animal story in America. The three-minute video of dogs and puppies being placed on top of one another in a bin, being gassed to death complete with the sounds of their cries, and then dumped into a garbage truck is not for the faint of heart. However, it should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who doubts there is a pet overpopulation problem in this country. Rescue and shelter workers, who work tirelessly in the face of a seemingly never-ending wave of irresponsible pet owners and puppy mill operators, were featured and interviewed at length in this section.
Anyone viewing this program should, if they are not already, at least be convinced to adopt, rather than buy, pets, and to spay and neuter the pets they have. If you missed last night’s broadcast, check HBO.com for rerun times.