The RSPCA's disturbing 1987 "Shoot a Dog" video

Originally published at: The RSPCA's disturbing 1987 "Shoot a Dog" video | Boing Boing

Um, yeah, it probably wouldn’t get greenlighted today, and for good reason.

Which makes me wonder why someone decided it’s worth resurrecting and showing us today… :confused:


Oh no, that’s not good, in the least.


The National Lampoon cover was ridiculous and satirical and had way less exposure than being on TV.

This ad is confusing and disturbing.


It’s media “shock” all the way down

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Tasteless, sure. If you wanted to be less sensationalist and more factual you could just show the dog being euthanized. While the local animal shelters never directly say that’s what happens when asking people to adopt or give money that’s always implied.

I don’t see the ad’s appeal to emotion much differently than putting a picture of a diseased lung on a pack of cigarettes - both are for shock value. I realize the two are not the same, as the the animal is getting the raw deal, but both are playing to the “consumer’s” emotions.

Per the ASPCA’s website almost 15% of all animals entering a shelter each year are euthanized. That fact can easily be turned into an emotionally disturbing video, because that’s an emotionally painful fact.

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Agreed. Probably more emphasis should be placed on “spay and neuter” as well.


It wasn’t on TV - Just some18+ Cinema showings.


OH, well that makes it a little less disturbing. It is still really odd.

@milliefink @Papasan @Mister44 @vonbobo @knoxblox

Last night I watched Vittorio De Sica’s Umberto D which at its centre has the emotionally gut wrenching situation of Umberto losing all financial security and having to negotiate the best way forward for Fike his doggo. Euthanasia was presented in a scene that shows the day to day way that strays are ‘dealt’ with… the economics of finding a good home was out of Umberto’s grasp.

The humanity and emotional connection between folk and doggo is explored in this film way beyond the short sharp shock that modern media seems to ‘need’ to make a point.

I’m wondering how do we campaign for the pets that people have bought for their Covid lock-down buddies and especially the more needy doggos that have had their humans transition into a situation where they are always around - new doggos and ongoing doggo relationships.

There needs to be a conversation about our domesticated buddies that have been deeply impacted by having their ‘best friends’ ever present and then having these ‘Covid glory days’ taken away from them.

Check out Umberto D to make any discussion about ‘mans best friend’ way more personal between you and your doggo. (if you like)

With regard to the RSPCA PSA I personally find it probably wouldn’t fly in the US but seems a good fit for a more British sense of humor. The music for me is down-beat but not ‘spooky’ at all. The doggo is clearly looking at a trainer for direction and any terror is in the eye of the beholder.

If this PSA starts a discussion or thought process then a big hearty ‘fuck yes’ from me.


Yes, I agree that Umberto D is wonderful that way. I loved it at first as an argument for the value of dignity for society’s disregarded, both human and canine. Then I saw it again when I convinced a 10 year old to watch it. She was enthralled, and I was glad she could get past the barriers of subtitles and it being a “really old black and white movie.”

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I’m not going to watch a dog die, even if it’s faked. Fuck no.

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Thanks for sharing that moment.

De Sica’s films are often seen through the critical historical lens of film theory and Neo Realism in particular. Great to hear of a raw childish experience. That was the emotional response I had when watching, sharing this film with my mum.

I’m not going to watch it, and hate even today’s much less horrifying commercials about saving helpless animals. But what was the reception and impact at the time? Because a quick search indicates annual animals euthanized in shelters have dropped by a factor of about 5-20 since the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s (the first few random sources I saw varied wildly in what they reported, but all agreed on a massive decline). No idea where on that decline curve ads like this fell.

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