BBC THREE Thursday 21 May 2009
"My Weapon Is A Dog"
9.00-10.00pm (Schedule Addition 7 May)
On nearly every high street from Penzance to London and Glasgow to Belfast, there’s a new "must-have" accessory for some young men. Not the latest trainers or mobile phone, but fierce, snarling dogs.
Rickie Haywood-Williams explores the hip-hop and peer-pressure culture that has led to this growth in aggressive dogs in his hometown of London – on the streets and abandoned in shelters. He discovers that dogs are bred, bought, sold and given away with incredible ease.
In some cases dogs are deliberately trained and even abused to make them vicious. Methods of "toughening up" dogs include chain fighting and beatings. The owners claim it’s all necessary for protection – but are they always in control of their animals?
Rickie learns that the "Staffie", formerly a dog of choice, is now being replaced by bigger, fiercer breeds as the dog to have. Shockingly, he discovers that the Pit Bull, the most notorious status dog of all, is back with a vengeance.
Rickie meets victims of vicious dog attacks to hear their reaction to the rise in aggressive dogs. He also visits vets at Harmsworth Animal Hospital as they desperately try to patch up dogs after they’ve been abused or neglected.
The film also seeks to understand the status dog culture from the owners’ point of view – examining the question of why so many young men want to be feared