Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog

Vicki Hearne, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22 (303p) ISBN 978-0-06-019005-7
The case of a dog ordered put to death by the state of Connecticut in 1987 occasions poet, philosopher and animal trainer Hearne's ( Adam's Task) wide-ranging and brilliant discussion, equally saturated with references to Plato and dog-training theory, of such issues as justice; the role of language in perception; racism; and gender theories. Hearne describes how she retrained Bandit, a dog deemed dangerous (because it had bitten people under exceptional circumstances), and thus earned the dog's reprieve--if not the right to return it to its owner, an elderly black man inhabiting a poor urban neighborhood. Positing her ideas of animal behavior and education, she then examines the sociological dimensions of the case against Bandit, a bull dog inaccurately labeled a pit bull, demonstrating that those breeds favored by the underclass have long been demonized. The politics of disenfranchisement and the corruption inherent in do-goodism are the subjects of other noteworthy critiques in this outstanding work. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-06-099504-1
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-58579-046-3
Paperback - 293 pages - 978-1-60239-070-6
Ebook - 193 pages - 978-1-62636-674-9
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