Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

Arnold Arluke, PH.D., Author . Temple Univ. $22.95 (221p) ISBN 978-1-59213-472-4

Arluke (Regarding Animals ), an authority on animal cruelty, believes that in order to formulate effective programs and policies to combat such behavior, society must have an in-depth understanding of why people mistreat or neglect animals and of the cultural and social factors that encourage abuse. In this dense and overly long sociological study, he reports on the results of interviews with five groups of people: law enforcement agents who investigate incidents of abuse, adolescent animal abusers, animal hoarders, animal shelter workers (including those who must sometimes euthanize animals as well as those who believe no animal should ever be killed) and public relations experts who use animal cruelty as a marketing tool for fund-raising and education. Arluke examines the experiences and motivations of each group and reflects on how individuals think about their actions—whether cruel or humane—and use them to create identities for themselves. Wisely, the author keeps passages describing specific examples of cruelty to a minimum, and he refrains from making moral judgments. But Arluke's academic approach and language are off-putting, thwarting his objective of stimulating discussion and debate among the general public about the nature of animal cruelty and the importance of finding new ways to deal with it. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Hardcover - 221 pages - 978-1-59213-471-7
Open Ebook - 232 pages - 978-1-59213-473-1
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