Open Letter Regarding TV Show ‘Release The Hounds’

An open letter to Kate Maddigan, ITV Commissioning Editor for Entertainment, regarding ITV2 show ‘Release the Hounds’

Dear Ms Maddigan,

The Kennel Club is gravely concerned about the new ITV2 television show, ‘Release the Hounds’, which shows a pack of dogs being released on contestants as they race to get to a cash prize.

Whilst we appreciate the dogs in the programme are probably well trained, we are appalled that the premise of the show promotes dog aggression for entertainment purposes, particularly when there is so much concern amongst animal welfare charities and the government about how to tackle the problem of dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog owners.

The Kennel Club has many training and education programmes in place to ensure that dogs and people live harmoniously, which is achieved through responsible dog ownership and training. We also lobby for new legislation that will focus on penalising dog owners who fail to keep their dogs under control and on education and training for dog owners at the first signs of their dogs showing aggression. For a television programme to promote dogs that are trained to guard, attack and chase people down is not only utterly irresponsible but also thoroughly dangerous.

Any dog can be dangerous if trained for the purposes of fighting and aggression but such training is not only reprehensible from an animal welfare perspective, and so we have extreme concerns about the short and long term welfare of the dogs used in this programme, but also sends out negative messages about dogs, the vast majority of which are not trained for the purposes of fighting and aggression and therefore lead peaceful and happy lives with their owners.

Furthermore, this programme may very well encourage copycat behaviour amongst impressionable viewers, who think that it is acceptable to train their dogs to behave aggressively and to set their dogs onto others.

We request a full and thorough response to this letter and would expect that ITV withdraws this section of the programme immediately.

Yours Sincerely,

Caroline Kisko

Kennel Club Secretary

12 Comments on “Open Letter Regarding TV Show ‘Release The Hounds’

  1. This is ridiculous, so do you pose that police dogs should be withdrawn, this show is the same principle the dog are being trained. There is no aggravation the dogs are going after the backpack which they are trained to get. As for people imitating it why not withdraw every police dog documentary and every show that has dog catching people, it’s absurd. I do love dogs myself, I believe you have taken this show with a completely negative attitude and I don’t believe it is fair.

    • @Barry Its not the police dogs that are doing it tho is it? The police dogs are always under control and the public are shown very carefully how they are trained and what they can do. If this programme goes ahead then I can guarantee that there will be people that copy it, that there will be people that see this programme, think that dogs off lead are capable of this, that people will think that all dogs are capable of this. It can only be a bad thing. Police dogs are in a completely different category to this programme.

      • I am the owner of these dogs and they are the same as police dogs they are trained and Titled The dogs were told to act up and speak on command show teeth and also to be quiet and switch off on command.

    • I agree Barry, dogs that are trained to chase backpacks don’t bite people, dog owners that let their dogs bite people do. Or something.

  2. Yes and while you’re at it Ms Maddigan please ban Midsomer Murders which glamorises mass murder in rural communities and may also inspire copycat killings from people too thick to understand the difference between TV shows and real life.

  3. Dont be so ridiculous it’s a game show and a bit of fun. Get a life and spend your time doing something more constructive. Maybe go take ur dog for a walk. Your letter will make no difference unless you want to take channel 4 on in a court of law…….and you would lose anyway! Just enjoy the show and stop being such a muppet!

  4. Oh for goodness sake. As a dog lover I find the programme totally enjoyable and at no point do I find the dog chase influencing me to go buy a German Shepherd and train it to chase down people with back packs.

    Aggressive dogs in the real world are made that way by irresponsible owners not tv shows.

  5. The dogs regularly catch people. They don’t hurt them they go for the bag. They’re not actually aggressive, they’re just scary for people who don’t like dogs (or losing large amounts of cash).

    There’s also a lot of fake body parts on the show. Should this be censored as well because it promotes dismemberment?

    My dog chases me in the park. I take his stick and run off with it, and he runs after me. To him it’s a game and he would never hurt a fly. The only difference here is the spooky lighting.

    Furthermore, your “expectation” that the dog chase be cut from the show completely, for a show called “release the hounds”, is frankly ridiculous and you may as well demand its immediate cancellation.

    You should think a little bit harder before fetching your quill of rage.

  6. I just watched that show and I agree but it’s a tv show put more warnings up i would like to be on that show sometime and test for the money I’m sure I’d get scared as hell and I’m not easily scared but I wanna find out and I can get 2 of my friends to do it with me please I would like to know if it’ll be back on and if I can take a shot at going for it

  7. I notice that the dogs on this programme wear spiked pinch collars. Cruel piece of equipment in the wrong hands. A dog under control does not need such a vile tool. So you’re dogs are trained by which police force please that would condone such equipment
    What sport are these dogs titled in please and where are results of titles.

  8. The owner of some of these dogs has been successfully sued by owners of puppies they produced, for health problems. They produce many many puppies per year and have promoted sales using the show’s name.

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