The Kennel Club Charitable Trust

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