Hot Docs 2016: Just a Dog

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How is a cop like a box of chocolates? They’ll both kill your dog.

Seven the Saint Bernard was one such dog. He was one of the roughly ten thousand dogs killed by police in 2006. Ten thousand more dogs have been killed every year since. Just a Dog examines the impact of one pet’s death on his owners, Hartford, Connecticut residents Glen Harris and his young daughter.

This focused documentary short gets straight to the point, and asks us to determine the value of a dog. Clearly, that depends on who you ask. Next to nothing, in the view of the police officer who shot Seven in front of a child after she begged him not to kill her pet. Priceless, in the view of the girl whose loss has forever changed her to the point where she would rather die than call 911 if needed.

Larger social issues are hinted at by Just a Dog and the documentary is timely in that respect. As we all know, it is not just dogs that are being shot by cops. We are in the midst of an epidemic of such killings. Part of the cause of this epidemic is that too many police officers have lost sight of the fact that all lives matter. Furthermore, they fail to realize that a lethal bullet’s effect goes far beyond the deceased. Even when the victim is just a dog.

Screens (with A Dog’s Life):
Wednesday, May 4, 6:45 PM TIFF Bell Lightbox
Thursday, May 5, 10:15 AM, Isabel Bader Theatre
Saturday, May 7, 1:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tickets can be purchased at the Hot Docs website.