According to a Department of Justice estimate, police officers shoot and kill over 10,000 pet dogs in the U.S. every year. OF DOGS AND MEN takes audiences on a journey with pet owners through the tragedy of loss and pursuit of change in a legal system in which the very officers they challenge are an integral part. From SWAT raids to simple calls and even visits to wrong addresses, we are seeing more and more incidents of officers using lethal force against a family pet, despite the fact that no officer has ever been killed in the line of duty by a dog. Are these callous acts by officers in a system without regard for our four-legged family members, or are they true peace officers doing their best in a dangerous job?
Austin Film Festival, 2015, Audience Award and Official Selection Anthem Film Festival, 2016, Best Libertarian Ideals, Documentary Feature and Best Score
Reviews / Quotes:
“This was a heart-wrenching film to watch. The topic of police shooting family pets is a difficult one, and it’s handled thought-fully and in a balanced way by the filmmakers. The film shows the conflicted feelings of the police officers, which could be confronted with the same situation. Being a strong animal rights advocate, I applaud the filmmakers for the depth of examination they put forth, and for creating such a compelling story.” - Cam Ray, Austin Film Festival Staff, AFF Staff Pick
"As this documentary catalogs, the Patton case isn't just about the killing of one pet. It's the opening chapter for story after story after story: probation checks, accidental 911 calls, wrong addresses, false accusations. For even people who don't care about dogs, the question is: Why are so many dogs getting shot? Why would anyone think that their life is in danger from a 12-pound terrier? And what kind of person shoots a dog from behind with a submachine gun? Ultimately, the question is of trust. Dogs trust their owners. Their owners trust the police. And the audience has little choice but to trust the dash-cams and phone camera footage of wagging, happy pets gunned down with little concern for where the bullets are flying. But there is a nugget of optimism in the K-9 units, where officers are educated to understand dog behavior.The movie's mending heart wants the audience to trust that, with the proper training, the dog lover in everyone can be allowed to flourish." - Austin Chronicle
"Simplistically, Of Dogs and Men is another in a long line of issue documentaries. It finds a problem, shows it to the audience, and attempts to inspire you to do something. The laziest of this ilk simply believes that you care as much as the filmmaker does. The better ones throw out the idiocy of assumption and are constructed to make you care. Of Dogs and Men is one of the better ones. Director Michael Ozias isn’t making this film for dog owners, he already has them on his side. Instead he takes the care and time to illustrate that this isn’t some one-off issue, wherein a handful of unlucky families lose a pet. The blank looks that accompany those that still appear to have trouble believing that their loved ones are gone are terrifyingly real. These aren’t hysterics and finger pointing that can be alienating in their grandiosity, they are troubling reminders that it can happen to anyone. For so much of its runtime, Of Dogs and Men has made your stomach drop, your eyes water, your rage grow, but director Michael Ozias recognizes that that is just the beginning. Of Dogs and Men may make you cry and it will certainly make you mad, but more importantly than anything else, it shows you how to make a change." - Next Projection
"Domestic dogs who are judged “vicious”—including Jack Russell Terriers and Chihuahuas—are gunned down by officers in alarming numbers according to filmmaker Michael Ozias, despite the fact that not one recorded instance exists of a lawman being killed by any dog, anywhere. Of Dogs and Men interview the bereaved families of slain animals, people who are heartbroken and bewildered at the use of deadly force against their pets. Some officers also speak on camera; one police chief seems particularly clueless when trying to justify the shootings. Blame is laid on poor police training, toothless animal-cruelty regulations, and the all-powerful police unions that prevent any disciplinary action being taken. A powerful documentary about law enforcement abuse of animals (viewers should be warned of uncensored videos of dogs being shot and dying), this is recommended. Aud: C, P. (C. Cassady)" - Video Librarian