Dalmatian Films Target of Protesters
A handful of animal advocates stood in front of Walt Disney Studios on Monday, demanding that the entertainment giant do something about the overpopulation of Dalmatians they believe was promoted by the movie “101 Dalmatians.”
Accompanied by seven rescued Dalmatians, the advocates said they feared the movie’s sequel, “102 Dalmatians,” scheduled to be released in November, would cause an increase in the number of Dalmatians that end up at shelters and are euthanized.
“There’s been a proliferation of Dalmatians at shelters because many breeders bred more because of the movie,” said protester Ann Herrington, president of Media Partners for Pets, a Las Vegas nonprofit organization that rescues animals. “We need to stop people from breeding [these dogs] now, before the next movie is out.”
Neither the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services nor the county’s Department of Animal Control keeps statistics on specific breeds, but representatives at both agencies said there was a definite increase in the number of unwanted Dalmatians after the 1996 release of “101 Dalmatians.”
“After the movie I noticed there were a lot more [unwanted] Dalmatians,” said Bob Ballenger, a spokesman with the county’s Animal Control. “The same thing happened with Chihuahuas after the Taco Bell commercial.”
Jackie David, a spokeswoman at the city’s Department of Animal Services, thinks that “101 Dalmatians” inspired people to buy puppies.
“People bought them and realized they weren’t going to stay the cute little puppies they were when they got them,” David said. “So a lot of them ended up at shelters. Many of them were euthanized.”
The studio had no comment, Disney spokeswoman Andrea Marozas said. But in a statement Monday, Disney announced its partnership with the Dalmatian Club of America to promote pet adoption and education in conjunction with the release of “102 Dalmatians.”
Representing 1,200 Dalmatian breeders and owners nationally, the club also runs rescue operations throughout the country and has a Web site that offers extensive information about the breed.
“Disney approached us in early August about getting the word out about responsible pet ownership,” DCA spokeswoman Julie Lux said. “Among the things Disney proposed was to link the ‘101 Dalmatians’ site to the DCA site, which is full of information about the breed.”
But for some protesters, that isn’t enough.
“I wish they’d just stop making movies that continually perpetuate this,” Herrington said.