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The phenomena of status dogs and weapon dogs

Simon Harding
Hardback, 208 pages, 234 x 156 mm
Other formats available
29 Aug 2012


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

"This book explores the hidden world of young men and gangs and their desire for dangerous or aggressive dogs, while providing fascinating sociological insight and commentary on this recent phenomenon."
Professor Anthony Goodman, Middlesex University, UK
"Sadly, weapon dogs have become a new urban menace, spreading fear and enabling crime. This book is the first to provide a much-needed insight, which will go some way to helping policy makers formulate a solution for the dogs and for us." Kit Malthouse, London Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.
"This book uncovers the truth behind the urban mythology of 'status' dogs. Combining practical insight with academic rigour, it is essential reading for anyone attempting to deal with the phenomenon."
Ian McParland, IPC Dog Services, UK

About This Book

This is the first book in the UK or US to set on record the recent cultural phenomenon of the use of certain dog breeds - both legal and illegal - to 'convey status' upon their owners. Such dogs are easily visible on social housing estates throughout the UK and in projects in the USA and provide acquired authority, respect, power and control. However they are increasingly linked to urban street gangs as 'Weapon Dogs' and present a danger to the ordinary public especially those using parks and open spaces with increased injuries being presented at UK hospitals. Though initially slow to react, local and statutory authorities are now seeking to address the issue through action plans and interventions.  Written in a fresh, engaging and accessible style, this unique book contextualizes the phenomenon in terms of sociology, criminology and public policy. It considers a complex mix of urban and social deprivation, social control of public space and the influence of contemporary media imagery and 'gangsta' culture.  It will make essential reading for academics and policy makers in criminology and criminal justice and those working with animal rights/animal welfare groups.

Author Biography

Simon Harding is a criminologist and lecturer on crime, policing and community safety at Middlesex University, north London. Simon obtained his Doctorate in Youth Justice at the Vauxhall Centre for the Study of Crime at University of Bedfordshire. He has worked in crime and community safety for over 25 years, including the Home Office and several local authorities. He is currently researching gangs in south London.


Methodological challenges of researching status dogs
Who let the dogs out?
Myth or menace?
Motivations and characteristics of owners
Presenting the evidence
Off the chain: the issue of dog-fighting
The implications for public space


Customers in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei must order from their local distributor

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