Episode 3: How Social Constructs Influence Our Relationship With Dogs


Welcome to episode 3 of the Individual Animal, a podcast about animal welfare and discrimination.

Today, we talk with Donald Cleary about how social constructs affect how we relate to dogs and in turn, how that affects how we relate to each other. Some of you might be surprised by a few things, including that moral panics about dogs extend beyond dogs labeled “pit bull.”

Don has an impressive bio, which we get into in the episode. What we don’t touch on is that he’s a co-author of the U.S. Department of Justice manual “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters,” and of “Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009),” a comprehensive study published in 2013 the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

We also reference The Relevance of Breed in Selecting a Companion Dog by Janis Bradley, which you can read here. And for anyone interested in a comprehensive look at how social constructs have affected “pit bull” dogs and their owners, Bronwen Dickey’s book Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon is a must-read.


Want to be on our podcast to talk about the intersection of animal welfare and social justice? Want to yell at us for our opinions? Email us!


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