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National Center on Sexual Exploitation Calls for 'Show Dogs' to Be Pulled from Theaters

Show Dogs

The new film Show Dogs is causing a viral stir online after one mom's review brought attention to disturbing scenes where the dog must learn to dissociate in order to allow a judge to grope his private parts. This has alarmed parents who are diligent about informing their children that it's not okay to let anyone touch their private parts and to never do anything that makes them uncomfortable. The movie sends a much different message.

And now the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is calling for the movie to be pulled from all theaters and recut. “The movie Show Dogs sends a troubling message that grooms children for sexual abuse,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the organization. “It contains multiple scenes where a dog character must have its private parts inspected, in the course of which the dog is uncomfortable and wants to stop but is told to go to a ‘zen place.’ The dog is rewarded with advancing to the final round of the dog show after passing this barrier," she said.

"Disturbingly, these are similar tactics child abusers use when grooming children—telling them to pretend they are somewhere else, and that they will get a reward for withstanding their discomfort," said Hawkins. "Children’s movies must be held to a higher standard, and must teach children bodily autonomy, the ability to say ‘no’ and safety, not confusing messages endorsing unwanted genital touching.”

But according to the filmmakers, they haven't done anything wrong. “It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in Show Dogs, a family comedy that is rated PG," said filmmakers to Entertainment Weekly. "The dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges. Global Road Entertainment and the filmmakers are saddened and apologize to any parent who feels the scene sends a message other than a comedic moment in the film, with no hidden or ulterior meaning, but respect their right to react to any piece of content.”

There's only one glaring problem with this. Dog show professionals say it's a lie. "It never happened at any of the shows I attended in the 10 years I was involved, nor have I ever seen it at Westminster, which I have been watching since I was a child," Alexander Peters, a former dog trainer and show expert, told PJM. Peters has trained, groomed, and shown multiple breeds across the country. "Genital inspections are visual only, if they are done at all, which isn't often. Molesting the dogs is unnecessary and dangerous."

To confirm Peters' observations, I watched a few hours of dog shows on YouTube. At no time did any judge grab or fondle the genitals of a dog. They run their hands over the dog's head, neck, back and inspect the tail. That's it. There is no groping of any kind. Show Dogs' apology team is grossly mistaken if they think people are just going to believe that groping is what professionals do. There are literally thousands of videos showing otherwise. The below video shows judging starting around the 1:36 mark and the judge does not grab any dog genitalia. The closest she comes is a quick tummy rub and running her hands down the topside of the hindquarters. That is decidedly NOT genitalia.