The story of Gucci the dog is one that, unfortunately, is all too familiar. The victim of senseless cruelty, Gucci was hung from his tail and set on fire by a group of men as a puppy. Upon hearing the screams of the puppy from his porch, Doug James came to the rescue of the dog, ultimately saving his life.
Suffering from severe burns and untold trauma, it was not certain that Gucci would make it through the night, but he did. From that day on, Gucci and Doug James have become an inseparable pair on a mission to end animal cruelty in the state of Alabama – and of course, one day, the whole world.
James worked tirelessly to see that Gucci’s attackers were punished for their crimes. However, since animals are given very little protection under the law, considered possessions not persons, the sentence for Gucci’s assailants amounted to a little more than a slap on the wrist.
Clearly, something needed to be done to ensure that no other animal would ever have to endure the suffering felt by 10-week-old, Gucci. James sought out local legislators to make domestic animal abuse a felony sentence. Called the “Gucci Bill,” this piece of legislation revolutionized the way that Alabama and the great U.S. regarded animal abuse.
Gucci’s story captivated audiences in the mid-90s, but his brilliant story is making a resurgence thanks to the film producer, Gorman Bechard.
Domestic animal abuse has hardly become an issue of the past. It is estimated that over one million animals are abused in the United States every year, despite the fact that there are felony charges in place in 50 states.
The story of Gucci and James is more than a single tale of a man and his love for a dog, but it reflects the ever present need for Americans to take a good hard look at the way we treat animals in our society and hold one another accountable for abuse.
The abuse of animals has been closely linked to other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence. Changing the way we regard animals can transform how we understand violence in our entire society and spur real positive change for all living things.
“A Dog Named Gucci,” Bechard’s film is a feature-length documentary that looks into the history of animal abuse laws in the United States. Looking at this important issue through the frame of the story of Doug James and Gucci, Bechard digs through interviews with Gucci’s veterinarians, and the many legislators involved in passing the “Gucci Bill.” Walking through the way that a single man was able to change the laws in Alabama, the first domino that set off nationwide change, Bechard highlights how far we have come, yet too, how far we have yet to go.
The film is now in the final stages of post production, Bechard describes the initial reaction to the film as highly positive.
“Those that have seen the first cut of the film have been wildly enthusiastic,” explains director Bechard. “It’s a highly emotional film. I’ve seen tears, anger, and people just needing to hug their own dog.”
For any animal lover that cannot fathom how a human being could enact such horrible pain on an animal, this film is a must see. Check out the trailer for the film below:
Image source: A Dog Named Gucci/Facebook