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.