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Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog Hardcover – November 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (November 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060190051
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060190057
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,122,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The case of a dog ordered put to death by the state of Connecticut in 1987 occasions poet, philosopher and animal trainer Hearne's ( Adam's Task) wide-ranging and brilliant discussion, equally saturated with references to Plato and dog-training theory, of such issues as justice; the role of language in perception; racism; and gender theories. Hearne describes how she retrained Bandit, a dog deemed dangerous (because it had bitten people under exceptional circumstances), and thus earned the dog's reprieve--if not the right to return it to its owner, an elderly black man inhabiting a poor urban neighborhood. Positing her ideas of animal behavior and education, she then examines the sociological dimensions of the case against Bandit, a bull dog inaccurately labeled a pit bull, demonstrating that those breeds favored by the underclass have long been demonized. The politics of disenfranchisement and the corruption inherent in do-goodism are the subjects of other noteworthy critiques in this outstanding work. Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In Stamford, Connecticut in 1987, Bandit was condemned to death for being a dangerous dog, an alleged "pit bull" who had bitten twice, once in defense of his friend and property and once in self-defense. Despite stiff opposition by local animal control officials who wanted Bandit "disposed of," Hearne, an animal trainer, poet, and author ( Adam's Task , LJ 8/86) was able to obtain the dog and train him. A moving account of the fight for Bandit's life and liberty (as recorded in the recent PBS documentary A Little Vicious ), this is also a compelling indictment of the political movement for breed-specific "vicious dog" legislation and the self-declared experts who advocate it. Hearne provides a much-needed counterpoint to what has been a very one-sided argument on a volatile issue. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
- Jennifer King, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Marlboro, N.J.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Bozak on October 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I respect Vicki Hearne, I like this book. Bandit, and his case that Vicki fought for so well was a very important watermark in exposing the myths and half truths that cause so many local authorities accross the country to blindly deem certain breeds of dogs as dangerous. I want to love this book because of this, however, for me the book was to difficult to read. Vicki uses extremely complicated sentence structure and seems to enjoy putting the reader through the wringer before she makes her point. I had to come back to this book a few times to finish it. I believe this is a story we all should be aware of, unfortunately the style of writing alienates it from a good deal of it's prospective audience. If you're well read, go for it, if not just expect to go through a mental obstacle course before the book is finished!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Keith on July 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Some people object to Vicki Hearne's writing style (smart girls can be annoying). Others feel her training methods were too harsh. But Vicki Hearne knew a great dog, and how to write about one. Be warned: This book is politically incorrect and may make you do something really stupid, like adopt a pit bull. Vicki Hearne is, after all, the one who said, "It is true that Pit Bulls grab and hold on. But what they most often grab and refuse to let go of is your heart, not your arm."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Kurt Tidmore on January 22, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't a book about dog training, although it talks about that quite a bit. It's not even a book about dogs really, although it talks about dogs all the time. It's really about our relationships with dogs, how they fit into our lives and our society and our mythology. Hearne taught poetry at Yale, but her real calling seems to be dog training. Her writing is funny and dry and full of information, and sooner or later she'll say something that annoys you. But if you can't take a little annoyance you should have a dog. And she's probably only annoying you because you are carrying around some misconception about dogs.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Flyn Lindley on January 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ok, ok, Hearne can be annoying with the long philosophical musings. (She comes across as someone who's been made to feel small by academics and is putting on airs.) But, Honey, Vicki Hearne knows dogs.

Hearne has great, intuitive, gut-instinct about people and dogs. This gripping story. (Skip the "philosophy" which seems weirdly inserted into this fascinating story anyway.) Hearne has done the research. She understands and communicates the myriad elements of the pit bull and dangerous dog hysteria. You'll come to the end of _Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog_, a well informed citizen on the issue of blanket, breed specific, dog bans.

Your heart will be touched by old Bandit's story. You might not take your right to dog companionship quite so much for granted anymore. You may find (god forbid)you need this information in your own town. As for the reviews above mine... you have to understand (or admit) everybody is an expert when it comes to dogs. The backbiting in the dog world... well, it's no pun.

Update 9/18/06: Vicki Hearn died a couple of years ago at way too young an age. Dogs have one less advocate.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book should be required reading for anyone interested in the problem of biting dogs. It is extremely well-written, researched, referenced, and very informative.
My one reservation is that the author advocates the use of choke-collar training. There is so much to be gained from modern psychology and operant conditioning when training an animal. Pain in animal training is totally obsolete.
But this one small quibble doesn't spoil an otherwise engaging and thought provoking read! Very few fiction or non-fiction dog books can hold a candle to this one in scholarship and quality of writing.You will need to read it at least twice to absorb all the subtleties.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dan Polo on December 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have owned and trained multiple breed of dogs and Ms Hearne is very right about the issue. This book should be mandatory to be read by anyone and everyone of the dumb politicians that come up with those stupid bans. This book is very true and is a must read, whether you are a dog owner (of any breed) or not.
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