In the 1990s, Doug James was standing on his front porch when he heard a dog crying. When he ran to help, he saw several people beating a tiny 10 week old puppy. The perpetrators hung the dog by his neck, punched him and then set him on fire. Doug scared them off and then took in the dog.
No one thought the tiny Chow-Husky mix, named Gucci, would make it through the night. But he did. Even though he lost his ears and was permanently scarred, he lived for 16 years as Doug’s best friend.
Doug was horrified to discover that, at the time, animal abuse was not considered a felony in Alabama, where they lived. The same was true in most other states. He and Gucci fought to change that. In 2000, they were successful and legislators passed “Gucci’s Law.”
Gucci was in attendance when Governor Don Siegelman signed the Pet Protection Act into law. From then on, cruelty to a domesticated dog or cat became a felony. Perpetrators could receive up to 10 years in prison and a have to pay a $5,000 fine.
Gucci’s story inspired the documentary A Dog Named Gucci, written and directed by Gorman Bechard. The film chronicles Doug and Gucci’s (pictured above) journey to justice. It also follows how horrible the animal cruelty situation was in Alabama during the 1990s.
A Dog Named Gucci shows how one man’s heroic heart and one dog’s brave spirit really can change the world. Sometimes it seems like one person can’t make a difference because problems seem so big. Gucci proves that’s not true. With passion and determination, anything is possible.
Thousands of animals will benefit from Gucci’s legacy. Thanks to this documentary, more people are going to hear Gucci’s story and be inspired to campaign for harsher punishments for animal abusers.
On April 18, 2016, the documentary will be released on DVD and digital. The film’s closing song, “One Voice,” also debuts as a digital download on the 18th. The song features award winning and popular artists, such as Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Lydia Loveless, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, and Queen’s Brian May. The song’s profits be donated to animal welfare charities across the United States.
High paws to Gucci and Doug, and to everyone involved in this film.