Release Date: July 8, 2016
Flying Time: 1 hour and 41 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Directed by: Alex Ranarivelo
Written by: Alex Ranarivelo & Ali Afshar
“The Dog Lover” is playing at the Orange Park AMC
Investigate Before You Donate
The Dog Lover is based on the true story of Dan Christensen who raised hunting dogs in South Dakota. Director Alex Ranarivelo (Born to Race) developed the screenplay with the help of producer Ali Afshar. They filmed in Petaluma, California. The film opens with Sara and Trevor, two representatives from the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA) doing a raid on a puppy mill. The UAPA is a fictional organization whose mission is to protect animals, but they have a hidden agenda. After the success at the puppy mill, Sara is tapped by her boss to lead an undercover operation at a hunting dog breeding facility where the owner is accused of inhumane treatment. She will pose as a veterinary student and work as an intern for Dan Holloway at Holloway Farms. Sara must not only learn how to be a vet tech, but she also has to use special equipment to collect evidence for the UAPA whose goal is to shut down Holloway Farms.
After watching the opening scene in the horrific puppy mill, I was on the side of the UAPA. As I watched the investigative drama, I gradually changed my mind about the Holloway’s breeding facility. The producers and director did an excellent job casting with many familiar faces from the 80s along with some newcomers. I liked how the screenwriter added a little romance to the story and developed Sara and Will’s characters.
When asked what he thought about the film, Christensen said “It’s 95 percent accurate; I mean I couldn’t have hardly told them any better. It was really done professionally.”
He said what was not done professionally was the raid the Humane Society of the United States conducted in 2009. He said the search and seizure warrant was illegal. The animal rights group and volunteers took his 173 registered hunting dogs worth thousands of dollars.
The overall message hit home since I adopted an English Springer Spaniel rescue from a puppy mill in 2008. Unfortunately, he did not come from a well-run kennel, but rather a despicable place. One message that came across loud and clear is we have rights under the law and there are two sides to every story. Most breeders are responsible and sign agreements with the parent club for their breed and follow guidelines from the American Kennel Club. A majority of them also treat their dogs as family, with many of them living inside the home.
James Remar as Daniel Holloway
Lea Thompson as Liz Holloway
Jason Blair as Will Holloway
Allison Page as Sara Gold
Sherry Stringfield as Jackie O’ConnelStarringl
Michael King as Trevor
Annabelle Kavanagh as Abigail Holloway
Christina Moore as Cassie Sumpter
The Dog Lover is well worth viewing. Make plans to see this limited release at the Orange Park AMC. ~A.S. MacLeod