Suburbia

The following AHA film review was compiled from archival information and documentation and may not reflect AHA's current criteria for animal action review and rating procedures.

In Suburbia—You Wouldn't Want to Live There, a group of motley teenage punk-rockers live out their communal existence with a pair of Doberman Pinschers and a pet rat. In their rapidly decaying neighborhood, a pack of wild dogs forage for food in garbage cans. Vigilante private citizens try to rid the area of the wild dogs by shooting them.

  • Starring: Chris Pederson, Bill Coyne and Jennifer Clay
  • Director(s): Penelope Spheeris
  • Producer(s): Suburbia Productions
  • Screenwriter(s): Penelope Spheeris
  • Distributor: New World Pictures
  • Release Date: Wednesday, April 13, 1983
  • Rating: Unacceptable

Featured Animal Action

Although filming was done in and around Los Angeles, AHA was never notified of the use of animals in the production.

According to the animal trainer's statement, the shooting action was accomplished by putting the dogs on a tether-line with thin cord wrapped around the dogs' front legs. When the end of the line was reached, the dogs' front legs were jerked out from under them, causing them to tumble into a fall. This technique is similar to the rigging of a Running W wire trip on a horse. As tripping is unnecessary and stressful to any animal, AHA did not sanction this type of animal action and thus rated the film Unacceptable.

The ongoing expansion of the AHA Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media has raised the standard of care for animal actors worldwide. In addition, technological advancements have created safe alternatives to risky action, enabling filmmakers to maintain their creative vision without compromising the welfare of animal actors. AHA continues to be a vigilant watchdog for animals in film and television and acknowledges the groundbreaking history of this program while expanding and refining procedures to reflect increased knowledge and new challenges.