UPDATE: Distortions Unlimited, the manufacturer of the prop, has discontinued it with a statement: "We make products for primarily for haunted houses so we have to walk that thin line between horror yet OK and over the top. This is a tricky thing to do at times and it appears like we crossed the line with the dog. We were not trying to be insensitive of offend anyone although it appears like we did. We are sorry and the product has been discontinued immediately."
Showing a unique kind of insensitivity in the realm of animal welfare, Sears and Amazon are selling a Halloween prop called "Dead Dog" that depicts a dog's bloodied corpse. The prop appears to portray a dog that's been skinned, run over or pulled on the back of a car, and it comes with a chain attached to its neck.
The product, which sells for $125 to $150, comes with a description:
You have seen bloody road kill, this is bloody road kill. Foam filled latex prop of a skinned dog with a large tire track squished through its mid torso. Chain attached for dragging purposes.
Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said that he was unaware of the prop or accompanying controversy. But on its Facebook page, Sears said, "We continue to review products on Sears.com to ensure they fit within our guidelines."
The prop is distributed by Morris Costumes, out of Charlotte, North Carolina. An employee at the company said that president Scott Morris, a.k.a. Scott Smith, was unavailable for comment. But an email inquiry prompted this form-letter response:
Dear Dog Lovers, Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am a dog lover myself. I have had dogs as pets my entire life in fact our dog sleeps with us. My parents have dogs as does my sisters My daughters have two horses and beyond that my daughter is in Vet Tech school taking care of animals as a career. We love animals and what they stand for. We do not hunt, in fact we put out feed on our 70 acre reserve to grow the wildlife Thank you for bringing this to our attention and I applaud your efforts but your efforts are being misguided and misdirected at the real root of problems today. Scott Morris
The manufacturer is Distortions Unlimited, a mom-and-pop company in Greeley, Colorado.
The animal advocacy world, which has a vibrant community in Dallas, was quick to castigate Sears on its Facebook page. Said one commenter:
"There's so many cases of real live dogs being tortured to death in this same manner every day. After the fiasco a few weeks ago with the clothing that glorifies animal slaughter, and now this. Your purchasing department should all be fired, if you even manage to keep your doors open. Sears Corporation should apologize and make a large donation to a legitimate animal welfare organization that helps dogs. Unfortunately, most dogs that are dragged behind a vehicle aren't lucky enough to make it out alive
Amazon has been deluged by a similar outpouring.
Walmart was also selling the prop but has removed it from its inventory. "The diseased minds that come up with this stuff must be stopped," said Beverly Fyfe, an animal advocate in Dallas.