The Great Cat and Dog Massacre: The Real Story of World War II’s Unknown Tragedy

Publication Year

Account of an unremembered event that took place in England in the days following the outbreak of WWII, in which 400,000 pet dogs and cats were killed by their owners despite official discouragement. Uses the event as a springboard to examine how human and nonhuman animals were intertwined and affected one another during the war, positing nonhuman animals as agents, responding and engaging in joint human-animal activity, e.g. providing mutual support during aerial bombardment. Challenging the understanding of WWII as the “people’s war” when animals played such an important role in it but also as a “good war” and England as an “animal-loving nation” when so many people turned on their pet family members a full year before any bombs fell.