books on dogs

Give The Bark -- The Ultimate Dog Magazine

Pets Supplies and Gifts for Pet Lovers

Heartspeak message cards

Celebrate Mother's Day with $10 off! 130x600

Healthy Dog Treats

Fine Leather Dog Collars For All Breeds

Dog-killing artist gets monster commission

Sometimes artists can sink as low as … well, NFL quarterbacks and the designers of cell phone applications.

Back in 1977,  when he was 25, artist Tom Otterness produced “Shot Dog Film,” in which he chained and killed a small dog he adopted from a shelter for that purpose. The dog’s slow death is shown  repeatedly in the movie.

Now the Brooklyn-based sculptor has been commissioned for $750,000 by a mysterious donor to sculpt whimsical bronze lions and cubs as a gift to be installed outside the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library.

Downtown’s Community Board 1, in a 23-7 vote last week, “wholeheartedly” gave the project its blessing, according to the New York Post, despite outrage from animal lovers.

Otterness is best known for his bulbous bronze people and creatures, which can be found at various locations around New York, such as at the 14th Street subway station in Manhattan.

In 2008, the sculptor apologized for killing a dog for his “avante garde” movie:

“Thirty years ago when I was 25 years old, I made a film in which I shot a dog. It was an indefensible act that I am deeply sorry for. Many of us have experienced profound emotional turmoil and despair. Few have made the mistake I made. I hope people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

Not everyone has.

“Otterness’ new work won’t be one that PETA members will be rushing to see,” Colleen O’Brien, a PETA spokeswoman, told New York’s Metro. “Any man who would adopt a dog and then film himself shooting the animal needs a good psychiatrist — not another art show.”


Comment from Miss Jan
Time May 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm

NO mercy, NO forgiveness. Never. There was no mercy shown to that dog. The “so sorry” crap is completely self serving and doubtless landed this waste of planetary oxygen with a juicy commission. Frankly his next sculpture or better yet film should be of himself, complete with self-inflicted eventually fatal gunshot wound.

Comment from Robin
Time May 2, 2011 at 7:15 pm
Please sign. At a time when we are working for stiffer laws against animal abusers, this is a travesty.

Comment from vida
Time May 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This is a sick individual, and I hate the thought that he’s being rewarded for his crime.

Comment from cb
Time May 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm

So do you think anyone who has ever committed any sort of crime should just be immediately killed? If they can never get forgiveness, or pay for their actions, or move on in any way even after decades, then why not?

Comment from C Merry
Time May 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

It’s NOT APPROVED and you can help make sure it does not get approved:

Comment from Steve
Time May 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

I hope you die a**hole.

Comment from Lola
Time May 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Mr.Otterness, you are disgusting. At 25 you should have known better. It is indefensible to chain and kill a defenseless animal. This is not forgivable now or ever. I also find it offensive to consider Mr. Otterness mentally ill, for I have worked as a Social Worker in the mental health field for 10 years and have never met an individual capable of such an inhuman and disgusting act.

Comment from Elizabeth Smith
Time May 2, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I could not forgive such an appalling act.

Comment from Luke
Time May 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

It sounds like you would rather have a human killed than an animal. Seems like you are the one who needs psychiatric help. A sculpture of himself in the same predicament as the dog might be a good way to permenantly apologize. Art explores the dark as well as the light. It’s apparent that he is an amazing artist who spends his time immortalizing ANIMALS and humans in sculptures that will last for generations. For him be able to do that now means he must have learned something about himself and about our furry friends during his darker younger years. He’s making up for it with beautiful new art.

The people in this world who value animal lives over human lives must have social disorders.

And if you want one more holier-than-thou statement. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”

Comment from Laura R.
Time May 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

I am completely disturbed about how this person’s new project will be funded. Yes, the past is the past, and all should be forgiven, but at the age of 25, making a documentary about a helpless dog dying slowly and shamelessly on video doesn’t make you completely sane. No, you were not young, you were foolish and crazy. This is not a “different” form of art. It’s called murder and animal endangerment. I do not support this project, and I’ll most likely spit on these scupltuers as I walk by.

Comment from smoketoomuch
Time May 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

@Luke – What I would rather have killed is NEITHER. Your argument is invalid. Murder is murder, and a soul is a soul. ALL life is valuable, and none of it is disposable.
As for Mr. Otterness, I’m sure he “made a mistake” at age 25. I don’t doubt that he wishes he hadn’t done it. However, he did do it, and what’s done is done. I don’t hate the man, I pity him.
All that said, I would not now be in favor of rewarding him with a large contract or commission. Sorry, but that is just the way it is. Cruelty at any age is unacceptable, less so from an adult, and much less so when it is done under the guise of “Art”. There is NOTHING artful, redeeming, or valuable about watching a defenseless animal die a cruel and unnecessary death.

Comment from TOM M.
Time May 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm


Comment from Alexis
Time May 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

Well the problem as I see it – Luke and CB – it’s not a choice of killing a human vs killing an animal. Otterness IMO is simply not a human. He’s not an animal – that would be an insult to all animals everywhere even the most disgusting and dangerous, such as the hyena. What he is? Who knows. Doesn’t mean we have to forgive him. I don’t. Under your kind of thinking, Luke and CB, then Osama Bin Laden should have been invited to tea and feted with all kinds of rewards, rather than finally taken out so he could do no harm. Maya Angelou said wisely and it applies to people who inside really do not change even if they loudly proclaim their epiphanies: “when people show you who they are, believe them.” Corollary would be “…and proceed accordingly.” Otterness deserves nothing. No forgiveness and no appreciation for his dubious “art.” Frankly an Old Testament style punishment would still even be too good for – whatever Otterness is, just not human nor animal. Evil personified, perhaps.

Comment from KC
Time May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm

While The act is unforgivable, one can still forgive the person, especially when they are truly sickened by what they did and want forgiveness. This was 30 years ago and you all act like he did this yesterday, or over and over again.

I cannot begin to know what was in his mind to do such a thing. And yes he had to have known better. Which he said he did and has been sorry for it ever since.

Comment from RM
Time May 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Just think Japan has the great Hachiko monument (to symbolize the bond between man and dog) & New Your will have this (to symbolize man at his most violent) What A Legend for New York to remember. (Or should I say Lesson)

Comment from C Merry
Time May 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

The Library in its press release about this issue has disavowed any involvement in this they say the so-called “donation” is NOT being made to them and they will use no funds to support it. SO how exactly is this a donation TO the Library when they don’t want it.

Comment from Sarah
Time July 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

It’s very hypocritical of Peta to criticize this artist. They kill almost every dog or cat that comes their way:

Comment from Anonymous
Time October 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm


Comment from Greg Gilmore
Time November 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm

How did this man not go to jail? Aren’t there laws against this? This is not an act of passion but a sick, premeditated killing for the sake of ‘Art’ For those of you who think he deserves to be forgiven, if it were your pet, would you still?

Write a comment