Dog rescue videos can give us hope, encourage us to be active in the rescue community, and promote shelter and rescue groups that do great things for animals.
We love to share them. On DogTime, we regularly feature videos from nonprofits that actually help dogs in need. Hope for paws and Unlimited animal assistance, for example, doing such an amazing job. We cannot thank them enough.
Of course, because we just can’t have nice things fake rescue videos are starting to emerge on the internet. These videos, often clearly staged, show dogs in horrific situations, and then, with sappy or suspenseful music, a hero steps forward to “save” these dogs.
The creators of these videos monetize them through ads, then take advantage of your empathy for you to share them, earning them more views and more money.
What Happens With Fake Dog Rescue Videos?
A YouTuber whose channel is named after PaymoneyWubby recently drew attention to clearly rigged dog rescue videos on YouTube.
We won’t be posting her video here, as it’s full of strong language that might bother some readers. However, if you are not offended by such language, you can click here to see his video (NSFW).
In it, he calls attention to a YouTube channel called Amazing KM Daily. This channel featured what appeared to be videos of street dogs stuck in several horrific situations with cheesy music playing on them. In almost all of the videos, a child stands up to save the animal.
Someone clearly put these videos together, sometimes with full intros to depict how the kids ârandomlyâ stumbled upon the animal. They often featured what appeared to be the same stuck dog.
The animals sometimes screamed in pain or fear. A video showed a puppy caught in a bicycle wheel. Another featured a puppy tied to a rock and thrown into a mud pit. One of them showed a python attacking a dog. All seemed to be staged.
Since PaymoneyWubby posted their video, the Amazing KM Daily channel and that’s almost a million subscribers have disappeared. However, there are still many, many, many fake dog rescue videos still on YouTube.
Why are fake dog rescue videos harmful?
Let’s start with the obvious. Someone making these videos very clearly picks up street dogs and puts them in horrible situations.
I don’t need to tell you that preparing a dog to be attacked by a python is abusive to both the dog and the python who must be struck and separated, or even killed, during the “rescue”.
But the other reason why these videos are harmful is because they rely on our empathy for promotion. If you’re like us at DogTime, you want to share rescue videos and promote the good that shelters and rescues do in the community.
These videos harness that empathy.
Not only that; they prevent us from sharing legitimate rescue videos. Now we have to guess every video we share. This complicates the task of shelters and rescuers who want to publicize their work.
So what should we do? Are we completely stopping sharing rescue videos?
No, we shouldn’t let these forgers mess things up for real dogs in need. But we need to think more critically about what we choose to share. It’s a chore, and it adds a milestone to our days before we can just click ‘share’, but it’s also important that we know what we’re promoting.
How to tell if dog rescue videos are fake
Before you click Share when you see a rescue video on YouTube, Facebook, or anywhere else, you need to ask yourself a few questions. These will help you think critically about what you are sharing and who is benefiting from it.
Here are some things to think about:
- Who made this video? If you don’t see the name of a legitimate nonprofit attached to the video, it’s probably best not to share it. Again, Hope for Paws and Unlimited animal assistance are legitimate organizations that share rescue videos, and we love them for it. They are real nonprofits with real websites and ways to make tax-deductible donations.
- How did the rescuers get to the scene? In most real rescue videos, rescuers will say they have received a call from an affected person and will show up with equipment specifically for a rescue. They don’t tend to show up randomly without leashes, nets, treats, or objects to help them.
- Does it seem staged? If there’s an intro where someone randomly films a person showing up and being surprised by the dog in a frightening situation, then there’s a good chance the scene will be set. Any kind of intro that seems to come from a poorly done TV show and not an actual rescue video should be a red flag.
- What are they doing with the dog? Do you have the impression that the lifeguards are there to help you? Do they get to work right away or are they waiting to get some good shots? Is the most competent person helping or is it a child who does not know what he is doing? In legitimate rescue videos, workers get to work almost right away, and they wouldn’t just film a dog approaching a snake and being attacked, for example.
- Does the video have a description? Chances are, if a real rescue group shares their video, they’ll want to give you more information. They will almost always link to their site so that you can donate.
- Is the lifeguard a real non-profit association? Real lifeguards work for nonprofit groups. If you go to their websites, they should say somewhere that they are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, which means it is a charity and your donations are tax deductible. It is highly illegal to represent itself as a non-profit organization. It is unfortunately not illegal to make fake dog rescue videos.
Asking these questions will help you know which dog rescue videos are real or fake, but they are not perfect. Sometimes, real rescue videos can have elements that look staged, and fake ones can have scenes that look real.
However, these questions will allow you to use your critical thinking skills and determine whether or not to share.
How can we fight fake dog rescue videos?
PaymoneyWubby, like it or not, clearly contributed to the shutdown of the Amazing KM Daily channel. He used his platform to exhibit what they were doing.
You might not have as much influence as he alone, but you can sign petitions, report videos on YouTube or any site they appear on, and stop sharing fake dog rescue videos.
YouTube already has started banning fake videos of rescuing dogs attacked by snakes.
These efforts can help cut the flow of money to video creators. Once they see that it is no longer profitable and they are struggling to share their videos, they can stop doing them.
In the meantime, think about what you are sharing. Spread the word about fake dog rescue videos. Display them when you can and continue to promote the legitimate nonprofit groups that actually do the job of saving the dogs.