Cruella de Vil and animal cruelty go hand in hand. That’s basically the whole schtick of the character. So it’s perhaps not too surprising that after the release of the first trailer for Cruel, the new live-action origin story of the 101 Dalmatians naughty animal rights organization PETA has something to say. But PETA isn’t asking Disney to turn Cruella into a dog lover or anything. The group simply wants to see Disney promote animal adoption, to prevent the events from happening again the last time Cruella and the Dalmatians were in the live-action movie spotlight.
In a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals press release, the organization actually points out that as a character, Cruella de Vil is an excellent character to serve as an example of why wearing fur is a bad thing. However, PETA would like to see Disney do more to promote pet adoption around Cruel. This comes out of fears that the new film will lead to a renewed interest in Dalmatians, which could lead to many dogs becoming homeless once they grow up.
In the late 1990s, live action 101 Dalmatians was produced with Glenn Close as Cruella de Vil, and the film was such a hit that a sequel 102 Dalmatians soon followed. The movies are widely credited with popularizing Dalmatian puppies as pets. However, it seems that as the large, high-energy dogs got older, many owners found they were less able to care for them, which would have led to many being dumped or entrusted to animal shelters. PETA wants to avoid a repeat of the performances and therefore wants to encourage the adoption of pets.
Considering in the past that PETA has called for the impeachment of con artist Bo Peep in toy story 4 and was crazy about Nintendo for a video game that simulated milking cows, organizing Cruel the concerns are honestly quite reasonable.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to ask. Adopting animals is a good thing to do for those who are able. Although it is not clear how much Cruel might actually influence this as a movie. The trailer only has one shot of three Dalmatians, and they don’t really look that friendly. So I’m not sure the kids are going to ask mom and dad for one. And they are also normal sized dogs, not puppies.
While Cruel will give us an origin story for the woman who eventually wanted to make Dalmatian fur coats, it doesn’t look like the new movie will really include that many Dalmatians. This seems to be a very separate story from 101 Dalmatians. Still, Cruella de Vil can’t be disconnected too much from this story, so many people will probably think of spotted dogs again. Nobody wants to see a bunch of dogs homeless, so if you’re going to have a puppy of any kind, Dalmatians or otherwise, please consider the long term consequences of this.