University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review

Document Type



The carceral state has used non–human animals as tools to oppress Black, Indigenous, and People of the Global Majority (BIPGM) for centuries. From bloodhounds violently trained by settlers to aid in their genocidal colonial project through the slave dogs that enforced a racial caste system to the modern deployment of police dogs, non–consenting non–human animals have been coopted into the role of agents of oppression. Yet, the same non– human animals are themselves routinely brutalized and oppressed by the carceral state. Police kill several thousands of family’s companion dogs every year in the United States. Law enforcement agencies train animals in a violent and racist manner only to place them in the line of fire against their will. These systems of oppression share many of the same tools, from language that justifies violence to legal instruments like qualified immunity that protect officers of the state when they engage in violence. This paper charts this history, analyzes the intersectional tools and shared roots of oppression, and ultimately concludes that ending the use and abuse of non–human animals by the carceral state is a necessary part of the broader prison industrial abolition project.