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The title, "When Good Pets Go Bad", is somewhat of a misnomer. While some of these are pets, others are livestock or wild animals. The series contains footage of many types of animals, including horses, dogs, house cats, big cats, moose, deer, cattle, primates and reptiles.
Viewers may also question whether the animals are "bad" in a moral sense or are merely acting according to instinct. Animals are shown reacting in response to stimuli such as objects being thrown at them, the presence of television cameras, humans approaching mothers with young or during the breeding season, cage doors being opened or unexpected human gestures. Some of the animals, such as monkeys, a kangaroo and a lion, are shown after escaping from a laboratory or a zoo. Several of the horse segments involve harness horses that apparently were spooked and tried to escape, which is a horse's natural defense, or saddle horses that reared and fell on their riders. Several segments include bulls and horses used in rodeos.
The narrator refers to the animals featured in this program using such terms such as "frenzied", "merciless", "furious", "enraged" or "terrifying". Attack scenes are often replayed several times.
Animal rights activists occasionally are spotlighted for statements.
The program is preceded by a warning advising viewers of the graphic nature of the program.