Friday, August 14, 2009

Pit bulls and parolees

I was all set to blog about the body language of fearful dogs today, but then I came across a story on our Petropolis page about a new reality show airing next month on Animal Planet.
It’s called “Pit Bulls and Parolees” — a very fitting name as it appears the show will be about just that.
A California woman runs Villalobos Rescue Center, where she works on adopting out 225 pit bulls and providing jobs for parolees, who work with the much-maligned dogs.
I’ll be tuning in to watch this show, and I hope I like what I see.
If I do, then it’s another step in turning the tide of public perception regarding my favorite breed, pit bulls.
In the past few years, there’s been a lot publicity that has begun showing that this breed is just as capable as any other breed of producing good dogs.
First, there was Cesar Millan with his show “The Dog Whisperer.” People got to see, probably for the first time, how massive numbers of pit bulls live amongst one another, not restrained in the least bit, without a problem.
And they got to see his mascot, the old and sturdy pit bull Daddy, help rehabilitate other dogs — from tiny Chihuahuas to other pit bulls and everything in between.
Then there was the Michael Vick scandal. A quote from the article on Petropolis says it best.
The owner of the shelter, Tia Maria Torres, said:
“As horrible as it was, it changed everything for the pit bull. Shelters are looking at the dogs differently, the public has a lot more empathy and adoption rates are going up. The dogs that died at his hands were the sacrificial lambs. Almost like war heroes, they died for the rest of the dogs.”
National Geographic did a series on how most of the Vick pit bulls were able to be rehabilitated and rehomed, despite their miserable and abusive past.
And closer to home, there’s the story of the pit bull mix Madison who was set on fire by teens at barely 8 weeks old. For all she’s been through, she’s well on her way to being a shining example of all the breed is capable of.
I hope the good publicity continues.


  1. My husband and I filmed an episode of Pit Bulls and Paroles with our dog, Uggi, whom we adopted from Villalobos. Uggi had been a stray in South Los Angeles and when Animal Control picked him up he had a pellet (small bullet from either and air rifel or shotgun) embedded in one hind leg. In addition he has scars on his face that look like he may have once been used as a "bait dog". He is the most loveable dog we've ever had. He is silly and playfull and just a big lap dog.

    Tia is doing amazing things out there for these dogs and these people, the producer(s) and all of the film crew are dog lovers and I really believe that this show will be a good start in restoring this breed's reputation.

    Yvette Fosco-McGowan

  2. Yvette — You rock! I can't wait to see the episode with Uggi!

  3. I think it's a fantastic show--very illuminating. I'm so impressed and inspired by Tia and her children, who are taking up her cause. As the new "mom" of a 7-month-old adopted pit bull, I honestly believe that to own a pit bull is to own a truly remarkable, intelligent, and loving companion. I take so much heart in knowing that people like Tia are working tirelessly to combat public misconceptions about pit bulls, while also helping to give countless dogs (and people) happier, healtier lives.