Monday, November 23, 2009

American Pit Bull on Youtube

I'm not sure how legit it is to have the whole documentary uploaded onto Youtube but it's still up for now so if you haven't seen this yet, here it is. It's a fascinating film which gives good insight into how various people and agencies think about and treat America's foremost dog.

And after getting a comment from FrogDogz, I realized I should probably have prefaced this a little better in that some, if not a lot of the "information" in this doc is highly subjective - as it is meant to be - and some of it is downright fictitious like the opinion from the Humane Society rep saying that previous fight dog Pit Bulls can't be rehabbed well enough to rehome. That's obviously untrue based on the huge successes groups like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Bad Rap have had with rehoming fight dogs.

The 3000 (or 2000 or 10 billion) pound jaw pressure comment is also about as fact based as Scientology and its devil alien Xenu. For me, the main thing I took away from this doc is that while so many different groups want to fit the Pit Bull into whatever belief system they live by, the dog itself is still just a dog. It loves its owner and will be abused or loved and molded by its owner into whatever demon or angel the owner demands.

The mythology around the breed is stupefying and even some supporters sometimes imbue the Pit Bull with almost supernatural powers for good or bad. Whether or not the opinions in the doc contain mostly truth or mostly fiction, these are the realities many Pit Bulls face when they emerge into the world. I think the pliability of the Pit Bull to do what its owner wants, to fit into whatever mold the owner forces it into, only accentuates the fact that it's the deed not the breed. The dog itself only controls its destiny insofar as it gives itself over so completely to its owner - who in the end must be the one held accountable.


FrogDogz said...

Om, mother of God. I barely got through ten minutes of this 'documentary' before wanting to reach through the screen and punch someone in the throat.

Pit Bulls have 3000 PSI jaws.
Bully breeds are called that because they like to Bully other dogs.

GAH! Head. Is. Exploding.

Me said...

Know what else pit bulls can do? They can make your blood turn into powder and cause your vital organs to disintegrate JUST BY LOOKING AT YOU.


Fred said...

Me, you know that someone somewhere out there is going to quote you on that.

Anonymous said...

That was a great documentary!!!


Elizabeth said...

I have a feeling many of you didnt watch past part one. This is a wonderful documentary, but it is based on bully breed opinions, not fact. They bring up just about every aspect of a pit bull, from the good to the bad to the ugly.

Sadly my computer is very slow and had to watch this in more parts then intended. I ordered it off of netflix, so i could watch it in full. Also i noticed another movie about pits while ordering this movie called Bloodline. Dont know anything about it but i ordered it to see what the deal was.

Me said...

True, I haven't watched beyond the first segment yet, but the parts about the bite pressure and the origins of the term 'bully' aren't opinions. They're lies, and they're dangerous lies at that. They're stupid, alarmist lies that get innocent dogs killed every day.

Fred, I once sat through a city council meeting where one woman stood up and just recited the many supernatural abilities of 'pit bulls' for five minutes straight. Being bitten like a pit bull is like being crushed with a front loader! Pit bulls cannot be contained with fences!

Another person then got up and played the 9-11 card. That's right. 9-11. That's why they're called American Pit Bull Terrorists, probably! Because they did 9-11 or something!

This is why I registered my dog as a chupacabra mix.

Fred said...

I agree the first ten minutes are probably the hardest to watch especially since there's no indication that the rest of the doc is going to be any different - but it is.

It presents many sides with little discussion to distinguish truth from fiction and that may be considered a weakness in terms of advocacy but I'm not sure that was the main goal of the film makers.

Fred said...

Me, chupacabra? That's hilarious but I'm not sure which would scare the public more, a creature that sucks the blood from goats or one that can crush a refrigerator with one snap of its powerful jaws.

Elizabeth said...

I dont feel this documentary was ment for advocacy. I felt it was to show both sides, and let the viewer decide themselves. Which i think sends a stronger message.

Me, i think the pit bull would scare them worse. My staffordshire bull cross is a "patterson terrier mix". Im proud of what my dog is but its just easier this way. Heck I was in a pet sore several weeks ago with my sister and our dogs. A woman commented how cute our dogs were from behind. Then they turned around and she was horrified. "OMG they are ptibulls dont bring them near me they are gonna bite!" It annoyed the hell out of me, and in return i made her suffer. I insisted she pet the dogs. Surprised she didnt pee herself...

also please note our dogs licked her almost to death. Im waiting on the lawsuit...

FrogDogz said...

I get asked ALL the freakin' time if my little 22 lb French Bulldogs are Pit Bulls. And you know what? I tell them 'yes'.

This usually has one of two effects - they are 'surprised' at how nice my dogs actually are, or they recoil in horror and refuse to come near them.

I understand that this movie was trying to be 'objective', but allowing people to spew blatant lies, and then having to spend an hour correcting them, does not serve the truth. It doesn't serve Pit Bulls, either. They've got enough going against them without even 'pro' Pit Bull docs spouting this kind of crap.

I'd write more, but my 'baby' Pit Bull just dragged a moose into the office. Second one this week...

Me said...

I realize it's not meant for advocacy, but now that I've watched the whole thing through, it doesn't show 'both' sides at all.

Where are the people representing bully breed rescues? Why aren't they given the chance to defend themselves against that schutzhund trainer's accusations? How about the stupid, stupid families living happily with well-trained and socialized bully breed dogs? Where are the breed identification experts, discussing the ambiguity of the term 'pit bull,' and describing how BSL advocates rely on equivocation fallacies to further their anti-dog agenda?

Where are the AKC breeders and owners? The animal behaviorists? The media critics?

I think the documentary begs many more questions than it answers. The first and most obvious of which would be, "What is a pit bull?" It seems like it should be obvious, but if you look at different breeds classified as such in BSL, and of the difficulty of identifying breeds, it's absolutely fundamental to understanding the issue.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please tell me what is the point of having your dog pull almost 5,000 lbs. of weight? I just don't get it. Once again, exploiting the dog's unconditional love, loyalty & wanting nothing but to please his owner. Just like dog fighting. For what? What ever happened to playing with your dog, going for walks and just enjoying his company, as a companion? Why does he always have to prove something? For your ego and to impress others?
At least the American Bulldog was smart enough to refuse to pull. You could almost hear him thinking, "You think I'm gonna kill myself so you can get some cheap-ass trophy?" By the way,(and I'm certainly not talking about all pit bull owners) but the ones in this doc look like a bunch of inbred hillbillies. I don't think most people are put off by the appearance of the dogs but by the owners.

Me said...

What's the point in having dogs compete in agility contests or dock jumping or frisbee competitions or whatever? The point is that it's something people do with their dogs for exercise and entertainment. The main difference that I see is that pulling is more of a poor man's sport.

This touches on one of the core nagging problems of breed discrimination, and that's the human discrimination that so often goes hand in hand. Even in rescue communities, there's often an undercurrent of racism and classism--for many, it's considered a 'win' to remove a dog from a poor underclass household and give it to a wealthier family. Some people seem to think they can abolish discrimination against dogs by reinforcing discrimination against people, and keeping 'their' dogs out of the hands of those inbred hillbillies (or some other dismissive, classist categorization). Then, the 'inbred hillbillies' counter with accusations about silly, hapless old white ladies and their 'pibbles.'

The lives of dogs and humans are inextricable. As long as there are people living in environments where they feel they need to display strength or even fight to survive, there will be dogs designed for that too. You can't fix one by reinforcing the other.

Sorry for getting all up in your comments with this, Fred. As you may have surmised, this is a big issue for me, and I can't make myself shut up about it.

Fred said...

No apologies necessary. If we all agreed on everything all the time there wouldn't be a need for comments. I'd just have everyone post smiley face emoticons or something.

Anonymous said...

To 'Me': My comment had nothing to do with classism and especially not racism. Where did you read all that into it? The only reason I used the term 'inbred hillbillies' was that it seemed a much more colourful expression than 'disadvantaged socio-economic segment of the population' so sorry if I offended you. I'm not exactly lighting my fireplace with 20. bills either.
I would never consider it a 'win' to remove a dog from a poor, underclass (your term) family, if indeed being poor was their only 'crime'. There are people living in million dollar mansions who do not care about or interact with their animals. They buy a certain breed as a status symbol and never pay attention to it again. Believe me, I have just as much disdain for those people. As long as a family/individual loves & properly takes care of their dog, I don't care where they live or how much money they have.
My point is, I'm on the side of the dog, not the humans. Humans (are supposed to be) intelligent enough to figure things out for themselves.
If someone feels the need to 'display strength' or 'fight to survive' then that's very sad, but that's his problem, not the dogs'. Don't take out your agression & rage against your place in society by using your dog (as a matter of fact, don't take out your rage or aggression in any negative manner - find a constructive way to deal with it). A prime example is the inbred...sorry, 'disadvantaged person' in the HS footage encouraging his dog to "Make him cry, boy, make him cry" as the dogs are tearing each other apart.
Dogs are not 'designed for that' (not since we domesticated them thousands of years ago). That's exactly the's ignorant people who think that they are. Dogs are designed to give & receive love. Period.
And btw, pulling contests as "exercise & entertainment" ??? There is a difference between the activities you mentioned (agility/frisbee/dock jumping) and pulling contests. I don't think the people involved in the former are exactly rolling in dough, either. They just want to have fun with their dogs. Sorry, but once again, I just don't see the thrill of seeing a bunch of dogs struggling to pull concrete blocks on a cart (maybe they should put the owners on the cart - same IQ), risking back & lower body injuries, just to please some... you know...'disadvantaged person'. If that makes me some kind of effete snob, so be it.
Sorry, I know this is too long & you probably won't print it all, but that's my response.