Pit Bulls and Parolees TV Poster Image

Pit Bulls and Parolees



Dog rescue series is more troubling than inspirational.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Overall, the series promotes the idea that giving animals and people love, respect, and a second chance will allow them to contribute to society. It also stresses the need for supporting ex-convicts' rehabilitation and advocates the need for understanding pit bulls' “good side” and adopting them. All of these messages are mixed in with Torres' focus on her husband's innocence and problems with the justice system.

Positive role models

Torres works hard to rescue needy pit bulls and hires parolees as a way to give them a second chance in life. She's a dedicated mother and an informal foster mother to twin teen boys. The parolees want to make a positive change in their lives and are committed to helping the dogs. Torres’ husband is an ex-convict who founded the parolee program; he's currently fighting felony charges. The parolees are from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds.


Graphic images of abused dogs and pit bulls attacking each other. Extremely sick dogs are sometimes shown being put down by a veterinarian. Some of the rescued dogs appear vicious (usually out of fear). Some parolees discuss legal troubles, including carrying illegal guns. Lots of comparisons between the Rescue Center and prisons. Police are occasionally shown at the ranch due to the parolees' presence on the premises.


Brief images of Torres kissing A.J..


Words like “hell”, “crap,” and “damn” are audible, while those like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some parolees talk about being former drug users/dealers. Some of the neighborhoods that Torres and her staff enter to rescue dogs are known for gang-related drug activity.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which supports the rehabilitation and adoption of pit bulls -- offers positive messages about rescuing animals and giving people (and animals) a second chance at life. Aided by sometimes-graphic images, rescuer Tia Maria Torres discusses how the breed has been abused and often misjudged by the American public; some of the pit bulls act viciously out of fear or pain, but they're mostly shown being affectionate toward humans. Dogs are occasionally shown being humanely put down by veterinarians when they're suffering. Expect some salty language (though the strongest words are bleeped) and lots of discussion about/references to ex-convicts' legal woes and former criminal acts (including illegally carrying guns, doing drugs, and committing check fraud).

What's the story?

PIT BULLS AND PAROLEES follows dog rescuer Tia Maria Torres as she
runs the day-to-day operations of the Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull shelter in America. With the help of daughters Mariah and Tania, foster sons Kanani and Keli'I, and a small
staff of parolees, Torres rescues hundreds of abused and/or abandoned pit
bulls with the hope that they can eventually be placed into loving
homes. As she rehabilitates and trains the dogs, she teaches the
former convicts how to give of themselves while caring for and
respecting the animals. But while she offers the maligned dog breed and
the former prisoners a second chance at life, she also struggles with the
current incarceration and upcoming trial of her husband, Aren “A.J.”
Jackson, who's in jail awaiting trial on felony charges.

Is it any good?


Pit Bulls and Parolees is a sounding board for the outspoken Torres, who takes every
opportunity to demonstrate how pit bulls can be good pets despite their
natural strength and violent reputation. Arguing that they're the most
abused and misjudged breed in the country, she readily shows graphic
pictures while describing the extent of the injuries and illnesses that her
rescued pooches have suffered from. Meanwhile, she and her staff
continually parallel the dogs' difficult plight with the
real-life experiences of ex-cons, who are also looking for social

While Torres is clearly passionate about helping animals and people,
her positive messages are uncomfortably mixed in with declarations
about her husband’s innocence and the injustice of his situation.
Adding to the discomfort are scenes of A.J. addressing the court in
prison garb and shackles during his hearings. Plus, it's hard to
completely trust the dogs and the people Torres helps when the animals
exhibit hostile behavior and the parolees vaguely describe some of
their past criminal acts. Overall, this show offers a mixed bag of
messages that leaves you feeling more troubled than inspired. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how pit bulls are typically seen by the public. Do you think the breed's reputation has a connection to the way the media has chosen to portray the dogs?

  • What about the ex-convicts? Do you think parolees have a harder time rejoining society because of

  • the way former prisoners are depicted in movies and TV shows? Why or why not?

  • Do you think that animals who've become aggressive as the result of

  • abuse or neglect can really be transformed into good family pets? Or

  • will they potentially be dangerous after being retrained?

TV details

Cast:Aren Jackson, Tia Maria Torres
Network:Animal Planet
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Pit Bulls and Parolees was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 18 year old Written byimi2 October 18, 2014


i have watched this show since it started. It has had its good points and bad. When I watched the last episode with Tonia's satanic wedding I was done! It told me who these people are and was very inappropriate for TV. That was the only time I saw Tia sooo comfortable speaking...very sad!
Adult Written byCABREMER November 8, 2014

I love pitbulls and have three, but this family just gets weirder and weirder, lol look like circus people now!!! we don't need this representing our pitbulls!! they are not a positive anything but weird!!

find a show were the people are not all freaked out looking, pitbulls was the focus, but lost it on the circus act all tatooed freakes!!
Parent Written byjacquienjacob December 7, 2011

Kids need to know whats out there, what people do to our beloved family pets! Watch this show you will shed tears for Tia, the dogs and the cons.

I love this show because Tia is an inspiration to anyone who has struggled in life. The dog are very misunderstood because of a few bad owners who in the media are looked over but the dog is NOT! Society deems the dog as bad, vicious but all along we are not looking at who is truly responsible for a few that just do what they were trained to do. Any dog can be a loaded gun with the wrong person. As for the ex convicts they do get a bad rap in society even if it is a small crime like petty theft in our society once you go bad you can't go good. Our mentality is of an ignorant society. I dare any one to spend one day with my ex convict and they will see he is just like you or me. I believe any animal can be transformed by the right people. I personally have 3 animals who were horribly miss treated by their previous owners and all 3 are well adjusted parts of my family. My Lab has the worst story of abuse but he bounced back because of love, training, and constant care! So yes they can be rehabilitated. Any animal can be dangerous after any training even a Yorkie. Responsibility of the owner is the key!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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