Pit Bulls and Parolees
What parents need to know
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?