Pit Bulls and Parolees

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Pit Bulls and Parolees TV Poster Image
Dog rescue series is more troubling than inspirational.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

Brief images of Torres kissing A.J..

Language

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

Consumerism
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.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+ year old Written byimi2 October 18, 2014

Dissapointed!

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... Continue reading
Adult Written byCABREMER November 8, 2014
Kid, 12 years old December 10, 2013

Great!

I love it can't stop watching it
Teen, 16 years old Written by93love93hate November 12, 2011

Best show ever!!

It is a awsome show!!

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
acceptance.

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. 

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love reality TV

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate