Sunday, January 18, 2009

Propaganda and Pit Bulls

As anyone who has been reading the blog for a while can attest, I'm a major fan of pit bulls. I love meeting them, they're a joy to work with, and I have many pit buddies at work. However, I'm also a fan of the truth, and it upsets me just as much to see it abused on "my side" as it does on the "other side".

One of my daily blog reads is Dogster's For the Love of Dog Blog, a great source for dog news. I was surprised to see an article there recently about an Animal Planet show on the Vick dogs entitled "Faithful Friends" that had inaccuracies at every turn - starting with the bit about dogfighting being a felony in every state except Wyoming and Idaho, both of which made dogfighting a felony in 2008 - pretty easy to find out on The Google. With extremely basic fact-checking errors like that, there's usually no need for me to consider the rest. But I was gobsmacked when I came upon the claim that "Out of the 53 dogs removed from Michael Vick 52 have now been adopted into loving homes.", taken directly from the show's press release, which just isn't true - and I should know, as my employer is fairly famous for taking on custody of more than 20 of them. Heck, I see some of them every day. That's not too hard to find out about - just about any respectable news organization that checks their facts has gotten that fairly close to correct. The press release also got the total number of dogs wrong, but at least that was somewhat close.

My curiosity was piqued, however, so I followed the URL back to find out more about this Animal Planet show. The home page for the show is, frankly, an embarrassment. There you can find out about 13 episodes with titles like "inriching your pets nutrition" and "when your away from home". Clicking around the site shows little improvement - horribly botched spelling and grammar, which evidently got as little attention as basic fact.

I'm sorry I missed the show, which aired this past Saturday, but from what I've seen thus far I don't think I really need to. Missing it has probably helped keep my blood pressure under control. The sloppy reporting being done is an insult to the incredible rehabilitative and research work done by BAD RAP, Best Friends, and other organizations that stepped up to the plate to care for, rehabilitate, study and learn from these dogs. I’m sure the people behind this show have the best of intentions but they’re presenting themselves in a way that makes them look not very bright in addition to looking dishonest, which in the end is not helpful to the cause they seek to promote. Tell the truth; indeed, the truth will set them free.

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