The Champions: DOCUTAH film raises awareness about pit bull welfare
Photos courtesy of DOCUTAH

Snarling, a two-year-old pit bull sinks his teeth into his opponent’s neck, his jaw clenching shut, blood oozing from his jowls. The opponent, a two-year-old of same breed, yelps in pain, struggling for freedom. Her paws slide along the ground, fighting for a stern stance. Only seconds now. “Snap.” She goes limp.

“Looks like we’re on a roll, pal!” The master shouted above the hollering crowd. He tossed his pit bull a steak and kicked the losing, lifeless body out of the ring.

The Champions: DOCUTAH film raises awareness about pit bull welfare Pit bull fighting is usually looked down upon in the general public, animal lovers or not. Pitting two dogs against each other for human entertainment, money, or drugs is not the best way to pass time in my opinion. What’s worse? The loser, if not dead in the ring, usually gets shot, beaten, or tortured by the owner. Even though pit bull welfare was recognized and fighting is a felony in all 50 U.S. states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, illegal fights still take place.

Michael Vick, a professional football player, created a dog fighting operation called Bad Newz Kennels. After becoming a registered dog breeder, he purchased over 50 pit bulls which were housed in Virginia. The dogs were first “tested” for performance, and those who “failed” were shot, electrocuted, hung, beaten, or drowned. The remaining dogs of course participated in fighting and breeding for money and entertainment.

The Champions: DOCUTAH film raises awareness about pit bull welfareIt wasn’t till Vick’s cousin Davon Boddie was arrested for drug charges that Vick’s property was able to be searched. Police discovered Bad Newz Kennels, and Vick was sentenced 18 months in prison.

Many asked the question, “Well what happened to the dogs?” Director and producer Darcy Dennett decided to answer this question with a DOCUTAH film in hopes of raising pit bull awareness and tell a story about second chances.

“The Champions” shows the story of the pit bulls rescued from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels fighting arena. It is an uplifting, inspirational, and of course emotional journey that any dog lover, or even non-dog-lover, will appreciate.

The Champions: DOCUTAH film raises awareness about pit bull welfare“All odds were stacked against the pit bulls rescued from quarterback Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring. Forced to fight for their lives, they were considered so dangerous many wanted them euthanized. But no one could have predicted how the dogs would change the lives of those who risked everything to save them.” “The Champions”

If you are interested in watching this uplifting story, head to the Electric Theater today Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $10.

For more information about “The Champions” or to reserve tickets, click here.

For more information on dog fighting and pit bull welfare, click here.

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  1. This documentary was so sad because you could see in the surviving dogs the all the psychological damage that occurred to them. However, the people that rescued them and gave them a second chance are so kind and the fact that these dogs could be rehabilitated is truly amazing. These dogs were helpless animals at the mercy of an evil man. Michael Vick is evil to the core and his punishment definitely did not fit the crime and he most definitely should have NEVER gotten another NFL contract

    • Most of the pits taken from this dog fighting operation never made it to homes because they were far too dangerous. They were/are being kept at “sanctuaries” until they die of old age. In the state where I reside, pit bulls rescued from fighting operations are humanely euthanized. We do NOT need pit bulls, whether they were fought in pits or not, in our neighborhoods. BSL saves lives and limbs of people and animals.

      • Would you please explain to the rest of the universe what is humane about euthanasia? Or do you not realize that you accidentally just shat out an oxymoron?

        “Bred to kill.” That’s outrageous speciesist rhetoric, whether you realize it or not. You can teach any dog, or person, to kill regardless of genealogy.

        I haven’t confirmed whether or not this statement is accurate: “Most of the pits taken from this dog fighting operation never made it to homes because they were far too dangerous. They were/are being kept at ‘sanctuaries’ until they die of old age.” However, those dogs were trained to kill. They could have been training poodles to kill. There’s an enormous difference between training to kill and “breeding to kill.” Ever heard of cockfighting? Ever heard of martial arts?

        If breeding to kill is actually a thing … well, “Redfern” is a British name, and between that and your rhetoric, methinks ye might be bred to kill. If killing a sentient being who has done nothing wrong is so “humane,” and precautionarily but painlessly dealing out death where deemed appropriate is acceptable, you should not object if we euthanize you and your family, correct? You haven’t killed anyone yet … but you might. Better play it safe! With lethal injection, y’all won’t feel a thing. That makes it okay, right?

        If breeding to kill is actually a thing, I would love for you to explain the recent video wherein a British child executed a prisoner on behalf of ISIS. Heck, I guess Caucasians are just bred to kill. Guess we should humanely euthanize them. They do keep starting wars, after all. I know! Let’s just “humanely” euthanize everyone who might ever do something bad.

        Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd that’s called eugenics. Congratulations!

        Some of the hypothetical suggestions I’ve made regarding euthanasia might seem ridiculously hyperbolic, but all I’ve done is apply your core ideas to something other than your least favorite dog and put it on a larger scale in a different context to demonstrate just how tremendously fucked up they are.

        The testimony of the zillions of pit bulls who have peacefully coexisted with society without incident for decades is a far more compelling reason for their compassionate treatment than your steaming pile of baseless claims and paranoid, alarmist, self-defeating, and autoimplicative rants advocating their mass execution are. Don’t forget to spay and neuter your family.

  2. This film is simply MORE pit bull propaganda, designed to put pit bulls into homes as pets. Pit bulls are NOT good pets. Bred to kill in England originally, they MAY kill you or one of your children. Choose a breed which has shown itself to be a good, safe family dog and NEVER adopt a pit bull. Do not listen to the pit bull propaganda which is connected to the NCRC and AFF…pit pimping organization which lobby politically in order to keep pit bulls plentiful and legal for $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    • Mary Ann I have to disagree. This film is about giving the pitbulls a second chance after the fact that greedy humans turned them into vicious fighters. I have known many many pitbulls who are family friendly pets because they were simply raised right like how all dogs should be.

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