JUDGING THE INNOCENT
A Documentary Film About Pit Bulls
Drayton Michaels, CTC (K9 Son Media/Pit Bull Guru/Urban Dawgs) is currently producing a documentary film titled "Judging the Innocent". Pit bulls are historically one of America's most cherished breeds and modern day pit bulls continue to serve our communities as service dogs, police dogs, beloved pets and more. Unfortunately the media has distorted public perception and enhanced the appeal of the abuse of these dogs by criminals. Featuring the best and brightest of the professional dog world (including interviews with Jean Donaldson, Ian Dunbar, Diane Jessup, Jane Berkey of Animal Farm Foundation, Karen Delise and more), it is our hope that 'Judging the Innocent' will help to set the record straight and debunk common myths about these lovely, misunderstood dogs.
Judging The Innocent: A Documentary About Pit Bull Dogs
by Drayton Michaels, CTC
In 2004, I began researching the pit bull issues in the US. I had the time, the resources and, of course, I have a pit bull dog… so I know full well all the issues that surround the breed.
What I kept finding, as others before me have found, is that the hype and fear over Pit Bulls and other dogs just did not add up with the math or the science of dogs. In addition, there is the staggering amount of historic evidence rooted in the canine human bond as a dynamic that does not have its beginnings in adversarial forms of subjugation. The dog is the only animal that has willingly aligned itself with us in our quest for a better life. So why is there all this fear over our “best friend”?
When I ask the question, “who is to blame for the downfall of the reputation of the Pit Bull dog?” Over and over the answer keeps coming back to - dogs are innocent, no matter the background or the education of the person asked. The resounding opinion by most all walks of life is that humans need to step up their game; we need to better educate ourselves if we want to improve the dog-human dynamic. Dogs have not changed all that much over time, however the human world they share with us has changed dramatically. I decided to produce a documentary film to help set the record straight.
The documentary film, Judging the Innocent, is slated for a fourth quarter 2009 release. If you have a positive Pit Bull story you would like to share on film or perhaps you are a person in the dog profession or a rescue or advocacy group that would like to lend evidence to the claim that dogs are innocent, please contact us.
Following is a list of people and organizations featured in Judging The Innocent. My heart felt thanks goes out them for their support of this film and their appearance in the film. Their combined educational work is making the world for pit bulls and dogs of all breeds in danger of prejudice safer and more humane. I highly encourage you to look into their respective work.
Diane Jessup has authored many books and articles on the American pit bull, dog training and canine aggression. She has put over 70 training titles on her dogs over the past 35 years using postive methods. She has trained American pit bulls for a variety of uses including herding, schutzhund, ring sport, obedience, tracking, weight pull, and narcotics/explosives detection. www.WorkingPitBull.com
Jean Donaldson has been at the forefront of the science-based, non-force movement in dog training and behavior modification for over 35 years. As the director of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the SFSPCA, she has trained some of the best and brightest people in dog training and behavior. There is perhaps no one better in the world of pet dog training at determining how best to deal with dogs in all situations as Jean Donaldson.
Ian Dunbar is the progenitor of the lure-reward method in dog training. He holds degrees in animal behavior from Oxford and UC Berkeley. His status in the field of canine research and behavior is legendary. To have had the honor of speaking with Dunbar one-on-one about dogs was one of my personal highlights in the making of this film. www.siriuspup.com/about_founder.html
Dr. Nicholas Dodman is a professor, section head, and program director at the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts’ Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. Dr. Nicholas Dodman appears regularly on radio and television programs such as National Public Radio and Animal Planet.
Janis Bradley is the author of Dog Bites, But Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous. Her academic background is in adult education, and since 2000 she has educated more than 300 professional dog trainers at the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, where she also co-authored the curriculum for the Society's Growly Dog classes, instructing guardians of leash reactive dogs.
The Animal Farm Foundation – One of the hardest working Pit Bull advocacy groups in the US. The AFF website is a bastion of myth busting and educational information geared towards restoring the Pit Bull dog to its originally honored and respected place in the American canine landscape. When it comes to positive pit bull PR no one does it with as much gusto as AFF! www.animalfarmfoundation.org
Karen Delise is an author and licensed veterinarian technician. Her groundbreaking research into the media and how it reports on dog fatalities is expertly detailed in her book, The Pit Bull Placebo. The work of Karen Delise is the foundation for my documentary. Her dedication to the truth surrounding fatal dog attacks is second to none. My ultimate respect goes out to Karen Delise for devoting her life to finding out the truth behind the tragic stories showing it is a people problem, not a Pit Bull problem. This women is one of my heroes, if you love Pit Bulls and are tired of how they are maligned in the press, read The Pit Bull Placebo - you will never look at the news about dogs the same way again.
Kelly Gorman is the President of Open Paw - an international, community-based humane education program that is tackling the unwanted animal problem by arming communities with valuable user and animal friendly training and behavior information. Kelly lectures internationally on the principles of Open Paw and consults for animal shelters regarding layout, and staff-and-animal training protocols and procedures. Kelly Gorman is the Director of Sirius Puppy Training, as well as the cofounder and the executive editor of the DogStarDaily.com. Kelly has been a professional dog trainer and behavior counselor since 1992. She has a Behavior Counseling Certificate from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers and was one of the first dog trainers to become a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT).
Jon Bozak is a responsible pit bull owner, acreative consultant for TV and film, and the author of Demo, the Story of a Junkyard Dog - a positive Pit Bull book for readers young at heart that challenges the idea of BSL (Breed
Denise Herman is the founder and head trainer for Empire of the Dog. She is a Valedictorian Graduate of the San Francisco Academy for Dog Trainers, under the direction of renowned author and dog expert, Jean Donaldson (The Culture Clash and Dogs are from Neptune). She was a staff trainer at the SF SPCA and instructed for Petco, California and Andrea Arden in Manhattan. In 2004 Denise authored a series of CLICKER TRAINING KITS for the Nylabone company, and is the resident pet expert at DOGPUBLIC.COM. Denise has written for the award winning Bark Magazine and epinions.com online. She has appeared on NY1, WNBC New York and ANIMAL PLANET. Last March, Denise and Empire of the Dog were profiled in DOGFANCY magazine's "A day in the Life" series.
Jane Hoffman has been the President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals since its inception in 2002. The Alliance acts as a liaison between city government and a coalition of 35 animal rescue groups and shelters operating throughout New York City. The coalition and the Mayor's Alliance are working together to reduce the number of cats and dogs put down in NYC shelters.
Marthina McClay is the Founder and President of Our Pack, a Pit Bull rescue group based in the South San Francisco Bay Area.
Mary Harwelik is one of the loudest voices in pit bull advocacy on the web. Her training and education of pit bull owners is a valued asset. Visit her website: RealPitBull.com