Darcy Dennett, director of “The Champions”

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Darcy Dennett—the director of “The Champions,” a documentary chiefly about the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting ring—outlines her professional experience that served as a prelude to this, her feature film debut. the-champions.00.35 PMShe explains the passion that propelled her through making “The Champions,” partly born of similar work—and attachments formed with some of the same dogs—as series producer of National Geographic’s cherry4486-Retouched-v1“Dogtown” and director of a special about the so-called Vick dogs. Dennett addresses how she decided on the dogs tracked more closely in the film—Little Red, Jonny, Cherry, Handsome Dan, and Mel—and discusses the progress they’ve made, from Jonny becoming a therapy dog to Handsome Dan remaining fearful enough the-championsthat he is still unable to take walks. Noting that “The Champions” widens out to explore other topics within the realm of pit-bull dogs—and the long string of anti-pit bull emails pouring into the studio during this interview—Dennett reiterates some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the animals addressed in the film, and the bias against the dogs, particularly the breed discrimination legislation that prevents people with pit bull dogs from living iin certain areas. A segment in the movie on pro baseball player Mark Buehrle and his family, including their pit Slater, was poignant, profiling his being traded to the Miami Marlins—Miami-Dade being a county with a pit bull ban—then, improbably, being traded to Toronto, located in a province that has a pit bull ban…and the striking way they chose to deal with this–and maintain their commitment to Slater–as a family. Dennett observes that much of the negative sentiment about pit bull dogs, and flawed statistics about bites and attacks, can be traced back to reporting—misreporting, really—by the media. (www.championsdocumentary.com, www.darcydennett.com/darcydennett/Home.html)

48H-u04bALSO: I spoke briefly with Arin Greenwood–who formerly worked as an attorney, more recently was the animal welfare editor for The Huffington Post and now is a consultant at Barkbox—about an op-ed piece she wrote for Barkpost about the animal shelter PETA operates, and the dramatically high percentage of animals that end up euthanized there, and the correspondingly- low numbers of adoptions that happen there. (http://barkpost.com, https://barkbox.com)

COMEDY CORNER: Dave Attell’s “Animals” (http://daveattell.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

 NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Robin Trower’s “Day Of The Eagle”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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