Two pairs of sneakers dangle like a drug-market welcome mat from the phone wire across the Century Boulevard exit on the 110 freeway. On Central there’s the Liquor Bank and the Jolly Motel, and finally the oasis that is the Yo Watts Community Center, today playing host to “Pimp Your Pit.”
No, it’s not an afternoon of bestiality for bucks, but a chance for locals to get their pit bulls (and other dogs) free spay, neuter and vaccination services. The event is sponsored by the Downtown Dog Rescue, with vet services supplied by the Amanda Foundation, which fixed 6,097 dogs last year, the most successful clinic-on-wheels in the state. But “Pimp Your Pit” is not merely a cut-and-snip fest for animals’ reproductive areas.
There are balloons, there are booths where you can buy stuff like Pit Bull Energy Drink, there is taco meat sizzling, there are rappers rapping and a massive SUV with a two-foot lift provided by West Coast Customs of MTV’s Pimp My Ride fame. The show’s Big Dane and Q are here, helping excited youngsters up into the beast of a machine so they can see what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat of something that dwarfs a tank.
It’s a warm, wholesome event in a community that, like pit bulls, is often maligned and misunderstood. Pits are, perhaps, the Brussels sprouts of the canine kingdom. Vicious, four-legged terrors? No way, and there are a lot of people here who will tell you that, and a lot of sweet pit bulls with their tongues hanging out to back it up.
Ex-groomer Gina Stanchfield is hawking the various pit-oriented wares she’s designed featuring a snarling pit logo: pit sweats, hoodies, beer cozies, T-shirts. Soon, she says, there will be panties. All this stuff is for humans, by the way.
“Pits are good dogs, it’s just bad people doing the wrong things with them,” she explains. “Being a groomer, I dealt with every breed, and I was bit more by poodles, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas. I mean, with Chihuahuas you’ll draw back a bloody stump. The only problem with pit bulls is, if a pit bull bites someone, it’s majorly publicized. When a poodle bites someone, you never hear about it.”
A chap called OG Man is selling a coloring book he created called Peace-N-Hood. The tag line: “If dogs and cats can live together, so can Bloods and Crips!”
“I was in the county jail in ’96 drawing characters, I was trying to do a series for the dog pound,” offers the affable OG. “I got stuck with this character G-Dog. Couldn’t think of anything else. I had a friend, and he asked me to draw a cat. I didn’t want to draw no cat, but he kept hounding me and I came up with Sad Cat. I threw ’em together. They’re both locked up in the pound, doin’ time. It’s dogs and cats, but it’s like Bloods and Crips.”
By the end of the day, Chocolate, Lucky, Princess, Tiffany, Chucky, Buster, Chiquita, Mona, Chico and some 70 other dogs (yes, mostly pits) have been vaccinated and happily rendered incapable of reproducing. The pimping has been a success. The mighty Amandamobile revs up and moves out but will return as needed. Downtown Dog Rescue will continue to spread the word on this misunderstood breed; all they are saying is give pits a chance. OG Man is on call. And soon there will be panties.