Miami’s Pit Fall, a documentary about Miami’s ban on pit bulls, the events that led to it and the effort to repeal it, is set for its public screening at The Hoxton in Brickell on Sunday.
Andrea Seamans, director of the 22-minute film, said her goal is to educate people and show both sides of this issue.
“I want to educate people through this film. Many people have a one-track mind about this,” said Seamans, 37. “I know not everyone is a dog lover, but I want people to have a better understanding of this particular breed and realize it’s not the dog. It’s the person holding the leash.”
Seamans’ love for animals, especially pit bulls, started when she was a child.
Seamans was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was an infant, which caused her to have a speech impairment as well as weakness on the right side of her body.
She said that experience has helped her understand what it is like to be discriminated against because of appearance and makes her sympathize with pit bulls.
“I realize how misunderstood this breed is because I, too, am different,” Seamans said. “I was made fun of and bullied because of my disability, and I understand what it is like having to fight for society’s approval.”
Seamans donates her time to local rescue groups and has saved several abandoned dogs throughout the years.
Then last year, she took her passion a step further by teaming up with Yesenia Rodriguez, 26, and Maria Garcia, 59, producers of Miami’s Pit Fall. They completed the documentary in March and are now ready to start showing it.
“Once I did the research and realized what was going on, I thought I had to do something,” said Rodriguez, who has worked in television for three years and was a part of Telemundo’s public relations department. “We can’t just let them keep putting these innocent dogs down.”
The filmmakers support repealing the ban on pit bulls in Miami, which was adopted in 1989 after a pit bull attacked and severely injured a Kendall 8-year-old.
They have worked closely with Dahlia Canes, 61, founder of Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation.
Canes, a paralegal, founded the coalition in 2008. The group is the driving force in the attempt at repealing the ban.
Canes said she believes the film will make a difference and help the cause.
“The film was moving, impacting and way overdue,” Canes said. “It breaks through those hideous myths and most importantly, it brings about the awareness and compassion which is much needed in society.”
Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Miami-Dade county commissioner who speaks against the ban in the documentary, agrees.
“The documentary was very compelling as well as educational,” said Diaz, 52. “As an animal owner, I will continue to speak to people on the unjustness this law is to this breed and encourage people to watch Miami’s Pit Fall.”
But not all people feel this way, and raising awareness of the issue has not come without its share of resistance.
Tabitha Calderon, 37, mother of two, views pit bulls as dangerous animals and believes they are different from other breeds.
“It doesn’t make sense to have an animal that is physically capable of causing as much damage as they are in our society,” Calderon said. “I understand the owner makes the dog what it is, but I have kids and feel less comfortable knowing that a pit bull can go loose and attack them.”