Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water is the story of two gang members, Lonzo and D.J., who start out as enemies and claim the same piece of neighborhood turf. They later learn that they have more in common than merely turf. Not only are they real "blood" brothers, who share the same father, they also have the same dream of becoming record producers. They hit some dead ends while attempting to break into the music business and decide the only way to make their dreams come true is to fund their own recording company. They turn to selling drugs, so they can one day live life outside the "hood". However, life in the hood is one that is violent and selling drugs only one of their illegal activities. They also promote dogfights where Pit Bulls are set against each other in a fight to the death. Not everyone gets out of the hood alive.

  • Starring: Mack 10, Fat Joe, Ice Cube
  • Director(s): Richard Cumings, Jr.
  • Producer(s): Darryl Taja, Taj Lewis
  • Screenwriter(s): Ernest Nyle Brown, Julie Shannon
  • Distributor: Palm Pictures/Manga
  • Animal Coordinator: Camera One K-9 Actors
  • Release Date: Thursday, April 15, 1999

Featured Animal Action

How was the dog fight accomplished for the film? Professional trainers were hired by the production company and supplied animals that had been raised and trained in play behavior. Through a series of editing cuts, sound effects and fake blood, the animals appeared to fight and be wounded. American Humane Association was on set and monitored the simulated dog fight sequences and determined that no animals were harmed. However, AHA does not condone real dog fighting which is an illegal and cruel activity. Why have Pit Bulls been the fighting dogs of choice in and out of the hood? The breed commonly known as "Pit Bull" shares some ancestry with the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Stafforshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier. Roots have been traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England and Ireland when the old Bulldog, a great Mastiff-like dog was crossed with British terriers. The offspring were referred to as "Bull and Terriers," "Pit Dogs," and "Fighting Dogs." The old Bulldog breed was used in bear-baiting and bull-baiting sport as far back as the thirteenth century. This blood sport called upon dogs to attack bulls and bears and fight to the death. These dogs were also used by hunters to catch game and by farmers to bring down unruly cattle. The sport of dog-fighting also thrived, but was driven underground when blood sports were deemed illegal in England in the nineteenth century. As the Mastiff dogs before them, Bull Dogs and Terriers were cross bred and the American Pit Bull came into existence. This breed is revered for its tenacity, tremendous athletic abilities, and easy-going temperament. When bred and trained responsibly this can be a wonderful companion animal. Statutes making it illegal to fight animals have been in existence in the United States since 1836. More recently, the media attention given the subject has spotlighted the Pit Bull as the fighting dog of choice. This sparked an unfortunate trend toward popularizing the breed as an accessory for hoodlums and gang members who fancied the dog to enhance their dangerous image and for drug dealers to protect their "business". It also prompted an increase in random backyard breeding in order to mass produce puppies for profit and for the trait of aggressiveness rather than its more noble characteristics. Who would create such a "sport" as bull baiting? The origin of the sport of bull-baiting goes back to around 1209 in England when the Lord of Stamford, William Earl Warren, is said to have initiated this form of entertainment. The story alleges that Sir Warren was gazing at his castle meadow one day where two bulls were fighting over a cow. Suddenly Mastiff-like dogs owned by local butchers stormed one of the bulls and not only pursued the angry bovine but ferociously attacked it. This proved to be an act that annoyed the bull and pleased the aristocrat. The Lord declared that he would give the castle meadow to the butchers as a common on the condition that they find a "mad bull" six weeks before Christmas. Thus a blood sport was born. This also prompted naming the Mastiff-like dogs who excelled at the sport, "Bull Dogs". Blood Sports - a history of cruelty. The actual sport of bull-baiting and bear-baiting became formalized and adopted as a sport of the aristocracy. Bulls were prepared for baiting by having a heavy rope tied around their horns or a wide leather collar fastened around their neck. A stake was driven into the ground and fitted with a swivel ring. A rope or chain connected the animal to the ring. Dogs were then sent in to attack the bull, preferably head on, so they could get hold of the tender snout of the animal. This angered the bull who often kicked or gored the dogs into the air. The owners would stand around the ring to catch the airborne dogs and break their fall. This cruelty would continue for hours until the bull was killed by the dogs or slaughtered for meat and/or the dogs died. In the case of bear-baiting the same preparation was in place although the bear attacked the dogs with claws and teeth rather than with horns and hooves. The bears were often tethered by a ring through the nose. The first country to make blood sports illegal was Holland in 1689. In 1835 bull and bear baiting as well as dog fighting became illegal in England. This drove dog-fighting underground and the animals fought in pits rather than in open arenas. NOTICE: Dog-fighting is an inhumane AND criminal act. Today dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states, a felony in forty-three states and a misdemeanor in the rest. US Federal Law punishes dog fighting if state lines are crossed for the purpose of a fight. The penalty carries one year in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. Under federal law it is illegal to: 1) put a dog in a ring for the purpose of fighting 2) watch a dog fight 3) bet on a dog fight or pay a fee to watch 4) train dogs for the purpose of fighting The laws in New York State are typical of state laws in that it makes dog-fighting a felony with penalties of up to four years in prison and a fine up to $25,000 or both. The law makes it a crime to: 1) use an animal to fight 2) train an animal with the intent of having it fight 3) let a dog be trained on the premises that is under one's control 4) own or keep an animal trained to fight on the premises used for fighting Recently a Northern California man was convicted of 63 felony counts related to dog fighting and was given what is believed to be the longest prison sentence to date for this type of crime. He was sentenced to seven years in state prison. Law enforcement officials depend on citizens to help find and report illegal dog fights. Veterinarians are also encouraged and, in some states such as California, required to report instances of animal injuries that appear to be fight related. Many of the dogs that are raised for fighting and are not successful winners are either killed or turned loose. These animals may roam as strays and be aggressive toward humans and other companion animals. Tragically, many of the puppies bred for aggression that don't make it to the fight ring end up in homes as family pets, when their breeding makes them unsuitable for that purpose. Responsible ownership of pit bulls requires a very special commitment. Responsible dog owners and concerned citizens can help prevent the many tragedies associated with dog bites.If you suspect dog fighting in your area, please notify your local animal control agency or contact the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) which has an extensive dog fight investigation program.