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Swastika tattoo skinhead has life transformed by dogs on Pit Bulls and Parolees

David and Odin on Pit Bulls and Parolees
David McMurtrie and Odin, the pit bull that made him turn his life around

A former skinhead bank-robber with a Swastika tattoo on his back tells the emotional story on Pit Bulls and Parolees this week of how he had his life transformed by dogs.

David McMurtrie used to spout hate on a daily basis, and ended up spending 12 years behind bars for robbing banks and credit unions.

But after being released from prison he bought a pit bull called Odin who helped him completely turn his life around.

On Pit Bulls and Parolees, Dave recalls how owning a pit bull suddenly made him realize what he had been putting others through — because people would judge and sneer at his dog just based on the way it looked.

David went on to found animal rescue center Pit Stop for Change in River Rouge, Michigan, which features on the show when it’s threatened with closure.

David talking about his remarkable story on Pit Bulls and Parolees
David talking about his remarkable story on Pit Bulls and Parolees

He says: “I was a monster before I got involved with these dogs. I’m not proud of my history — I was an active skinhead for a lot of years.

“You know, I’ve got Swastikas on my back that are bigger than my head, and my stomach is tattooed with the word ‘skinhead’.

“I fed people nonsense, hate, racial bulls**t on a daily basis. I felt like the whole world owed me something.

“I robbed a bank, went from banks to credit unions. I was literally robbing back-to-back-to-back.

“When I finally was arrested I was incarcerated for just under 12 years.

The swastika tattoo on David's back
The swastika tattoo on David’s back, a stark reminder of his murky past

“It doesn’t matter how many dogs I save or how much good I do, I’ll never be able to equal the slate on what I did while I was in there.

“But I’m a white kid from the suburbs. I never experienced any damn racism, until I got my first pit bull.

“When I came home from Prison in 2007 I was going to get a pit bull because I looked at myself as a bad-ass dude, and pit bulls were bad-ass dogs.

“His name was Odin, I bought him off a breeder. Within six months he’d changed my whole life.

“Every day I have to defend my dogs for what they are versus what people think they are. It’s the exact same thing what I did. I now have to eat what I fed people. It’s a bitch.”

Pit Bulls and Parolees airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Animal Planet.

Julian is the editor of Monsters & Critics. He has worked as a journalist for more than ten years, previously as an editor at the... read more
Julian Cheatle


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