A DVD featuring violent pit bull fights has unleashed protests against the distributor as well as several online merchants that had been peddling the video, which may break federal laws against animal cruelty.
In response to Tuesday inquiries by The Associated Press, Amazon.com Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co. Inc. said they would pull the video, "Hood Fights, Vol. 2, The Art of The Pit" from their Web sites as soon as possible.
As of late Tuesday, the DVD was still being sold on online auctioneer eBay Inc.
Hood Fights 2 also contains scenes of men brawling, but the pit bull sequences have provoked the loudest outcry so far.
The Humane Society of United States has asked U.S. Attorney Roger Roper III in Dallas to investigate whether Hood Fights 2 violates a federal law against interstate or foreign commerce profiting from the depiction of animal cruelty. The DVD was released in April by a Texas-based Web site, streetheatdvd.com
Hood Fights 2 "shows a series of staged matches in which trained fighting dogs suffer bloody, debilitating injuries for the apparent amusement of spectators," wrote the Humane Society's Ann Chynoweth wrote in a June 13 letter to Roper.
Chynoweth, director of the Humane Society's animal cruelty and fighting campaign, provided the AP with a copy of the letter Tuesday.
Kathy Colvin, a spokeswoman for Roper, declined to say whether the U.S. attorney had opened an investigation.
Internet records list streetheatdvd.com's owner as 50/50 Entertainment and Glenn Hudson. Efforts to reach Hudson for comment were unsuccessful.
The Humane Society also sent letters of protest to Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City and Netflix Inc., which runs the Web's largest rental service.
Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix removed Hood Fights from its library during the past week after customer complaints prompted a review of the objectionable content, said company spokesman Steve Swasey. "We treated it like we would pornography," Swasey said. Netflix doesn't rent pornography to its nearly 5 million subscribers.
Until the AP's inquiry, Amazon.com's Web site had indicated it planned to reorder more copies of Hood Fight 2.
Amazon.com spokeswoman Patty Smith said the listings for Hood Fights 2 were supplied by three different distributors.
Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb said the Richmond, Va.-based retailer wasn't aware Hood Fights 2 contained pit bull fights until the AP's inquiry. "When you have more than 300,000 items listed (on the Web site), it's hard to monitor everything," said Babb, who emphasized Hood Fights was never sold in Circuit City's brick-and-mortar stores.
Minneapolis-based Best Buy decided late Tuesday that it was inappropriate to continue selling Hood Fights 2. "We share in the concerns about issues related to violence against animals," said company spokesman Jay Musolf.
Ebay spokesman Hani Durzy said the auction site planned to review Hood Fights 2 and will pull the listing if the company believes the video breaks any laws.