Pit Bulls often get a bad reputation for being inherently vicious animals, primarily for their association with illegal dogfighting. A combination of their size, stature, and deep loyalty to their caretakers makes Pit Bulls prime dogs for this cruel industry. But what many people miss is the fact that this has nothing to do with the nature of these dogs. In order to make them be vicious and fight, sometimes to the death, dogfighters starve, abuse, and condition their dogs to fight. The only time these dogs are given any sort of love or praise is when they successfully win a fight, and just like any other dog, they crave this sort of attention and approval from their caretakers.

Because of this cruel industry, Pit Bulls have been marginalized as dangerous dogs that are not ideal for adoption – especially in homes with children. More tragically, this stigma makes adoption rates for Pits very low and euthanasia rates very high. In fact, one in four of all animals brought into shelters are Pit Bulls  and their average euthanasia rate hovers at 93 percent.

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Before dogfighting sullied the reputation of these dogs, however, they were known as the ideal “nanny” dog in the late 19th-century thanks to their loyalty and willingness to please their caretakers. Just take a look at this photo of a family with their beloved Pit-Nanny.

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This image comes from Animal Farm Foundation’s historic photo gallery. On Facebook, the organization writes, “We’re not sure who they are, but these three dapper kids and their handsome dog look like they know how to have a good time. The choice to include the dog in this photograph with the kids serves as a reminder that “pit bull” dogs have been our cherished companions for more than a century. And that’s still true today – our dogs are our best friends!”

The truth is, just like any dog, if a Pit Bull is raised by a responsible guardian, they can be wonderful companions. Many former fighting dogs have even been successfully rehabilitated and learned to love and thrive in family settings. All dogs are individuals and deserve to be treated and viewed as such. If you agree, share this post and encourage others to give Pits a chance!

All image source: Animal Farm Foundation/Facebook

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