WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Dog adoption and "bully breeds."
"There's a stigma that's associated with them. That they're mean or they're nasty or they can't be trust," Tim Brennan, Executive Director at Niagara SPCA, said. He feels the stigma about bully breeds are not breed specific, rather a product of the environment in which it was raised.
"Bully breeds. Your German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, the Pit bulls," he said. Brennan continued, "It's a reputation that I can't really explain how they got it, but it's not deserved."
The stigma, though, can be traced back decades when breed-specific legislation spread across the country after an increase in fatal dog bites. Since then, many of those laws have been re-visited, but the reputation of breeds like Pit Bulls and Rottweilers have not fully recovered. The dogs are often in shelters for months before going to a forever home or rescue group.
At any given time, the adoptable kennel at the Niagara SPCA sees about half of the dogs as bully breeds.
"We are a no kill shelter, so a lot of times the bully breeds will sit here longer than other dogs, but it doesn't matter. They're not going to be euthanize just because they've been here a certain amount of time," he said.
But there are outliers. It didn't take long for little 8 week old pit bull mix puppy now named, Ellie, to be adopted.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover," Johnnie Baldassara said. She's giving Ellie a forever home just two weeks after the pup appeared on 7 Eyewitness News.
"Any dog can be a bully. It can be a little Chihuahua. It can be the biggest dog ever. It's all about how you raise them," she said.
An environment, Baldassara said, she plans on filling with lots of love.
"I'm so happy to bring her home," she said.