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Arizona Republic: Look Past the Stereotypes When You’re Adopting a Pet

Written by: Kimberly Ring

News Highlights:

  • October celebrates one of AHS' favorite times of the year, National Pit Bull Awareness Month!
  • AHS and its Fix.Adopt.Save. partners are hosting the 5th Annual Pittie-Palooza on Saturday, October 13, 2018! The event will celebrate our beloved Pitties while offering free spay/neuter vouchers, free vaccinations, low-cost microchips and pet ID tags, $20 Pit Bull adoptions and more. Click here to learn more!

Arizona Republic

Look past the stereotypes when you’re adopting a pet Arizona Republic | Sonia Hernandez, Guest Columnist for My Turn
Stereotypes exist in all walks of life. Sometimes they are warranted, but often they are perpetuated because of misconceptions based on incorrect information.
In the animal-welfare community, we see the victims of stereotypes every day as we take countless numbers of pit bulls into shelters. Much like the Doberman or Rottweiler in previous decades, the pit bull is the current poster child for the 'vicious' dog breed. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been involved in the animal welfare community for 17 years, and through my work have had extensive experience interacting with this breed. I myself am a proud owner of two pit bulls and have many friends and colleagues who call them family members. They are loving, loyal, gentle, energetic dogs who simply want a loving and stable home. As is the case with any dog, training and environment have a huge impact on their temperament. In fact, studies conducted by the American Temperament Testing Society gave pit bulls a passing rate of 88 percent — a higher score than miniature poodles, beagles and collies. Their tolerant and gentle nature even earned them the reputation as 'nanny dogs' in the early 1900s. We have our work cut out for us in erasing the negative perceptions of the breed. More than 9,000 pit bulls were taken into Valley shelters in 2017, and they continue to be one of the most at-risk breeds here and across the nation.

I am proud to be the project manager for Fix.Adopt.Save., an alliance of six animal-welfare agencies in Maricopa County that was created with one goal in mind — to end pet homelessness.

From the onset in 2012, we identified the need to address pit bull overpopulation in Valley shelters through increased adoptions, educating the public on the importance of spaying and neutering your pets, and improving responsible pet ownership.

While we have made great strides in lowering intake, the work continues.

Through community outreach and events like our annual Pittie-Palooza, which will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at Phoenix Metrocenter Mall, we aim to change perceptions one person at a time.

The event was created to dispel myths and celebrate the breed while also educating the public about what they can do to assist in the overall goal to reduce pet homelessness.

With funding from Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and PetSmart Charities, Fix.Adopt.Save. is able to offer free spay/neuter vouchers, free vaccinations, $20 pit bull adoptions and $10 microchips at the event. You can find out more at

My challenge to those on the fence about adopting a pit bull is this: Don’t believe the stereotypes and take the time to research and understand the breed for the love-a-bull dogs they are!

Visit one of our alliance member locations to learn more, meet a pittie in person and decide for yourself if they are a fit for your household.