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Franklin Co. Dog Shelter Having Hard Time Adopting Out Pit Bulls

COLUMBUS (James Jackson/Ken Hines) -- Franklin County Dog Shelter workers are attempting to find homes for pit bulls and pit bull mixes in spite of widespread public concerns about the violence often associated with the breed.

The process of finding homes for pit bulls is typically three times longer than that of other breeds, according to shelter officials, who are currently caring for 10 full or partial pits at the facility.

"They're not for everybody. They're a powerful breed," shelter Community Relations Manager Susan Smith said. "There are obviously some stigmas attached to pit bulls."

Shih Tzu owner Miloune Desrosiers is among those who will not consider adoption of a pit bull because of the dog's reputation.

"I wouldn't own a pit bull because they're big. I'm scared of them," she said. "That's why I have a little dog."

In an attempt to overcome the stigma associated with pit bulls, shelter employees provide information to potential owners about preferred methods for training and socializing the dogs.

Pit bull advocates received a victory in 2012, when a state law that labeled the dogs as vicious was changed. However, regulations involving the animals are still on the books in Ohio.

"Depending on what part of town you live in, some municipalities do have rules about pit bulls, or restrictions -- and insurance can become a factor too," Smith said.

Pit bull supporters such as Chris Knapp -- who volunteers at the shelter and owns two of the dogs -- believe irresponsible or unprepared owners are the real culprits in attacks involving pits.

"In my opinion, a dog is a dog is a dog," Knapp said. "Pit bulls are just like any other dog."

The pit bulls currently housed at the Franklin County shelter are all spayed or neutered. The cost of adoption varies depending on the dogs' ages.
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