(ABC4) – Do you love dogs? Most of us do. When you think of a loveable, friendly dog, which breed comes to mind?

Perhaps a labrador, a border collie or a golden retriever. Unfortunately, the least likely breed that comes to mind for many is a pit bull. The Best Friends Animal Society is celebrating National Pit Bull Awareness Month to dispel the harmful misconceptions about pit bull breeds.  

The folks at Best Friends say pit bulls are greatly misunderstood and overwhelmingly targeted in Breed-Specific Legislation. This type of legislation focuses on banning or restricting certain types of dogs simply based on their appearance.

At the end of 2019, 22 states have passed provisions fighting back against breed-discriminatory laws.

“Pit bulls are some of the most vulnerable pets in our nation’s shelters, but at Best Friends, we are working to change the narrative and ensure they get the same chance as other dogs that they deserve,” Best Friends officials say. “These antiquated ordinances limit responsible people’s right to love and care for any breed of dog they choose and force people to give up their innocent pets, leading to more pets in shelters.”

Officials say studies show aggression is not a breed-specific characteristic or personality trait and poorly-behaved dogs are simply a result of “reckless owners who encourage bad behavior.”

“Scientific studies have proven that pit bull terriers are just as safe and gentle as any other dog,” says Best Friends. 

The American Temperament Test Society provides a temperament test for dogs and found that pit bulls and pit-bull-terrier-like dogs passed the test at a higher rate than many other breeds such as golden retrievers and border collies.

“Each pit bull terrier is an individual and just as safe and gentle as any other dog,” says Best Friends. “There are millions of these dogs in our country, and they’re family pets, therapy dogs and service animals – any kind of dog can make a great pet.”

To find a pit bull around you in need of a loving home, click here.