COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Owners and their dogs of all shapes and sizes gathered on the corner of 10th Street and Broadway in downtown Columbus Friday to stand up for bullied breeds.
The protest "Pit-In" was organized after an article was published in a local newspaper about a dog attack.
"The article had a lot of backlash from people online saying very violent things about pit bulls and how they should be hunted down and killed and being an owner of a few pit bulls that is very worrisome," explains 'Pit-In' organizer Caroline Traywick.
Demonstrators say it is all about education and awareness.
They hope to reverse the stereotype pit-mixes have in the community.
"I think every dog is unique. I don't think you can label any particular breed. It is all about being a good dog owner and treating your dog with respect. They just want to be loved," says supporter Alina Chalkley.
Leslie Timberlake, a manager at Paws Humane, says a pit bull is not a specific breed but the term casts a wide net around dogs that have specific traits.
"When people think of a pit bull with a big block head, stockier body, that's a physical characteristic," says Timberlake.
She says studies have shown that pit bulls are no more prone to harm a person or another animal than any other breed of dog.
"Those animals who bite, harm or injure are a product of nature and nurture. So how humans raise an animal is a critical part of that puzzle," explains Timberlake.
Experts say that not letting a dog socialize, or receive improper training, or abuse can trigger an attack in any breed.
"The best thing we can do is be the best breed ambassadors we can be," explains supporter Miles Greathouse.
"There are no bad dogs or bad dog breeds," says Traywick, "It's all up to the owners."