Pit bull owners march to change perception of breed

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Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - They are perhaps the most controversial breed of dog and some might say the most misunderstood. Saturday, a rally encouraged people to "Luv a Bully."

It was much more than a dog walk Saturday.

"Each dog is an individual and should be judged individually," said Cynthia Pearman, Indy Pit Crew.

At the ends of the leashes of most of those who joined in were dogs often labeled dangerous, a moniker their owners are hoping to shed.

"This is really a good dog. He's always there when I need him," said Brandon Rivas, dog owner.

The Luv a Bully march is part of a nationwide pit bull campaign- to raise awareness about an animal that they believe should still be considered man's best friend.

"They're incredibly affectionate which is a surprise. Clean, tidy and good with people," said Samantha Lott, dog owner.

The march is an annual event. They expected about 500 people to take part, and although it's centered on pit bulls, other breeds also participated.

Many of them are often the targets of breed specific legislation.

Just this past week, an 18-month-old was mauled by a Rottweiler in Anderson. The dog belonged to a family member. In Muncie, a candidate for county clerk was stopped short on the campaign trail when he was attacked by a pit bull.

Cheryl Knapp's pit is a rescue. She said he was raised to be aggressive. In the seven years she's had him, she's had no problems.

"A good owner raises a good dog," said Knapp.

"Our lawmakers realize appearance doesn't determine a dog's behavior," said one speaker at the rally.

While they may be dressed for this occasion, they believe these dogs aren't the demons they're made out to be. The hope is to capture the attention of the public at large in the hopes of changing their perception.