Pit bulls are among the most abused dogs, forced to engage in violent dog fights for profit.
This not only endangers the breed, but gives it the stigma of being aggressive and dangerous. One animal shelter owner sought to change hearts and minds about pit bulls by appearing on television host Ellen DeGeneres' talk show with a lovable friend in tow (video below).
In October 2010, DeGeneres interviewed Villalobos Rescue Center founder Tia Torres on her popular primetime program, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
During the interview, Torres explained the purpose of her shelter's program, Pit Bulls and Parolees, which an Animal Planet show under the same name documented.
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"It takes the most malign breed of dog in the entire world and pairs them up with newly released convicts from prison," Torres said, according to Shareably.
The animal shelter founder asserted that pairing up parolees with pit bulls gave both parties an opportunity for rehabilitation without judgment.
"Ultimately, they teach each other," Torres continued. "The dogs don't judge -- the dogs don't care if you have a bad past or if you have tattoos. They just love you back."
Pit bulls have a horrible reputation, with many potential pet-owners viewing them as a dangerous liability. A July 2014 YouGov poll found only 31 percent of adults nationwide would consider adopting a pit bull, while 50 percent would not.
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The survey also found that only 39 percent of respondents believed pit bulls were safe to live in residential neighborhoods, while 40 percent thought they were too dangerous.
To challenge this perception, Torres invited the pit bull Snorkie to meet with DeGeneres on-air. The adorable dog, with a white coat spotted with patches of black, made an endearing impression on the television host with his wagging tail and friendly demeanor.
While Torres explained that Snorkie had been brought to her shelter after good Samaritans found him abandoned in the pouring rain, DeGeneres plied the pooch with some treats.
Snorkie even elicited a round of laughter from the audience as he sat himself before DeGeneres, giving her the puppy dog stare to get more treats.
"I hope you find a home, Snorkie," DeGeneres told the lovable pit bull.
The Villalobos Rescue Center continues to do great work. On Feb. 15, Torres intervened to save 39 pit bulls who were scheduled to be euthanized at the St. Landry Parish animal shelter in Louisiana, KSIG reports.
"[Torres] will personally oversee these dogs, that they get vetted, that they get proper rescue, that they get properly adopted," announced St. Landry Parish director Stacey Alleman. "So these dogs now all have sanctuary."