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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published August 09 2010

Dog owners raise awareness about their ‘bullies’

Owners of “bully breed” dogs took their canines on a walk Sunday in Fargo’s Lindenwood Park to fight misconceptions about the breed.

Tiffany Hackmann of Fargo organized the Walk 4 Bullies to show people that the often-misunderstood dogs can safely be around people.

The event was geared toward American pit bull terriers, bull terriers, American bulldogs, Doberman pinschers and other bully breeds.

“They’re smart. They’re strong. They’re beautiful,” said Hackmann, who brought her dogs, Odin and Sophie, both pit bull mixes.

The walk, which was the first event of its kind in Fargo, attracted 25 people and 15 dogs.

Hackmann said when she brings her dogs to the dog park, people often leave or say rude comments based on her dogs’ appearance.

She’d rather people get to know her dogs before judging them.

“They’re huge babies,” Hackmann said.

Sue Thompson of Fargo brought her dog, Delton, who is half American bulldog and half springer spaniel.

“Pit bulls as a group are not necessarily more aggressive than any other type of dog,” Thompson said.

Jay Sandt of Moorhead said instead of passing laws that target breeds, lawmakers should turn their attention to the owners.

“It’s not really the dogs; it’s how they’re raised,” said Sandt, accompanied by Orion, a pit bull mix, and Hera, an American Staffordshire.

Ashley Ramirez of Moorhead feels so comfortable around the dogs that she brought her 2-week-old son, Alexander, to the walk along with her blue-nose pit bull, Tanque.

“They’re misunderstood dogs,” Ramirez said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590