Ohio shelters: Pit bulls still tough to adopt out

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Dog shelter officials say it's still difficult to find homes for pit bulls more than a year after Ohio stopped automatically labeling them as "vicious."

Under the altered law, pit bulls are considered vicious only with proof of that characterization. But shelters still see many coming in as strays or being handed over by owners.

At the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Cincinnati, pit bulls make up more than half the adoptable dogs at two shelters. In Franklin County, more than one-fifth of the 7,000 dogs impounded this year were pit bulls, and about one-third of the impounded dogs euthanized last year were pit bulls.

Franklin County Dog Shelter director Joe Rock tells The Columbus Dispatch ( http://bit.ly/16ATHIB ) that dogs considered at least part pit bull take an average of four weeks to be adopted, or more than three times as long as other dogs.

He said the shelter provides new owners with information about training and socializing pit bulls, which helps address perceptions that they're fighting dogs. The facility also limits how many pit bulls are on its adoption floor simultaneously.

"Given the rate at which these dogs are adopted, we would quickly be at capacity if we did not place a limit on the number that we make available," Rock said.

Other county shelters, including those in Delaware and Fairfield counties, don't have pit bulls available for adoption. When such strays are found, the shelters transfer those that seem adoptable to rescue groups or other organizations that have space and can evaluate their behavior and try to find them homes.

Rock said his shelter in central Ohio won't push pit bulls for potential owners who aren't looking for that type of dog.

"People would end up with dogs that they didn't want and may not be able to deal with the characteristics of that breed or type of dog," he said.

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