SAN DIEGO — You can’t miss the bond Aaron Louis has with his dog, Gigi. They sit and watch the world together, something he started doing with her when she was a puppy after people avoided her at the dog park.

What You Need To Know

  • Aaron Louis started The Bully Breed Bunch, a community dog walk

  • He focuses on pit bulls and any other breeds that face negative perceptions and statistics

  • A study found that pit bull owners are perceived as the least trustworthy in California

  • The San Diego Humane Society says last year, they had over 2,000 pit bulls in their care

“They were like, ‘Ah! Ah! Pit bulls!’ and I was like, ‘All right, we gotta try something different,’” Louis said.

To help her socialize in a welcoming, safe space, he started The Bully Breed Bunch, a community dog walk that spotlights pit bulls and other breeds facing negative perceptions and statistics.

Personal injury law firm Bisnar Chase undertook a comprehensive study to gauge whether public skepticism is directed more toward the so-called “dangerous” breeds or the owners who may fail to provide proper training.

They surveyed 3,000 people, asking them to reflect on their encounters and identify the dog breed owners in California they find least trustworthy. The study found that pit bull owners are perceived as the least trustworthy in California, followed by the owners of wolf-hybrids and rottweilers.

The American Animal Hospital Association claims that pit bulls are among the top breeds responsible for the most attacks; however, advocates argue that pit bulls can be among the most loyal and affectionate breeds when raised in a loving environment.

Louis said these walks show how responsible owners should raise their dogs to be safe and loving while bearing the weight of negative stereotypes.

“Bonding with their human and everybody else seeing it. Like, OK, it’s all on the owner, not the dog. That’s what this is about,” he said.  

Nina Thompson with the San Diego Humane Society said they had over 2,000 pit bulls in their care last year. 

The World Animal Foundation found that pit bulls are the number one dog surrendered to animal shelters.

“It’s unfortunate because we do see a lot of pit bulls, a lot of huskies, a lot of rottweilers in our shelter for no good reason,” Thompson said. “In a dream world, we would see each and every animal that we have here judged as an individual.”

Thompson is a pit bull owner herself. 

She adopted Chica from the humane society after fostering her and falling in love. She said breed bans and restrictions force dogs out of homes and into shelters, taking up kennel space and resources that could be used for truly homeless animals.

She highlighted Bluto, a 4-year-old American pit bull-terrier mix who has been waiting for a new home for more than six months.

“It’s so unfair for an animal to have to be sent to the shelter just because of their breed and no fault of their own,” Thompson said. “It’s really all about socialization and how they’re brought up. It is not about the breed at all.”

Gigi has become the face of Louis’ mission for more compassion. He hopes together, they can end years of breed bullying while encouraging more responsible dog ownership.

“These dogs have personalities too and I want to build a space for every type of dog that’s misunderstood,” he said. 

Louis said he organizes different walks to fit every dog’s needs — group walks for shy dogs or reactive dogs as a safe way for them to learn to socialize. 

The San Diego Humane Society encourages everyone to come into their shelter and look at the hundreds of animals they have looking for new homes.