EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - They're professional breeders of American bully show dogs, a breed of pit pull terriers, but they worry now about backlash against their breed.
"The dogs that are involved in these attacks are just not the types of dogs that I own and breed," said Kristen Mumphrey, a Smith County breeder. "My dogs are more even tempered. They're show dogs. I feel like people are pointing fingers at these dogs."
Fearing public anger and possible retribution, the breeders want to keep their locations confidential. They say they train the dogs stringently to be obedient and to interact with people.
"We have a check list," said Brenda Boyd, a Rusk County breeder. "When you come out there you must [ask], how is this dog going to be kept, what are your purposes for it, what type of environment, what are your plans for the future? Our dogs are in a totally different environment. They're contained they're well cared for and they're interacted with daily and well socialized."
Pit bulls are often used as guard and fighting dogs. East Texas breeders say it's the people, the owners, that do the damage.
"A lot of these dogs lack socialization," explained Mumphrey. "They're just left outside, thrown food [and] given a little water. Owners neglect [them]."
"Pit bulls are stereotyped because some people choose to throw them on a chain [and] not take care of them," said Boyd.
Veterinarians we spoke with echoed that thought, saying dogs raised to be aggressive can be dangerous. But a 25 year study on dog attacks in North America show that pit-bulls top the list, with over 1,100 attacks. The only other breed close is Rotweillers with over 400.
"If the family of this child is in front of you right now, what do you say to them," I asked Boyd.
"I would apologize," she replied. "But that seems so vague. I don't think there are any words to describe. When I saw the story, I cried. My heart broke for this family."
Both breeders said that they personally have never had a problem with a pit bull being aggressive or dangerous.