By Mac McDaniel

Pit bulls have a better temperament than the average dog, according to a recent study.

This lends credence to what pit bull activists have tried to prove for many years: that the pit bull is a gentle and loyal dog, and that the perception of them as violent or aggressive is the result of poor behavior on the part of humans.

The study was conducted by the American Temperament Test Society and showed that the average score for all dogs was 82% and the American pit bull terrier scored 86%.

In recent years, pit bulls have suffered much at the hands of misguided humans. Because they are strong dogs, they are favored by people who abuse them in dog fighting operations. And as a result of violent and aggressive taste for and abuse of them, they are viewed by many people as a violent and aggressive breed.

But the truth is that pit bulls are smart dogs and behave as they are trained to. Violent and mean humans raise violent and mean dogs.

Because of sensationalized media accounts, many people fear pit bulls and some communities or specific homeowners may discriminate selectively against the breed when it comes to renting or buying houses.

Anti-pit bull legislation is common which deters legitimate animal lovers from adopting pit bulls that desperately need good homes and further relegates the breed to being raised by criminals who have no regard for such laws and restrictions.

Public sentiment against pit bulls is a horrifying example of victim-blaming. These dogs have been the victim of violent behavior by the humans who raise them and if anything we as humans bear the burden of making it up to them.

We bred them to be strong, and then we made them fight, and now we punish them for being the way we raised them to be and doing what we trained them to do.

Speak out against breed-specific legislation in your area and if you are considering adopting a dog, visit a shelter in your area and give a good home to one of the many pit bulls there. In the words of animal rights advocate and author Gary L. Francione: “We got them into this mess; we have an obligation to help them out.”

Defend pit bulls and fight breed-specific legislation.

This article originally appeared on the Care2 network.