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“If something happens, people go, ‘Was it a pit bull?’” Mr. Branchini said. “The real issue here is that dogs are capable of seriously injuring people, and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed in a more productive way.”

The skepticism surrounding pit bulls is not lost on Adrianne Lefkowitz, executive director of the Maryland Dog Federation, who explained that “there is no over-arching breed trend or issue,” but rather, the blame for a dog’s behavior lies with its owner.

“If you allow a dog to behave inappropriately or not respect people, that’s what you’ll have,” Ms. Lefkowitz said. “If you teach it what is expected, you’ll have a mannered dog. It has nothing to do with the breed. A dog is ultimately its owner’s responsibility and not a reflection of other dogs.”