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      Expert urges people to give pit bulls a chance

      Columbia, SC (WACH) - Columbia police arrested two men and a pair of 13-year-olds this week suspected in a string of pit bull thefts at the Columbia Animal Shelter.

      Authorities say the group stole more than a dozen pit bulls. Officers found 17 dogs in rural Bamberg County they say the animals were likely being used to fight.

      Animal experts say that pit bulls are one of the most misunderstood breeds of animal, often being used as attack and fighting dogs. Professionals that rehabilitate dogs in these types of situations believe it's more about a person's bad behavior than the dog's.

      Teoti Anderson is a professional dog trainer who has been training dogs for 17 years. The Midlands woman says the breed is one of the most loyal dogs she has ever trained.

      ??You don't hear about the ones that are therapy dogs, you don't hear about the ones that comfort seniors in nursing homes. You don't hear about those dogs The American Temperament Test Society ranked American pit bull terriers with a 86.4 percent pass rate which is higher than golden retrievers.??

      Brittany Paul and her boyfriend Mike Haynes brought their dog to one of Anderson's obedience training sessions this week. They adopted a pit bull one year ago despite being urged not to by others who believed stereotypes about the animals.

      "When we saw him he fell in love with us and we fell in love with him," said Paul. "So he actually chose us."

      Anderson stresses the importance of finding the right type of dog for your lifestyle. She believes temperament testing should be done with any breed before adopting a pet.