Therapy pitbull works to break stereotype

By Audrey Wise

May 8, 2014 Updated May 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill -- We are continuing to get flooded with response from our previous dangerous dogs stories. One Bloomington woman has another prospective.

'Invictus' is a pitbull with a troubled past. He was rescued from dog fighting and has scars on his face to prove it. He has a new job as a certified, therapy dog.

His trainer, Tina Zimmerman is a dog trainer and behavior specialist. She says even though he's certified, some places turn him away as a therapy dog because of the pitbull stereotype.

"My hope is that he will be a representative of the spirit of the pitbull that is genuinely good and loving and a survivor," said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said recent dog stories have brought awareness that dogs can be dangerous if not handled and trained correctly.

"The more you practice training, not just in your home the dog will sit, but if I go to the pet store and there's children approaching, can I tell my dog sit and will he sit when I tell him to?," said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman suggests any home with kids and dogs, no matter the dog's breed, needs to have structure. She said any dog, any breed, trained or not trained can still snap at any moment.

"They're individuals, they have temperaments and personalities. My mother has 5 daughters and we all are different and we were raised by the same woman. It's the same with animals. You can't just say because it's a pitbull it's mean," said Zimmerman.

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