LAS CRUCES, N.M. - October is Pit Bull Awareness Month. The Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley is celebrating by giving away pit bulls for free.
Shelter director Dr. Beth Vesco-Mock hopes giving away pit bull adults and puppies for free will encourage people to come in and look at the dogs without prejudice.
The shelter has 56 pit bulls of all colors and sizes.
Because of the bad reputation the breed has garnered, Vesco-Mock told ABC-7 pit bulls are the most common breed they euthanize.
"We just need them out in a home where someone will give them a chance," Vesco-Mock said.
Vesco-Mock said she will be on the lookout to make sure the dogs go to the right homes.
"I do know when people come in here to adopt a dog just because it's free," she said. "That's the wrong reason to adopt a dog."
Anyone interested in adopting will have to go through the standard screening process: a two-page application, background check and the scrutiny of shelter workers.
"We see how you're reacting with your dog. We see the care you're giving to your dog," Vesco-Mock said.
Some Las Crucens have expressed concerns about the wrong people adopting the pit bulls and using them for illegal activities.
Vesco-Mock said they have a big deterrent: all dogs will be neutered.
"Most people don't think they fight as well if they're neutered. They're not going to want them if that's the only reason they want them. We're hoping that does it," she said.
Local animal advocate Frank Bryce doesn't seem too concerned about the dogs being given away.
"You can go adopt a dog for $75 if you wanted to adopt a pit bull, and then it fall into a negative situation. That's not going to change," Bryce told ABC-7.
Vesco-Mock hopes this promotion will get more pit bulls into forever homes and help give them a more positive reputation in the area.
"They're just absolutely awesome. They're intelligent. They're loyal. We're here to protect the dog and make sure it's getting into the right home," Vesco-Mock said.