Photo campaign highlights beauty of pitbulls

  • 11/04/2016
Pretty pitbull
Pretty pitbull

At a time when the debate on banning pitbulls is rearing its head in New Zealand again, a photographer in the US is highlighting their prettiness.

Photographer Sophie Gamand says she's on a mission -- to save the lives of pitbulls wasting away in shelters by showing their inner beauty.

"The Flower Power series is really about challenging the perception we have of pitbulls," says Ms Gamand.

That perception, she says, is based on a series of highly-publicised incidents involving pitbulls that were trained by people to be violent.

More than 550 US cities and towns have passed laws restricting the dogs from their communities.

Initially, Gamand says, even she was uneasy around them. But that was before she discovered what they're like when they're treated with kindness.

"They are so loving, so gentle, it's kind of crazy to think the public image they have and the reality of the kind of dog they are," says Ms Gamand.

Their bad reputation results in putting down of nearly a million pitbulls every year in the US -- far more than any other breed.

Mike Pastori is Director of this Animal Shelter in Hempstead New York where 70 percent of the dogs are pitbulls or pitbull mixes.

"There's so many loyal, good affectionate pitbulls," says Mr Pastori.

"I'm a huge fan of what Sophie is doing because she is trying to get rid of that stereotype. What she's doing is trying to give them a softer edge, which they really deserve."

Sophie's campaign it's working. Many of the dogs she's photographed have been adopted. 

After two years in the shelter there was little hope for Brownie, but someone saw Sophie's picture of him and gave him a happy home.

Brownie is just one of the many dogs Sophie has saved.

CBS News / Newshub.