Joe Bonfiglio, who was a Marine in Afghanistan, told the AP that his service pit bull, Zen, is "a fantastic dog." Bonfiglio says Zen calms him when he has nightmares or panic attacks.
But critics argue they're a dangerous breed who should be banned from that role. Colleen Lynn, founder of the organization Dogsbite.org, told the AP there are hundreds of other breeds "far more suitable" for service dogs.
"There is simply no need for pit bulls, rescued or otherwise," she said, "to be utilized as service dogs for people with disabilities."
Dogsbite.org did not respond to a request from The Dodo to elaborate what "suitable breeds" those might be, or how it defines a "pit bull."
No one deserves to live with dangerous animals, of course. In fact, one of Dogsbite.org's original aims was to hold owners liable for injurious or fatal incidents, as Brent Toellner, president of the animal welfare organization Kansas City Pet Project, noted on his blog. To paint every pit bull as vicious or aggressive, however, is to wield a brush against the advice of institutions as diverse as the American Veterinary Medical Association and the White House.