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Douglas Sonders doesn’t like to hear people use the term “bully breed” when they speak about pit bulls or other breeds such as Rottweilers and boxers. He especially doesn’t want to hear it when it comes to Emma, his own adorable pit bull mix.

“Emma,” he’s quick to point out, “is naturally gentle, great with kids and other dogs, and an excellent running partner,” although she does have a tendency to sneak into his bed when he’s not home.

Sonders, a New York City photographer, has teamed up with Cesar to launch a campaign to challenge the stereotype of pits as so-called bully breeds.

His goal, as stated on his website: “Through beautiful portraits and inspiring rescue stories, Not a Bully hopes to eradicate the negativity towards these deserving pets and give them a fighting chance at a forever home!”

His models include Porter, who was found on the street with his legs crushed and his jaw smashed by an abusive former owner. Even with the broken jaw, Porter tried to lick his rescuers — and now he’s safe in a forever home.

“The goal of Not a Bully,” says Sonders, “is to show that, despite what some bad humans have done to these dogs, they are inherently sweet and very trainable. Hundreds of these dogs are put to sleep in the U.S. alone every year, and breed-specific legislation bans them from entire parts of the country, which essentially serves as a death sentence for many dogs in those areas.”

Looking to contribute to the battle for pit bulls? Check out notabully.org — and while you’re there, check out all the pretty pits.

Love pit bulls too? Tell us about the pit in your life.

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