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Can pit bulls really be good family dogs in the hands of the right owners? After three years of trying to convince would-be pet owners that, terrifying anecdotes aside, there is almost no statistical evidence suggesting pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs, the MSPCA’s efforts appear to be paying off. Pit bull adoptions are climbing statewide and extending into the suburbs, and even the White House has weighed in with support.

The percentage of pit bull adoptions in Massachusetts has doubled in the past decade, with most of that increase surging over the past two years. In 2003, 146 pit bulls — just 13 percent of available shelter dogs — were adopted in Massachusetts. Last year, 272 pits, or 21 percent of all available shelter dogs in the state — were adopted. This year, in the MSPCA’s Boston, Methuen, and Centerville shelters, 216 pit bulls have been adopted.

“This,” said Rob Halpin of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “sums up the fight we’ve been in for years.”

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