FARMINGVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Pit bulls have a bad reputation but officials in Brookhaven say they are loving animals. Due to discrimination against the breed, the town has seen an overabundance of pit bulls in their shelter and have been struggling for the past few months trying to reduce the population.

Town Supervisor Mark Lesko has proposed a program which would offer organizations $250 for each pit bull they help place in a safe and loving home.

“Unfortunately you still have folks in every community, and it’s particularly bad in Brookhaven, breeding pit bulls for fighting,” Lesko told 1010 WINS. “That’s a tremendous problem.”

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The shelter currently has about 140 pit bulls — down slightly from last summer when there were 200.

“They’re great pets, great with humans and each dog is an individual but unfortunately this breed has this terrible stigma and so as a result they’re sought after when they’re puppies but when they get to be young adults we see them flooding our shelter,” Lesko said.

Lesko said he owned a pit bull mix for 12 years and said the dog was a wonderful part of his family and a “sweetheart.”

“The breed is very friendly, very adaptable with kids but it just depends on the individual dog,” Lesko said. “It’s a big dog, it’s a strong dog, very active, needs a lot of exercise, but I know in my case my dog was just a sweetheart.”

Funding for the pit bull initiative comes from the not-for-profit organization Help the Animals Fund Inc.

All the dogs in the program have been fixed, chipped and vaccinated.

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