MERCED — Ted Torres wants to let people know there are good pit bulls in the world.
Torres should know, he's fostering two of them.
A new rescue group in Merced, called Beyond Bars Animal Rescue, is just getting started, but for about 25 animals the group already has been a savior.
Torres is a foster person with the organization, and when he heard about two pit bull puppies that needed a foster home, he spoke up.
"I've had them almost since birth; they're 8 months old now," Torres said. "They've been with us to Summerfest in downtown Merced and have done well."
Torres said he got interested in the pit bull breed after taking in one that someone was going to dump. He found that the breed had a history of protecting children on farms, being mascots for the military and starring in "Little Rascals" movies.
"The breed has so much negativity in the media and the press right now," Torres said. "These two dogs are really sweet."
Tori Gottlieb, co-founder and adoption and foster coordinator for the organization, said that after volunteering at the San Francisco SPCA, and for a pit bull rescue group in Fresno, she decided the Merced area needed one.
"We have 25 animals in foster homes," Gottlieb said. "We don't have money for land for a shelter yet, but hopefully we will be getting that soon."
Although Gottlieb and Torres want to help all animals, they have a special place in their hearts for some of the pit bulls in the area.
"There's such a huge population of pit bulls in the county," Gottlieb said. "They are one of the most abused breeds out there."
Gottlieb said she knows there are pit bulls that can't be pets, but she believes a lot of them have good dispositions.
"What a dog is like has a lot to do with his upbringing," Gottlieb said. "For the most part, they are good dogs and deserve to have people advocate for them."