Dickey argues that the American history of pit bulls has been mischaracterized. According to his research, these dogs were highly popular during World War I and the Great Depression, and were viewed positively as symbols of the blue-collar working class and average citizens.
However, the breed’s status declined in the post-World War II era as American pet owners began to favor kennel club breeds.
The perception of pit bulls was further damaged in the 1970s when the humane movement collaborated with the media to highlight illegal dog fighting, leading to false and sensationalized claims about pit bulls.
This caused many unprepared individuals to desire these dogs, leading to further negative incidents. Since then, pit bulls have struggled to overcome their negative reputation, but stories like Astro’s are contributing to a shift in public perception.