While a recent pit bull attack on a four-year-old girl in White Rock has reignited the debate around dog breed bans in B.C., an advocate believes pit bulls are being unfairly targeted.

April Fahr of the pit bull rescue group HugABull said that while all dogs bite, pit bulls receive more attention for their bad behaviour. Instead of focusing on the animals, she thinks the scrutiny should be on the actions of humans.

“We need to crack down on breeders who are breeding dogs with bad temperaments and pet stores that are selling puppy mills. It's a complex issue, but those are the factors we need to look at,” Fahr said.

She added that the average temperament of the breed is very people-loving.

“When we go into a shelter, it's always the pit bulls that are against the fence trying to kiss you through the bars,” Fahr said.

Several B.C. municipalities consider the dogs vicious and require them to be muzzled in public places.

But the family of Emma-Leigh Cranford, a little girl who was mauled at a backyard barbecue in August, has vowed to try to take the restriction further by pushing for a pit bull ban.

“I believe it's the breed. I believe that they are, just one day can snap, and it’s been proven,” mother Elizabeth Cranford said last week.

Ontario currently bans pit bulls, but a bill to overturn it is in the legislature because advocates say it doesn’t reduce injuries.

Winnipeg was the first city to ban the breed, and the first long-term study into its effectiveness was published in 2012 by researchers at the University of Manitoba. It found a correlation between a breed ban and fewer hospital visits for people under 20. However, the report’s authors cautioned further research is needed as a direct cause and effect couldn’t be established.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Bhinder Sajan