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The City of Stockton is offering free adoptions for pit bulls, but the move to help alleviate the shelter’s overpopulation problem is drawing criticism.

When it comes to pit bulls, there’s always a debate.

“Yeah, they’re really aggressive like when I see them,” Stockton resident Adalmira Torres said.

“Well, I think some people are just misinformed,” Richard Gonzales, a pit bull owner said.

Inside the City of Stockton’s animal shelter, the kennels are mostly filled with pit bulls. In an effort to deal with overpopulation, the shelter is offering free adoptions.

“While we did get adoptions, you know, the shelter is still full,” Phillip Zimmerman, the animal services manager said.

But, the plan is drawing attention and criticism.

A petition has been making the online rounds asking Stockton City Council to stop giving away what some call a dangerous breed.

“We understand their concerns. Some of the accusations are that, you know, people will fight these pit bulls,” Zimmerman said.

In October 2014, three pit bulls mauled a man to death and severely injured an elderly woman in Modesto.

Just months ago, two pit bulls wreaked havoc in downtown Stockton attacking and biting two people.

“Like any other dog, if you raise them right they’re OK,” Gonzales said.

The city sees their move as practical.

“I don’t think coming to a law enforcement facility and picking up a spayed, neutered, micro-chipped and vaccinated animal is a criminal’s ultimate goal,” Zimmerman said.

The petition online has grown to more than 7,500 supporters but those closer to Stockton are a little less skeptical.

“Yeah, they’re very friendly and lovable dogs,” Gonzales explained.

Despite the shelter’s decision it is struggling.

The shelter is still crowded so to help alleviate some of the numbers here at the shelter they put all animals up for free adoption.

“‘Cause we’re here to save lives, and that’s more important than raising revenue,” Zimmerman said.

City officials added that since 2012, where they’re adoption rate stood at 32 percent, they’ve seen an increase to 75 percent last year.

Although, about 5.5 percent of those who adopt return animals within the first 30 days.