Part of our mission at Audrey’s Rescue Angels is to help all pets find their forever homes. Due to what many shelters refer to as “Black Dog Syndrome,” black animals are often overlooked during the adoption process. We want to help change that, so we took a deeper look into the difficulties shelters face with black animals, and what’s being done about it.
So why is there a misconception about black animals? “The Black Dog Rescue Project” lists a number of reasons why potential adopters might overlook a black pet. That list includes:
· Black isn’t the best color when it comes to pictures. It can be difficult to capture a black pet’s features in photographs – and people looking for pets may move past a weak picture without a second thought.
· Black cats are often associated with superstition and bad luck – something most of us want to avoid!
· Hollywood isn’t helping. Black animals often portray the enemy or evil in a film and TV. Adopters are looking for a hero to join their team, not a villain.
Despite many shelter workers reporting their difficulties finding homes for black pets, there are not many studies on the issue. According to Dr. Emily Weiss, who writes for ASPCA Professional, the reason it may seem harder to find homes for black pets may simply be that there are more black pets in the adoption system. In a 2013 study of 300,000 rescue pets, Dr. Weiss found:
· 30% of dogs taken into the included shelters were black (the second highest group: brown dogs with 23%)
· 33% of cats taken into the shelters were black (the second highest group: gray cats with 22%)
· The statistics proved that more black dogs and cats came into the shelters than any other color
It may seem that Dr. Weiss quickly debunked the “myth” of Black Dog Syndrome, but she also emphasizes that because there are more black animals in shelter compared to other colored pets, they’re also euthanized at an alarming rate.
We love what local photographer Fred Levy is doing to help combat prejudice against black dogs in shelters. Levy’s “The Black Dogs Project” features photographs of black dogs on black backgrounds – and is now available as a published book.
Black Cat Rescue, based in Boston, is also working hard to stop the stereotyping – with a focus on, you guessed it, black cats.
If you’re looking to adopt in the future, take a black pet into consideration. The best thing about black cats and dogs? They’re just as loving and loyal as any of the other beautiful colored animals out there!