Black Dog Syndrome kills. Did you know that the most killed shelter dogs in America are black dogs?
It is so prevalent it has been named by shelter managers and animal welfare people as “Black Dog Syndrome”. The fear of black dogs is classified as a syndrome. Fear of black dogs is a phenomenon not only in America but throughout the world.
Because of this bias and fear black dogs are passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored animals. Animal shelters work hard to overcome this syndrome from pet adopters but black dogs still remain the most abandoned and most euthanized dogs in animal shelters.
I spent 12 years involved with rescuing dogs. Everything from walking in and pulling them out of kill shelters, to taking them to vets, to bringing them to adoption events and to Pet Smart on Sundays to get dogs adopted. Through all this, one thing became apparent. Black dogs were the least adopted of all the dogs we rescued. Black furred dogs were the least adopted color of dogs in the shelters we went into as well. We always had a larger number of black dogs, versus light colored or mixed color dogs that did not get adopted by the end of the adoption event.
Where we could adopt other color dogs out on average in three months, some black dogs took up to a year…. some, even longer.
Black Dog Syndrome is known by shelters and rescue groups throughout America. Numerous respected national organizations have long recognized BDS as an issue that adversely affects the adoption rates of black pets.
So, what exactly is this syndrome? Black Dog Syndrome is a sometimes conscious, but most times unconscious mental, and emotional bias in humans against black dogs.
There are many reasons for this bias including superstitious fear of black dogs, “old wives’ tales” about black dogs and black dogs depicted in movies and literature as evil or devilish. As examples a scary growling black dog can be seen in The Hound of the Baskervilles, the Harry Potter series and The Omen.
In a survey, Pet finder reported that most dogs for adoption are listed for about 3 months: whereas, black dogs average 12 months on the Pet finder adoption site.
The only real fact, not ignorance, superstition or media and folklore bias is that black dogs do not photograph well on animal shelter websites. This is easily overcome however by simply photographing black dogs in front of blue screens or blue paper.
At Green Pets, creators of the Black Dog Friday awareness campaign we believe that the color of a dog’s coat has nothing to do with the dogs’ temperament or personality. Ask any owner of a black dog. Ask me, we have three black dogs. They are as loving, smart and joyful to be with each day as any other dog.
Please help BLACK DOG FRIDAY spread the word about black dog syndrome. Next time you are ready to adopt a dog, please consider adopting a loving and loyal black dog. Black dog syndrome kills.
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