Although the idea may seem surprising, many people involved in the business of helping unwanted dogs and cats find homes agree that black ones are less likely to be adopted in the United States.
While causes aren’t scientifically documented and official statistics have never been compiled regarding the issue, rescue groups speculate that there are many reasons why people pass up black animals at shelters. The list includes: Pets with black fur are hard to see in dimly lit rooms or cages, cats and dogs with black coats don’t show well in photographs, superstitions about black cats, large black dogs look scary and menacing, and pets with black fur can appear older than they are.
Whatever the reasons, shelter workers say that more black dogs and cats are euthanized each year than those of other colors.
The Animal Shelter of Texas County (TASTC) has first-hand experience with the issue and is currently experiencing an over-abundance of black animals. Nicknamed “The Black Pack,” the group includes four dogs and two cats.
One of the dogs, Ajax, is part of the Healing Paws program at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking.
Another, Morton, has been trained by a volunteer and can shake and sit on command.
The other two dogs are Bruno and Sonny; all four are young lab mixes.
The cats – a male named Whitey and a female named Coal – are both friendly and enjoy being touched and handled.
TASTC volunteer and board member Stacey Rasmussen said they would like to see all members of TASTC’s “Black Pack” find homes, but she understands what the dogs are up against.
“The hard part is getting people to just see them,” Rasmussen said. “They’re not cute little puppies, which is what most people want to adopt, even though they’re harder to take care of.”
TASTC adopted 527 animals in 2010, surpassing 2009 totals by 104 dogs and cats combined.
Contact The Animal Shelter of Texas County at 417-967-0700.