• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Big black dogs adopted less than others?

September 25, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Call it "doggie discrimination." Animal advocates are working to get the word out about something they call the "Big Black Dog Syndrome": darker dogs languishing in animal shelters, while their light-colored counterparts are quickly adopted. One local woman has made it her mission to stop this bias against black dogs."Big black dogs aren't getting adopted," said Carol Bradshaw. "It's labs, it's all breeds, it's any large black dog. So consequently, a lot of dogs get put down. Euthanasia rates are very high."

Bradshaw of San Bernardino says her rescued black lab "Bandit" absolutely stole her heart.

"Bandit's a wonder dog, huh?" said Bradshaw.

So wonderful, in fact, she wrote a book about their first year together.

"Lots of adventures, lots of road trips and then after finding out about the 'big black dog syndrome,' we incorporated that into the book because we really want people to be aware of the problem," said Carol. A portion of the proceeds from the book's sales goes toward forming a foundation called "Bandit's Heart." It will help rescue, adopt and train, focusing on black dogs, but helping all dogs.

At the Pasadena Humane Society, it takes twice as long to get black dogs adopted. Most spend about a month in these kennels.

"We do have a finite amount of space," said Kevin McManus, Pasadena Humane Society. "If a dog is here for a long time for whatever reason, it decreases their chances."

"Pogo" is a beautiful 8-year-old Labrador mix that came in as a stray. Pogo is a large dog and the color of his fur is black. If he doesn't get adopted, his life will be spent in a kennel or cut short because of space.

"Very often shelters tend to be dark, industrial places, so black dogs tend to recede into the background of the shelter," said Madeline Bernstein, president, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - L.A. (SPCLA).

At the SPCLA South Bay pet adoption center, black dogs stay in kennels that are painted light blue so the dogs stand out more.

"You'll see some of them are wearing scarves and colored collars and so we try to make them appear more friendly and festive," said Bernstein.

So if you've made the decision to a really compassionate thing and adopt, why not show even more compassion and adopt a large black dog?

The Pasadena Humane Society has 38 black dogs right now, hoping to find homes. And this Sunday is the Pasadena Humane Society's 11th annual fundraiser. It's called the "Wiggle Waggle Walk." Bring your dog, cat or any animal and some walking shoes. Walk, jog or stroll around the Rose Bowl to raise money for the animals.

Report Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc7 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments