Animal Welfare

Dogs, Cats Less Likely to Be Adopted From L.A. Shelters if They're Black

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Wed, May 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge The Trayvon of shelter pets. - BEST FRIENDS ANIMAL SOCIETY
  • Best Friends Animal Society
  • The Trayvon of shelter pets.
Hipster racism we can handle. But cuddly kitten racism? There is no god!

L.A. animal shelters went public with this disturbing trend (sometimes called Black Dog Syndrome) last year, revealing to Time Magazine that black shelter pets "are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized."

The good news is that from this injustice was born an animal civil-rights movement of sorts...

... including the designation of May as "Adopt a Black Shelter Pet Month" and the commencement of "Back in Back," an incentive program that waives adoption fees on any pet with black fur, and throws in a free bag of kibble for good measure.

Before you go crying "affirmative action," consider the struggles that black pets face on a daily basis:

• Hollywood, and especially Hollywood-4-kids, continues to enforce the negative stereotype that dark animals are evil animals who will cast evil spells on you with their evil glowing orb eyes in the night. "If you think of any movie with a mean, devil dog, it's always a black dog, and if you see a witch in a movie, they always have a black cat," one California shelter president tells Time. True that.

• All that shows up in their shelter headshots are the glowing orbs. Seth Casteel, an L.A. photographer who specializes in flattering pet photos, says that unless you get your dog to pant (like a smile!) or your cat to stand in just the right filtered sunlight, they will look like wild-eyed shadow beasts. (Visit his website for more tips.)

Black Dog Syndrome is no myth, says L.A.'s own Best Friends Animal Society, who's at the forefront of this equal-rights crusade.

"The color of a pet's fur has no relationship to their ability to provide unconditional love, companionship and devotion," reads a promotional blurb on the organization's website, beneath a killer graphic of two black pets in Will Smith shades.

So unless you want to come away the shelter a white supremacist with a privileged purse poodle, celebrate the second annual Adopt a Black Shelter Pet Month by doing your part, dammit.

  • Best Friends Animal Society
[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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