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Less-than-perfect: Breed, age, color give dogs disadvantage in adoptions

Posted July 18

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— Nearly 36,000 dogs were euthanized in shelters across North Carolina in 2015. Many were unable to find a home because they were the wrong color, the wrong age or the wrong breed.

With eight area shelters waiving adoption fees on Saturday as part of the national Clear the Shelters initiative, the Animal Protection Society of Durham is urging potential pet parents to widen their parameters.

There are some dogs that everybody wants. Young, cute puppies are popular.

But not all dogs are so lucky. Desi, a resident at the Durham shelter, has three strikes against him. He's 2 years old, a pit bull and black.

"It's true. People have these stereotypes. They just don't like dark animals," said Victor Dudley of the Animal Protection Society of Durham. "It's definitely true with the black cats but with black dogs as well."

Nell is another pit bull at the Durham County animal shelter. Both she and Desi have been at the shelter nearly 4 months.

That's a long time for a dog, but it's not so long for Dudley, the shelter's chief fundraiser.

He says that German Shepherds, Chows, Dobermans and Rottweilers are the most difficult breeds to find a family to love them.

"People sometimes have preconceived mindsets, and we hope to educate everyone to leep an open mind to find the right shelter pet for them," he said.

One of those preconceptions is that it doesn't make sense to adopt the dogs people say you can't teach new tricks – the old dogs.

"Here we believe every animal is an individual, every dog is an individual, and every dog should be taken on its own merit," Dudley said.

He suggests that people choose their pets the same way they would choose human friends.

"Hopefully, Desi and Nell get adopted during the 'Clear the Shelters' event, but if not, we're going to keep looking for the right forever family for them," he said.

While he didn't have exact numbers, Dudley said many of the dogs available for adoption from the Durham shelter are pit bulls or pit bull mixes.

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