Shelters: 'Black Dog Syndrome' keeps darker animals from being adopted


    A Chocolate Lab mixed dog waits to find a new family at the Black Dog Syndrome Awareness Event (KOKH David Young). <p>{/p}

    Many people don't realize black dogs and cats are less likely to be adopted than those with lighter color faces.

    "Black dog syndrome" is a term used when black animals have a hard time finding a family.

    On Saturday, an Oklahoma City girl partnered with local shelters to try and get some dogs and cats adopted.

    Peggy Nichols with the Pets and People Humane Society in Yukon said, "Black dogs, you don't see the expression on their face. It's harder to see their happy side or their sad side, their quiet side, it doesn’t show as much because their eyes are black, their face is black and you can't see it as much as you can in a light skinned dog."

    The Black Dog Syndrome Awareness Event was put on by Shelbye Dye. A Girl Scout, who is hoping to get a Girl Scout Gold award.

    "It's such an interesting thing that these dogs don't get adopted just because of their color," Dye said.

    She added, she hopes to bring awareness to black dog syndrome. Saying if people only knew the issue existed, things might change.

    "There are a lot of reasons like, there's black cat superstition, and then in T.V. shows they always use big black dogs to try to freak people out, and then the most important one to me is that in the kennels you can't see their personalities very well because they're so dark," according to Dye.

    Nichols said this is a very real problem they face in their shelter.

    “We have sixteen kennels and we will see people, if they're not coming in for any specific type of dog, we will see them walk by the black dog because the black dog is up against the metal crate and you can't see them, but the white dog's face that's pressed up against the crate is going to pop and you're going to see it."

    Nichols suggests asking to interact with dogs outside of their crates when you go to a shelter, allowing the dog or cat to show you their personality.

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