Earlier this week, Orange County Animal Services announced it would no longer label the dogs that come into the facility according to breed. The decision comes after months of discussion about shelter policies and recommendations of local animal advocates on how the shelter might improve its relationship with the public and rescues, but more importantly, improve adoption rates.
According to a post on the Orange County Animal Services Facebook page:
“…each animal is unique, brimming with its own personality…and in an effort to afford every four-legged friend the greatest opportunity to find a forever home, Orange County Animal Services will remove breed identification from kennel cards and on our website at www.ocnetpets.com."
Their goal is to break down barriers associated with breed descriptions, leaving behind any division or stigma associated with breed classifications so that each pet can find a perfect match with a loving forever home. By allowing shelter pets to defy description, each pet can overcome any labels that might limit chances of adoption.
The shelter’s new policy gives dogs, particularly mixed breeds who’ve been labeled as “Pit Bulls,” a better chance at adoption. As experts point out, breed labels issued at shelters are often inaccurate because staff members are simply guessing at a dog’s breed based on the way he or she looks, and a breed label can be detrimental to a dog's actual behavior.
I applaud Orange County Animal Services for their forward thinking policy that will aid in decreasing the negatives associated with certain breed classifications. The new policy will encourage potential adopters to see each dog in the shelter for who he or she is, not a stereotype associated with a breed identification.
We know dogs are individuals and every dog should be given the opportunity to show-off their personality without a stereotype hanging over their head.
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