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Orange County Animal Services no longer labeling dogs by their breeds

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Orange County Animal Services

In order to encourage more adoptions and a more positive image, Florida's Orange County Animal Services will no longer label dogs as to their breeds reports the Orlando Weekly.

Dogs will now be described by their personalities, preferences, and potentials. Months of discussions with local animal advocates meeting with advisory board members are in agreement that dogs in the past who have been mislabeled (i.e. pit bulls) have had a harder time finding new homes.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) requires all dogs to be categorized by breed. Are you able to spot a "pit bull" or perhaps a German shepherd mix? Most of us are not breed identification experts, but research shows that animal control officers and even veterinarians are not trained to be experts either.

Where most people are able to pick out a purebred dog and identify its breed, more than 75% of the dogs are mixed breeds with mysterious lineage, and even more confusing is that most mixed breed dogs span several generations of interbreeding making an accurate assessment even more difficult. If a German shepherd mates with a French poodle and produces a "French shepherd," can we be sure generations back if a boxer or an American Staffordshire entered into the mating game?

Most breed identifications are subjective. DNA tests are not accurate or cheap either; they only encompass a small percentage of the dog breeds currently listed.

Specific dogs breeds are not inherently dangerous; particular dogs are dangerous and that is more than likely the fault of the person who trained the dog.

And on a positive note towards the end of BSL, the Feb. 4 post on the Facebook page of the Orange County Animal Services states:

"The world today is a richly diverse mix of humanity, and our shelter pets are no less intricate and distinctive. Each animal is unique, brimming with its own personality, preferences, and potential.

Orange County Animal Services receives approximately 20,000 pets every year. 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

Our 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.

We hope this endeavor will boost adoption numbers for shelter pets. We want to be as effective as possible, and we welcome your feedback regarding this move."

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