COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - "Black Dogs Matter" is the message coming from animal activists across the country and in the Valley, as they work to raise awareness about black dog discrimination in the adoption process.
Mr. Gizmo couldn't sit still Thursday, as the thought of a forever home is just too exciting. The 5-year-old retriever mix has a welcome sign on his bedroom door at Paws Humane saying, "I would love to meet you," but Gizmo might need to lay on the charm extra thick in order to overcome some alleged discrimination due to the color of his coat.
"Often times in film, movies, and that sort of thing, black dogs will be portrayed as more aggressive or sinister. People sometimes put that connotation on them," said Bobbie Yeo, Chief Executive Officer of PAWS Humane animal shelter in Columbus.
Oct. 1 marked National Black Dog Awareness Day to shed some light on stigma's associated with darker pooches. Shelter managers say that black dogs need more lighting in photos in order to see the facial features that capture human hearts. However, without professional photography, they say some people over look black dogs when browsing online.
"People gravitate towards the one's that show up better in film," said Yeo.
Additionally, administrators from the national movement say dark coats can make facial features harder to distinguish, making the pet seem more intimidating to some people. Another bump on the road to adoption links a black dog to its age one nemesis - the cat.
"Like with black cats, the superstition that they're unlucky and some people from what I've read cross that over to dogs," said Yeo.
However, PAWS workers encourage everyone to overcome any aversions to these lovable pooches and realize they are just like every other four legged pal.
Managers at Paws Humane tell us they have at least five black dogs in their care right now, and you can stop in any time if you're interested in adopting one of them.