Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black-out on Black-Animal Adoption Only Kills Animals

When was the last time you heard of a black cat in the United States actually being sacrificed during a "satanic ritual"? By an actual "satanic cult"?

Experts on cults and also on animal cruelty all agree that this is a myth.

So why is it that some animal control agencies, shelters and some rescue agencies suspend the adoption of black cats during the month of October or on Friday the 13th? For example, three shelters in Palm Beach, Florida have suspended adoptions of black cats out of fear of cats being harmed or, oddly enough, used as decorations (nothing screams Halloween like a freaked-out newly acquired cat hiding under the bed).

Palm Beach Animal Control, one of the shelters, kills about 18,000 of the approximately 30,000 dogs and cats who enter their shelter. That's a 60% kill rate. Of that number, 14,000 are cats. That's an 85% kill rate for cats. If I am a shelter with an 85% cat-kill rate, I'm not about to reduce the chances of an animal's placement by the absolute prohibition of cats who happen to be black. Palm Beach Animal control IS trying to alleviate that problem with the allowance of "reserving" a black cat and only banning their adoption briefly.

The President of Adopt a Cat Foundation, another rescue banning the adoption of black cats, claims the reasoning for the cessation of adoptions is that many years ago something bad happened. They don't offer any particular incidents, just a vague fear. Now this small rescue, which already screens people extensively, isn't going to kill black cats in their care. Palm Beach County is claiming they won't either, and that you can "put a black cat on reserve", but for the shelters banning the adoption for the entire month of October...that means cats are being killed over nothing.

There is no rampant sacrificing of black cats. There is no data on black cats being used as decorations and then returned - no data does not mean it's not occurring, but I'd like a little more evidence than just "fear of". A shelter could do what Palm Beach plans on doing and simply allow for the "reservation" of a cat. Or try to find out if the "decoration" angle has any merit, maybe it doesn't. Or, do a better screening process for supposed "at-risk" cats.

But a blanket ban on adopting out black cats serves only to kill those cats...which is just a little more than ironic and, for the cats, absolutely unfair.

- Marji Beach

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