Petfinder.com made a survey and found that most pets are listed for 12.5 weeks on the website, but black pets spend four times as long in the listings.
A big part of the prejudice against black pets is unconscious and come from sayings that black cats bring bad luck, and that black dogs would be scarier or more vicious than dogs of other colors. This is naturally rubbish, but the image is enforced by everything from Harry Potter books to silhouettes on "Beware of Dog" signs.
Besides prejudice, black dogs and cats have a harder time being seen than their lighter friends. Most shelter photos are taken by volunteers, and even if the person is a good photographer it's hard to catch expressions on a black pet's face. Add stress and time-constraints, and the images tend to show a black figure with a huge tongue. This doesn't exactly help when people are "window-shopping" websites before visiting the shelter.
And, once potential adopters make it to the shelter, black cats and dogs disappear in the shadows in crates and kennels.
Owners of black pets can help. Show your love and demonstrate how great your pet is. Also, tell people about black dog syndrome. Once someone is aware of the unconscious bias, they're generally able to move past it and see black dogs and cats as the wonderful individuals they are.
~ Maria Sadowski ~