Pets

Are dog breed labels discriminatory? The Wake SPCA says they are, so it gets rid of them.

Wake animal shelter is nearly full, here's how you can help

A recent influx of animals has pushed the Wake County Animal Center close to capacity. The center is asking the public to adopt some animals and they also are asking people to try to hold off dropping off an animal, even for a few days.
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A recent influx of animals has pushed the Wake County Animal Center close to capacity. The center is asking the public to adopt some animals and they also are asking people to try to hold off dropping off an animal, even for a few days.

The SPCA of Wake County has joined a national movement by removing breed labels for adoptable dogs, both at the animal shelter and on their online profiles.

The group made the announcement Wednesday, stating its goal is for families to view the dogs as individuals rather than on the basis of breed and associated traits.

“By dropping the breed label, it’s not going to change how the dog looks, but hopefully it will change how people look at the dog,” said Wake SPCA spokeswoman Tara Lynn.

While the breed of some dogs is obvious, it’s not always possible to guarantee accuracy in determining a breed for others, the announcement said. Lynn said it is unfair to form expectations for a dog based only on breed, because different dogs come with different temperament.

“In a litter of puppies, you might have some that are really shy and some that are really wild,” Lynn said. “The danger in putting labels on people and animals and anything is the misconceptions. You can’t just make a blanket assumption about every other thing.”

Though the move is intended to benefit all dogs at the shelter, its leaders acknowledge it may be an advantage particularly for breeds that have been associated with aggressive behavior.

A handful of reactions posted to the SPCA’s notice are all positive.

“As a Pit Bull advocate, I’m so happy that this breed will now be seen for who they are individually without the label that comes with a misinformed stereotype,” one commenter wrote.

The label ban does not apply to cats at the shelter, located off Tryon Road in south Raleigh.

“For cats, their breed doesn’t seem to hinder the way people look at them like it does with dogs,” Lynn said. “Most cats are generally around the same size, and knowing their breed often works in their favor versus the dogs.”

For more information, call the SPCA of Wake County at 919-772-2326.

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