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Rochester animal shelter drops breed labels

Rochester animal shelter drops breed labels

March 24, 2017 02:38 PM

Dogs at Rochester Animal Services are no longer labeled by their specific breed. Instead, each dog is labeled as “mixed breed”. The director says it is part of an effort to destigmatize dogs that are sometimes associated with aggression.

Susan Buckman adopted her pup Baxter from Rochester Animal Services, she doesn’t know his exact breed and she says it doesn’t matter. “Dogs are just as unique in their personalities as people are,” Buckman said.

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Buckman tells us couldn't be happier that the shelter has removed labels from kennels, giving each furry friend a fair chance at a loving home.

“Let's not judge by just appearance and let's stop bullying the bully breeds,” Buckman said.

Just like other shelters in the country, Rochester Animal Services has plenty of dogs that could be labeled as “pit bulls”. Chris Fitzgerald, director of Rochester Animal Services, says that description alone is enough for someone to look over a dog that could possibly be a good fit for them.

“If a dog has that label on it, they might pass it right over and not give it a second thought,” Fitzgerald said.

He says dropping the label isn't meant to mislead, but it will help them adopt out more animals to good homes. Fitzgerald adds labeling a breed is all a guessing game, unless you pay for a pricey DNA test to determine the exact origin of the animal.

“Most of our dogs that come into the shelter are of mixed parentage so that's probably the most accurate label to use,” Fitzgerald said.

Buckman agrees with Fitzgerald and as a rescue partner with Joyful Rescue, she's hoping other animal organizations and sites follow suit.

“Some of the portals like Petfinder.com and Rescueme.org force us to choose a breed when we list them for adoption but we don't always know,” Buckman said.

The staff at Rochester Animal Services are willing to help you determine the breed of a dog before you adopt it, however without an official test you won’t know the breed for sure. 

Credits

Kaci Jones

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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