An Arizona animal shelter is taking the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover” to a new level.
Effective immediately Arizona Animal Welfare League is removing all the breed labels from kennels of adoptable dogs at its no-kill shelter.
The move comes after a study released by Arizona State University found that labels had an impact on a dog’s length of time in a shelter, with some breeds getting the raw end of the deal.
“Dogs that were labeled as pit-bulls [for example] were staying at the shelter longer, while the dog that looked just like them was labeled as a border collie or a Saint Bernard was getting adopted in almost one third the time,” says Michael Morefield, operations manager at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, of the findings from the study “What’s in a Name? Effect of breed Perceptions and Labeling on Attractiveness, Adoptions and Length of Stay for Pit-Bull-Type Dogs.”
The shelter will replace the breed labels with information about the dog’s personality and what sort of environment he would flourish is.
“Their personality, their temperament, the life they have led so far before you meet them in the shelter,” said Morefield. “Those life experiences really make up who that dog is, more than who their parents were five years ago or what their color markings make you think they are as a breed. That’s really what makes up the pet you want to take home.”
Image via Flickr/Dave Parker