Interesting article on Length of Stay in shelters..

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Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Sun Jan 6, '13 1:41pm PST 
I came across this summary of an article on facebook. You have to pay to read the full article...

A new study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science looked at length of stay (LOS) for dogs at two shelters. I am still reading it but some of the findings are fascinating: 1. color (including black) did not impact LOS, 2. age impacted LOS by an average of one day per year of age but it was not clean as older dogs got adopted very quickly in many cases, 3. "pit bulls" did not have the longest LOS (the beagle group did), 4. sex did not matter (though already neutered animals were adopted quicker), 5. size matters (in the other direction) but was not clean: very big dogs were adopted pretty quickly in some cases.

Some possible lessons: Shelters and rescues often fall prey to self-fulfilling prophecy and assume the dogs with the "pit bull" label or who are black cannot be saved. Also, marketing is everything. When I was the director in Tompkins County, we found ourselves with a kennel wing full of beagles. All were adopted in a day or two after we ran a promotion comparing beagles to bagels and asking the question, "When was the last time a bagel greeted you like you were the president of the United States?", offering a free dozen bagels for every beagle adoption, and running the story on the local news, on the radio, in the newspaper, and online. In other words, what the shelter does is what is important, not blaming external factors (by claiming no one wants "beagles" or "pit bulls" or "black dog" or "old dogs").

Article: Effects of Phenotypic Characteristics on the Length of Stay at Two No Kill Animal Shelters (Brown, William P., et. al, Division of Natural Sciences, Keuka College, 2013.)

Thoughts? My direct experience in fostering for a rescue doesn't match with what this article is reporting. I foster in the Chicago 'burbs. Beagles are actually pretty easy to adopt out, especially if they look purebred. But- small, young, uniquely colored, "hypoallergenic" dogs can be adopted in a matter of days, while my nondescript, possibly pit-bull, plain, brown dog can sit for months... local animal control reports pit bulls sit and sit and sit on the adoption floors, so they actually have an unofficial quota of how many they will allow on the adoption floor.

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Sun Jan 6, '13 2:00pm PST 
Just from watching our local shelters website , I can agree that the small, non shedding dogs do not stay long . Big dogs stay longer. Our shelter seems to be doing well in dog adoptions. They have a lot of exposure and support from our community. The cats are the bigger problemfrown

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sun Jan 6, '13 2:19pm PST 
The trend around here is for toys and teacups, there are waiting lists for toys and teacups. Also dogs who look like a definite breed-goldens, huskies, poodles, hounds, even people looking specifically for pit looking features. The big mixed breeds are hardest to place...and the cats, so very many catscry

Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:59am PST 
I'm sitting on two black fosters right now. Once since Sept and one since Nov, a few people asked questions about the one but really no serious interest in them. I had a shih-tzu for three weeks, a pure basset hound for two weeks etc etc.

forever loved
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 11:10am PST 
I guess it really depends on your location and how the shelter views the dogs as well. Also agree that it seems cats have a harder time getting adopted.

Jewel, I took a look at Jettsen's page...he seems adorable! Don't know why someone hasn't snatched him up yet. Hope your fosters get adopted soon.smile
Ginny- Weasley

Biiiiig kisses!
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 12:22pm PST 
This has been my experience, volunteering at a small, mainly no-kill shelter in a fairly rural community in the Northeast. None of this is based on statistics or anything of that sort, just the impressions that I've gotten from volunteering there:

* Black dogs' length of stay isn't really affected by their color, especially in the case of black labs. People tend to go crazy over them! I personally have a weakness for black dogs, but then again I love the bully breeds, as well. Anyway, I'm getting off topic...

* Pit bulls - Again, just from observation, there are a number of factors as to whether or not a pit bull gets adopted -- far more than just their breed. If the pit is is a puppy, it will get snatched up in a heartbeat. If it is good with small children, other dogs, and cats, it definitely won't be there very young. The problem with pit bulls is when they have any sort of aggression issues (even if it's not really aggression, just that they can't be around cats/small children because they play hard). There are also little things that can make a difference -- for example, cropped ears tend to make them appear more vicious, and if the dog is barking it's a huge turn off for potential adopters. But the pit bulls do ultimately get adopted.

Then again, we definitely have a higher intake of pitbulls then any other breed. It mainly has to do with landlord issues, unfortunately... and there are far more pitbulls running around as strays. frown

* Small dogs go WAY faster than medium-big dogs. But the huge dogs go fast as well. I think it's a novelty thing.

* The Beagle thing is weird to me. I feel like a lot of families find Beagles to be the ideal dog.

Thankfully, we're talking about a fairly rural community with a relatively high demand for dogs. The shelter itself usually has a maximum of 20 adoptable dogs, so if 10 of those are healthy, friendly pitbulls then they are bound to get adopted eventually, unless they have issues that interfere with their adaptability.

Black dogs rock!
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 2:42pm PST 
Jewel, I think Jettsen is adorable, but he's a boyfrown Bunny only gets along with bigger females and Chloe is smaller than I want....

Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 3:08pm PST 
I am not overly familiar with the shelter intake/output in my areas. Mainly because at any given time the local shelters house maybe 3 or 4 dogs (and about 100 cats).

One rescue that I used to actively volunteer with has always been full of beagles. I always assumed it was due to the head of the organization's affinity for the breed. But reading this, I guess that may not be the case.

I remember a few years back when beagles were all the rage due to Uno's win. This definitely resulted in a huge boom in beagle ownership, at least for a few months anyways.
Now they have gained this negative stigma that they are "untrainable" "stubborn" "untrustworthy" "loud" and "stupid"
Now of course, we on Dogster know those either aren't true, or at least workable traits. (In fact out of my 3, Oz was the quickest to housebreak shrug)
So those negative aspects may be shadowing the sweet, love-everyone demeanour that most beagles have.
Another factor with the beagles though is the location of the shelters that they are following. High hunting areas are bound to end up with a surplus of beagles as they do have a tendency to get away during the hunt sometimes. Many hunters wont go looking for them after either. To further that point in conjunction with LOS, a lot of these hunting dogs are not accustomed to a housing lifestyle and therefore take longer to understand house living and a human family.
I took in a beagle once from a former friend of mine whose father ran a hunting/breeding kennel. Now we only had her 3 days before I found her a great home, but she had relatively little concept of the entire concept of living as a pet. So much so that even a pat on the head didn't evoke much of a response for the first little while.

As for the black dog concept, Toronto Humane Society ran a black dog event last year. Marking all black pets half off the regular adoption fee. That to me, says that the black pets are taking too long to be adopted. My personal preference is a lighter dog simply because they are easier to photograph. However I did set that aside when I found Rigby cloud 9

I can't speak for pit bulls as they've been technically "banned" here for a few years.

And I believe that with respect to age, many people are becoming more compassionate toward the senior dogs with the mindset of "Well I'll give him a great last few years". Some shelters and rescues cut the fees partially for senior dogs as well.

But as the article states, they followed TWO shelters. Out of how many there are in North America, I would say it hardly provides an accurate description across the continent.
Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 3:29pm PST 
We have a lot of beagles in my rescue because we pull from a very rural area in southern Indiana. We can still get them adopted within a few weeks provided that they are healthy and relatively young.
I don't think that it's that people don't like/don't want black dogs, but they typically just don't stand out like the merles or tris. We had a litter of aussie mix pups- half were blue merle and the other half were black and white. Every single one of the merles was adopted before the black and white ones!

I guess what bothered me (and maybe it's the attitude of the page that posted that article and not the article itself) is just how much blame is put on the shelters and not on the owners/public.

Because I'm- Duncan, that's- why

Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:08pm PST 
Oh, I agree that a lot of it will come down to location, and you're right, an article that surveys two shelters won't be very representative. Maybe not even representative of the very same two shelters, as their animal population mix and demand trends may also fluctuate over time.

I'd be curious to read the article though...the actual one, not the spin.

About size of dogs: I think it is generally true (not even location dependent) that the tiny dogs and the huge dogs have no problem getting adopted. It's the medium size range that tends to get stuck at shelters.

As regards black animals, I do agree that shelters wouldn't offer so many specials and programs to get them adopted, if it weren't an issue in some places. I think it depends on what else the animal has going for them, so to speak. If a dog is black but looks like a desirable purebred, or is a particularly striking-looking mutt, then the color is no problem. But if the dog is a generic looking, short haired, medium sized mutt with no unusual features -- then being black does seem to work against them. I know at the no-kill shelter where I used to be adoptions manager, we completely filled up with exactly that -- generic shorthaired medium sized mutts that happened to be black. It happened gradually over time as none of those dogs got adopted and more black dogs came in and didn't get adopted....suddenly we looked around and saw a shelter full of black dogs. We tried running specials (steep adoption fee discounts, clever campaigns).... none of it really helped, as I recall. Maybe it was precisely BECAUSE the shelter was full of "black lab mixes" at that time; potential adopters visiting the shelter, or viewing our listings online, may have been turned off and thought "I would rather have a dog who stands out." shrug I don't really know, though.

As a rescue, Southpaws has had no problem adopting out black dogs, and we've pulled many over the course of time.

ETA: Agreeing with Rigby. Again like the size issue, dogs at the "extremes" of ages, in both directions, have the advantage. Young puppies obviously. But also, dogs older than 5 yrs or so (only possibly excepting the ancient and decrepit). The ones that have more difficulty are the ones in the most typical age range to be at a shelter in the first place: 9 mos up to about 3 yrs.
The high volume shelter in Louisiana with whom we've most frequently partnered, consistently moves those 5 yrs dogs into adoptions, for this very reason. They get adopted more quickly.

Edited by author Mon Jan 7, '13 8:17pm PST

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