TOLEDO, Ohio — Animal Farm Foundation announced on Wednesday they are giving Toledo Humane Society $1,000 from the Removing Breed Labels grant program to aid in homing shelter animals.
Animal Farm Foundation shares how breed labels are often inaccurate and increase the length of stay for dogs in shelters. The expectations and stereotypes that come with breed labels can have a negative socio-economic impact on local communities.
AFF’s grant program is to remove breed labels, because visually identifying a dog is not accurate. AFF says you cannot determine the breed of a dog without doing DNA testing, which is something most shelters don't have the money to do.
“Despite scientific evidence proving visual breed identification is inaccurate in dogs, shelters are still applying breed labels to the dogs in their care, labels which are nothing more than guesses,” Animal Farm Foundation’s Executive Director Stacey Coleman said. “Many third parties then rely on these breed labels—from the adopter’s veterinarian to the landlord and the insurance broker drawing up homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. This can result in negative repercussions for their adopters on multiple levels—including denying them insurance.”
The grant program is designated for animal shelters that have recently made the decision to remove breed labels from their kennel cards, software databases and in social media posts. To ease the transition and raise awareness of the issues involved in breed labeling, Animal Farm Foundation provides grantees with access to no-cost virtual training to help shelter staff break the breed label habit.
High-quality shelter signage to explain to adopters why dogs are not labeled by breed are also available at no cost.
“This grant from Animal Farm Foundation will be very helpful in reaching more people to adopt our shelter dogs," THS Shelter Manager Kristen McCann said. "We feel very strongly about removing breed labels in shelters, as it is really about the individual dog and they are limited if they are labeled.”
AFF Director of Behavior and Training Bernice Clifford also notes "These breed labels come with stereotypes. Stereotypes influence how people think a dog is going to behave. This can lead to mismatched adoptions. It’s always best to focus on a dog’s observable personality and needs, rather than blanketed stereotypes when making adoption matches.”