ORLANDO, Fla. - A new policy is in place at Orange County Animal Services where they will not be identifying dogs available for adoption by breed.
The change comes as officials battle a disproportionately high number of euthanizations for pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Board Chairman Deborah Turner says the policy is about giving all dogs an equal chance for adoption.
"In an effort to help and see if we can get some of these mislabeled dogs adopted we simply made the decision to remove the breed designation," said Turner.
Turner said she hopes people will focus on making a connection with the dog and not be distracted or swayed by the stigma associated with some dogs known as bully breeds.
Turner also says staff was essentially guessing to determine a breed on adoptable dogs. She believes that was irresponsible, given the stigma that follows certain labels.
"They're labeled for life, and that really puts them on a fast track to being possibly euthanized," she said.
Some pet owners worry without the breed distinction it will be confusing to convince rental properties an adopted dog meshes with breed restrictions.
But animal services encourages pet owners to talk with their landlords about the specific pet before they sign adoption papers.
Orlando's SPCA recently announced plans to identify dog breeds by DNA testing in a pilot program. They believe clear breed labels will more easily link pets and owners as well as providing important medical information based on breed.
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