Some Florida animal shelters aren’t allowing for black cat adoptions until after Halloween - fearing for the cats’ safety.
Suspicion may reign in the time of spooks and goblins but in Lee and Collier counties, shelters take a more practical approach.
“There’s really no documentation that shows any cruelty,” said Stephen Wright, spokesman for the Naples Humane Society. “We pretty much think it’s an urban legend.”
The same goes for Lee County Domestic Animal Services. Anyone looking for a black cat can adopt one no matter the time of year, director Donna Ward said.
But if you walk into the Humane Society this time of year specifically requesting a black cat, you might get some extra scrutiny.
“We screen people really well, though, especially around Halloween when it comes to black cats to see if they really want a cat or just a decoration,” Wright said.
More than a decade ago, Naples’ Humane Society did stop adoptions on black cats until the holiday passed, Wright said. But with no evidence to show abuse was a real threat, the organization lifted its ban.
Black dogs and cats, for an unknown reason, are harder to place in homes, Wright said, so limiting their adoption out of fear is actually more cruel.
“When people turn an adopter away that poor pet is going to have to sit and wait for someone else to come along,” Wright said.
The Palm Beach Post reported Saturday that at least three shelters have halted adoptions of black cats before Oct. 31 because of fears that the cats will be used for sacrificial rituals. Or potential owners looking for a Halloween party decoration will return the cat days later.
Karen Buchan with the county’s Animal Care and Control says this avoids having the cat in an “unsafe environment.” The county also stops black cat adoptions on any Friday the 13th.
Buchan says black cats are already the least likely to get adopted in most shelters because of “bad luck” superstitions or owners who want a more colorful cat.
The Associated Press contributed to this story