0042_caitlin_quinn_cA couple of weeks ago we learned all about how we can overcome some of the challenges Pit Bull parents face… and even though it is Pit Bull Awareness Month and I mention that particular label quite a bit in this show, Pit Bulls are not the only dogs who get stereotyped. I’ve seen more than one rental property ad that listed Rottweilers and Dobermans and even German Shepherds as banned breeds.

These dogs are thrown under the “dangerous” category, while other breeds are automatically labeled as “safe” or “friendly.” These stereotypes are accepted subconsciously by many of us – our conditioning simply a product of too much faith in the mass media, in my opinion anyway. But when you take a minute to think about it, dog breed stereotypes are just as ridiculous as labeling any one race of human as dangerous or safe. We are individuals and so are dogs.

“Dogs are individuals.” I say that in quotes because I can’t take credit for this simple truth… I see it on bumper stickers all the time now, because this is actually the slogan of Animal Farm Foundation, which is a local animal shelter that’s been educating the public on breed equality for the past several years.

Today’s guest was the assistant director of Animal Farm Foundation until 2015, and she continued to speak on their behalf even after she moved onto her dream job… as you’ll soon hear she now works as the Director of Operations at HeARTs Speak, and it’s through HeARTs Speak’s Perfect Exposure Project that I got the chance to bond with her this past spring.

And just in case you’re new here, or you need a little refresher, the Perfect Exposure Project is a 2-day photography and marketing workshop that has visited shelters all over the country.

It’s also through HeARTs Speak that I was guided to a post on the Animal Farm Foundation blog that totally intrigued me, it was called “Breed Labels: When Guesses Turn into Predictions.” That’s the issue we’re talking about today, and my lovely guest, Caitlin Quinn, is here to tell us what some shelters are doing to fix it!

Listen in to our conversation by hitting play above!

Topics Discussed Included:

Why Animal Farm Foundation decided to get rid of breed labels at their shelter

The dangers of buying into breed stereotypes

How rescues and shelters can take steps to implement (or smoothly transition to) breed-free policies

Resources Mentioned in the Show:

Animal Farm Foundation

HeARTs Speak

Breed Labels: When Guesses Turn into Predictions – blog post by Animal Farm Foundation

Study on dog breed done at Western University in California by Dr. Victoria Voith – watch interview with Dr. Voith

Comparing dog breed guesses to DNA testing – survey results reported by National Canine Research Council

Territorio de zaguatos is the shelter in Costa Rica that made up new breed names for their mutts – their page is in Spanish, but here’s a great story about what they’re doing from Bark Post

National Canine Research Council

5 studies done on visual breed identification from National Canine Research Council

Caitlin said the best way to find out more about removing breed labels from your shelter would be to talk to shelters that have already done it – here are a few:

Arizona Animal Welfare League

Austin Animal Center in Texas

Captial Area Humane Society in Michigan

Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virgina

Humane Society of Indianapolis in Indiana

Longmont Humane Society in Colorado

Memphis Animal Shelter in Tennessee

Orange County Animal Services in Florida

Wisconsin Humane Society

From the HeARTs Speak blog – 5 Tips for Writing an Effective Pet Bio

Credits:

Cover art and logo designed by Zack Magnuson of Podcast Designer

Intro/outro music by Mark Hermann of Rock & Roll Zen & voiceover by Tim Paige of Tim the Paige

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