Halloween OK time to adopt dark critters, animal center chiefs say
A puppy waits to be adopted at Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville on Wednesday. The adoptions of black pets have traditionally been halted at area shelters during Halloween, but Young-Williams has decided to promote the animals instead this year.
A black kitty peers out from its cage at Young-Williams Animal Center. The center’s “Black Magic” promotion will try to find homes for the shelter’s black cats and dogs, which are typically harder to place than multicolored animals.
Tips for pets on Halloween
Young-Williams Animal Center is conjuring some "Black Magic" this Halloween. Contrary to past practice, the center this week is encouraging the adoption of black animals.
- Sweet treats can tasty to humans but toxic to animals. Keep all candy, especially chocolate, which can be fatal to pets, stored in a safe place.
- Avoid giving your fury friend a fright. Put them in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat hours.
- As perfect as your pet may look with your outfit, don't take them trick-or-treating with you.
- Only take your pet outside if you will be by their side at all times. You wouldn't want any little ghouls or ghosts to scare them off.
- Jack-o'-lanterns, while a Halloween tradition, can prove to be a hazard with pets around. A dog or cat can easily tip one over, causing the animal to be burned or a fire to ignite.
Traditionally, area shelters halt the adoption of black pets two weeks before Halloween to avoid superstition-induced cruelty.
But Tim Adams, executive director at Young-Williams, 3201 Division St., said such acts don't appear to happen in our area. "There is no evidence to prove there has been any malicious activity with pet adoptions," he said.
The animal center's "Black Magic" promotion will try to find homes for the shelter's black cats and dogs, which Adams said are harder to place than multicolored animals. Young-Williams has about 20 black dogs and eight black cats needing homes.
Vicky Crosetti, executive director of The Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, said there have been isolated instances of pet abuse on the holiday, but cases appeared coincidental and not connected to Halloween. "Kids, or even some adults, may be out on the same night abusing animals. But not as a result of Halloween," Crosetti said.
Adams said stress is the most significant concern for pets on Halloween, not abuse. Dressing a cat or dog in costume can be stressful for the animal, as can exposing them to strangers who appear in costume, he said. Adams advises owners to "think like their animals for a bit" to understand what might frighten them. It's best if owners can help pets stay on a normal routine, Adams said. He explained that that will make them feel more at ease.
Both Adams and Crosetti suggest keeping pets in a room away from trick-or-treaters at the front door.
"Pets get overly excited by trick-or-treaters," Crosetti said. "(A dog) may rush to the door and run away ... or knock a child down. Neither of those are good things."
Jenny Ratledge may be contacted at 865-342-6432.
Black animals more for treats than tricks : Local News : Knoxville News Sentinel