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October Black Cat Giveaway Has Animal Advocates Hissing

A Rhode Island animal control agency offered free adoptions, and advocates say that's dangerous.

 |  Oct 19th 2012  |   18 Contributions


The annual Pumpkin Junction fall festival in Barrington, RI, featured some unusual guests. Barrington Animal Control hosted a black cat adoption event at the site on Oct. 13, offering free adoptions to anyone who was interested.

That caused a dispute with nimal activists and staff from other area shelters, who are criticizing the organization for what they see as an act of incredibly bad judgment.

Rita Falaguerra of Cat Adoption Team Services said that the event “shows a blatant disregard for the welfare of animals.”

Most shelters don’t adopt out black cats during October for fear that the felines will meet a grisly end in a satanic ritual. Although there is some justification for these concerns -- after all, black cats have occasionally been the subjects of ritual sacrifice -- Barrington Animal Control officials didn’t believe that the hype was worth delaying the event.

"Just because it's October doesn't mean that something is going to happen to these cats and that they can't be adopted out to good homes,” said Patti Watson of Barrington Animal Control.

Here's the flyer for the event.

Barrington Animal Control isn’t the first organization to be criticized for adopting out black cats. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary chimed in about the black cat myth in a 2011 blog post.

“There is no evidence that adopting black cats around Halloween poses any greater risk to the pets than adopting them at any other time of the year,” said blogger Francis Battista. “There is, however, plenty of evidence to show that not adopting cats of whatever color from shelters will cost them their lives.”

The vast majority of seasonal rituals held around Halloween don't involve the sacrifice of any living being. Fear and superstition are the biggest problems that face black cats -- and pagans. Woman dressed as a witch holding a black cat by Shutterstock

I don’t believe there’s a creep behind every bush, waiting to adopt a hapless black cat from an animal shelter just for the purpose of sacrificing it to Baal or the Elder Gods or whomever. The adoption fee and background check every decent shelter runs before allowing a person to adopt a cat tend to dissuade people with bad intentions. Who would go through that process if they could just as easily find a free cat on Craigslist, no questions asked?

What troubles me is that in this case the black cats were offered free for adoption. Animal Control assured the local news media that the staff always does its due diligence with adoptions, whether they’re free or paid for. Nonetheless, eliminating the financial barrier makes it easier for nasty people to get their hands on a black cat.

Barrington Animal Control adopted out four cats at the Pumpkin Junction event. I hope the cats went to loving homes where their beauty and grace are appreciated.

Source: NBC 10 News

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