In South Florida — and in the rest of the U.S. — many animal shelters suspend black cat adoptions until after Halloween.
The Palm Beach, Fla., Post reported that at least three area shelters have halted adoptions of black cats before Oct. 31 due to fear that the cats will end up in the hands of sadistic people who will harm them.
“There are satanic sacrificial rituals that still exist in our country and around the world,” says Karen Buchan, community projects manager for Palm Beach Animal Care and Control.
Buchan says the adoption suspension avoids having the cat in an unsafe environment. The county also stops black cat adoptions on any Friday the 13th.
But other shelters choose not to suspend black cat adoptions.
Theres really no documentation that shows any cruelty, said Stephen Wright, a spokesman for the Naples Humane Society. We pretty much think its an urban legend.
Lee County Domestic Animal Services Director Donna Ward says anyone looking for a black cat can adopt one no matter the time of year.
According to urban legend site Snopes.com, “The problem — or the perception of it — follows folkloric patterns, with anecdotal reports becoming ever wider in scope.”
Articles and chain e-mails found by Snopes’ research team have shown evidence of the fear around Satanic sacrifice expanding beyond black cats to pure white cats, then to cats of any color.
Early articles warned about the adoption of cats for ritual sacrifice on the days around Halloween, then grew to cover the entire month of October. Now the sacrifices are said to be no longer restricted to Halloween and to occur on other “satanic holidays.”
Naples Humane Society used to stop adoptions on black cats until after Halloween. With no evidence to show abuse was a real threat, the organization lifted its ban about 10 years ago.
However, “we screen people really well, especially around Halloween when it comes to black cats, to see if they really want a cat or just a decoration, Wright said.
Snopes says that the evidence it could gather about ritual sacrifice of cats in October is inconclusive, but “shelters’ being extra-careful with feline adoptions just before Halloween to prevent the ‘renting’ of cats for decorative purposes is a prudent precaution.”
Black cats are harder to place in homes, Wright said, so limiting their adoption out of fear is actually more cruel than suspending adoptions for fear of cruelty.
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.[Source: Marco Eagle]