An effort is underway by residents of Grapevine, Texas to change the city’s animal shelter policy which currently does not allow pit bulls or pit bull mixes to be adopted, placed on the adoption floor or even listed on their website. While the staff works with partnering agencies to find alternative placement for any animal that cannot be on the adoption floor, in reality, these dogs have little to no exposure, and are very often euthanized.
According to shelter staff, however, this policy is currently under review by the City of Grapevine.
While I do not see the issue on any upcoming agendas, please reach out to city officials and encourage them to repeal their policy which prohibits the adoption of “pit bull-type” dogs and ask them to implement in its place a policy that would afford all dogs the opportunity of adoption based on their individual temperaments and personalities. This type of policy would give ALL dogs, particularly mixed breeds who’ve been labeled as “pit bulls” by shelter staff, a better chance at adoption.
As experts point out, breed labels issued at shelters are often inaccurate because staff members are simply guessing at a dog’s breed based on the way he or she looks, and these extremely subjective breed assessments (which can, and often do, vary from person to person), literally either mean the chance for a new life or a guaranteed death sentence to these dogs – regardless of their age, their temperament or their disposition – in other words, their true “adoptability” isn’t even a consideration.
In November 2012, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published an article entitled Rethinking Dog Breed Identification in Veterinary Practices. The article questions visual dog breed identification given the vast percentage of mixed-breed dogs in the United States, and discusses studies that demonstrate that physical appearance of a dog is not a good indicator of breed. The authors assert that incorrect identification of a dog’s breed based on visual inspection can lead to misidentification and negative consequences, and they recommended a shift toward a non-breed-based system given the ramifications that misidentification could have both from a legal, as well as quality-of-life, perspective.
More importantly, a dog’s breed is in no way a justification for whether it is worthy of adoption. We know dogs are individuals and every dog should be given the opportunity to show his or her personality without a discriminatory and negative stereotype hanging over their head, inhibiting their chance for adoption into a loving home…which is what each and every shelter dog deserves…and what every shelter should be ultimately striving for.
Please send a polite and respectful letter to the Grapevine city officials listed below and encourage them to put an end to the shelter’s policy that discriminates against dogs deemed to be certain breeds and, instead, to allow each and every dog that enters their facility a fair shot and opportunity at adoption into a loving family. As always, please keep in mind that the manner in which you communicate with officials makes a very big difference, and your words – both positive and negative – truly matter. This is an important issue, and if you can’t make your point in a civil manner, for the sake of the dogs, leave it to those who can.
Mayor and city council:
City Manager Bruno Rumbelow:
Agendas and council meeting minutes can be found here: