“We’ll say, ‘He’s strong, but he’s soft. He walks well on a leash,” said Nancy Haynes, the shelter’s behavior expert, of lively Louie, a mixed breed who understands himself on his shoulders as he waits for a treat. “It’s not about race. It’s about what we know about him. What we saw.
Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, King Corsos, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Chow Chows are abandoned more frequently and stay longer than Poodles and Retrievers, shelter staff said. The prevalence of breeds in low-income households is a factor, especially since many dog owners have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Their reputation as dangerous fighting dogs also makes them less adoptable.
“Unfortunately, these bully mixes aren’t the dogs everyone is looking for because of this myth that they are aggressive. Then when pet owners have to surrender an animal, we don’t have space,” said Ashley Jeffrey Bouck, executive director of the shelter, which only euthanizes animals with debilitating and painful medical conditions. “When people want open their homes to our dogs, insurance may be a reason not to.
Desperate for insurance
More than a decade ago, Karen and James Porpeglia of Schenectady County adopted Cole and Duke, two Dobermans, and sought out five acres of property where the dogs could roam.
They said their insurance company agreed to keep their owners’ coverage until they saw the dogs were Dobermans.
Several other companies said no, leaving the family in limbo at home, having sold one and bought another. Eventually they landed a policy, but the workaround was frustrating.