The website will show a dog’s photo and list the dog’s name, sex and whether it is small, medium or large. DeKalb and Fulton county animal services are changing how they label dogs on their website and at the shelters. They’re no longer saying what breeds they are. So, no more pit bull mixes or lab mixes or Shih Tzu mixes. Instead, on the website, along with their photos, it just has the dogs’ names, sexes and if they’re small, medium or large. “The first reason is that we actually don’t know what the dog is,” said Karen Hirsch with the LifeLine Animal Project , the nonprofit that manages the DeKalb and Fulton shelters and two other private ones. “If a dog doesn’t come in with pedigree papers or a DNA test, there’s no way for us to know what the dog is mixed with.” So if a dog with a big blocky head gets labeled as a pit bull mix, first of all, that might just be wrong, and, second of all, the mislabeled dog might encounter what Hirsch calls, “breed discrimination.” “Which might keep someone from adopting a dog that’s a certain breed, when in fact it’s not that kind of dog at all,” she said. “We believe that a dog’s physical appearance shouldn’t be the indication of their personality.” Skipping the breed guess game also prevents disappointment. Hirsch said in the past, they’ve had a problem with people thinking they’re getting a dog with certain characteristics, based on how it looked. For instance, a dog that looks like a black lab but doesn’t like the water. “Animals were getting returned because people had kind of preconceived notions of what the animal was like based on what breed they thought they were,” she said.
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