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DNA studies reveal that shelter workers often mislabel dogs as ‘pit bulls’

DNA results show that shelter workers are often mistaken when they label a dog as a pit bull, with potentially devastating consequences for the dogs, a new University of Florida study has found. “Animal shelter staff and veterinarians are frequently expected to guess the breed of dogs based on appearance alone,” said Julie Levy, a professor of shelter medicine at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the lead author of a study published recently in The Veterinary Journal. “Unlike many other things people can’t quite define but ‘know when they see it,’ identification of dogs as pit bulls can trigger an array of negative consequences, from the loss of housing, to being seized by animal control, to the taking of the dog’s life,” she said. “In the high-stakes world of animal shelters, a dog’s life might depend on a potential adopter’s momentary glimpse and assumptions about its suitability as a pet. If the shelter …

February 17, 2016 8:37 pm

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