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To the Rescue: Trial by Fire

George the cat survived a terrible ordeal, thanks to the skill and compassion of an Ohio shelter’s staff

Over the years, the animal welfare movement has seen its share of legends: Pets given as gifts get surrendered, so don’t adopt animals at Christmas. Don’t place animals prior to Halloween, because they could end up as victims of animal sacrifice by local devil worshippers.

As the field has evolved, though, many shelter managers have realized that some of these stories are just that: stories, anecdotal at best and fictional at worst, driving an unjustified paranoia that might be preventing some animals from finding homes.

Many shelters have reconsidered their practices accordingly, deciding that holiday placements are just fine if they allow a shelter dog to fill the role of “the puppy under the Christmas tree.” Still others have found that Halloween promotions help black cats find good homes on the last day of October.

It’s a good trend overall. But every now and then a story comes along that serves to remind the field that there are reasons such stories got started: Sadly, not all of them are mythical.

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