Why Black Dog Brigade?

Black Dog Brigade is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization that advocates for animals in shelters; especially those that are heartworm positive, are of the bully breed and have black fur. 

Why did I choose the name Black Dog Brigade? 

Let’s start with the definition of brigade.  Merriam-Webster defines brigade like this:

Brigade (bri·​gade | \bri-ˈgād  \)

Definition of brigade 

1: a large body of troops

2: a group of people organized for special activity

So why Black Dog? To bring awareness to Black Dog Syndrome.

Black Dog Syndrome (also known as “Big Black Dog Syndrome”) is a term used to describe the phenomenon of passing over black dogs in shelters and rescues in favor of lighter colored dogs.

Is Black Dog Syndrome real?  Yes, it is very real.  Just walk into your local shelter and see for yourself.  Black dogs are much more difficult to find homes for and among the first to be euthanized.  In fact, euthanasia rates for black fur animals is higher than any other color.

A dogs coat color has no affect on their temperament and personality.  Black dogs are just as playful, loyal, loving and fun as dogs of other colors.  As to why they are last to be adopted, there are several schools of thought on this.  Some say black dogs are harder to photograph and therefore don’t look attractive to potential adopters, black dogs featured in television shows or movies are often shown as being aggressive and commercials and printed ads rarely feature black dogs. 

Dogs in the bully breed category are also often overlooked for some of the same reason as black dogs; color of their fur, the way they are featured in television shows and movies.  The bully breeds or pit bulls have also come into the spotlight in recent years because of dog fighting and some high profile people that have gotten caught for it.  Michael Vick anyone?

More recently, all the talk around Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and the cities, counties, states and countries that have started banning this type of breed have shed a negative light on this breed as well. 

Currently 900 US cities in 45 states have BSL legislation of some type and 14 states, as well as Washington, DC, have upheld the constitutionality of BSL legislation.  Internationally, countries like Canada, Ireland, Germany, France and more have BSL legislation on the books.

As with black dogs, the breed of a dog has no affect on their temperament and personality.  Dogs of the bully breeds dogs are just as playful, loyal, loving and fun as dogs of other colors.  What does have an affect is the way they are trained by their owners. 

Last, but not least, heartworm positive dogs.  Black Dog Brigade has a Heal a Heart fund that we use to donate to shelters and rescues to help treat heartworm positive dogs so they become more attractive to potential adopters.  We also use this fund to help with other medical needs a dog might have in addition to heartworm treatment.  In some circumstances, Black Dog Brigade will also pay for heartworm preventative for 1 year when a dog is adopted.  The majority of dogs in shelters in NC are heartworm positive.  It is the nature of the environment.  What is sad is that many people don’t treat their dogs for this ahead of time.  With the cost being as low as $15 a month, there is no reason a responsible pet owner cannot add this to their care of their dogs.

So that was a long way around the why behind the name Black Dog Brigade.  I hope you now understand better why I chose this name.  Now to explain what I hope to accomplish.

I am striving to change the animal cruelty laws in NC to make punishments harsher and fines higher.  Right now the majority of the laws on the books in NC are misdemeanors.  Yep, pretty much no jail time and only fines for any type of cruelty against an animal; that means death too.  On another note, did you know that stealing a canine is a felony?  Riddle me that one.  In my opinion, the law is backwards.  You can kill a dog and not get punished but if you steal one, watch out!

While I know I have my work cut out for me in the area of changing laws, I am going to soldier on and use my voice to bring awareness to the change that needs to happen with the animal cruelty laws in NC.  At some point, people will start listening and get behind the movement too.   

I also would like for NC to have a law that says all dogs must be registered/licensed in the state and to show proof of rabies vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery to get such a license.  Enforcement may be tough with this one, but it can be, and should be, done. 

In addition to changing animal cruelty laws, I am hoping to also get more funding to support low cost spay and neuter clinics and help reduce the pet population.  More available options like this will make it easier and more affordable for all pet owners to be able to spay and neuter their dogs which will reduce the number of dogs that end up in shelters and the number that get euthanized each year. 

While Black Dog Brigade is only 1 person now, and I have a lot I hope to accomplish, I hope to continue to grow this organization to many more people who also support the mission and goals of this organization.