Is it dangerous for black cats to be adopted near Halloween?
Some people think so and a few of them recently criticized Barrington Animal Control for hosting a “mini-panther” adoption drive last Saturday.
The “mini-panther” moniker was used in an advertisement for the event given the cats’ black coloring. A pair of individuals reportedly stopped by the adoption drive to speak out against the effort in the name of animal safety, arguing that black cats can be a target of cruelty this time of year.
Similar sentiments were expressed in reader comments posted beneath an online story about the drive.
“Is the ACO from Barrington out of her ever loving mind???? Adopting black cats in October is a BIG NO to begin with and then FOR FREE??? Are you kidding me?????” wrote Rita Falaguerra.
“MOST, if not all, reputable shelters WON’T EVEN ADOPT OUT BLACK CATS IN OCTOBER, LET ALONE GIVE THEM AWAY!!!! Anyone know why??? come folks, put on thinking caps and see if we can come up with[one] good answer!”
“This should not take place….this is crazy! Reputable shelters do not adopt out black cats in October……Barrington DONT do it, your reputation is on the line, If you care for the animals in your care at all you will NOT go thru with this,” wrote Deb Coccio.
“And for free…REALLY????”
Barrington Animal Control Officer Patricia Watson, however, didn’t share these concerns.
She said last weekend’s adoptions followed procedure to ensure the animals went to good owners. The drive resulted in four cats getting new homes, including three in Barrington.
Officer Watson said the police department has familiarity with two of these three owners and she has followed up with all of them to make sure the cats are settling into their new homes.
As for the fourth owner, Officer Watson said she personally knows the individual.
Three other adoptions are also reportedly pending, two of which are with Barrington homes and another in Riverside.
Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said he wasn’t concerned about potential cat abuse given a lack of evidence that cats are being ritually tortured in Barrington or neighboring communities.
Chief LaCross said in his 11-year tenure he couldn’t recall such an incident in town and those wishing to do harm to an animal could adopt it at another time of the year.
East Providence ACO William Muggle said he has never come across a case of Halloween-related black cat cruelty in his decade of animal control experience. Officer Muggle said there is a “heightened awareness” with black cat adoption in October though if there is a match between a cat and a loving family the time of year won’t stop the process from moving forward.
RISPCA Director E.J. Finocchio said his agency doesn’t prohibit black cat adoptions around Halloween. He said these adoptions are handled the same as any other animal adoption at any other time of year. He said each adoption requires an application and the agency is hesitant with anyone who seems suspicious, regardless of the season or animal.
Dr. Finocchio said this type of suspicion may be why some agencies decide against black cat adoptions in October.
“It’s something that you have to keep in the back of your mind because of some of the psychopaths in our society today,” Dr. Finocchio said.
Chief LaCross also said Officer Watson has been with the police department for years and has the discretion to determine if a cat is a good fit for its potential home.
Officer Watson said there is an application that all potential adopters must fill out. She also said there is a “gut” feeling that goes into knowing if an animal is going to a good home.
Rita Falaguerra did not return phone calls for this story.