Guilford County Animal Shelter trying to lift breed adoption ban

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The interim director of the Guilford County Animal Shelter has recommended to county commissioners dropping the 16-year ban on adopting out certain dog breeds.

“It’s not the breed," said Savanna Miller, who adopted her dog from a North Carolina shelter. "It’s the people who raise them."

The policy currently bans the adoption of pit bulls, Rottweilers and Chow Chows. The breeds have long been labeled dangerous by some groups and insurance companies while animal advocates, including the ASPCA, have disputed those labels.

"What we would like to do is informalize that policy but also work to better adopt out those animals if we possible can," said Clarence Grier, interim shelter director, who took over shelter operations in August after the United Animal Coalition lost it's license. "We could possibly look at holding these breeds for a longer period of time so we can contact other organizations throughout the state."

Grier shared his recommendations last week when county commissioners voted unanimously for the county to permanently run the shelter.

"... We are also heartened to hear that the county commissioners are re-considering the current policy that discriminates against certain breeds of dogs," said Laura Gonzo, with the Merit Pit Bull Foundation. "Decades of studies show -- and we firmly believe -- that all dogs are individuals and should be evaluated as such. ... We would be delighted to work with them toward a more humane policy where all dogs are evaluated using the same criteria and no dogs are denied a chance at a loving home simply because of the way they look."