Nightly News   |  January 12, 2014

Black Dogs Are Adopted Less Often

Black dogs are euthanized at a much higher rate because they’re less likely to be adopted due to their color. NBC News’ Jill Rappaport reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we're back with an issue that many animal shelters must deal with, the fact that black dogs don't get adopted often. jill rappaport reports.

>> reporter: sweet, loveable and often unwanted.

>> if you're a black dog and you come to our shelter, your chances of getting adopted are pretty poor, unfortunately.

>> reporter: this growing plight is called black dog syndrome.

>> it's simply where black dogs get overlooked. they're euthanized at a much higher rate.

>> reporter: from coast to coast , shelters are overrun with animals like these, even puppies who are just discarded because of the color of their fur, all because of what shelters claim are unwarranted misconceptions.

>> there are old wives' tale that is black dogs are mean and they don't photograph well unless you have the right lighting or photography equipment. so their pictures don't stand out.

>> reporter: in north carolina , hundreds just marched to raise awareness about black dog syndrome.

>> the black labs, pitbulls, rottweilers, dobermans are more affected by it. each dog should be judged on its own.

>> reporter: this cause really strikes a chord with country legend emmy lou harris .

>> there are so overwhelmingly numbers of them.

>> reporter: the rescue of her black dog , bella, that changed her life forever.

>> sweetest dog in the world.

>> reporter: the grammy award winner has turned her nashville estate into the shelter.

>> i love music, but to have something else come in to fill your heart and know that you are making a difference, it's -- it's a gift.

>> reporter: advocates like emmy lou harris say the stigma faces black dogs is an ongoing situation impacting shelters nationwide and shedding a light on this problem could save more lives in the future.

>> there's plenty of black dogs tlout in shelters, waiting for a home. and maybe you'll be lucky enough to find yourself a bella.

>> reporter: jill rappaport, nbc news, nashville, tennessee.