WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Doggie discrimination? It's a phenomenon some animal shelters face. It turns out, some people overlook dogs because of the color of their fur.
"The black, brown, big dog syndrome is a nationwide issue with animal shelters, 'cause these are dogs that are normally overlooked because of their color and their size," Onslow County Animal Services Director Alan Davis said.
In Onslow County, the problem is so bad, Animal Services has cut its adoption fee for black and brown dogs by nearly $100.
It's not like that in New Hanover County. Shelter supervisor Nancy Ryan says black and brown dogs are not usually the first to go, but that doesn't mean they're left homeless.
"We adopt them out, maybe not as quickly as the small breeds and the puppies, but we do adopt them," Ryan said.
Some animal rescue groups say there may be another reason why black dogs often get overlooked. With many people looking for pets online, black dogs are at a disadvantage.
"Their features aren't as prominent," said Sheryl Sblendorio with Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas. "You can't appreciate their eyes, shape of their ears, line of their body. I just think they almost black out."
While there are no hard statistics that this syndrome exists, experts say there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.
In the meantime, many black and brown dogs are living in the shadows of their lighter-colored counterparts.
Onslow County has reduced its adoption fee on brown, black and large dogs to $50 through the end of the month. Davis says so far, this had been quite successful.