As of today, for the first time ever, all dog breeds, including pit bulls and Rottweilers, are now directly adoptable from Minneapolis Animal Control.
Up until now, so-called "bully breed" dogs that came into Animal Control's possession had to be placed with third-party rescue groups before they could be adopted. An ordinance that went into effect today eliminates the middle man, though Minneapolis will continue to place dogs that aren't adopted in rescue facilities.
An ordinance outlining the new policy was passed last fall. The budget approved by the City Council over the winter allocated $51,000 for implementation (most of that money for staff costs), and Animal Control officials have spent a few months reaching out to stakeholders and developing a protocol.
All dogs that come into Animal Control's facility will be subject to an intake exam and classified according to a color-coded scheme -- "green" ones adoptable by just about anyone, "orange" ones possibly requiring quieter homes and more attention, and "blue" ones recommended for adoption only by experienced owners.
Once they're evaluated, the dogs will have adoption bios placed on Animal Control's website for seven days. If they aren't adopted by the time that period is through, they will then be eligible for placement in a rescue facility.
On the human side of the spectrum, Animal Control has volunteer adoption counselors who will ask potential dog adopters about their lifestyles, experience, and capabilities.
"We're going to see what we can do to meet a dog's special needs by trying to pair the family's needs with the dog," Jeanette Wiedemeier Bower, program development coordinator for Minneapolis Animal Control, tells us. "We haven't had the capacity to do that before, so we're very excited about that."
Wiedemeier Bower says the fact pitbulls and Rottweilers are now adoptable from animal control is "especially remarkable since 15 years ago not one pit bull had this opportunity," even through a third-party rescue group.
In 2012, the city of Minneapolis reportedly euthanized 152 adoptable animals. The new policy will hopeful reduce that number by making it easier for certain breeds to be adopted, but Wiedemeier Bower adds that dogs with certain illnesses or a history of aggressive behavior will still be "humanely euthanized."
A number of pit bulls are already up for adoption through Animal Control's website. To see really cute photos of a few of them, click to page two.
Here's Roxy, Delilah, and Squirt. All three are pit bull-terrier mixes:
Click here if you're interested to read more about the dogs and/or adopt them.