LAWTON, Okla._With Halloween approaching, black cat adoptions have been temporarily suspended at the Lawton Animal Welfare and the Humane Society until after the holiday.
The decision was made last week after Lawton Animal Welfare superintendent Russell Anderson and his staff looked into animal abuse cases across the state and nationwide. They noticed those incidents tended to spike around Halloween, which led to the decision to make the cats temporarily unavailable.
Anderson says animal welfare across the nation either suspend black cat adoptions or use this time to promote them, and this is the first time Lawton has decided to suspend black cat adoptions. With his experience seeing cats come in with cuts and scratches, he says suspending those adoptions is the best thing he can do.
Anderson says in extreme cases, black cats are often used as sacrifices; a type of abuse he has seen before.
"A lot of them will end up on the street, someone will just throw them on the side and you can tell that they were cut open and things like that," Anderson explained.
Anderson says to see an animal like that is gut wrenching.
"It just crushes our hearts, especially when they're young kittens…not even a year old. It could have been at someone's house, it could have been part of someone's family," he said.
Black cats are also often adopted out to be used as a real life decoration for a Halloween house party.
"Those will be returned after Halloween and we are not about that. We are looking for a forever home, not just a one-time for your party," he said.
Often times, Halloween is a ritualistic holiday where some animals are left to suffer.
"This is the time where the veil between the living and dead is supposed to be the thinnest, and that's where all of this comes from," Anderson said.
By suspending the black cat adoptions, Anderson hopes it is sending out a positive message.
"We really do care about these animals, and we are looking out for their best interest. We aren't looking 'oh let's get our adoption rates up.' These guys are really at risk around Halloween time," Anderson said.