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Aiken County Animal Shelter scares up pet adoptions at pre-Halloween event

It turns out that dogs are snazzy dressers. 

Several dogs from the Aiken County Animal Shelter donned Halloween costumes as part of the Friends of the Animal Shelter's pre-Halloween adoption event. The event featured candy and a costume contest, making a hilarious and lasting impression on those who attended.

The festivity was not only meant to celebrate the impending holiday, but also to showcase the dozens of cats and dogs up for adoption at the shelter.

The event also acted as a way for pet owners to find their pets a potential companion.

Seth Crawford brought his beagle Bella, dressed as a pumpkin, in order to help her socialize a bit more with other dogs.

"She's very shy… but OK around other dogs," Crawford said.

The event was particularly successful for Stephanie Smith and her 2-year-old son, Bennett, who found a kindred spirit Autumn, a lab-mix, and adopted her.

"What really sold it was her connection to (Bennett)," Smith said as her son continued to become acquainted with the newest family member. 

Autumn was previously returned for chasing her former owner's cat, but Smith said that's not a problem.

"We're allergic to cats, so it all works out," Smith said. 

For Violet, an 8-year-old retriever mix dressed as Wonder Woman, the event gave her chance to stand out and hopefully find a forever home.

Violet, due to her age and dark color, has been overlooked for adoption on several occasions, said Jennifer Miller, FOTAS president.

Darker dogs and cats tend to be overlooked overall and can wait four times longer to get adopted from shelters and rescues compared to their lighter coated counterparts, according to Bob Gordon, FOTAS communications director who spoke on the issue in a previous article.

This phenomenon is known as Black Dog and Cat Syndrome, and stems from a media and cultural association that black animals are bad luck.

"It is absurd and disheartening that people really believe in such nonsense in the 21st century but we can’t ignore it – especially when the shelter is filling up, and these dogs can’t find homes," Gordon said.

However, Gordon noted that black animals are just as adoptable and lovable as lighter animals.

Gordon even named Violet in his article and called her "the friendliest and sweetest dog on the adoption floor."

For more information or to make an appointment to view adoptable pets, call the shelter at 803-642-1537 or email FOTAS at

The shelter is currently holding an adoption special at $35 for dogs and puppies and $10 for cats. The price of adoption includes spay/neuter and microchips.

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