Black animals have a harder time getting adopted due to the superstition surrounding their colour, according to local North Anston animal sanctuary.

Based in south Sheffield, Thornberry Animal Sanctuary was founded in 1988 and rescues animals from abandonment, and neglect. 

While the sanctuary have had great adoption success stories, and have strong support from their local community, at times they have struggled to find homes for black animals, specifically cats and dogs. 

Misty, a Thornberry cat waiting for a home (Source: Thornberry Animal Sanctuary)

Dating back to the European witch craze, black cats have often been regarded as an omen of bad luck, deterring people from adopting them. 

Cattery and Small Animals Manager, Courtney Berry, said: “They’re a lot like marmite – people either love them or they don’t. We get a lot of them and they are very difficult to rehome.”

Additionally, at this time of year, it is particularly difficult for animals to be rehomed and as Christmas is a high travel period, animals can’t be homed with those who have upcoming trips booked, resulting in animals staying in the centre for longer periods of time.

In the kennels, black Lurchers and black Greyhounds are notorious for sticking around. 

Hannah Armes, Thornberry’s Kennel Assistant said: “It’s just the colour – people are put off by black dogs. The other colours of Lurchers and Greyhounds usually go quite quickly, but the black ones are less desirable,”

Thornberry Animal Sanctuary reception and dog rota (Source: Nicole Collins)

Desirable dogs have also been sent to Thornberry due to owners not foreseeing certain characteristics of their animal, or their medical costs.

A misconception around animal adoption is the underlying costs of taking care of small animals. According to Battersea pets, cat care is roughly £1587 per year, and rabbits at a similar cost of £1550.

Thornberry Animal Sanctuary hopes to hold classes in the new year to educate new pet owners on caring for their animals. 

Entirely run on donation, fundraising plays a big part in keeping the centre afloat.  Thornberry regularly holds events to entice the local community to support the centre and the animals it houses.

In early November, the sanctuary celebrated its 35th anniversary with a dinner gala. Last weekend, they held their annual Christmas fair, where they promoted local businesses. 

Thornberry invites the local community to volunteer to help them day-to-day. Anyone is welcome to volunteer and can find an online application form on their website.

Thornberry Animal Sanctuary will soon open up a charity shop in Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre.