For many residents around the CSRA, pets are family members, but not all cats and dogs are as fortunate in having a place to call home.

Many of those who find themselves in an untoward situation or because of unforeseen circumstances are brought to the Aiken County Animal Shelter. For some animals, hair color often plays a role in the adoption process.

Friends of the Animal Shelter – or FOTAS – is doing its part to see that animals which are often passed over are getting a chance to find a new home with a special adoption campaign. Dubbed Back in Black, the adoption event at the Aiken County Animal Shelter is going on during the month of November.

Dogs can be adopted for $35 and cats for $20, and the price includes microchipping and shots, said Jennifer Miller, FOTAS president.

“FOTAS is partnering with the Aiken County Animal Shelter and is doing everything they can to get as many of these animals adopted (as possible),” said Miller. “We believe that if we keep doing things like this, eventually that stigma will go away. Our goal is that one day, black won't be passed by, and we'll eliminate the stigma.”

Many black pets have an unwarranted stigma associated with the color of their coats, often being passed over or rejected because of unsubstantiated superstitions and deluded misconceptions.

A number of irresistible faces are ready for adoption, including Babe, who has a sweet personality, is mischievous and loving; Blackie is a mama's boy; and Bootsie, whose sister was adopted, is awaiting a loving home.

“These are very healthy animals that are ready to go to loving homes. I think shelter animals are the best animals to adopt because they know you're saving them, they appreciate it, so they're going to be your best friend for life,” Miller said.

Several animals were brought in with companion animals or siblings, with different color coats who were adopted, and both animals possessed the same loving and friendly personalities, but were dismissed because they were black, said Miller.

For more information about Back in Black, call FOTAS at 803-514-4313 or access its website at

The Aiken County Animal Shelter is located at 411 Wire Road and can be reached at 803-642-1537.

Ben Baugh has been covering the equine industry and equestrian sport for the Aiken Standard since 2004. Among the awards Baugh has won include the 2003 Raleigh Burroughs Award as the turf writer making the most impact on the Florida Thoroughbred Industry. Baugh is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, worked for North America's leading Thoroughbred breeder Adena Springs in Ocala, Fla. And interned at Thoroughbred Racing Communications in New York, N.Y.