The Washington Post runs an “Animal Doctor” column, in which veterinarian Michael Fox answers questions from readers about their pets.
“Animal Doctor” in the December 6 issue of the Post ran this letter & reply, which I post without further comment.
Dear Dr. Fox:
Radar is a 7-year-old terrier mix. From the day we brought him home from the animal shelter, we noticed that he does not like black people. This is terribly embarrassing.
Whenever a black person encounters Radar, and witnesses him going nuts, they say, “Oh, you have a ‘city dog’.” Is this a common problem among city dogs/rescues?
WashingtonI get this question periodically, and it does not mean that dogs are racist. In racially mixed communities, dogs generally bark at any stranger. But many neighborhoods are predominatly of one race or color, and dogs react more to people of an unfamiliar color or demeanor.
Dogs bark a lot at people in uniforms, no matter the race or color. They are responding to the differences; but dogs with families on military-base housing become used to uniforms. Dogs clearly have the power of discrimination.