For Father's Day, Humane Society Conducting Doggy Paternity Tests

For Father's Day, Humane Society Conducting Doggy Paternity TestsEXPAND
Courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County

Dog paternity is a contentious issue at animal shelters. Oftentimes, pets are taken in with little knowledge of their ancestry, leaving staff to assume a pet’s breed on its looks. Mary Steffen, director of the Humane Society of Broward County, explains that this guesswork can lead to problems since certain breeds are predisposed to specific illnesses and behaviors.

“There’s more to these dogs than meets the eye,” Steffen tells New Times. “Oftentimes what a dog looks like isn’t necessarily going to indicate what his behavior is or what he’s like medically, or temperament, or activity level.”

So, in honor of Father’s Day, the Humane Society of Broward County will be conducting its own version of the “Who’s Your Daddy?” segment on Maury. On June 18 and 19, they will publish the DNA test reports of 15 of their most contested dogs. The reports are in-depth, sometimes 20 pages long, and will show what percentage a dog is of certain breeds. The results can be shocking.

“Sometimes you’ll find out a dog that you thought was a pit bull is actually part Chihuahua,” Steffen says. 

The DNA tests can be really helpful. Last December, a family adopted a puppy whose breed the shelter wasn't quite sure of. Three months later, the family's landlord said pit bulls were prohibited. The saddened family returned the puppy. But the Humane Society decide to run a DNA test. “We found out that there wasn’t even pit bull in it!” Steffens exclaims. It turned out the dog was actually an Australian shepherd, beagle, and Chihuahua. The family took the detailed report back to their landlord and were able to keep their dog for good.

"It was a win-win," Steffen says.

The DNA tests are easy enough. The dog’s cheeks are swabbed with a Q-tip and the sample is sent to Wisdom Panel, a company that runs the tests and sends back a detailed report. The dog’s lineage is displayed in the form of an ancestry tree. This allows you to see which breeds are present at the parent, grandparent, and great-grandparent levels.

For Father’s Day, the tests results are complimentary at the shelter and Steffen hopes the analysis will make families more likely to adopt certain dogs. They will be running DNA reports for about 15 dogs, but the four dogs below are their most contested: 

Summer is a 54-pound, 3-year-old American Staffordshire terrier mix... or so we think. She was given up by her family because they did not want the responsibility of having a dog. They described her as shy at first, but once she gets to know you she is very sweet. Loves to chew on toys and she knows basic commands. She loves to go for walks and is used to being walked three times a day. She loves men and gets along with other dogs.
Summer is a 54-pound, 3-year-old American Staffordshire terrier mix... or so we think. She was given up by her family because they did not want the responsibility of having a dog. They described her as shy at first, but once she gets to know you she is very sweet. Loves to chew on toys and she knows basic commands. She loves to go for walks and is used to being walked three times a day. She loves men and gets along with other dogs.
Courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County
Waldo is a 2-year-old, 43-pound shepherd mix... or so we think. He came to the Humane Society from another shelter. The adoption staff says he is very sweet, but a bit shy with new people. He is potty-trained and we are working on leash training with him. He is a mellow fellow who needs a patient home who can help him come out of his shell and be more confident.
Waldo is a 2-year-old, 43-pound shepherd mix... or so we think. He came to the Humane Society from another shelter. The adoption staff says he is very sweet, but a bit shy with new people. He is potty-trained and we are working on leash training with him. He is a mellow fellow who needs a patient home who can help him come out of his shell and be more confident.
Courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County
Drewby has been waiting since March for his forever home. He is a 6-years-young, 54-pound boxer mix… or so we think. This handsome fellow loves to take long walks and he’ll walk right next to you. He loves kids and does well with other dogs and will make a wonderful companion for one lucky family.
Drewby has been waiting since March for his forever home. He is a 6-years-young, 54-pound boxer mix… or so we think. This handsome fellow loves to take long walks and he’ll walk right next to you. He loves kids and does well with other dogs and will make a wonderful companion for one lucky family.
Courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County
Mossey is a 4-year-old, 67-pound Doberman mix, although she could be part hound dog too. The landlord said no pets, so now she is looking for another home. Mossey knows sit and loves chew bones. She is good with kids over age 2 and with other dogs, although she may bark at first.
Mossey is a 4-year-old, 67-pound Doberman mix, although she could be part hound dog too. The landlord said no pets, so now she is looking for another home. Mossey knows sit and loves chew bones. She is good with kids over age 2 and with other dogs, although she may bark at first.
Courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County

The adoption fee for these select dogs, all dogs over 40 pounds, and cats 6 months and older will be half- price for Father’s Day weekend. All pets are spayed or neutered and microchipped before going home. They receive preliminary vaccinations, a 10-day limited health care plan courtesy of VCA Animal Hospitals, and 30 days of Trupanion pet insurance (restrictions apply). Dogs over 7 months are tested for heartworm, and cats are feline leukemia tested. Adopters also receive a bag of Purina ONE pet food and more goodies. The regular adoption fee for dogs over 6 months is $100 and cats over 6 months, $30.

The DNA test kits are also sold at the Humane Society if you’d like to test your own dog. They cost $74.99 and proceeds go to benefit the shelter. 


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