WICHITA, Kansas -- A 12-year-old animal-loving girl from Wichita is taking on a problem plaguing animal shelters across the country.
Animal shelters and Humane Societies are fighting Black Dog Syndrome, in which people tend to choose light-colored dogs over dogs with black fur.
"It's nothing to do with the dog," says Madison Bell, who volunteers at the Kansas Humane Society. "People don't want to put enough time and effort into seeing what this dog can really do."
Bell's goal is to raise awareness about it and, together with the Kansas Humane Society, she hopes you'll choose your next pet based on personality, not color.
"It's like you pass a billboard while driving down the highway," said Bell. "You have five seconds for that billboard to show its message and, just like black dogs if they're just laying down in their shelters, it doesn't really give a good message."
"You can take two animals from the same litter, one a lighter color and one a darker black color and the lighter one will get adopted faster, people will be more attracted to it and it's really a terrible thing because these are all great animals that just need homes," said Jennifer Campbell, Kansas Humane Society Director of Communications.
In order to increase black dog adoptions at the Kansas Humane Society, they do things like put bright red bandannas on the dogs, hoping it'll catch your eye and you'll consider taking a black dog home, too.
"Sometimes that's that extra second of time they need for someone to consider saving their life and adopting them," said Campbell.
"It's heartbreaking because there are animals out there that are like that and it's sad," said Bell. "If you take the time to pay attention you will definitely see it."
Bell founded the Black Dog Club to raise awareness of Black Dog Syndrome. A $25 donation to the Kansas Humane Society gets you a membership.
The Girl Scout from Wichita raised $1,300 at Woofstock this year to help her cause.
"There's no difference," said Bell. "They've got the same personality as a white animal or an Australian Shepherd, they're great dogs because they are dogs and that's what I love about them."
Bell is also hosting an adoption event on, appropriately, Black Friday, November 23. All black animals will be adopted out for free from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kansas Humane Society
All other animals will have a 25 percent discount that day.