EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Animal rights advocates in Ciudad Juarez are calling on animal shelters to pause adoptions of pets around Halloween, specifically the adoptions of black cats and dogs.

Animal welfare advocates say they believe those animals are most at risk for what they call satanic rituals involving those animals around and on Halloween.

Susana Renteria, the director of Susy Cats in Juarez, said white cats are also at risk.

The myth of black cats being harbingers of bad luck is not new. Historically, they’ve been associated with witches, magic and the supernatural.

Online petitions have been circulating, asking shelters across the state to pause the adoptions until after Halloween as a way to prevent these animals from getting in the wrong hands where they might be used as props for the spooky holiday, or subjected to abuse and harm.

One shelter in Juarez said they are choosing to stop adoptions until then.

“Unfortunately, these types of things do happen, so adoptions need to be paused for dogs and cats especially if they are white or black. We are not in agreement with this behavior. Laws have also become stricter,” Renteria said.

The state of Chihuahua has been giving fines to people accused of animal abuse and perpetrators can also face up to two years in jail.

Over on the other side of the border in El Paso, Julieanne Newbold with El Paso Animal Services said it’s mainly just a myth that there is any increased animal abuse toward black cats around Halloween.

“There’s a lot of superstition, either that they are unlucky or that there is an increased risk of them being adopted around the Halloween season,” Newbold said. “But according to the ASPCA and the Humane Society of America, they haven’t noticed an increased risk or court cases surrounding black cats and Halloween.”

Newbold said statistics actually show that black cats and dogs have a lower chance of being adopted.

“We always try and promote them throughout the year to find homes for them,” Newbold said.

As for other ways to keep pets safe around Halloween, Newbold said pet owners should be aware of how increased amounts of candies and treats can be harmful to pets.

“They don’t need to be eating candy; there are pet-friendly treats they can enjoy,” Newbold said. “We know chocolate is harmful to dogs but there can also be other ingredients in other candies that can hurt them so it’s best to keep the candy away.”

She also said trick-or-treaters can be stressful to pets with the constant opening of the front door and strangers arriving to the home. Newbold advises pet owners microchip any pets or make sure the information is up to date, as well as make sure all pets have their collars and tags.

“Try to keep them safe either in a room or somewhere away from all the activity with their favorite toys or calming music that way they can stay safe during trick-or-treating event,” Newbold said.

For more information or tips, visit the El Paso Animal Services website.