ANIMALS LOVERS the world over are up in arms after a story broke about a healthy dog that was put down so it could be buried with its late owner.
WWBT first reported on Emma, the Shih Tzu mix, that was put to sleep by a vet despite suffering no health issues.
According to the report, Emma was put down as part of explicit instructions laid out by her late owner.
After Emma’s owner died, the dog was initially taken to Chesterfield Animal Shelter in Virginia, where she quickly endeared herself to staff at the shelter.
However, the dog was subsequently taken away after it emerged that one of the late owner’s dying wishes was that her dog be laid to rest alongside her.
Despite desperate pleas from staff at the shelter, the executor of the dead woman’s estate had the dog euthanised.
Staff had urged the executor to consider allowing the dog to live and be re-homed – but those suggestions fell on deaf ears.
“We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home,” Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield Animal Services, explained to WWBT.
“Ultimately, they came back in on March 22 and redeemed the dog.”
Emma was taken to her local vet where she was euthanised and cremated. Her remains were then passed on to a representative from her late owner’s estate.
Putting a pet down in these sorts of circumstances is not illegal in Virginia.
Though it is illegal for pets to be buried with their owners in most conventional cemeteries, several loopholes exist when it comes to private and family-owned plots.
The story has sparked widespread outrage and debate online.
Some were disgusted.
This is horrible. I took my dad's dog to visit him in hospice a few times, but it never occurred to either of us to euthanize his dog so it could be buried with him. I found a nice lady to take him instead. https://t.co/HUsZFca0FC
— Dixie 🆘 (@phanson1253) May 23, 2019
Others questioned the motivations.
Really? That's how you show your animal your love? Killing them so you can have them put in a box with your dead body? Good grief! https://t.co/Lca8Ph55ER
— J.R. Rioux (@JRRioux_Author) May 23, 2019
Some were left heartbroken...
This story just broke my heart! As a dogmom myself, I can understand not ever wanting be separated from them, but to have a perfectly healthy dog killed for your own selfish reasons is insane! I agree w/Cheryl. Setup a trust fund or something so the dog will be cared for......
— Kristie Lent (@Kristieinaction) May 22, 2019
A few were disgusted...
Some actually saw the owner's side of things though...
Seems bizarre but maybe she didn’t think she could trust anyone to take care of the dog or maybe she didn’t think the dog would do well without her.
— Trisha Jondle (@gilmoregoofball) May 22, 2019
They could totally see her point...
Thats a hard question to answer i love my dog and i would prefer him be with someone that would take good care of him BUT if there no ? one available that is a genuine animal lover i dont wont him with them pic.twitter.com/0b6jhRj8Hs
— Rose Lee (@RoseLacefabric) May 22, 2019
A few tried to highlight the bigger picture...
The outrage is interesting tho given the number of healthy young animals euthanized , left homeless at shelters. And blinders need to be removed on the suffering and perils of non dog animals. What goes on in factory farming is far worse yet ppl are more upset at this
— Mary Miller🦍🐵🐷🐸🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘 (@ClubMaryMiller) May 22, 2019
There were some unique arguments on the topic...
That’s one of the two having a peaceful burial knowing that nobody can harm the dog!!! She obviously didn’t want anyone to have her dog and wanted to have something next to her when she left this earth
— Lauri (@48kmom) May 22, 2019
Others were concerned about the potential ramification of the change in laws.
I am opposed to euthanizing a pet just so that it can be buried with you. I am, however, against changing laws so that responsible pet owners can no longer give instructions in their will on what to do with their pets after they die, including euthanization.
— Victoria A. Harper (@GrulloArab) May 23, 2019
Most, however, erred on the side of letting the dog live.
Not sure what I think about this. A healthy dog euthanized so that it could be buried with its owner. I am as bonded with my dogs as anyone and would rather they live the full length of their lives than have their lives ended just because mine did. https://t.co/uTOSedn3wf
— Chuck Bell (@ChuckBell4) May 22, 2019