Virginia Shih Tzu euthanized: Chesterfield Animal Services moral dilemma. Social media erupts after a woman’s final wish to have her healthy dog buried with her is ‘respected.’
Disconcert has come to the fore after revelations of a healthy dog recently being euthanized and buried with its dead owner after a Virginia woman left specific instructions in her will for her pet Shih Tzu mix Emma to be killed and put in her casket with her.
The puppy was euthanized following her owner’s death after being held at a local animal shelter in Chesterfield County, Virginia, for two weeks the nypost reported.
The ‘marked’ animal had arrived there on March 8 but was taken to a local vet and put down after the executor of the dead woman’s estate revealed the woman’s final wishes.
Staff at the shelter are said to have pleaded with officials to try and stop the death but Emma was killed and taken to a pet cremation center in Richmond.
Her ashes were then put in an urn and buried with her dead owner.
Carrie Jones, the manager of Chesterfield Animal Services, told WWBT: ‘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.
‘Ultimately, they came back in on March 22 and redeemed the dog.’
Dogs are personal property under Virginia law. It is not illegal to euthanize a healthy pet but vets may have ethical reasons to not carry out the procedure.
The incident has sparked fury online with one Twitter user writing: ‘I hate this. Put in your will that you want the dog to go to family or something not that you insist a healthy animal must be euthanized just so you can “keep” it after death.’
Another added: ‘Healthy dog is euthanized to be buried with its dead owner. How absolutely IGNORANT AND SHAMEFUL can one SELFISH person be???’
And one said: ‘I’m not sure what sickens me more, the owner’s wishes, the executor of the will, or the vet who euthanized the dog. I’m sure the shelter employees were just heartbroken over this.’
Virginia Funeral Directors Association President Larry Spiaggi said: ‘It’s not legal to put a dog’s cremated remains, or any animal, in a casket and bury them.’
There are some exceptions for private and family owned cemeteries.
Dr. Kenny Lucas of the Shady Grove Animal Clinic told WWBT: ‘Whenever we’re faced with a euthanasia situation, it’s a very emotional situation, and beyond everything we talk about, that we need to do ethically, and we’ve taken an oath to do and it’s something we take home, too. It weighs on us as professionals.’
I’m finding it hard to feel compassion toward those involved in this decision. The owner, the will’s executor, the veterinarian. I wish the shelter would have taken this to court. (I am not blaming them. I do wish they would have fought, though.)https://t.co/s333NPgbl7
— Arin Greenwood (@arin_twit) May 22, 2019