On May 10, a volunteer at Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare took to social media to voice her outrage after she saw a dog euthanised while in labour at the shelter. She has since been asked to take a step back from her work.
According to News Channel 10 who reported the story, Dacia Anderson, the volunteer said:
I felt disgusted, I felt horrified, I felt like if this was okay then what’s not okay.
After seeing the dog give birth to a puppy, she immediately alerted staff members to get the dog a whelping box. However, upon returning a little while later to see how the dog was doing, she realised they has euthanised her. Anderson said:
She had been euthanised while in labor. Not before, not after, but during.
After trying to express concerns and even speaking with city officials, the Anderson said she decided to make the post on Facebook. The post clearly resonated with many people, gaining more than 1,500 likes and thousands of shares.
Please let me be VERY clear. The Amarillo-Panhandle Humane Society is a separate entity. They handle adoptions and…
After receiving many threats to the shelter, Director Richard Havens said that there was another side to the story:
The owner’s of the dog in question called us at night and called 911 in distress because they were afraid of their own dog. The dog was becoming aggressive to them and their other animals. The following morning we ended up euthanizing the dog because of the risk of public safety. The owners did not want the dog. They did sign legal custody over to the City of Amarillo and then we processed the dog out the follow morning.
He went on to say that euthanising a dog is never easy and is most certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. He said that if everyone took the necessary precautions by spaying and neutering their dogs, then tough decisions like this wouldn’t have to be made.
However, Anderson insists that the dog wasn’t aggressive and that the people at the shelter have a moral obligation to do the right thing. She said:
But once that animal is in that facility, they have an obligation to do what’s right for the animal in the most humane way possible. And what I saw that day was not humane.
When asked about their policy on euthanizing dogs that are pregnant, Havens said it depends on the situation:
It’s taken by a case-by-case basis with regards to adoptability, how far along to term they are, and then a lot of the medical decisions are also deferred to our on-sight shelter veterinarian who is responsible for the overall herd health of the shelter. At the end of they day, best practices is to spay-abort. This community already has such an overabundance of animals. Why would we ever encourage more animals to be born into this community?
According to America Humane, in 2016, 56% of dogs that enter animal shelters are euthanised due to lack of adoption.
Both Anderson and Havens encourage the public to step up to foster or adopt animals so incidents like this don’t happen again.
H/t: News Channel 10