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Thread: Heartbreak - Dog put down by accident

  1. #1
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    Heartbreak - Dog put down by accident

    When Alex Williams' family dog, a precocious red-tail pit bull whose stomping ground was Williams' south Stockton back yard, was confiscated by Animal Control in February, Williams expected a hassle.

    He didn't expect heartbreak.

    But a week and a half later, heartbreak is all Williams, his wife and stepdaughter have left: The pit bull, who the family called Chocolate, was mistakenly euthanized after a mix-up at Stockton Animal Shelter.

    "I can't understand. How could they make that stupid mistake?" Williams asked. "This is a terrible mistake."

    And it's a mistake that, according to animal-welfare experts throughout Northern California, has happened before and no doubt will happen again in Stockton and throughout the country.

    "Unfortunately, I've seen it happen," said Lissy Berrian, manager at the Broadway Pet Hotel, a shelter in Berkeley. "This isn't like a rare occurrence. It says a lot about the state of our animal control."

    As many as 60 percent of confiscated or abandoned dogs that end up in shelters nationwide are euthanized, according to a national animal-welfare group. At the Stockton shelter, after a $1.3 million expansion led to what some say are drastic improvements in all aspects of animal care, 66 percent of dogs were euthanized last year, down from 79 percent in 1997. ::: Advertisement :::


    Almost all those dogs were euthanized after nobody claimed or adopted them. But experts say it isn't uncommon for beloved family dogs such as Chocolate to be killed accidentally because of inexperienced staff, overcrowded shelters or simple paperwork mistakes.

    "This does occur," said Bob Reder, regional coordinator of the Humane Society of the United States' West Coast office. "Unfortunately mistakes can be made."

    The Stockton shelter, which is operated by the Police Department, refused to comment about the incident, saying the matter was being handled by the city attorney's office. Assistant City Attorney Barbara Anderson declined to discuss the case, because the family is filing a claim seeking restitution for the loss.

    Anderson said there was no way to count exactly how many dogs had been euthanized in error at the shelter but that staff in the city attorney's office could remember only a couple in the past 15 years.

    Diane Jarvis, president of Friends of the Stockton Animal Shelter, a nonprofit that has pushed for improvements at the shelter for several years, defended the shelter.

    If it did happen, she said, "it was truly a mistake. That staff works really hard." Jarvis could remember only "one or two" similar incidents in the past four years, and she said an increase in cages, a better-trained staff and a commitment to animal care have vastly improved conditions at the shelter in the past year.

    Animal Control officers confiscated Chocolate more than a week ago after she had a run-in with a neighborhood woman, Williams said. The dog spent the weekend at the shelter, and on Monday, Williams went to the South Lincoln Street office to fill out some paperwork to help bring her home.

    Shelter officials told Williams she was at a different office, but when he got there, he learned Chocolate had been put to sleep, Williams said.

    "They made a mistake," Williams said. "They got the papers mixed up. Somebody that worked over the weekend did it."

    Williams, his wife and stepdaughter spent last week searching for answers. They are preparing to file a claim with the city but are unsure how much money to ask for, uncertain what they are entitled to. They still don't know how or why Chocolate was killed or by whom, and they say the city refuses to show them any paperwork related to Chocolate's stay at the shelter or her death.

    The family, which had Chocolate for five years, is considering hiring an attorney.

    "They went beyond mistreating my dog," said Tamara Richardson, Williams' stepdaughter, who lives in Oakland. "They killed her. No one's fighting for me. My stepfather's getting getting frustrated, and my mother's getting frustrated, and I'm getting frustrated. And we're still at zero."

    I've been BOO'd!

  2. #2
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    I have heard of that happining alot. It's always so-called "dangerous" dog breeds that get put down too. The animal shelter in our county admitts that if they get a rottie or a pit that it is automaticly considered unadoptable and a danger to society and it is put down. We just got a new animal control supervisor though and I'm hoping thing will change. It's horribly unfair to the animal and the person it belongs to.


    But then again, it is the resposibility of the owner to abide by all leash laws. Not to say that a dog can't get off it's chain or out of it's pen, but I know some people just let their dogs wander around everywhere and usually that's why a dog gets picked up by animal control in the first place because someone has complained of a dog frequenting the area.


    By owning a breed such as a pit, rottie, or chow you have the added resposibility of keeping it put up and being in complete control of the animal at all times. Everyone knows that there is alot of prejudice against these dogs and even if you have the nicest chow in the world, people are still going to be scared of it. And could you honestly say that if someone threw a rock at your dog for fear of it that it wouldn't growl or snap?

    I'm definanly not saying that it's right for the pound to put these dogs down, but the people in stories like that should have been more reasposable with their animals and the fact that alot of them are not makes me angrier!

  3. #3
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    That's very sad.
    I feel bad for the family, because now they've lost their dog--it's such a sad accident.
    Emily, Kito, Abbey, Riley, and Jada

  4. #4
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    I agree with RogueFerret - it is a tragic thing to happen, but some blame also lies with the family that allowed their pit bull to run loose and "have a run-in with a neighborhood woman."
    "We give dogs the time we can spare, the space we can spare and the love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made" - M. Facklam

    "We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams."- P.S. Beagle

    "All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king." - J.R.R. Tolkien

  5. #5
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    sometimes I onder if they did this on purpose because the dog was a pitty...people are getting more and more anxious to get rid of some breeds, but there's no point...If you get rid of the rotties and the pitbulls, you are going to see alot of aggressive german shepherds....get rid of those, you are going to see alot of aggressive staffies chows and dalmatians...get rid of those, and there will be aggressive mastiffs and dobermans...it's inevitable...
    I've been BOO'd!

  6. #6
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    When Wilma escaped last summer and all I could envision was pandemonium with a pitbull running around the neighborhood I considered making her wear a sign that said, "Hi! I'm friendly!".

    Luckily when she got out the garage door was open and I found here in there, "grazing" out of the pantry! LOL

    I agree that when you own a "high risk" breed you need to be extra vigilant in training, housing and safety.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    ~Kat

  7. #7
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    omg, too cute of a picture!
    I've been BOO'd!

  8. #8
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    I LOVE that pic!!!!

  9. #9
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    You can buy t-shirts and stuff with that pic one them......it's by a pitbull rescue group. I'll see if I can find the link.....
    ~Kat

  10. #10
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