11/18/2004: Oops! Part Deux
Again from the Post: Dog's euthanasia upsets family
When Christian Barton and his 13-year-old daughter, Alexis, left the Humane Society shelter in Maryland Heights last week, they felt they had every reason to believe their Labrador retriever would end up in a good home.Only an 11 minute delay? Talk about efficiency. Probably the first time in recent history they'd been that efficient. And of course, to muck up the waters, there's a dispute about whether the euthanasia was really warranted:
They decided to give up Max because the dog kept escaping from his pen, but Humane Society workers made them feel as comfortable as they could with the decision. They assured Barton black labs were popular picks for shelter visitors. They gave him a form to fill out to help determine what sort of match would be best for him. And they were affectionate and kind to the dog, Barton said.
But 20 minutes after leaving the center, Barton and Alexis realized they had made the wrong decision. So they turned the car around and called the shelter on the cell phone to say they were coming for Max.
The response they got, however, was not at all what they expected: Max was dead.
According to Jeane Jae, director of communications for the Humane Society of Missouri, Max was left at the center at 1:59 p.m. Friday and was euthanized just 11 minutes later. Jae said the dog was killed because a veterinarian technician at the shelter had diagnosed it with a chronic ear infection.
"That decision was made really quick," said Barton, 34, of Montgomery City, Mo. "There is a lot of mental anguish and emotional strife over this whole thing."I smell a lawsuit in the works....
So much so, in fact, that Barton returned to the shelter to claim his dog's body so that it could be examined by two other veterinarians: his grandfather, Dr. Philip Hibbeler, and a Montgomery City vet, Dr. Patricia Homeyer.
Hibbeler told the Post-Dispatch that the dog had no ear infection at all. Homeyer could not be reached Wednesday evening, but Barton said that she, too, disputed the findings of the Humane Society.
After Max's death, the shelter took photos of the dog's ears, took a slide and consulted a veterinarian on staff, said Dr. Don Bridges, director of veterinary medical services for the Humane Society of Missouri.
Bridges said the vet tech who decided the dog should be euthanized did so because the dog's ears had the "characteristic appearance" of having the bacterial organism pseudomonas, a chronic infection that is untreatable in 90 percent of cases.
Bridges said he later viewed the slide that was prepared after Max's death and that it looked consistent with the vet tech's diagnosis.
However, Bridges said the facility had erred in deciding to euthanize the dog so soon. The Humane Society has a policy requiring that animals brought in by their owners be held for 24 hours, he said.
"That didn't happen in this case and I'm not exactly sure why," Bridges said. He said a memo has been sent out to centers to make the policy clear.
Len on 11.18.04 @ 05:29 PM CST