As you may have noticed, I’m fond of exploring these shades of gray issues. To wit, an interesting story about a CA woman who took her 9 year old Cocker Spaniel to the vet, felt it was time to euthanize the dog and subsequently dropped the dog off at the local shelter for euthanasia. The shelter didn’t identify any medical or behavioral problems with the dog and so reached out to an area Cocker rescue. The rescue took the dog and adopted her out immediately. The owner found out and was distraught. Although the article does provide more details than we often see, there is one part concerning the legal aspect of the case that has me confused:
The form [the owner] signed, according to officials with Animal Services, does not state that the department has the final say in determining whether to euthanize a dog.
Animal Services retains some discretion over the fate of animals surrendered, regardless of whether euthanasia was requested.
I’d really like to see the actual form myself but in the absence of that, I guess I’m questioning how the shelter both does and does not have ultimate discretion over disposal of the dog.
We can think about this case from not only a legal perspective but from an ethical one as well. Should the shelter have offered pet retention counseling to the surrendering owner? How would you feel if you were in the owner’s shoes now? How about if you were the shelter manager who saw a dog that seemed highly adoptable slated for euthanasia?
h/t Clarice for sending in this link.