A dog stolen from great-grandparents George and Helen Martin was found last week, but instead of a heartwarming reunion the couple only found tragedy and a slew of unanswered questions.
The Virginia couple’s 15-year-old Pomeranian, Chuckie, went missing on June 30. While George and Helen looked for the dog, what they didn’t know at the time was that someone had stolen Chuckie and drove him 30 miles away, WSLS reported.
George said the dog was treated poorly during the abduction.
“Who ever got him didn’t have any regard for him. They took him away from here and dropped him and didn’t care if he lived or died and that’s what it hurts, that’s what hurts,” Martin says.
Somehow Chuckie either escaped or was abandoned, and soon was found by an animal control officer in Roanoke. Chuckie was taken to an animal hospital the next day, where vets noticed some neurological symptoms but otherwise found the dog healthy.
But Chuckie would get worse from there. Vets said the animal started vomiting and walking around in circles, forcing them to rush Chuckie back to the animal hospital.
There, vets decided to put Chuckie down.
“We saw an animal that we believed needed immediate medical car, and so we called for an officer to pick the animal up and transport it to the veterinarian and that’s our role in all of this,” David Flagler Executive Director of Regional Center for Animal Control and Protection said. “It appears that while the animal was in the care of the veterinarian, the decision was made to euthanize the animal.”
Meanwhile, 30 miles away, George and Helen Martin were still searching for their beloved Chuckie, and would only find out later that he had been euthanized.
The story was shared on the link-sharing site Reddit by user thejshep, who offered some more context:
This happened to my fiance’s grandfather. This week he had let his dog out for a few minutes and apparently somebody took the dog when he went inside to check oh his wife (she has dementia). After learning that the dog had gone missing, the family put out the call on social media for people to contact them with any information regarding it’s whereabouts. Within a day they found out that the dog was reportedly at the pound and went to pick it up. After being given the run-around as to why they couldn’t have the dog back, it was learned that the dog had been put down. We’re not really mad at the vet but I just can’t believe that someone would steal a dog out of somebody’s yard.
The decision to put down the dog has now generated controversy in the area. Shelters are legally required to wait five days before putting down stray animals, though there is a clause that a licensed veterinarian can decide to treat or euthanize animals that are too sick.
The tragedy was remiscient of anther controversial case, this one of non-euthanasia. In Texas, a vet was accused of keeping a dog alive after telling the owners that it had been euthanized. The dog was then kept in squalor and made to sit in its own waste for months.
This one had a happy ending, however, as the dog got medical treatment after being discovered and was able to come home again.
But the Martin family says their tragedy was entirely preventable. They said Chuckie’s symptoms are part of a normal neurological disorder, and could have been cured with the medicine they give the dog daily.