In the case of many pet owners, their dogs are like a beloved member of the family. In the case that they have to euthanize them because of health problems or old age, it’s typically a pretty tragic and heartbreaking event. Few pet owners would allow their dogs to be put down without a veterinarian explicitly saying that it was necessary because the dog was in pain or experiencing a low quality of life. However, an incident recently took place in Virginia involving a dog being put down that was actually quite healthy. The dog, a Shih Tzu mix named Emma, had no known health problems but was put down anyway, according to CNN.
Emma had been owned by a dying woman who expressed a bizarre final wish. She wished that upon her death, her dog would be put down and buried along with her. Her wish was granted. Emma was dropped off at the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter in Chesterfield, Virginia, on March 8, after her owner had passed. For two weeks, she remained there while the shelter tried to do what they could to prevent her from being euthanized. They reached out to the executor of the dead woman’s estate in hopes of persuading them to allow the dog to be adopted instead. Their request was denied.
Emma, a healthy Shih Tzu mix, was euthanized to fulfill her late owner's dying wish that the dog be put down -- and then laid to rest with her https://t.co/3ijjkDw7oH— CNN (@CNN) May 22, 2019
“We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home,” said Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield Animal Services.
The executor of the owner’s estate came to the Chesterfield Animal Shelter to get the dog on March 22, and once again the employees there pleaded for the dog’s life but were turned down. Emma was euthanized by a local veterinarian and later cremated at pet cremation center in Richmond, Virginia. Her ashes were collected, put into an urn, and returned to the executor of the dead woman’s estate.
It is legal in the state of Virginia to be buried alongside your pets, but only in select cemeteries. In addition, licensed veterinarians are allowed to euthanize a pet if they are requested to do so. However, few will agree to it for moral reasons.
Dr. Kenny Lucas with the Shady Grove Animal Clinic said he would refuse if given such a request.
“Whenever we’re faced with a euthanasia situation, it’s a very emotional situation – and beyond everything we talk about – that we need to do ethically, and we’ve taken an oath to do. Also it’s something we take home too. It weighs on us as professionals.”