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Man calls for change after his 18-year-old dog euthanized at shelter after he claimed him

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | May 18, 2013 | Comments (18)

BowWow was accidentally euthanized after his owner claimed him

A dog owner is distraught after his 18-year-old dog was accidentally euthanized at a shelter after he claimed him. A week ago, Bow Wow, the Calhoun Collie mix of Patrick Morris got out of his gate. Patrick and his wife Kimberly put up flyers all around their neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana hoping someone would see their dog.

It turns out someone did see Bow Wow, as animal control came and picked the senior dog up and took him to their shelter. Patrick said he went to the East Baton Rouge shelter several times over the seven days he was looking for his dog. He was told on at least three separate occasions that Bow Wow wasn't there. But Bow Wow was. Shelter paperwork shows that the dog was processed last Saturday, but the dog was put in the wrong area.  

Then on Friday, Patrick convinced the workers into letting him take a look for himself. "I said - I need to go back there and see if he's back there," Patrick recalled. "And sure as I walked in the door, he was right there. When he saw me, he started cutting up - jumping and stuff like that."

Patrick was told he needed his driver's license and to pay the $140 fee to get Bow Wow, so he made a trip to get the necessary items, and when he returned less than an hour later, he was told Bow Wow had been accidentally euthanized.

"It was a horrible feeling," Patrick told WAFB on Friday. "What I went through today was horrible. People will look at this and might say... I can tell you it was like losing a child."

Beth Brewster, director of Companion Animal Alliance, the organization that runs the shelter, said they take full responsibility. "CAA takes full responsibility for what happened." She added, "This is not the reputation I want us to have because humans make mistakes and we just have to look more closely at our protocols to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Brewster has been the director of the shelter for under four months after the previous shelter director resigned under allegations of neglect and animal cruelty. The public animal shelter has been beset with problems in the past few years. The Advocate reported, that "it's endured disasters of a different variety over the past couple years - including a revolving door of its leadership, investigations revealing overcrowding and mismanagement, and a small-scale mutiny by its own employees who publicly complained a former director was breaking veterinary protocols."

The shelter is typically overcrowded and houses about 400 animals at any given time. It is attempting to transition to a no-kill shelter since last fall.

Patrick's wife Kimberly says she would like to see a system overhaul at the shelter. "There is nothing that can replace him," she said. She said they are not seeking monetary gain. They simply don't want this to happen again to anyone else who comes to find their dog. 

If you would like to support the Morris' request for change, here's what you can do:






View more articles in: Advocacy and Animal Welfare

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Comments on this Article

"Taking full responsibility" does what?
That is so so sad that poor family, I would have been utterly distraught :-(
Christopher and any one else wanting to put blame on the owners! Just because they didnt have their dog micro chipped and he didnt have tags doesn't mean they can't afford them. A lot of people don't put tags on their dog or micro chip them! This is all on the shelter! These people took good care of their dog. Hello he was 18 yrs old!the shelter staff told him over and over that his dog wasn't there! All along he was. Then they put the dog in the wrong area and kill him! Hello everyone messed up! The person that moved the dog! Then the person that killed the dog! And also the ones that kept saying he wasn't there! They all need fired! They are lucky it wasn't my dog! They would need a medic!
I'm SO sorry for your loss. How they made this mistake in less than the ONE hour after you identified your dog boggles my mind - especially since you'd been to their shelter SEVERAL times looking. Shelter workers should be elated when they match up a lost dog with the owner, and euthanising any dog should be hard for them, not rote. These people did everything right, they looked relentlessly. Some people don't chip their dogs, regardless of YOUR opinion on that topic, everyone is entitles to their own opinion. I personally have mine chipped, but these people managed to keep their dog safe for 18 YEARS, so to call them irresponsible is just ridiculous. Period.
@Christopher Schiebel: So the anger over what happened to Bow Wow comes from people who've failed their pets? Excuse me, but MY pets are up to date on their tags (as all my dogs have been), have been microchipped (which I had done because neither shelter did it at the time), wear tags, etc. They're also current on their vaccinations. In just this last month I've spent over $1100 on Octavius alone for his yearly exam, shots, a dental procedure, and an emergency visit. He has allergies so he eats special food and treats. All of that in addition to the other pets exams. YOU are missing the point. The shelter had the dog for DAYS, during which his owner asked about him several times and was told he wasn't there. They had MANY opportunities to save his life with a simple walk through then. They could have used a simple note on his cage for the hour it took his owner to get what he needed to bring him home after he was FINALLY allowed to check for him and put the hold on him, but they FAILED there, too, killing him instead. This killing is on the SHELTER, not the owner. Tags get lost sometimes for many reasons- escape artists slip their collars all the time (I had a border collie who was great at that). It was up to the shelter to follow the safeguards to protect the life of an innocent dog they had complete control of, and they failed. NO amount of 'I'm sorry' can ever bring him back. Stop siding with the killers.
I am sorry for the loss of their pet. My heart aches for you. As far as having your pet chipped, just know that that is not full proof. I could not remember if my youngest pet had been chipped when I took him to the shelter to get an update on his rabies. They scanned him and didn't find anything. So I was going to have him chipped. When I got to the exam area they scanned him again and found it. Have your dog wear the tag they give you saying that it is chipped. Just being chipped is not enough.
Wow, again you people need to chill. I never said that the shelter had no responsibility. What I can't get is how very little responsibility the owners are taking in the situation and how easily people are allowing them to wash away their sins. NO TAG, NO RFID. If either one of those things would have been in place, this would not have happened. Don't give the owners a free pass. I suspect the vitriol to my post indicates that those who are "pinged" by my statement are failing in some of the same duties. Look, I have had several rescue dogs and got my last one just this last New Years. I didn't get him chipped until March and just got him licensed last week. We had to work out some of the immunizations first. But look. If he would have gotten out, first person to blame would have been ME. MY fault. In the video the owners don't even for one instant take any blame for what happened. If you can't take responsibility for your own actions DESPITE what the shelter did then you shouldn't own a pet, PERIOD.
OK yes the necessary chip, tag etc wasn't in place, but what people are forgetting is this person found his friend, had spoken to the idiots at the shelter and was reassured that get the items and cash and he's yours. Then Bow Wow should have been put in a holding pen for his return. These incompetent MORONS should NOT be working with these beautiful animals. I would be devastated if that had happened to my girl
I'm very sad to hear that this happened, & it does sound like a really stupid mistake by the shelter. However, it could have all been avoided had the dog been microchipped. If you love your dog like your child, please spend the $30 or whatever to get a microchip.
@Christopher Schiebel: HUH???? No, there apparently wasn't a dog tag. HOWEVER, how many times does a person have to go to the VERY SHELTER where your dog is being held over a period of SEVERAL days before someone finally allows you to go back and find him? Why was Bow Wow even put in the wrong place at all? Why didn't the people at the desk BOTHER to check to see if a dog answering his description had been brought in and put ANYWHERE within the shelter walls??? Sorry, chum, but this is ALL on the shelter that didn't bother to make certain the dog wasn't there at least 3 times (and possibly more) and that didn't hold the dog when his owner showed up and they KNEW he was coming back with the necessary funds, etc to get him AFTER THEY'D SCREWED UP ALL WEEK IN DENYING HE WAS THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!
to Christopher Schiebel~~~"Patrick was told he needed his driver's license and to pay the $140 fee to get Bow Wow, so he made a trip to get the necessary items, and when he returned less than an hour later, he was told Bow Wow had been accidentally euthanized."~~~~ he went to collect what he needed but when he came back for his dog he was "accidentally" killed his dog.......they just couldn't wait till he got back.....NOTHING u spoke of was even mentioned!!!! the "shelter" screwed up!!!!! nothing about licenses or anything u spoke of WAS NOT EVEN MENTIONED!!!!!! the ONLY license mention was Patrick's driver's license............................ sarah
Wow, you people need to chill. What about the owners? This is terrible, but consider...there must not have been a license. Strike one. No contact tag or rfid? Strike two. I give them kudos for being persistent, but seriously, license your dogs and make sure they have contact tags, rfid or BOTH. They are just as responsible for what happened. The alliance director didn't mention any of this because she was very clearly remorseful. It's not all on the city though. RFID is like $35 bucks. If you can't afford inexpensive license fees, a $10 contact tag or $35 RFID chipping, then you shouldn't have a dog because you aren't being responsible.
I am right up there with M.L. Smith, Sarah wilson and napole. Something serious should be done about this. Is one thing to make the decision to do it your self, but to have someone accidentally? do it after you have claimed him. The whole staff should not only be fired but severely fined also. God Damn-it. I am so pissed right now, I could euthanize the people that "accidentally " did this and not think a thing about it. They love us unconditionally and we are suppose to protect them. They cannot speak for their selves. I am so sorry for your loss Patrick and Kimberly
This pisses me off. I volunteered there for a little while with my cousin. They did the same exact thing to my cousin's foster dog. Those people need to be sued and put under better management. I left there because it was too depressing to volunteer there, get attached to a dog, then come back, wondering where the dog is, only for my cousin to reveal to me that it was euthanized b/c "there wasn't enough room to keep him". It's completely stupid.
There's not excuse for this. There's no reason to be 'in such a hurry' to empty their kennels. My God what is this world coming to? And t his happens more and more all the time. But the saddest thing is they claim they want to become 'no kill'. What kind of shelter wanting to become no kill hurries to kill off their animals, especially after an owner came to claim his dog?? The whole staff needs overhauled there. At least they took responsibility for this mistake, which is more than most, but dear God how do you get over knowing your dog of 18 yrs died without you there?
I have only ONE word for you. Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue. I am so angry right now after reading this that I could spit. The whole shelter needs to be shut down and completely restaffed with people who are not morons and actually care for animals. Good luck, I really feel for you, damn I am so angry.
My condolences to the Morris. I have heard of similar incidents here in CA. The shelters are so overcrowded and in such hurry to empty their cages the mistakes they make are not uncommon. Sadly it's always the dogs that already have loving homes and owners who lose in the end.
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