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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES

The Shelter Replies

October 28, 2000|SANDY HILL | Interim director, L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control

While our department deeply regrets that the dog Nancy Bashir wanted to adopt was euthanized, there is a bit more to the story than her essay states. The dog, a 9-year-old male Golden Retriever, was surrendered by its owner. After examining the dog, Dr. Josie Zabala, our chief veterinarian, found several serious medical conditions, including advanced arthritis, an open wound on the animal's nose, hyperpigmentation on the entire body and indications the dog might be suffering from lupus.

The dog's medical condition was so serious that Dr. Zabala tagged it "not for placement." Our department assesses the placement of animals based on age, temperament--behavior toward humans and other animals--and general medical condition. The dog was scheduled to be euthanized on Oct. 3, after its legally required holding period.

It was not until that morning that Mrs. Bashir talked with Dr. Zabala and agreed to sign a medical waiver assuming full and complete responsibility for the animal.

Our department is investigating the circumstances under which the fact that Dr. Zabala agreed to release the dog was not communicated to the kennel staff in time to prevent the dog's euthanization.

If our procedures were not followed, then appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against the employees responsible.

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