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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Gripe

'They Killed My Children's New Dog'

October 28, 2000

SAMANTHA BONAR spoke with animal rights activist Nancy Bashir, a mother of three who says the dog she adopted for her family at the Los Angeles County animal shelter in Downey was accidentally euthanized before she could pick him up.

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I saw a golden retriever at the Downey shelter on Sept. 30. I had my three children with me, and the dog immediately jumped up and ran to the front of the cage with his tail wagging. I noticed he had a bad sore on his nose, but he loved my three children and they were completely drawn to him. We went to the front office to put a hold on the dog, but were told that the dog was not placeable.

On Monday, Oct. 2, I went to the shelter to check on Goldie, as my 3-year-old daughter had already named him. I was told that the veterinarian said the dog was not placeable because it had arthritis and a sore on its nose. I said that this didn't matter to us and asked how I could adopt this dog. They said I needed a release from the vet stating that I could have him.

The next morning, I rushed to the shelter and headed straight to the vet's office. Dr. Josie Zabala agreed to release the dog on the condition I sign a health waiver and leave a deposit. I was happy to do so. I signed the paperwork and gave them a check for $77; I have a receipt.

I told them I would be back in exactly one hour to pick up the dog. They said that was fine. Before we left, I went to the kennel and scratched Goldie on the head and told him we would be back to take him home in an hour. I also told this to the officer standing with me, who also said that was fine.

Exactly one hour later, my daughter and I were back at the shelter to pick up Goldie and take him to his new home. We went straight to the cage and found it empty. We went back to the office and I gave the officer my receipt. He looked it up in the computer and just blurted out, "That dog was put to sleep."

It seems that someone forgot to stick the paperwork in the cylinder on Goldie's cage, and they hadn't rechecked the computer before the euthanasia. The head officer said it was an honest mistake and they would happily give me an exchange. I said I didn't want an exchange, I wanted Goldie.

I was so devastated I couldn't even speak. My daughter couldn't understand what had happened to Goldie. My two sons came home from school that afternoon, fully expected their new buddy to greet them at the door. When I told them what happened, they were in complete shock that such a mistake could be made with a living, breathing animal. They killed my children's new dog.

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