A healthy Shih Tzu named Emma has been put down as per her late owner’s will.
Per WWBT, the dog reportedly arrived at the Chesterfield Animal Services shelter in Virginia on March 8, after her owner died. During her two-week stay, staff at the shelter repeatedly tried to keep Emma alive.
Carrie Jones, manager of the shelter told WWBT:
“We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home and re-home.”
But the executor of the dead woman’s estate wouldn’t budge and on March 22, Emma was taken to a local veterinarian and euthanised. Her ashes were placed in an urn and returned to the chosen representative of the woman’s estate to be laid to rest with her.
Pets are considered personal property under Virginia law so Emma’s death isn’t illegal. Although, according to Virginia’s Funeral Director’s Association president Larry Spiaggi: “It’s not legal to put a dog’s cremated remains – or any remains – in a casket and bury them” save for a few exceptions like privately owned and family owned cemeteries.
Emma’s death has sparked debate on social media with many asking each other if it’s okay to kill a healthy pet so it can be buried with its human.
For the most part, a lot of people slammed the decision describing it as “horrible” and “heartbreaking.” One user said they were “torn” about the news, comparing Emma to the “so many healthy dogs in shelters that get euthanised unnecessarily.”
Not sure what I think about this. A healthy dog euthanized so that it could be buried with its owner. I am as bonded with my dogs as anyone and would rather they live the full length of their lives than have their lives ended just because mine did. https://t.co/uTOSedn3wf
— Chuck Bell (@ChuckBell4) May 22, 2019