- The dying owner wanted her dog to be put down and laid to rest with her
- The animal shelter tried to have the dog signed over and be adopted, but the executor declined
Some people love their pets deeply and would do anything for them, but one owner might have taken it a bit too far. Emma was a healthy Shih Tzu mix who had to be put down because her owner wanted her to be buried with her.
On March 8, Emma arrived at Chesterfield Country Animal Shelter in Chesterfield, Virginia where she stayed for two weeks after her owner’s death. During that time, the shelter remained in contact with the executor of the dead woman’s estate and tried to convince them to sign over the dog and keep it alive.
“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 told CNN affiliate WWBT.
The spokesperson of the Chesterfield Country Police told the CNN that on March 22 the executor of the woman’s estate came to the shelter to get the dog. The shelter again tried to have the dog signed over to be adopted, but the executor declined.
According to the WWBT report, Emma was taken to a local veterinarian, euthanized, and taken to a pet cremation center in Richmond, Virginia. Her ashes were placed in an urn and returned to the representative of the woman’s estate.
There are cemeteries in the US where it is legal to be buried with your pet. In 2014, Virginia enacted a law to make it legal. The law allows a cemetery to have a section devoted to humans and for the pets of the deceased humans.
There are sections where pets and humans are buried together, but they must be clearly marked. No pets may be buried in the same grave as a human. Other states like Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey have similar laws.
Some states allow humans to be cremated then have their ashes buried in pet cemeteries. Others allow pets to be buried with humans in a family plot but some states forbid it entirely.
According to the American Veterinarian Medical Association, licensed veterinarians, certified euthanasia technicians, animal control officers, and human investigators in Virginia are allowed to perform euthanasia but finding one willing to do so on a healthy pet could be challenging.
Veterinarian Dr. Kenny Lucas of Shady Grove Animal Clinic offered his views on euthanizing an animal.
“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,” he told WWBT. “Also it’s something we take home too. It weighs on us as professionals.”