A Healthy Dog Was Euthanized So It Can Buried With Its Dead Owner

The move has drawn harsh criticism from both animal activists and funeral directors, who say that it is illegal.

A dog in Virginia was euthanized and cremated following instructions on its late owner’s will, which asked the dog to be buried alongside her, according to NBC-affiliated television station WFLA.

The Shih Tzu mix, named Emma, spent weeks in a pet shelter in Chesterfield before it was put down. The report was originally issued by NBC-affiliated television station WWBT.

Shelter staff spent two weeks arguing with the owner’s estate executors, saying a new home could be easily found for the healthy puppy.

“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. Ultimately, they came back in on March 22nd and redeemed the dog,” said Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield Animal Services.

The dog’s burial is potentially illegal. "It’s not legal to put a dog’s cremated remains - or any animal - in a casket and bury them,” according to Larry Spiaggi, president of the Virginia Funeral Directors Association and owner of Morrissett Funeral home.

Exceptions, however, are made for private and family-owned cemeteries, according to WWBT.

Euthanasia remains highly controversial among veterinarians when it is not motivated by legitimate health concerns. “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,” said Dr. Kenny Lucas with the Shady Grove Animal Clinic, a private practice in Virginia, quoted by WWBT.

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