Joe Reed of Frankston says he is still reeling over his Australian shepherd being euthanized. It had been the family dog since she was a puppy. Reed issued a letter to the local paper about his discontent with the Henderson County Humane Society, who put the dog down, even after he made attempts to get the dog before her death. The shelter is giving us their side of the story.
Reed had Gin Gin for eight years. Gin Gin was gone Thursday evening when he returned home from work. Late the next day he found out she was picked up by Animal Control and that's when he says he began trying to get the family pet back. "Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong," he said.
He says he called the Henderson County Humane Society first thing the next morning and was told by a shelter worker, to get the dog back he would have to go through Berryville City Hall, which is closed on the weekends. So he called ity hall Monday, where he was passed on to Animal Control, who referred him back to the Humane Society in Athens. That's when he got in touch with the director, Norma Lambert for the first time.
"So she said, 'The dog is available but she's unavailable to you at this time.' I said, 'So, where is my dog have you adopted her out?' She said, 'After 72 hours she becomes our possession as we deem fit either to adopt out or put her to sleep.'"
"He calls me on Monday afternoon after the time I had euthanized this dog," said Lambert. "I was angry myself that he wasn't more aggressive in finding this animal and I was in the position that I had to put this animal to sleep."
Even so, Reed wasn't told his dog was put down until Tuesday, when he arrived at the shelter in person. "I had to go to my wife's job to get her off the job and come and help me because it was an emotional time," said Reed.
"Had they done that Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Monday Gin Gin would have gone home," said Lambert. She says Gin Gin's behavior, which she describes as "hyper", and her physical appearance led her to believe the dog did not have an owner. She says she also needed to make room for more animals coming to the shelter the next day.
"Unfortunately there's a dog here and a dog here and a dog there that are far ahead of her as far as adoption potential and I have to make a decision about some dogs," said Lambert.
Reed says had Lambert showed some compassion it wouldn't overshadow the joyful memories he's had with his pet. "The dog was loved and she was treated properly," he said. "And if she seen me now she would be able to come to me and wagging her tail." Now, he has to deal with this important part of his life being gone for good.
The up side to all of this is that the City of Berryville has made a change to prevent this from happening again. Pet owners will only have to go through city hall if they are trying to retrieve their pet. City hall will, in turn, coordinate with the Humane Society about retrieving the pet, keeping animals from being euthanized before they are identified.