Michael Whalen, a chiropractor in Virginia Beach, clearly loved his down Allie, a hound mix who was his companion for more than 15 years.
Photos on Whalen’s Facebook page show Allie with her owner on the boat, in his lap during family photos and even on a surfboard.
Whalen is now facing animal cruelty charges after he fatally shot his dog and an investigation was started after the body of the dog was found at the public beach.
Whalen told WTKR in Virginia that he took the drastic action because his dog was fatally ill and he did it to end her suffering. Last year, Whalen, 65, said the veterinarian diagnosed Allie with Cushing’s disease, a rare condition that’s a result of excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
At that time, the vet recommended putting Allie down, but it was too soon for that, according to Whalen.
Allie was not ready. I was not ready,” Whalen said. “She was still having fun. She wasn’t in ill health,” he told WTKR.
With medication, Whalen said he was able to keep Allie in stable condition. But her health suddenly took a turn for the worse one day last month.
Allie began panting and having seizures and Whalen said he didn’t have time to take her to the hospital. So he decided to take his small caliber handgun and took her to the beach.
It was so emotionally disturbing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go through this in my mind and sometimes I’ll just start crying,” he told WTKR.
After he shot Allie, Whalen buried his dog in a shallow grave on Virginia Beach. A few days later, someone at the beach noticed a dog’s paw sticking out from the sand and called authorities.
Investigators conducted a search for the dog’s owner. Last week, Whalen was charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of dumping trash.
His lawyer, George Yates said Whalen did what a pet owner is required to do, which was take care of their animal and when the animal is suffering, it was his duty to properly euthanize his dog.
Whalen is due back in court in June.