Outraged that a healthy dog was killed to be buried with its owner? Here’s what to do:

We have a suggestion to channel that outrage over the decision to euthanize Emma, a healthy dog, who was put down at the request of her late owner so they could be buried together.

Go and adopt a shelter dog, especially a senior one who has been abandoned by its owner either due to illness or death.

At Critterfiles.com we’ve done so many stories about animal abuse and animal abandonment. But the story about Emma, the Shih Tzu mix, who was euthanized to fulfill her late owner’s dying wish that the dog be put down — and then laid to rest with her is troubling.

The dog arrived at the Chesterfield County Animal Shelter in Chesterfield, Virginia, on March 8 after her owner’s death, where she stayed for two weeks.

During that time, the shelter was in contact with the executor of the dead woman’s estate trying to keep the dog 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.

On March 22, the executor of the owner’s estate came to the shelter to get the dog, a spokeswoman for the Chesterfield County Police told CNN.

The shelter again offered to have the dog signed over and be adopted out, but the executor declined.

Emma was taken to a local vet, put down and then given for burial, a move that a member of Virginia’s Funeral Director’s Association said is 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 Director’s Association and owner of Morrissett Funeral home.

The news of Emma’s death has sparked discussions around the globe over the topic of loving your pets to death.

Meanwhile, here are some dogs waiting to be adopted, like Roxanne, who totally rocks her purple tutu.

Go get them and love your pets in real life.

Thank you Chesterfield County Animal Shelter!

About the author

Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers


  1. I cannot agree with you. While I agree that everyone should adopt a rescue dog, that won’t prevent narcissistic dog owners from killing perfectly healthy dogs for vanity reasons. The thing to do is what Rich Avanzino did when he was confronted with this exact situation in 1979 at the San Francisco SPCA. Rather than kill Sido the dog, Avanzino fought back. The executor of the estate went to court to force destruction of poor Sido, a female shelty type dog, friendly and healthy.

    “The law says a pet can be destroyed like a piece of furniture,” he told the Anchorage Daily News. “We’re saying that’s wrong.”

    Taking the charming Sido to the state capitol to meet legislators in person helped.

    “Avanzino succeeded both in court and in Sacramento. State Sen. Marz Garcia (R-Menlo Park) wrote a bill, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, which overturned the portion of Murphy’s will calling for Sido’s death.

    The very next day, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jay Pfotenhauer ruled that the right to dispose of property after death does not extend to killing a living creature.”

    We all need to get active in making No Kill a reality. A good first step would be to make it illegal to kill a healthy dog who has other options.

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