Dog is euthanized hours before foster parent could pick him up, Indiana rescue says

A dog named Stanley was euthanized at an Indiana animal shelter despite having a foster parent ready to pick him up just hours later, a no-kill rescue center said.

Proving Animals are Worth Saving (PAAWS), of Evansville, Indiana, said Stanley was in need of a foster parent after the death of his owner. The no-kill animal rescue described Stanley as “a little anxious,” but otherwise a “good boy.”

One day after posting about Stanley on Facebook, the group said in a Monday, Jan. 29, post that the 2-year-old dog had died at Evansville Animal Control.

“He was euthanized this morning because he was terrified and growled at an EAC employee (ripped from the only home he had ever known) and they said they were out of space, when PAAWS had left them a message that we had a Foster and would pull the sweet boy out of there at NOON!” PAAWS said.

Evansville Animal Control said it was unaware Stanley had a home lined up, WEVV reported. The facility told the station it is closed on Sundays and does its Monday euthanizations before staff members begin answering phones.

PAAWS said its “hearts are broken” over Stanley’s death. The nonprofit does not have a building or shelter, but its volunteers work to rescue “neglected, abused and unwanted animals.”

“I think that’s what makes it that much harder that he was so close to being able to get out,” Julie Frazier, the treasurer for PAAWS, told WFIE.

The Evansville Animal Control facility’s lack of space also reportedly attributed to the decision to euthanize Stanley. There are only 30 dog kennels in the shelter, despite Evansville having a population of around 117,000, WEVV reported.

Euthanizations are necessary “to control overpopulation of animals,” a representative for the animal control told WEVV.

Evansville is in Vanderburgh County in southwestern Indiana. In a Facebook post later in the day Monday, the Vanderburgh Humane Society defended Evansville Animal Control.

The humane society says that since 2020, 91% to 93% of animals brought to them have been saved from euthanization. It said that when it does have to euthanize animals, workers carry an “emotional weight” that never leaves.

“So it’s incredibly disheartening when organizations whose #1 goal should always be to support the animals at overwhelmed, understaffed, and underfunded organizations, get on social media to put those organizations on blast or allow the public to do so,” the humane society said. “Even when they make mistakes. Isn’t the goal to get MORE people to go adopt & foster from that organization? More public support and teamwork = more animals safely out the door. Period.”

Some of the blame, the humane society said, should be placed on people who do not spay and neuter their pets or pet owners who drop off their animals because they are too much energy or work to care for.

“THAT’S who we can collectively blame,” the group said.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that around 3.1 million dogs enter shelters across the U.S. each year, with around 390,000 dogs of those euthanized.

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