Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two-year-old dog put to sleep then buried with its owner

An Arkansas man's dying wish has created controversy among animal lovers. Donald Ellis, 54, asked that his dog be buried alongside him - a dog that was only 2 years old and perfectly healthy. Ellis was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Monticello, Arkansas. But not before he made an unusual request - that his 2-year-old Yorkie "Tom Tom" be buried alongside him.

Ellis' sister, Marilyn McDaniel, said the family wanted to fulfill her brother's desire, so they took the Yorkie to the veterinarian and had the dog euthanized. According to McDaniel, Ellis said he wanted the dog to go with him because no one would love him like he did. But some animal lovers question whether putting a healthy, young dog to sleep is an act of love.

Fayetteville Animal Services Director Justine Middleton said she was shocked to hear about Ellis and his decision. She said it's common for pet owners to make arrangements for their pets to be cared for upon their death, but that this is the first time she's heard of putting a healthy animal to sleep and having it buried with its owner. Middleton said it's hard to imagine someone making that request, especially when they deal with the pain of putting pets to sleep on a daily basis.

"We do deal with euthanasia. It's a constant thing here - and it's just really hard to grasp why someone would willingly put a dog down that still has a lot of love to give, a lot of life to share with someone else," Middleton said. The veterinarian involved reportedly euthanized the dog after first pleading with the family to let it live. He followed through with putting the dog to sleep because he said he feared the dog would be killed anyway in a less humane way.

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