Should Deceased Woman's Wish For Her Dog To Be Euthanized Be Honored?

| by Lisa Fogarty
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A woman from Dearborn County, Indiana, who died in November made it very clear in her will who she wanted to be buried next to: her beloved German shepherd Bella.

But Bella is still very much alive and there is a debate over whether owner Connie Lay’s last wish for her to be euthanized, cremated and buried beside her should be honored – or if the dog should be sent to an animal shelter in Utah, reports KSHB Kansas City.

“(Lay) made provisions that in the event of her death, she wanted her very close friend to take charge of the dog,” said the woman’s attorney, Doug Denmure. “…She also then requested that the dog be put to sleep, cremated and that the dog’s ashes be placed with her own ashes.”

But Lay’s trusted friend could also go with Plan B: send Bella to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah – unless that option ends up being too costly.

Lay doesn’t trust others to take care of Bella, according to Denmure, especially since the dog has a history of violence and could be “potentially dangerous.”

“He could cause damage and inflict bodily harm on strangers, in particular, children,” Denmure said. “When (Lay) died, she died at her home and the dog was in there. No one could enter the house because they were concerned the dog would attack.”

A veterinarian reportedly recommended to Lay that she put Bella to sleep. But this advice and what was written in the woman’s will have resulted in many angry animal advocates voicing their concern for the dog on Twitter, using the hashtag #SaveBella.

For now, Bella is being housed at PAWNS Humane Center. A spokespercon for the center released the following statement Tuesday:

“You may have seen the news story regarding Bela (sp), the German Shepherd dog being housed at PAWS Humane Center. We would like to take a moment to clarify the circumstances of Bela’s (sp) stay at our center.

"Legally, Bela (sp) is considered the property of the estate of the deceased person and not PAWS Humane Center. He is only being housed and cared for at our center while legal proceedings with the estate are being finalized.

"PAWS has no legal right or control over his outcome. Bela (sp) will not be euthanized at our facility, either by PAWS staff or the Dearborn County Animal Control Officers. If a euthanization decision is reached by the estate, then it will be the responsibility of the estate to make those arrangements elsewhere.

"We appreciate your care and concern for Bela (sp) and all of the animals in Dearborn County.”

Source: KSHB Kansas City/Photo Credit: Pw95/Flickr, Wikimedia Commons