Jo Jo, a German Shepard puppy, was already scheduled for adoption. The friendly dog would have gone to a new home on Tuesday afternoon if shelter staff had not euthanized the soon-to-be pet.
Jo Jo was put to sleep by workers at the Hillsborough County Animal Services near Tampa, Fla., who were supposed to euthanize another dog instead. The shelter expressed deep apologies for the mix-up.
"It looks like the file was not cleared for euthanasia but the procedure was done," said Ian Hallet, Hillsborough County Animal Services director. "Again I want to express my regrets and sadness."
With about 20,000 animals going through the shelter each year, errors like this do happen from time to time.
"This is their last chance, this is their last stop; you can't make a mistake, that's it," Danielle Yoho told Fox Tampa Bay. "There needs to be a triple and quadruple check. Whatever it takes to make sure that the dog that is going home goes home."
In late September, a similar incident occurred in another Tampa-area shelter run by Hernando County Animal Services. The shelter accidentally euthanized a relatively new arrival instead of one that had been surrendered by the owners far earlier. Both dogs had a similar appearance.
The incident marked the second accidental euthanasia in less than a year. County Administrator Leonard Sossoman issued a memorandum that partially read: “There appears to be no uniform procedure or checklist in place for administering euthanasia, which does not allow for consistent application.”
Sossoman also appointed a new official to oversee operations and administer changes to the system that may help prevent these mistakes in the future.
While no staff members were held accountable in Hernando County, an audit revealed that the shelter was overcrowded and understaffed.