A beautiful five-year-old German shepherd named Louie was euthanized earlier this week by the Baldwin Park Shelter, despite numerous efforts to rescue the dog.
Louie was surrendered by his owner on January 9, when the owner's 19-year-old daughter ran up to her father during a visit, and Louie bit her. The dog never had a previous history of aggression. Was the dog just being protective?
Louie then became A4218761, and although he was available for adoption, the criteria to free him seemed unfair and unrealistic; the dog had been labeled "Potentially dangerous," and no one was permitted to remove Louie from his kennel. In addition, only an approved "Partner Rescue" could pull the dog from the shelter, and a $100,000 indemnity waiver insurance policy for the life of Louie would be needed.
All other requests or modifications were denied.
Louie was never tested for any actual level of aggression, nor was his temperament ever tested; three professional German shepherd trainers offered to help, but none were ever allowed to remove Louie from his cage.
And so on March 10, a perfectly healthy dog died from a lethal injection.
Animal advocates hope that the death of this dog can help to initiate changes of county shelters to no-kill movements to reduce the euthanasia of healthy pets, and create more effective shelter systems. What is needed is cooperation among communities and animal facilities to help set the common goal of reducing population-control euthanasia.
In addition, better assessments of animals, more communication, and the mindset to rehabilitate and re-home pets who have been failed by their owners are needed by county shelters. Shelters need to return to being shelters where cats and dogs are protected and saved; not warehouses of death. While everyone knows, budgets are tight, studies continue to prove that effective programs for spaying and neutering significantly reduces the number of pets brought into shelters and rescues.
Rest in peace Louie.
You will be missed.
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