Law Enforcement Canine's Death Raises Questions Over Proper Euthanasia
It's the toughest thing an animal lover can do, put down their pet. Now the violent death of a retired canine is raising questions of cruelty. What has long been considered an acceptable practice by some is raising debate.
His name was "Kozar" and he served in law enforcement for 7 years. Kozar, however was an 11-year-old dog, and his recent death by his handler has people asking is shooting an acceptable form of euthanasia?
His keen senses were an invaluable service. Alachua County Sheriff, Sadie Darnell, said today, "The dog served a very positive utility in our profession."
According to the sheriff, the now retired dog was euthanized with a shot to the head by a .22 caliber gun. As a resultÂ an alarmed community questioned the legality of the canine deputy's action.
Darnell says,"It's not to say that the deputy who shot his pet did anything wrong. The shooting method is an accepted method under the humane society."
And the law on the books were on deputy wilcox's side. According to the State Attorney's office, if an officer deems the animal is near death and can't be cured --and he has tried to locate a veterinarian but could not-- then the officer may destroy the animal by shooting.
But the Alachua County Humane Society has another take.
Becky Goodman, the executive director of the local humane society says of the national standard "Their recommendation is always chemical euthanasia, performed by a licensed veterinarian if at all possible."
While the Humane society of the United States sets the standards when it comes to animal rescue and euthanasia, animal experts say the best way is one that honors the bond between animal and owner.
Long time veterinarian, Dr. Gene Stine of Countryside Animal Hospital has worked with law enforcement animals for more than 30 years. He says, "What upset me about this most...this bond was taken lightly."
And he isn't alone. Stine has worked with known Gainesville Police K-9 officer Pepe Peruyero who shares his concerns, "They serve and protect they're willing to take a bullet for you."
So last week incident has people asking whether old ways are acceptable standards?
" I find that disturbing i find it barbaric," says Peruyero.
"Public service deserves the absolute best treatment possible," adds Goodman.
The sheriff has decided to change the policy for all canine handlers who adopt their law enforcement dogs. Euthanasia by injection will now be the preferred method..if circumstances permit.
Many local animal shelters including Countryside and the humane society will euthanize ill and elderly pets for free.
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