A California family is mourning the death of their dog, Sasha, who died in a county animal shelter.
The 14-year-old retriever mix was found by animal control and was placed in the San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter. She escaped during a thunderstorm, and her owners looked for two days and finally found her at the shelter.
Sasha’s owners came to claim their dog on a Sunday. But shelter employees refused to let Sasha go home with her owners because under county policy it was a non-business day.
When Sasha’s owners, Murial and Danny Sprouse, came back to the shelter on Tuesday morning (Monday was Labor Day), they paid the shelter fee and went to get their dog. To their horror, Sasha was dead in her kennel.
â€œWe looked down the hallway, and there she was, obviously dead,â€ Sprouse said. â€œAll the dogs were barking like crazy.â€
She added that on Sunday when they saw Sasha, she was fine and they had desperately wanted to take her home then.
Shelter employees and volunteers said they checked on Sasha on Monday and she appeared to be fine.
The Sprouses are still uncertain why Sasha died. They are not alleging a connection between the death of their dog and the two extra days that Sasha spent in the shelter.
They simply want the shelter to change its rules, so that owners can take their pet home during non-business hours.
The animal services manager has since told his employees that they should call him if there are “special” circumstances and he will allow the animal to leave with the owner.
He said in Sasha’s case, she was a geriatric dog and was feeling stressed from being in the kennel and in the heat. Looking back on the situation, he should have released her, he said.
The manager also added that the employees working that day had not released Sasha because they were not trained in handling cash and they did not know the procedures for releasing an animal. He stated that releasing animals on non-business days takes away employees from their other responsibilities.
But now, employees are aware that animals can be released in certain situations.
Sasha’s situation has resulted in an outpouring of emails from the shelter’s volunteers who are complaining about the shelter and the safety of the animals.
They have asked supervisors to investigate the facility.
One five-year volunteer said the shelter coordinator is being asked to do too many things and this is causing some problems at the shelter.
Other volunteers said they use their own money for medical attention at times, foster sick animals in their homes for months, and drive miles to get animals to rescue groups.
The county administration will most likely hire the Humane Society of the United States to conduct a $25,000 peer review of the shelter.
Source: San Luis Obispo