Omaha family says dog wrongly euthanized; humane society blames miscommunication

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 5:35 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Omaha-metro family is grieving the loss of their beloved family dog after they say it was mistakingly euthanized at the Nebraska Humane Society this week.

Now, they want answers.

Kelly Rodgers said her family’s dog, Zeplin, a 3-year-old German shepherd mix, suffered a seizure last week.

“He nipped at my son’s roommate during the seizure because he was scared, obviously. Then he went in his kennel and he wouldn’t come out,” she said.

Rodgers said her vet told her to take Zeplin to the Nebraska Humane Society for a 10-day quarantine to be monitored after the seizure.

The Humane Society said that’s standard after a dog is involved in a biting incident. But Rodgers said that not even halfway through the quarantine, something went terribly wrong.

“My son’s roommate got a notification that they were putting the dog down.”

Rogers said she went to the Humane Society after calling numerous times with no answer.

“After waiting 40 minutes to talk to someone, they came to notify me that, yes, they did indeed accidentally, due to a miscommunication, euthanized our dog,” she said.

Humane Society officials admit a mistake was made.

They said that, when Rodgers’ son originally came in with Zeplin, he asked to have the dog euthanized. But a decision was made to quarantine him for 10 days and go from there.

Humane Society officials said the dog was in rough shape.

“The dog had not exited the crate, as far as we knew, the entire five days. It wasn’t eating. It wasn’t drinking,” said Pam Wiese, with the Nebraska Humane Society.

Humane Society officials said they believed euthanasia was what was best for the dog. That’s when they called Rodgers’ son — and that’s where they said they believe the miscommunication happened.

“As our staff was talking to him about euthanasia, he didn’t expressly say ‘OK, go ahead and do it.’ But because he said ‘I don’t want to take him to my vet,’ our people felt like, ‘Oh, well, then he’s saying we should euthanize here,’” Wiese said.

Rodgers said neither she nor her son signed off on that.

“We can’t bring him back. So I just want the word to get out there that this is not ok and they can’t just say we’re sorry it was a miscommunication,” she said.

Wiese deeply apologized for the Humane Society’s actions.

“We are very sorry. It was not something that was intentional or done out of malice. It was a miscommunication on our part, and we are working to rectify that. And we are really sorry it happened the way that it did,” she said.

The Humane Society is reviewing its policies to make sure this doesn’t happen again. The Rodgers family said they were told by the humane society that the cost of Zeplin’s quarantine will be refunded.

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