Owners Wanted Adoption But Cats Put Down

An Omaha family is shocked and asking for change after taking two beloved pets to the Nebraska Humane Society for adoption. Instead of getting new homes, their cats were euthanized in a matter of hours.

Since they were kittens, 13-year old Chloe and 7-year-old Truman had been a part of the Lovewell family.

Seven-year-old Maya Lovewell said, "Sometimes they would come and snuggle-up."

But because of Megan’s chronic sinus problems, Trent and Christy signed the cats over to the Nebraska Humane Society.

Trent Lovewell said, "Loving cats, we just thought they would find a home. We changed our mind. We couldn't sleep on Sunday night and decided Monday morning we made a mistake."

But the cats had been euthanized about 12 hours after being turned over to the Humane Society.

Nebraska Humane Society spokesperson Pam Wiese said, "They were acting aggressively, hissing and spitting and swatting and we couldn't really handle them. If you can't handle them, you can't get them into a kennel to get them into adoptable condition."

The Nebraska Humane Society wants pet owners to understand a cat that's loveable and cuddly at home may have a tough time adjusting to a shelter environment and that's when tough decisions have to be made.

But the Lovewells say that wasn't made clear to them.

Christy Lovewell said, "Just say we are very populated right now so there's a great chance these cats will not be adoptable and we would have just walked away at that point."

The Lovewells say they called the Humane Society the morning after taking the cats there but messages that they would take the cats back went to voicemail.

Pam Wiese said calls like that now go to someone who answers. Owners turning over pets sign a release form that says the animals could be adopted or euthanized depending on an expert assessment. From now on Humane Society staff will make sure all owners signing over pets walk away understanding the consequences.

She said, "We’ll do our best to get them adopted out but not everyone makes it through."

Christy Lovewell said, "We never thought they would be euthanized."

The Lovewells say pet owners should ask questions about the adoption process before deciding the best way to give cats another life.

Last year the Nebraska Humane Society adopted out 10,000 animals. The shelter currently has nearly 200 cats and foster homes where they might adjust are full.