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Lost dog turns up dead at humane society

Russ McQuaid

May 11, 2006

Indianapolis — A northwest side man is grieving over the loss of his longtime pet which was euthanized by the Marion County Humane Society. A Society official admits a mistake may have been made.

Spencer was a 16-year-old English Springer Spaniel with health problems. When he escaped his owner's backyard Sunday afternoon, Kim Gastineau began an immediate search. Within the hour, Spencer was delivered to the Humane Society in the 7900 block of North Michigan Road, though Gastineau didn't know it.

"I was at the Humane Society at approximately 4:30," said Gastineau. "They didn't tell me they were closed. Had a photo of of him, told them that he was missing, had my tags, my name, left that information with them."

Gastineau was unaware that Spencer was being examined by a veternary assistant who found that the dog was bleeding from a tumor. A decision was made to euthanize the dog by 5:30 p.m.

"They never made the first effort to find me," said Gastineau. "He had a red collar with a brass plaque rivetted to the collar with my name and phone number on it."

Humane Society CEO Martha Bolden admits her staff overlooked the identifying information on Spencer's collar but decided to euthanize the dog to ease its suffering.

"If an animal is in tremendous distress, we look at what is in the animal's best interest," said Boden. "If they had seen a tag they certainly would've made a call to the numbers that were listed."

Boden said she will advise her staff to do a more thorough job of searching for identifying information on an animal's collar. Gastineau said he wants to see staff changes so that such a mix-up won't happen in the future.
Copyright © 2006, WXIN-TV, Indianapolis