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Dog owner's will: Euthanize and Cremate Him, Mix His Ashes With Mine

 
 
firefly
 
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2014 05:55 pm
I was horrified when I first learned of the owner's request that her dog be euthanized after her death, and that their ashes be mixed together. I couldn't imagine a more horribly selfish act on the part of a dog owner.

Then I learned that the woman's will also provided other options for the dog, although she failed to make the proper arrangements for those in advance, and I also learned that the dog also had a history of aggression and his owner might have feared he would seriously injure someone if she was no longer around. And those factors did change how I felt about this situation somewhat.

I'm curious how others here think about this situation, and what you feel should be done with this dog.

Quote:
Dog owner's will: Let him die with me
John Faherty,
The Cincinnati Enquirer
December 18, 2014

CINCINNATI — When Bela's owner died, she left a will. The will said to kill the dog. Ruh-roh!

Connie Ley died on Nov. 25 in her home near Aurora, Ind., 30 miles west of Cincinnati.

When Ley died, her dog was found in the house with her, a surprise to nobody because the two were close. You can hear Bela barking clearly on her phone answering machine as if they were leaving a message together. The phone is still active.

In her will, Ley requested that a friend take Bela, or that he go to an idyllic shelter for orphaned animals in southern Utah. But the friend does not want the dog, who may or may not be aggressive, and the Utah shelter was never contacted.

That introduced the final option in Ley's will: Put Bela down, cremate him, and mingle their ashes together so the two of them can rest in peace for eternity.

Today, Bela is at the Partners for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) of Dearborn County awaiting his fate. PAWS wants everybody to know they are taking good care of the dog and they have not and will not put him down. They are simply housing Bela until the humans figure out what to do with the dog.

The shelter issued the following statement: "PAWS has no legal right or control over his outcome. Bela will not be euthanized at our facility, either by PAWS staff or the Dearborn County Animal Control Officers. If a euthanization decision is reached by the estate, then it will be the responsibility of the estate to make those arrangements elsewhere."

Legally, the fact that Bela lives and breathes is not relevant. He is property, like a family farm or an old Ford truck. But socially and culturally, some people feel very differently.

When word of the great Bela debate got out, social media blew up because Bela is a healthy 9-year-old animal and dog people went apoplectic. The hashtag #SaveBella is both misspelled and popular.

And the comments are not kind to Ley. They fall into three rough groupings. The first says: Poor Bela. The second says: I'll take that dog. The third says: I wish Bela had died first and she could have put her owner down.

On twitter the words sick, selfish and disgusting are nonstop. Yikes.

Ley, for the record, was in her late 50s and her cause of death is unknown. It does seem she wanted what was best for her dog even if her decision is unpopular and seems perhaps insensible. Maybe Ley was simply afraid of what might happen to her good boy after she was gone.

Ley's attorney, Douglas Denmure, is an Aurora attorney trying to fulfill Ley's wishes. "It's a proper request," Denmure said. "The dog is property but I know there are two sides. I understand that viewpoint."

Denmure is in a bit of a pickle because he says Bela is an aggressive animal. He says Bela loved Ley, but not many others. Denmure said the friend identified by Ley as a possible Bela recipient wanted no part of him. He said Ley told him the dog needed to be muzzled when he was around strangers. She even kept records of his behavior.

Another problem is that while Ley identified Best Friends Animal Society as a possible home, she neither contacted Best Friends nor put aside money to move him there.

Now Best Friends is trying to figure out what to do.

"At this point, no one has contacted us about Bela, however, right now we working to find out more facts about what's happening," said Eric C. Rayvid of Best Friends. "Our animals are our family and this situation is a great example of the plan people should make for their pets who survive them. Whenever possible, the best option is for an adoptive home to have been identified, with informed consent, prior to the owners passing."

Bela was supposed to be put down on Tuesday. But Denmure demurred and is gathering more information. People are volunteering to take Bela to Utah or to adopt him themselves. But Ley did not leave him many options, and her choices are all

legal. Denmure will reach out to Utah but he will also tell them that media portrayals of Bela as sweet and loving might be, might be, a little optimistic. He feels he owes them that. In the meantime, the estate is paying Dearborn County, and Dearborn County is paying PAWS to shelter Bela. The people at PAWS are emotional. They have grown to love Bela and are caring for her daily, said Becky Foster, the manager. "It is difficult, we love all of our animals," Foster said. "We wish all the people interested in Bela would come by, we have many animals available."

The voice of reason for the whole Bela affair, may come from Harold Dates, the president and CEO of SPCA Cincinnati. He has had no contact with this dog but says he knows this type of human. He says there are no bad dogs here, or bad people. Ley, he said, is not alone in her fear that nobody would be able to care for her dog as she could, or that the dog would not adjust to a new home.

"She must have reached the conclusion that nobody else could care for her dog, and that the dog would not want to be with anybody else," Dates said. "We see that with people. But you know what, it's not true."
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/17/dog-owners-will-let-him-die-with-me-/20565279/


Quote:
Can You Have Your Pets Killed, Buried in Your Will?
By Brett Snider,
December 23, 2014

When you die, can you instruct in your will that your pets be killed and then buried beside you?

That's the question posed by a recently deceased woman's will, asking that her dog, who survived her, be euthanized, cremated, and place among her own ashes. According to Cincinnati's WCPO-TV, Connie Lay, who passed away in late November, requested in her will that her dog Bela be either sent to an animal shelter in Utah or be killed and buried with her.

Is it legal to include killing and burying your pets in your will?

Pets Are Property in Estate Planning

Non-human animals aren't considered "people" by any facet of the law, so pets are treated as property in estate planning. Because Fido and Rex aren't people, they can't receive money or property in a will. Since they're considered part of the dead person's estate, it would be akin to giving a prized art collection to the dead person's car.

Pet trusts may be an available alternative, and almost all states will allow a trust to be created for the benefit and care of a beloved pet. So it is possible to provide for your pets as part of your estate plan -- but can your will direct your pets to be destroyed or euthanized?

Will a Judge Uphold a Kill/Bury Request?

At common law, there was sometimes a recognized right for testators to direct the destruction of property within their estates, despite how upsetting or wasteful it might seem to the survivors. However, courts have a habit of not enforcing these wishes to destroy property when it would violate public policy.

Gerry W. Beyer, a law professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, told The Huffington Post that courts are "very reluctant" to enforce provisions that call for destruction of a still-living pet. A judge may find the provision unethical and/or unenforceable based on public policy, and if there is a viable alternative to euthanasia presented in the will, the court is likely to take it.

For Bela, the hope is that the executor of her owner's estate will choose an alternative to euthanasia mentioned in the will -- sending the 9-year-old German Shepherd to the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.
http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2014/12/can-you-have-your-pets-killed-buried-in-your-will.html
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2014 06:00 pm
@firefly,
Given the great number of pets that end up in pounds and killed after their owners died, it's not an unreasonable request.

One of the rescue groups I'm involved with constantly gets requests from pounds to take in animals left behind after their owners' deaths - and whose friends/families don't want the animals.

If the person hasn't pre-arranged another home for the animal it probably is kinder for the animal never to have to experience pound life and then be killed.

Set and I are mentioned in a friend's will for managing her King Shepherd's care after her death. Given his health, she is hopeful they will die about the same time so he will not have to go to another home and try to adjust.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 12:33 am
@firefly,
Since my wife is a kielbasa heiress, she brought a fortune into our marriage. I hd to sign a post nup that , should she predecease me, I am to be slain and mummified to serve her in the afterlife.
Until then, I buy a new Lambo every 2 years
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 01:53 am
I am fine with it, but I also am fine with putting down any pet that has a condition that will cost more than $1,000 to fix so I am too barbaric to listen to. These are pets, lets not go insane about using costly modern medicine on them, or seeing to it that they have a cushy old age like they are stallions that have earned us millions of dollars.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 05:29 am
I'd never cooperate with such a thing, whether I were an attorney, a judge, or in some other role. A healthy dog should be allowed to live, even if some work had to be done to find him a home. It's not as though a home couldn't be located. It would just take work to find one.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 07:28 am
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
It's not as though a home couldn't be located. It would just take work to find one.


Unfortunately the figures don't match your aspirations.

Quote:
About 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 11 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year


http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 09:19 am
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:
It's not as though a home couldn't be located.


I wish that was the reality in the US. It just isn't.

ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 09:21 am
@Brandon9000,
There are some shelters in the US that put down over 90% of the pets that are brought in to them.

It is really a horrible situation.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 09:39 am
@ehBeth,
we have scads of feral dogs and coy-dogs out here. Several times a year, the local gun club rounds up some shrp shooters and, armed with pictures of pets that may be running with these packs (To avoid having them shot by one of the shooters), there is a hunt for packs (Much damage is done by these animals in which they just harass stock and then kill them just for the "fun of it")

Sounds like something about which the suburban pet owners would have no idea , but we get no relief from the dog enforcement officers because their entire budgets are funded by pet licenses and theres a definite conflict of interests built into the dog law enforcement rules.
!. Its up to the stock owner to "Prove" that the damage to his animals are doen by some specific pets gone wild. We help support 2 "No kill" shelters in Maine and PA and they are always xoming up hort on their budgets. (And they are run really well)

2Stock owners aren't "Tempting" dogs to harass their stock

3Even if there is a successful case, brought, the stock owner (no matter what hes spent for the stock animal, is only recompensed within a really shitty formula of value. (While a pet dog could be valued at 500 to 1500 dollars, A champion stock, for which the owner may hve shelled out 10000$ or more, is only recompensed to mx of 300$ based on dog law in Pa).

Ill support the gun clubs shrpshooters
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 09:41 am
@farmerman,
spay and neuter

spay and neuter

spay and neuter

There's a reason all of the dogs I've had have come from rescue. I will never ever support a breeder.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2014 10:09 am
@firefly,
My personal (and of course this isn't legal - just my own morals) opinion, why not have the dog go to the Utah shelter as long as the shelter is willing to take him? It shouldn't matter that no one had contacted them before. There seems to be multiple people/agencies willing to pay for his move to the shelter.

It just seems sad to me to kill any life, if there is a possible place for them to live.

Granted you can't do anything about it now, but why the heck did this woman not reach out to friend ahead of time to see if she was willing to take him in. My friend had done that with me in regard to her cats - she told me I was in her will to take her cats in would I be willing to do so. Just simple common sense if you really want your pet cared for.

I honestly think that anyone that has a pet, especially a hard to place pet and/or no friends or family that you are sure would take the creature in, make sure they have a home that is willing to do so.

Being a pet owner, even understanding that a pet is considered property, it is more than that and deserves to be treated as a family member. Now if there is no alternative -- no one willing or no place willing to care for the animal, at least having him euthanized is more humane than not being cared for.
0 Replies
 
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  -3  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2015 01:38 pm
@firefly,
Not running out of dogs and cats anytime soon. Unless it's a breeding animal with perfect genes or something, kill it in accordance with its' owners wishes.

On a hierarchy of things I care about, individual animals aren't represented. Long as the species continues, I have little concern about individuals including humans. Be great if we could save everybody but we can't. Try and you lose the whole species.
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  0  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 02:47 pm
Looks at it this way, if respecting a decedent's will and wishes re: their pets bugs you, then perhaps it's time we eliminate the concept of humans owening other life forms like we do a car or stereo. Legally, they're just property. While animal cruelty laws exist, they don't regard the animals they protect as sentient or entiteld to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness life human beings. Law regards pets worse than slaves ever were. If it's not ethical to capture and enslaves something like an orca or other dolphins and force them to do tricks for our amusement, it shouldn't be ethical to keep pets as personal amusement either.

If keeping pets is ethically ok, but keeping orcas isn't, you need some time to clear up your hypocritical double standard.
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 03:52 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Quote:
If keeping pets is ethically ok, but keeping orcas isn't, you need some time to clear up your hypocritical double standard.


good point.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 03:58 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
Quote:
On a hierarchy of things I care about, individual animals aren't represented. Long as the species continues, I have little concern about individuals including humans. Be great if we could save everybody but we can't. Try and you lose the whole species.

as a Zen Socialist I am inclined to care, but given the scope of the adversity that we humans face, and have historically faced, reasonably and rationally we dont have the luxury of caring. I am not ever going to approve of sacrificing the best interests of my species, and no other species does either. That said I recognize that a large lumber of my species are astonishingly stupid.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 04:02 pm
@HesDeltanCaptain,
There is a huge difference between keeping in captivity wild animals and domestic animals.

Orcas lives are shorten versus their lives in the wild due to the stress of performing for example. Whereas domestic pets lives increase living in homes. My friend actually works saving whales in a sense - she has a doctorate degree and spends time addressing congress and such about various marine matters so I have heard this first hand from some one who specializes in it.

There are also many laws that protect pets - thus animal cruelty laws.

Also have you heard "If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you, it is yours, if it does not it never was"I let my dog run free all the time - he always comes back - actually he does not stray far at all. I suspect if you set an orca free into the ocean he high tail it away.
hawkeye10
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 04:08 pm
@Linkat,
Quote:
There is a huge difference between keeping in captivity wild animals and domestic animals.

Orcas lives are shorten versus their lives in the wild due to the stress of performing for example. Whereas domestic pets lives increase living in homes. My friend actually works saving whales in a sense - she has a doctorate degree and spends time addressing congress and such about various marine matters so I have heard this first hand from some one who specializes in it.


the degradation of the condition of the oceans rubs out that argument. What else do you have?
Linkat
 
  3  
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2015 04:50 pm
@hawkeye10,
So I am to take some one's lame comment who has no education, no experience and very little knowledge of marine life over someone with a doctorate degree in marine biology, 30 years experience working directly in the field including time spent out on the ocean tracking and researching whales and dolphins ... pretty much dedicating her life to saving various species from potential extinction ...

I don't think I need much more.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2015 02:46 am
@HesDeltanCaptain,
the concept of "domestication" is a biological consequence that has resulted in the genetic difference of todays animals that are part of human ecosystems. I dont think Orcas fit anywhere in that "domestication" scale. They are highly intelligent captive species and its a damn shame that weve made an industry out of turning many of these animals into sick loonies.

Sea Shepherds is an unsung hero in my book. There are several notable workers who are trying to save cetaceans from us similar to the Craigheads and their dealings with the world bear populations. .
0 Replies
 
 

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