Saving Grace Rescue & Adoption, Oregon Animal Shelter, Kills the Wrong Dog--Owner: 'She Was My Best Friend'"/>
When Tammi Ritz's husband went to Saving Grace Rescue & Adoption in Roseberg, Ore. he thought he'd be picking up the couple's purebred blue heeler, Sadie. Instead shelter workers brought out a different dog before discovering that Sadie had been mistakenly euthanized.
"My husband told them, 'this isn't my dog,'" Ritz, 50, tells Seattle Weekly by phone, her voice cracking with emotion. "They went and got the paperwork and said 'we're sorry, we put [Sadie] down last Friday.'"
The incident, first reported by KVAL, happened after Sadie bit her owner on the lip, and was quarantined for rabies.
Ritz had gone to a doctor after being bit and the hospital informed animal-control officers who came and hauled Sadie away. But since Ritz's injury wasn't serious and the dog didn't have rabies, she should have been a free pup.
Instead a different dog--one who was on death row for an unknown violation--was spared, while Sadie faced the execution.
"The dog they were supposed to put down was a male; ours was a female. Their dog was black; ours was blue. Their dog had a tail; ours didn't," Ritz says. "Their excuse was it was an honest mistake. I think the girl that did this should be fired."
Shelter officials weren't around Sunday evening, but KVAL quotes director Wendy Kang mostly confirming Ritz's account.
"Tammi came to pick up her dog," said Wendy Kang, the shelter's executive director. "We dug out the paperwork for the dog to go home, and we took Tammi back to get her dog out of the kennel - and she told us that was not her dog."
Ritz says that she and her husband are unable to have children, so the dog "was all we had."
She says that she probably won't sue, but just hopes that no one will have to go through what she did.
"The shelter keeps saying that 'hey, it was just a dog,' but she wasn't just a dog. She was my best friend."