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Can the Courts Save This Dog From Being Euthanized?

By Molly Zilli, Esq. on April 04, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

You've heard of stays of execution for people on death row, but did you know a court could step in and put the brakes on the euthanasia process for a dog? That's what one woman is hoping for as she fights to keep her dog alive, despite what the local animal shelter has in store for the pooch.

Euthanized for Biting

Mary Schiefel gave her dog up to a local no kill shelter, the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter (UPAWS) in February because she could no longer care for him. The dog, named Abel, was eventually adopted. However, in his first day at the new home, he attacked someone in the face, causing significant injuries which will require major reconstructive surgery.

UPAWS states that as a no kill shelter, they do not euthanize animals for time or space, but rather as a last resort when the animal is terminally ill or considered dangerous to public safety. In this case, they determined that Abel was too dangerous and beyond rehabilitation.

A Stay of Euthanasia

Shiefel says that Abel can be rehabilitated. She argues that Abel has had no previous aggressive issues, and that representatives from two rehab facilities have offered to work with him. Another woman, Judith Jones with Make a Difference Rescue, even requested to have UPAWS transfer Abel to her organization.

At this point, the court has granted a stay of euthanasia. The judge granted the stay to allow Shiefel time to gather and present evidence that Abel can be rehabilitated, and that she didn't understand what she was signing when she handed the dog over to the shelter. No additional court dates have been set.

If you were injured by a dog, or your canine attacked someone else, it's important to talk to an attorney right away.

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