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Accidentally Euthanized
Shelter’s mistake was fatal
Tears of sorrow can't bring Deuce and Ralow back.

Most of us have lost dogs and suffered the agony of that grief. We all share the pain when someone we know is dealing with the death of a dog, but I don’t think my heart has ever hurt more than when I heard about what happened to Will Harlee and his family. It seems that Charlotte-Mecklenberg Animal Care and Control euthanized their two dogs, Deuce and Ralow, by mistake. And no amount of regret or sorrow can bring them back. It’s heartbreakingly painful.

The dogs were being held at the Animal Care and Control facility after having escaped out of the family’s yard through a hole in the fence. Their paperwork states that Harlee could get his dogs back once he repaired the fence, but when he made the repairs and came to get his dogs, they were already dead. It’s unclear how such an enormous mistake happened, or what will be the consequences for the agency. Harlee says that he wants to see somebody lose a job over this because he believes that somebody has to be held accountable. His biggest concern is that this does not ever happen to anyone else.
I picture Will Harlow having to tell his two young children that Deuce and Ralow are dead, and I urge every shelter and animal care facility to check on their policies and the safeguards against such a fatal, irreparable error. And to the Harlees, all I can offer is my sympathy, which is deep and heartfelt.



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.