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Should a Dead Woman's Dog Be Put Down Because Her Will Says He Should Be Buried With Her?


"Our animals are our family and this situation is a great example of the plan people should make for their pets who survive them."

Image: PAWS Adoption Center

An Indiana woman amended her will before she died to stipulate that her German shepherd dog be cremated and buried with her ashes. There was just one small problem -- Bela the dog was still alive and quite healthy when the woman passed away.

Image: PAWS Adoption Center Image: PAWS Adoption Center

Connie Lay died on November 25, and her will has sparked a heated debate on animal rights. According to a local news report, the 9-year-old dog was slated to be put down on Tuesday, but the action was put on hold when the public outcry against euthanizing a healthy animal went viral.

Bela has been taken to the local P.A.W.S. shelter and will be cared for by the non-profit group until a determination is made concerning his future. The shelter is being flooded with calls from people interested in adopting Bela and also from those demanding that the dog's life be spared.

For the record, P.A.W.S. has no standing in what happens to the animal. The shelter is only providing care and a safe place for Bela to stay. The group is accepting donations to help pay for Bela's boarding costs.

Indiana law states that animals are property and as long as they are not being treated cruelly, owners may do with them as they see fit. Lay's lawyer, Doug Denmure spoke with TheBlaze and told us his client wanted her dog's ashes to be buried along with hers. Denmure stressed that his client was within her legal rights to make this request.

Denmure also confirmed reports saying the dog can be transferred to the Best Friends shelter in Utah. In order for a transfer to happen, Bela's vet records and any specific history detailing the animal's temperament must be gathered and sent to Best Friends for review.

The information gathering and review process could take as long as two weeks. During that time, Bela will remain in the local shelter. According to Denmure, no bank accounts have been set up for the estate just yet, so he sent money "from my own pocket" to pay for Bela's care and feeding.

TheBlaze received a brief statement from Best Friends about Bela's predicament, "Our animals are our family and this situation is a great example of the plan people should make for their pets who survive them." Adding, "Whenever possible, the best option is for an adoptive home to have been identified, with informed consent, prior to the owners passing."

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