A healthy dog was put down in Richmond, Virginia, because the owner, who recently died, put it in her will that she wanted to be buried with the dog, according to WWBT-TV.
Emma, a Shih Tzu mix, stayed at Chesterfield Animal Shelter for two weeks in March after her owner passed away, as employees tried to figure out some way to save the dog's life.
They tried negotiating with the executor of the late owner's will to talk him into other options, but he remained steadfast in carrying out the specific instructions the woman left for her pet.
"We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it's a dog we could easily find a home for and re-home," said Carrie Jones, who manages the shelter. "Ultimately they came back on March 22 and redeemed the dog."
Emma was taken from the shelter and euthanized at a local veterinary office. She was then cremated, placed in an urn, and returned to the woman's estate representative so they could be buried together.
Many vets will refuse to euthanize a healthy pet, even though it is legal, as pets are considered personal property under the law. For some vets, it is cruel and unethical to take the life of a healthy pet for any reason.
"Whenever we're faced with a euthanasia situation, it's a very emotional situation—and beyond everything we talk about—that we need to do ethically, and we've taken an oath to do," said Dr. Kenny Lucas of Shady Grove Animal Clinic, according to WWBT. "Also, it's something we take home, too. It weighs on us as professionals."
It's illegal for animals to be buried with humans in commercial cemeteries, but there are loopholes where that arrangement can occur in private or family-owned cemeteries, which apparently is the case with Emma and her owner.
(H/T Washington Examiner)