Animal shelter mistakenly euthanized dog set for rescue

Officials say a mistake led to a rottweiler being put down at a Maricopa County animal shelter.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:28 AM CST
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PHOENIX (KPHO/Gray News) – An animal control and care center in Arizona is under fire after employees mistakenly euthanized a dog that was set to be rescued.

A spokesperson for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control called it an honest mistake that led to the tragic death of a rottweiler.

Shelly Froehlich, who runs Rotten Rottie Rescue, saw 3-year-old Cerrit on MCACC’s euthanasia list for behavioral issues and knew she had to save his life.

“He was a scared dog,” Froehlich said. “He needed to get out of there; it was a bad place for him.”

The rottweiler was once a stray found in Mesa. He was on his way out, but Froehlich planned to take him off the euthanasia list until a staff member on the vet team put him down.

“It was devastating, devastating,” said Froehlich. “He was a baby. He had his whole life ahead of him.”

Kim Powell, the spokesperson for MCACC, said it was unfathomable to her and her staff.

Powell said a staff member on the vet team missed a critical step and did not see that Rotten Rottie Rescue was going to pick Cerrit up.

“A rescue group was supposed to get Cerrit after he was neutered, unfortunately, there was a note in there that the vet tech didn’t see. They didn’t see that this dog was a guaranteed pull,” Powell said. “It is an irreversible error and the person responsible for this is beside themselves.”

Powell admits a similar mistake happened in December, leading to another dog’s death. Now, she said the facility is taking a look at its processes.

“Now we are taking a deep dive into what it is and how we can make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Powell explained.

MCACC said the employee who made the mistake is facing disciplinary action but could not say what that action was.

“There is no going back, it’s done, there is nothing that can bring that dog back,” Froehlich said.