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Police dog mistakenly euthanized

felonyA black Lab named Felony who worked for the police department in Howard Lake, Minnesota, escaped from his kennel, ended up at the local humane society and, after getting labeled aggressive, was euthanized.

Felony, 10 years old and nearing the end of his police career as a drug sniffer, was discovered missing on October 30 when a police officer arrived to pick him up for work.

Police immediately called the Wright County Humane Society. The dog wasn’t there. But he did end up there a day later when a Howard Lake resident found him and called the local dog catcher, KARE11 in the Twin Cities reported.

“Our officer contacted the Animal Humane Society on Friday evening shortly after contacting the dog catcher, said Chief Tracy Vetruba. “Unfortunately, at that time the dog catcher still had the dog, who he did not believe was our dog, and it ‘was’ our dog.”

With no tags or microchip on the dog,  a spokesperson for the Animal Humane Society said workers had no idea Felony was a K-9 officer. Felony was placed on a 5-day mandatory hold, during which he demonstrated aggressive behavior. Tests determined that he was dangerous and unadoptable, and Felony was euthanized, the humane society says.

“Our officers were devastated to learn that he was put down,” said Cheif Vetruba. “He will absolutely be missed by our officers.”

Howard Lake’s police chief will look into the events that led to Felony’s death as part of a larger examination of the department’s K-9 program, and he hopes to get a new dog for the department.


Comment from Elaine
Time November 25, 2009 at 7:16 am

Proof that aggression evaluations are inadequate.

Comment from bluhawkk
Time November 25, 2009 at 7:51 am

“…after getting labeled aggressive…”

Aggressive based on…..?


They can not afford a microchip?

Comment from Lynn
Time November 25, 2009 at 2:40 pm

What else are shelters supposed to do? After working 10 months of the past year at a local SPCA (serving 4 municipalities / counties), I’m here to tell you that the influx of canine strays and owner surrenders is out of control. It is all the shelter can do to keep up especially seeing as they get about 2 to 3 times as many intakes as adoptions. Plus you’ve got to factor in the number of sick dogs – most adopters do not want to take home a sick animal. So the problem is not that so much of the individual shelters as it is that of the original owners. If you don’t want the worst to happen to your dog if it gets lost, GET IT MICROCHIPPED! And keep your microchip information up to date.

Comment from Ron Anderson
Time November 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

I am a dog instructor at Tayside Police, Scotland and we now microchip our dogs as a matter of course. Reading this story, that sort of thing could have happened here prior to that decision having been made. Good practice I would say, its not expensive ($30 a time), and better than losing a dog in which $1000,s has been invested. Really sad tale, my heart goes out to the handler, but one which could have been prevented. Any new dogs coming into out Section are microchipped.

Comment from RW
Time November 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm

As far as the SPCA are you kidding me or what. They put a good face out to the public but are one of the most corrupt agency in the country. It is so funny how everyone is an expert and a trainer or an evaluator because they watched three episodes of Animal Planet. These same experts see a dog exhibit some fear and the dog is “aggressive”. What is the standards for aggression? Wanna bet it is when the evaluator soils his pants and then realizes he is not the expert he claims to be and is exposed for the “fake” he really is! EVERYONE, including the Chief, should be held accountable!