SC Seizure-Alert Dog Euthanized — No ID

By isak, June 5, 2009

Apache a seizure-alert service dog recently euthanized at a local shelter. She had no ID tags that would have saved her life.Recently, a South Carolina seizure-alert dog was euthanized at the Beaufort County Animal Control and Shelter just minutes before the owner called in. She had been picked up around the corner from her own home on the day she got out by animal control responding to a call about a loose dog. Apache wore a collar and a rabies tag that expired in February. When animal control contacted Apache’s veterinarian’s office, her records did not show up in the computer because her information had been moved to an inactive file, said Dr. Ben Parker of Coastal Veterinary Clinic in Bluffton.

“We had not seen the dog since 2006,” Parker said.

Per the owner, Apache also had a microchip, but the shelter scanned her twice and found no chip.

Apache, an 11-year-old Australian shepherd seizure-alert dog, knew the command “Go home.”

What she didn’t know was how to get there after being picked up as a lost dog May 14 and kept in a shelter for six days. Apache was euthanized May 20, minutes before her owner called in search of her.

Little did the family know that was twice as long as most dogs get because the county’s shelter usually keeps dogs older than 5 for just three days — a policy based on space and animal populations.

“Our normal holding period is three days,” said Toni Lytton, director of Beaufort County Animal Control and Shelter. “No one came looking for the dog until the sixth day. Our criteria is we don’t keep anything (older than) five years … because most animals over five don’t adjust well to a new home.”

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This dog did not need to die. She was a working service dog. But she had no service dog tag, outdated Rabies tag and an undetected microchip.

Bottom line: make sure your pet has a collar with up-to-date information. Write your phone number on the collar with a Sharpie or add a tag with your contact info. If your dog is microchipped, make sure you change your info if you move.

If your pet gets lost:

  • Make sure your pet has a microchip that contains address and owner information.
  • Keep rabies tags updated.
  • Call shelters, veterinarians and humane associations daily if your pet goes missing.
  • Make sure your neighbors know your pets.
  • Make posters. State WHERE the pet was last seen, a photo and/or description, and a phone number where you can be reached.

4 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    I meant to add, if you can’t visit a shelter , e-mail a few photos. I have heard too many stories of pets destroyed or adopted out, even though the owner had contacted the shelter. I appreciate the hard and emotionally difficult work shelters do, but I find most of the dogs don’t look anything like the breeds they are labelled.

  2. […] stories make the rounds, it’s easy to understand. There is the recent story of a shelter in South Carolina euthanizing Apache, a seizure alert dog just minutes before the owner called, or Brindi, the dog in Halifax that has been held by […]

    • Chris says:

      There is no excuse for this.

      The owner was negligent for not fixing or covering up the hole. Fences are not only to keep pets in but to keep dangerous animals out.

      The owner was negligent in not having contact info on the dog, especially a service dog.
      Microchips only work if someone takes the dog to a shelter which has a scanner. There’s always a possibility there will be a problem with the scanner or chip.

      Putting up fliers is not enough. Neither is looking at websites. It’s not realistic to expect the shelter to update it’s website every day. You should call every shelter and vet, animal control etc. Even surrounding areas. People pick up a dog near the highway and drop it at the nearest town. You should visit in person and provide pictures of the pet. Newspapers often allow free ads for lost and found, or shelter animals.

      There is no excuse for anyone involved with dogs to confuse that dog with a husky. They should have called one of the SC Australian Shepherd rescues instead of euthanizing the dog.