Saturday, November 28, 2009

cruel death, good death

"Oreo the Abused Pit Bull is Euthanized," New York Times, November 13, 2009:
Oreo, a dog that was nursed back to health after surviving being thrown off the roof of a six-story building, was killed Friday by lethal injection.

A 2-year-old pit bull, Oreo was euthanized in the New York City headquarters of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after the organization rebuffed last-minute pleas to spare her life. The organization called the dog a danger to the public.

On Friday morning, Oreo received a last meal of “premium quality” kibble and canned dog food. She was then given a sedative, though she appeared “content, alert and panting,” according to an organization spokesman. Oreo was injected in the leg with an overdose of sodium pentobarbital and was pronounced dead shortly after 3 p.m.

Oreo broke two legs in the fall. News reports of the incident, accompanied by photos of the brown and white dog with her front legs in casts, triggered a flood of adoption offers and financial donations to help pay for the medical care.

However, as Oreo recuperated from her injuries under the care of the A.S.P.C.A., she was increasingly viewed as a danger — difficult to control and “unpredictably aggressive,” according to an organization spokesman.

News of Oreo’s death provoked angry reactions among supporters who had been frantically lobbying the A.S.P.C.A. to delay the euthanasia and allow time to negotiate a deal to transfer Oreo to an animal sanctuary in the Hudson Valley.

Oreo’s case came to public attention in June, when her owner, Fabian Henderson, threw her off the roof of his apartment building at the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn. Mr. Henderson was convicted of animal cruelty and was scheduled to be sentenced in December.

[ . . . ]

The A.S.P.C.A. rejected [pleas to delay the euthanasia], citing the evaluation of staff members and an outside veterinary behaviorist who said that Oreo could not be rehabilitated. “Animal cruelty isn’t pretty and doesn’t always have a happy ending,” said the society’s president and chief executive, Ed Sayres. “It is ugly and sad and, ultimately, tragic.”

Seven staff members were present during the euthanasia procedure. But the dog’s former owner, Mr. Henderson, was not on hand to witness his pet’s final moments.
* * *

A curious mixed-up creature Oreo was.  A pit, a pet.  Aggressive, abused.  Nursed back to health.  Put back to death.  Content and alert, ugly and sad.  Panting.  White on the inside.

* Revised Dec 2, 2009