NewsNational News


Series of failures lead to puppy's 'mistaken' euthanasia; investigators to reveal findings

Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 09, 2019

LAS VEGAS -- State authorities are set to reveal their initial investigation findings into the death of an 11-month-old pit bull puppy which was euthanized by mistake this past summer.

"We still miss him, he is still a family member and we talk about him, but we have to move forward," said dog owner Ayla.

The dog, named Sway, was involved in a biting incident of Ayla's 9-year-old son.

His injury required one stitch on his face.

As KTNV reported in July, Sway was placed on a customary 10-day quarantine period at the Animal Foundation for a behavior analysis.

Ayla filed a complaint with the state veterinarian board and demanded accountability and changes in procedure to make sure something similar did not happen again.

On Sept. 11, Ayla received a letter from state investigators revealing the initial investigation into her complaint was complete and a presentation was being prepared.

"My main thing is to find out how this is going to close, because I haven't gotten any resolution or anything," said Ayla.

Authorities with the Animal Foundation, at the time, blamed a break down in communication for Sway's death, but added the situation is extremely rare.

Weeks later, the Animal Foundation says their own internal investigation revealed a series of mistakes were made adding in part:

On June 26, 2019, the City of Las Vegas Animal Control (Animal Control) responded to a call to pick up a dog that had bitten a child on the face. The Animal Foundation admitted the animal for the customary 10-day quarantine. On July 5, 2019, the City of Las Vegas released the animal from quarantine and on July 6, 2019, the animal was humanely euthanized. It was subsequently discovered by shelter management that the owner’s intent was to reclaim the dog after quarantine.

The Animal Foundation has worked vigorously to identify the source of this tragic error and has determined the points of failure were an incorrect phone number listed for the owner, and employee non-compliance with data entry procedures. With 800-1000 animals in the shelter’s care daily, and over 80 more being admitted daily, data accuracy and timeliness are critical in maintaining operations.

We have reached out to the owner and offered our condolences and other efforts to assist in any way possible. It is not our practice to comment on specific personnel matters; however, administrative action has been taken to learn from this very painful lesson.

This story was originally published by Joe Bartels at KTNV.