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Family of dog mistakenly euthanized by LASPCA demanding investigation

The Louisiana SPCA which runs the shelter euthanized their beloved family dog, King Zuma by mistake.

NEW ORLEANS — Herman and Rolanda Spencer in New Orleans East are demanding a thorough investigation and better checks and balances at the city’s animal shelter. 

The Louisiana SPCA which runs the shelter euthanized their beloved family dog, King Zuma by mistake. 

“I raised him since he was a little puppy,” Herman Spencer said. “So, he was like my kid. I took him out. I walked him. I fed him. I’ve got children so it extended from my own personal children. He was another child to me.” 

City Councilman Oliver Thomas says he watched Tuesday’s story about what happened to the Spencer’s dog on WWL-TV. 

“It wasn’t a story that you saw, it was a story you felt,” Thomas said.     

 After two weeks of searching for their lost dog, the Spencers found Zuma at the shelter.  

They weren’t allowed to bring him home that day because they couldn’t prove he had a current rabies vaccination. 

They would have to wait two days for the shelter’s vet to give him the shot before the dog could be released. 

But that night, the shelter euthanized the dog. 

According to the LASPCA, Zuma did not pass an earlier behavior assessment. 

He was on the list to be euthanized before the Spencers claimed him. 

For some reason, Zuma was never taken off that list. 

Thomas says he discussed the matter with LASPCA Executive Director, Ana Zorillo. 

“We have to have some stopgap measures in place to make sure that doesn't happen again,” Thomas said. “Ana and the SPCA family have assured me in my conversations with them that they’re willing to do that.” 

According to documents provided by the LASPCA, the city shelter took in 4,220 animals through September of this year. 

The shelter euthanized 653 animals over the same time. 

In a statement, the LASPCA said, “Humane euthanasia of animals - a practice acknowledged by most animal protection organizations as an acceptable means for alleviating or preventing suffering - is still required in New Orleans due to the surplus of animals received at our shelter.” 

Still, what happened to the Spencer’s pet is hard to comprehend for dog rescuers, like Take Paws rescue founder Monique Bonnaffons. 

“The family visited the dog,” Bonnaffons said. “The dog was identified, claimed. How was it killed. This should never happen. I can’t imagine in any world how this can happen.” 

Councilman Thomas also told WWL-TV, he’s requested the LASPCA provide the Spencer family with another dog when they’re ready.


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