Local News

Wrong Animal Put to Sleep at Wake County Shelter

Posted October 28, 1999

— Pet owners know animals become part of your family. So imagine someone putting your dog to sleep by mistake. That is what an Apex family says happened to their dog at the hands of the Wake County Animal Shelter.

"A different lady came and approached us and said 'Look, I think we made a mistake and we accidentally put your dog to sleep,'" says Venera Cammarata.

Cammarata and her sister Lori say their dog Duke was to be quarantined at the shelter for ten days after he scratched a neighbor. Instead, he was euthanized less than 48 hours after arriving.

"He was part of my family. I feel like I just lost my brother or sister. Yes, he was just a dog, but I loved him. I grew very attached to him, and I'm depressed," says Venera.

Wake County admits there was a breakdown in procedure. They are investigating what happened and they want to figure out why, and make sure it does not happen again.

"It's certainly a sad and tragic situation for the family, and our concern is not only for the situation it has created for the family, but making sure our procedures are as they should be," says Rick Rowe, of Wake County Environmental Services.

Animals who have had rabies vaccinations do not need to be quarantined; Duke had his shot. But the Cammaratas never got the chance to prove Duke was vaccinated.

"I feel that what they did was very irresponsible, and I want to prevent this from ever happening again. I mean, they broke our hearts," says Lori.

So far, no one knows exactly what happened, From what the family has been able to piece together, Duke's identity was apparently confused with another dog's.

Wake County says nothing like this has ever happened at the shelter before.


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