Several residents are outraged after a pit bull was euthanized only a few days after going through another area shelter.
“Spunky Brewster” arrived at the Bucks County SPCA after being picked up on Aug. 2 by Lower Makefield Police.
Paperwork didn’t reveal who found the dog so the SPCA used the dog’s microchip to track down its owner who said she had just moved to Colorado and had given the dog away a couple of years back but couldn’t remember who she gave the dog to, said Bucks SPCA executive director Anne Irwin.
The owner told the SPCA she couldn’t take the dog back so the shelter began an evaluation of Spunky’s behavior.
“When the dog in question was evaluated her arousal level was so high that she repeatedly grabbed the evaluator’s arms hard enough to hurt and chased and nipped at her pant legs and did not easily settle down,” said Irwin. “This is not really aggression, but in a real life setting it can result in a situation where people or animals get hurt or worse. A manager observed the behavior as well and determined that this dog was high risk for adoption.”
The aggressive evaluation led to the SPCA putting down Spunky on Aug. 8.
Only after the death did the SPCA learn that the dog’s finder had posted photos of Spunky to social media. Volunteers from Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT) recognized the dog as a recently placed pet from ACCT.
By the time the recognition happened, Spunky had already been euthanized, said Irwin.
Some social media users, upset over what happened to Spunky, used the #JusticeForSpunkyBrewster hashtag to question what happened to the dog, shown in photos as being playful and loving. They claimed that Spunky was put down because she was a pit bull.
Once-named “Baby,” Spunky spent nearly two months at ACCT waiting to find a home, said ACCT operations Director Ed Fritz.
An investigation revealed that Spunky’s owner actually hadn’t moved out of town and had actually adopted the dog that same day, said Irwin.
“Apparently she took the dog home to her apartment in Bristol, did not like the interaction with her other dogs and drove it to Morrisville and let it go,” said Irwin.
The SPCA charged that woman with animal abandonment.
The adopter chose not to utilize some of ACCT’s programs including free clinic care for the first 48 hours and its Pen Pal program that helps animals acclimate to a new environment.
“If it’s not working out you can return the dog,” said Fritz. “You don’t necessarily know how the animal will behave until you get it to another location, to another environment."
“We just wish she would have reached out for assistance and given us a chance to help,” said Fritz.
Instead the dog was wandering in Bucks County within hours of being adopted.
“It’s tough in the animal shelter making decisions… no one likes doing that type of thing and having to put animals to sleep,” said Fritz. “But you have the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of people in your community, sometimes you have to make tough calls.”
“We try hard to make responsible decisions for the animals in our care and for the community,” said Irwin. “This whole situation is very sad.”