RICHMOND, Va. – Over the protests of shelter workers, a healthy dog was euthanized so she could be buried with her dead owner in accordance with the Virginia woman's will, according to WWBT.
The Shih Tzu named Emma was temporarily placed at the Chesterfield Animal Shelter, where staff members tried for two weeks to talk the executor of the will out of putting the dog down.
Carrie Jones, a manager at Chesterfield Animal Services, told WWBT that Emma would have been easy to place in a new home, but the person carrying out her late owner's last wishes came back for the dog on March 22.
Emma was euthanized at an area veterinarian's office and then cremated. The local news station reports that Emma's ashes were given to the representative of the estate.
Virginia law sees dogs as personal property and, while it isn't illegal to euthanize a healthy pet, ethical considerations may prevent vets from performing the procedure.
Current law defines a cemetery as "any land or structure used or intended to be used for the interment of human remains," but WWBT reports that family-owned and private cemeteries are treated as exceptions.