Nebraska Humane Society euthanizes canine with out proprietor’s consent in midst of “miscommunication”

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – The Rodgers family rescued their German Shepherd, Zeppelin, when she was only 6 months old and quickly became an important family member.

“He was great. My daughter has a baby, she has two now, but Zeppelin grew up with her daughter and he was a great dog,” said Kelly Rodgers, Zeppelin’s owner. “He was great, he was playful, he loved the water, he loved the sea, but he was a great dog.”

Last week the three year old Zeppelin had a seizure. Rodgers said he had just been to the vet and had never had a seizure. Zeppelin had lived with Kelly’s son Eric. In the midst of his seizure, Zeppelin bit Eric’s roommate. They say he has never bitten anyone.

“He didn’t pinch him because he’s mean, he pinched him because he’s scared, they tried to catch her to put him in the kennel during his seizure,” said Kelly.

Eric told 3 News Now that the bite was minor.

According to the Ministry of Health protocol, Zeppelin had to be quarantined for ten days.

“”[Eric] said the dog had a seizure three days earlier and was not acting quite like it and had bitten one of his friends, so he brought the dog in and said it needed to be euthanized. Our front desk said wait a minute, there are other options. You can quarantine the dog here for ten days, “said Pam Wiese, vice president of public relations and marketing for the Nebraska Humane Society.

The Rodgers family said they didn’t want Zeppelin to be euthanized. They said Eric had specifically signed a document requesting the dog to be returned to him after the 10-day quarantine.

According to the humane society, Zeppelin’s condition was deteriorating and his health deteriorated after day 5 of his quarantine. They contacted the Rodgers family to discuss his condition and said there was a miscommunication.

“After that conversation, we mistakenly felt that we had tacit permission to euthanize the dog. So we decided to do so based on the fact that the dog was deteriorating and based on the act that the dog was doing nothing did, should go ahead and put the dog to sleep, “said Wiese.

They contacted the victim of the bite and informed him that the dog had been euthanized and showed no symptoms of rabies. The victim of the bite then called the Rodgers family who didn’t know what had happened.

“I was shocked, and I think I’m still in shock. I kept asking her, how can you take a life so easily? How can you communicate wrongly about something like this? It just doesn’t make sense,” said Kelly Rodgers .

The Nebraska Humane Society contacted the Rodgers family to offer their deepest condolences and to say that they are reviewing the guidelines and retraining the staff to ensure this never happens to any other family.

“Nothing is going to bring him back, but something has to change and that can’t be right and I hope to God this doesn’t happen to someone else or it didn’t happen to someone else,” said Kelly Rodgers.

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