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Despite the objections of workers at an animal shelter in Chesterfield, the executor of a woman’s estate had Emma, her healthy Shih Tzu mix, euthanized, cremated, and buried with her, the Guardian reports.
Workers say they spent two weeks trying to talk the executor out of going through with the plan. “We did suggest they could sign the dog over on numerous occasions, because it’s a dog we could easily find a home” for it, Carrie Jones, manager of Chesterfield Animal Services, tells WBBT. Emma was eventually put down by a local veterinarian.
It’s illegal to bury pets and humans in the same grave in commercial cemeteries in Virginia, though exceptions are made for private, family-owned cemeteries.
Pets are considered personal property under state law so the woman’s request was not illegal, though many veterinarians would find it reprehensible, CNN reports. Dr. Kenny Lucas at the Shady Grove Animal Clinic says he would never do it. He went on to say:
“Whenever we’re faced with a euthanasia situation, it’s a very emotional situation—and beyond everything we talk about—that we need to do ethically, and we’ve taken an oath to do. Also it’s something we take home too. It weighs on us as professionals.”
This begs the question of “why would someone who loves their pet do such a cruel thing?” Some speculate the owner didn’t trust anyone else to care for her dog, so she elected to have it killed.