October 02, 2015 01:37 AM

A city ordinance in Nashville allowing animal control shelters to adopt out or euthanize unlicensed pets after 72 hours prevented Janet Mabry from reuniting with her lost dog Sadie Mae. 

According to WKRN, Mabry went to Metro Animal Care and Control to claim her lost pit bull and was horrified to find that the shelter had already put down her beloved pet. 

Sadie Mae went missing over a week ago after Mabry left the dog tethered outside a store while she ran an errand for 15 minutes. When the woman returned, the dog was gone. The pit bull was not micro-chipped, but was wearing a collar, which gave Mabry hope that someone would safely return the animal. 

Mabry and her 6-year-old daughter covered their neighborhood with signs about the missing canine, but didn’t hear anything for days. On Sept. 24, a rescue group volunteer found Sadie Mae, without her collar on, roaming a local park and dropped her off at Metro Animal Control. That Saturday, Mabry discovered her dog was at the shelter through a Facebook page called East Nashville & Inglewood Lost and Found Pets. The overjoyed owner immediately tried to reclaim the canine, but animal control was closed until Tuesday. Mabry returned to the shelter right when it opened on Tuesday only to get the news that Sadie Mae was put down. 

Metro Animal Control director Lauren Bluestone said she feels bad about what happened, but that the shelter was following city ordinances. Because Sadie Mae came into the shelter as an unidentified stray, Animal Control had three days to decide whether to try to adopt out the dog or put her down.

“The dog has gone through our behavioral evaluation, and unfortunately the dog did not pass one of the areas,” Bluestone told WKRN. “In this case, it was fairly severe, and therefore euthanasia was the appropriate route.”

“This wasn’t an easy decision for the staff and this certainly isn’t an easy situation for the owner and the family, and we do apologize,” she continued. 

After allegedly trying to attack another dog at the shelter, Sadie Mae was labeled with “severe dog aggression” and deemed unadoptable. Now, Mabry has to find a way to tell her daughter that Sadie Mae isn’t coming home. 

“We want to make sure that there is an appropriate determination, which means we do want to evaluate all these animals, which was done in this case, so it’s really important to the staff. And even if an animal does fail, these decisions are not taken lightly at all,” Bluestone said. 

The director advised that all pet owners looking for an animal file a lost pet report with their city, especially if their pet isn’t micro-chipped. Lost pet reports are checked by Animal Control before an animal is euthanized. 

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