KOSCIUSKO — For many people, dogs and cats aren’t just pets. To some, they can become a child’s best friend or even a family member. However, it can be a very difficult decision for animal lovers to decide when to say goodbye to their family pet.
That decision was the central factor in a recent incident involving Kosciusko County Animal Control Officer Jerry Clase, who chose to kill a dog due to its poor health but did so without the owner’s permission. Clase was suspended by the county for five days Tuesday over the incident. Animal rights activists are calling for his removal from the position, citing a history of complaints about Clase.
The dog owner had been in contact with a doctor for the dog, Daisy, a 14-year-old boxer, that had a tumor, and had wanted to seek further care for the dog.
Deciding whether to euthanize a pet can be difficult.
According to Your Dog Advisor, deciding when to euthanize a pet, particularly dogs, involves asking several questions to help them determine what is best.
Dr. Alice Villalobos, a California veterinarian, developed a Quality of Life scale that can help pet owners figure out their dog’s quality of life.
The scale asks owners to rate seven different aspects, including:
- Hurt – Is the dog in any type of physical pain?
- Hunger – Is the dog able to eat and receive proper nutrients?
- Hydration – Is the dog able to drink and stay hydrated?
- Hygiene – Is the dog’s overall physical appearance okay?
- Happiness – Is the dog willing to play and interact with family members? Or is it depressed and lethargic?
- Mobility – Is the dog able to move around on its own without assistance?
- More Good Days Than Bad – Do your dog’s overall bad days outnumber the good? Or vice versa?
Each category is rated on a scale of 0 to 10. If the score is above 35 points, the dog should be able to maintain a good quality of life. However, according to the article, the scale should be used alongside discussions with a veterinarian.
In some cases, there can be subtle signs to look for in both dogs and cats, including but not limited to: changes in behavior, labored breathing, and body language.