Animal Shelter Accidentally Puts Puppy to Sleep on Adoption Day

In Tampa, Florida, the Hillsborough Animal Shelter has come under fire for mistakenly killing a dog that had already been adopted. JoJo, a 1-year-old German shepherd, was waiting for his new family to pick him up last week when staff euthanized the pup. He was scheduled to go to his new home later that very day — a fact that staff somehow managed to overlook while reviewing the puppy’s file.

The staff member who carried out the procedure has been relieved of duties related to euthanization, and the facility is currently undergoing an internal investigation by human resources to decide if any disciplinary measures need to be carried out. That isn’t stopping local animal lovers from organizing a protest outside the shelter on October 19th. While the director of the shelter has personally apologized to the family who wanted to bring JoJo home, there’s not much the shelter can do to make up for the loss of life after the fact.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this sort of mix-up has occurred at this particular shelter. In April 2012, someone decided to adopt a black and white mixed breed named Zeus, only to arrive at the shelter and find that the dog was already dead — mistakenly euthanized only an hour after arriving at the shelter.

The Hillsborough shelter has come under criticism before for its high kill rate — about 12,000 animals a year. It’s also experienced recent outbreaks of illness among the animals housed there, including Parvovirus. The rate of illness among pets in the shelter is so high that two of the shelter’s veterinarians have publicly resigned, citing their concerns about new management. Clearly, the problems at this facility go deeper than low-level staff misreading a file.

While JoJo’s story is particularly tragic, sadly, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for a rescue dog. In the United States alone, shelters euthanize 3-4 million animals a year. While some pets on “death row” are able to find foster families or loving forever homes, many more end up being put to sleep before they have a chance.

This is especially true of “unadoptable” pets with disabilities, behavior problems or serious medical issues, which have a much harder time being placed.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

so sad but thanks for sharing

Debbie Miller
Debbie false1 years ago

heart breaking!!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Julie, for Sharing this!

Dimitris Dallis
Dimitris Dallis2 years ago


Bev Woodburn
Bev Woodburn2 years ago

JoJo was murdered and I agree, don,t use the word euthanasia? It was deliberate murder of an innocent and helpless puppy. And also murder of millions of innocent and helpless animals in Animal Shelters, where these innocent and helpless animals are not even given a chance to be adopted and live out there life in a loving home. The law should be changed to protect the innocent and helpless animals in Animal Shelters. It seems to me some of these lowlife human bastards enjoy murdering these innocent animals. This is an abomination and an absolute disgrace allowing such atrocities to be allowed to continue against such helpless and innocent animals. Please everybody get together and stop the atrocities committed against such trusting animals? They need out voice to protect them from the hands of evil humans monsters.

Virginia Abreu de Paula

Would writers stop using the word euthanasia for killing? Was that dog sick? Was that dog suffering badly for a disease without possbility of recovering his health? No. he was waiting to be adopted! they simply murdered him. And yet people still this beautiful word, euthanasia, maybe to make their terrible action less terrible. It doesn't change the fact they just kill, and kill, and kill. At least use the right word to tell horrifying stories like these.

Kay M.
Kay M.2 years ago

disgusting and heartbreaking.

Shannon Moody
Shannon Moody2 years ago

it's caled "read the file....a**hole"

Shannon Moody
Shannon Moody2 years ago

hope this shelter can get their shit together.....these pups had found homes, and we going to their furever homes.......this is sheer stupidity, or a sadistic moron who can't read.