Last Update: 10/13/2017 4:25:00 PM
Berks ARL euthanizes girl's pet cat
Animal Rescue League worker ignored policies
Douglassville, PA - Piper Wegman, 6, an Exeter Township kindergartner, will not be accompanied to the bus stop at the end of her driveway by her cat Violet any more.
The 11/2-year-old cat was put down Tuesday night by the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, which had picked her up at a Douglassville area neighbor's home.
Piper's parents, Tiffany and Jordan, were away Saturday and Violet never came home that night to the home they share with a dog, two other cats and chickens. She did not return Sunday. On Monday Tiffany made up posters for the spayed and collared cat, who had been allowed outdoors, and started contacting neighbors and friends.
"I woke up Wednesday to a text from a friend asking if my cat had a purple collar and then saying that my cat had been found and taken to the ARL Tuesday night," Tiffany said. "My husband, Jordan, was in the parking lot at the ARL before they opened at 9 a.m."
Tiffany said he was in disbelief when he was told that Violet had been put down the night before. She still had her purple collar on when her body was turned over to Jordan Wednesday in a plastic bag, Tiffany said.
The woman who called the ARL to pick up the cat, who the ARL admitted had said the cat was friendly, ended up being a customer of Jordan's for whom he plows snow.
Tom Hubric, ARL's interim executive director, said the cat reacted aggressively to the ARL employee who put her in a crate and then again when the technician tried to give her food and water later. The technician, who had been trained in euthanizing animals, decided to put Violet down.
The ARL, which provides animal control services for all of Berks, is now apologizing and even sent the Wegmans flowers.
"I have completed my investigation regarding the unauthorized euthanasia of a family's pet that occurred on October 10, 2017, and want the family and public to know we have taken immediate action and what we are doing moving forward to prevent this horrific event from ever happening again," Hubric wrote on the Cumru Township animal shelter's Facebook page Thursday.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Hubric said the technician did not follow the ARL's policy that the executive director, a veterinarian or a senior management member be contacted before a euthanization is carried out. Hubric did not release the technician's name.
There is no legal requirement for shelters to hold cats for any length of time in Pennsylvania.
"There is what is legal and there is what is right," Hubric said, noting that the technician, who has been dismissed, should not have made the unilateral decision to put the cat down. "She did not follow our protocol or common sense."
He said that for the foreseeable future either he or a veterinarian will approve all euthanizations.
Tiffany Wegman said she came forward with her story so others would not have to go through the grief her family has. Piper's brothers, Pierce, 3, and Briggs, 10 months, are too young to understand what happened to Violet. They just know their sister is upset, Tiffany said.
Contact Susan E. Miers smith: firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-371-5048.