CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - The battle continues to find the truth behind why Shayla, a 4-month-old puppy, was euthanized by the Anson County Animal Shelter.
"I don't think there is any possible reasonable explanation that they can ever give to me that will help me understand why they would kill that precious puppy. When just 18 hours before, she wagged her tail, she was happy she wanted to play," Gretchen McCollum said.
It all started on June 29 when Shayla and her siblings where surrendered. Rescue volunteer Gretchen McCollum was called in as she usually was to help take in animals. She came to pick Shayla and her siblings up on July 5. She says when she got there she witnessed the shelter employee mishandling the animals and somewhere within the transfer, that shelter worker was bitten
"He said I didn't come to work to get bit today. And I said ‘did you get bit?’ And he said ‘yes,” and I asked ‘Are you ok’ And he said ‘yes,’" McCollum said.
"The employee had to go to the hospital and as I understand it, the wound had to be glue shut. Also, he had to receive a tetanus vaccine, he had to receive anti biotic shots and also a series of rabies treatment," Anson County Lawyer Scott Forbes said.
On the same day, after McCollum took Shayla home, the shelter told McCollum she had to bring the puppy that bit the employee back to be put into a 10-day quarantine to watch for any rabies symptoms. Shayla was euthanized only five days into the quarantine.
"Typically a 10-day quarantine is utilized however in circumstances like we have here, there is a risk and people are in danger or believe to be in danger with the facts and data that we had there and then existing, we didn't have a crystal ball, the decision was made to end the observation period and to euthanize Shayla so she can serve her brain to be sent to Raleigh and be tested for rabies," Forbes said.
Under the North Carolina law:
Euthanasia of dogs, cats and ferrets that bite a person is not permissible unless signs or symptoms compatible with rabies develop during the 10-day confinement period or there are extenuating circumstances confirmed by veterinary public health that support euthanasia or early submission for laboratory testing
"if the dog had rabies it's a ticking time bomb, we would've had to wait several more days for the treatment to begin or for the reaction to begin," Forbes said.
Shayla's results came back negative for rabies. McCollum says Shayla never showed any symptoms of rabies since the day she came in.
"She had already been watched that long. She didn't get bit by a rabid dog in the shelter, so had she been bit before she came in by the time they killed her, her 10 days where up," McCollum said.
McCollum believe Shayla was never a threat even if she did bite someone. Now she is fighting to make sure there are clear-cut laws to stop this from happening again.