A Florida family lost their dog after an error with his microchip led to the animal being mistakenly euthanized after he broke out of their yard.
WFTS reported that Lefty, a beagle with sight and hearing problems who belonged to Kristi Durham and her family, broke through a fence on Thursday at their Auburndale area home and was lost. Durham and her husband called three different shelters and posted on lost pet Facebook pages, but learned the bad news on Friday when they checked with a shelter that had euthanized the dog.
"This was not a healthy animal," said Carrie Horstman, a spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, which runs Animal Control. "This was not an animal (the veterinarian) felt would benefit from any sort of medical help or attention. She felt it was in the dog's best interest to be euthanized."
"It's heartbreaking, and nothing's ever going to bring my baby back," Durham told WFTS.
According to Polk County animal control, Lefty wasn't initially in the shelter when the owners contacted it on Thursday, and the dog had an invalid phone number when the shelter scanned his microchip when was brought in. WFTS reported that a few of the digits in the number had been mixed up and hadn’t been updated since the family moved to Auburndale in August.
Because of Lefty’s health problems, the shelter vet decided to put him down, WFTS said. "It was just the perfect storm, and it's very sad. We feel terrible for this pet owner. She's welcome to come to animal control and we'll give her a pet for free. We certainly don't want this to ever happen again," said Carrie Horstman, public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
24PetWatch, the company with which Lefty's microchip was registered, issued a statement.
"We ... send quarterly emails to pet owners reminding them of the status of their microchip account and encouraging them to confirm that all information is correct," it read. "We also do periodic checks with the National Change of Address registry to try to identify any pet owners that may have new contact information and ask them to contact us if we see a discrepancy in the data."
Read more at WFTS.
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