SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) – Hours after a dog was hit by a car in Scott County, animal control made the decision to euthanize the animal without the owner's consent.
Shelter officials said the dog was in pain, but the owner said that wasn't their call to make.
"Most of the people who have their dogs injured thank me for not having their dogs suffer. Unfortunately, in this case, it was the whole opposite,” Denney Robbins, Animal Control Director in Scott County, Indiana said.
The dog, named Max, was hit by a car on Highway 31 in Scottsburg early Sunday morning, after running away from home.
A passerby called 911 and animal control responded and picked up the dog.
"Upon arrival, he checked it for a microchip, which we don't have to do by law, but we checked it for a microchip and it had a microchip in it so he called the phone number and left a voice mail and didn't get no answer,” Robbins said.
He said the employee waited over an hour for a callback.
The dog's owner claims he never got the call.
"That was my dog. He put my dog down. He murdered my dog,” Harris said.
The shelter employee decided to euthanize the animal. He said the dog was suffering and they didn't think it was humane to wait any longer.
Harris said that decision was the wrong one. He said, "You're a dog catcher – you're not a vet. You don't know if that dog would've made it or not. A vet could've made that decision if he needed to be put down or not."
Harris said he found out what happened when a witness posted on Facebook. By that time, the dog was dead.
"It’s a job we're not proud of – a lot of the public is not proud of us. It’s just a tough job period. All the way around,” Robbins said.
Robbins said he supports his employee's decision and has even taken responsibility for it, becoming the target of hateful messages online and threatening voicemails like one that said, "This is a concerned voter here in Scott County. I'm really pretty angry that you would kill that man's dog. I think maybe somebody needs to find a new job and new line of work. And maybe we'll work on seeing if that happens."
Harris said he wants new leadership in the shelter and he is working to make it happen.
For now, city leaders said it was an unfortunate case of miscommunication- one that can be learned from.