Shelter Euthanizes Wrong Cat in Mixup


A Florida family is mourning the loss of Buddy after Hernando County Animal Services mistakenly euthanized him.

Buddy’s owner, Maria Velez had taken Buddy to a friend’s house for her to cat sit while they were on vacation. When the friend, Debra Yarzab, was playing with Buddy, he bit her on the hand.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” said Yarzab.

Later, her hand swelled up, and she sought medical attention for the injury.

Because Buddy hadn’t received his rabies shot, he was put in quarantine at Hernando County Animal Services, which is routine in such cases.

It turned out that he was fine, but there was a mix up with another orange tabby cat, and Buddy was euthanized.

When the Velezes went to pick Buddy up, they were presented with a different cat–a very skinny orange tabby who was missing a tail. Maria Velez told them it was the wrong cat, at which point they discovered that the wrong cat had been euthanized.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Maria Velez said. “I was in shock. I’m like are you kidding me?”

Animal Services officials say they feel bad about the mixup, but admitted that similar incidents have occurred before. They said they are working on implementing new procedures to prevent future mix ups.

“I just want something to be done so it doesn’t ever happen again to someone else, to another animal,” Maria Velez said.

“I can never get him back,” said her son, Austin.

County Commissioner Rose Rocco said she is investigating the incident and is going to make sure new guidelines are put in place.


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