Dogs & Laws

Deceased Woman’s Will Calls for Her Dog to be Euthanized and Buried With Her

A healthy German Shepherd’s life may be on the line after his owner, who died on November 25, requested in her last will and testament that the dog be euthanized and buried along with her.

In most states, including Indiana, a dog is considered personal property and the owner has legal rights to determine that dog’s fate. So, when Connie Lay prepared her will, she called for her dog, Bela, to be euthanized and cremated and for his ashes to be combined with hers.

She did, however, offer an alternative to euthanizing the dog. The other option was for Bela to be transported and cared for by Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. According to friends of the deceased, Bela has shown signs of aggression in the past. He was by his owner’s side when she passed away in her home and police and coroners were unable to enter the home for fear that the dog would attack.

Best Friends Animal Society said in a statement that they would prefer Bela end up in the sanctuary, but that “the decision to send him to us (or) to have him put down and cremated is out of our hands.”

The attorney handling the estate has said that due to financial strains, getting Bela from Indiana to Utah is not an option.

A veterinarian has agreed to euthanize the dog if that’s what the estate decides to do.

For now, Bela is being held at PAWS of Dearborn County, a humane shelter that has stated they will NOT euthanize the dog.

“If a euthanization decision is reached by the estate, then it will be the responsibility of the estate to make those arrangements elsewhere,” the statement read.

Several volunteers from the shelter have offered to adopt Bela, but that is not an option that aligns with Lay’s will.

However public outcry and media attention to the story have very likely saved Bela’s life. It is very unlikely that the dog will be euthanized, despite his lawful definition as a piece of property. The law states that a will cannot order an illegal act to be performed in order to carry out the will. Although euthanasia is not illegal, it can be determined to be cruel to euthanize a perfectly healthy dog, and a judge can therefor overrule Lay’s will.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Jennifer

    Jennifer

    says:

    There are transports available that could get him safely to Utah. Many of them rely on volunteers as well and are FREE! So glad he’s safe for now and will likely not be euthanized.

  2. Avatar Of Read The Story

    Read the story

    says:

    To SheWolf,

    The only aggression this dog showed was AFTER the owner died, not before. So your compliments giving accolades to this selfish woman is premature, since the dog was only aggressive AFTER her death, preventing coroners from entering the home post mortem, long after this ridiculous will request was documented, and therefore – eff that lady. She wasn’t doing that dog any favors by executing it after death.

  3. Avatar Of Shewolf

    SheWolf

    says:

    Being an avid animal lover and rescuer of many, I completely understand where Bella’s owner is coming from. She thought of her dog first, knowing it is aged (as anyone can see by the photo) and that Bella had shown aggression in the past. Having Bella euthanized assures the owner that Bella will not be placed in a cage for the rest of her life, placed anywhere where Bella could potentially hurt someone, or mistreated because she has been aggressive.
    I commend the owner for even thinking of her dogs well being should she die 1st!
    I too, have instructions for my furbabies, should anything happen to me. Every owner should!

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