After having second thoughts, Danielle Miller returned to the shelter, only to find out that the dog was put down within an hour of dropping him off.
Miller and her family adopted Tucker, a Lab and German Shepherd mix about two years ago. At the time, they lived in Havelock, N.C. with a big back yard for Tucker to run. Then they family moved to Apex.
"When we moved here, my husband got out of the Marines, so we left Havelock and came here where my family was. We could only afford an apartment and we thought it would work, but he was just trapped here and was miserable," Miller said.
The family decided Tucker would be better off being re-adopted by another family with room for him to run. They looked online for options and came across the Wake County Animal Center, which is where they took him.
"I said, 'Is there any chance they would euthanize him?' And they said 'Yeah, we're not allowed to say that there's no chance. But don't worry, he's neutered, he's adorable, he's not a Pit Bull,' which is a good thing they said. And they said 'He'll be fine,'" Miller said.
Within a half hour of leaving the shelter after dropping Tucker off, Miller started having second thoughts and called the shelter twice. She was told Tucker was being processed and was fine. When she called a third time, she got devastating news.
"They said, he's going to be euthanized, and I said what? I want him back can I please come get him now and they said ok ok, and so I hung up the phone and got my sons and husband. But I got in the car and got a phone call that said don't bother, he's already gone," Miller said.
Dr. Jennifer Federico said Tucker was put down because he exhibited aggressive behavior.
"He did try to bite them multiple times while trying to de-worm him and try to put Frontline on him," Federico said.
Miller denies Tucker was ever aggressive with her, but Federico said you can never predict how an animal will react. If they act aggressively at the shelter, the staff has to make a judgment call both for the public's safety and for the sake of limited space. The shelter encourages people to use them as a last resort.
"I encourage people to try to re-home their pet, put them on Craigslist, interview individuals or try to re-home through friends, family, anyone who knows your pet already," Federico said.
The shelter said it feels awful for Miller and her family. Since this happened, the shelter has put in place a new policy that alerts people who surrender their pets that euthanasia is a possibility and encourages them to wait and make sure their pet doesn't show signs of aggression in the intake process.