Exclusive: Woman distraught after dog euthanized without her knowledge

LONG ISLAND, New York -- A New York woman is distraught and heartbroken after she says her 13-year-old dog was euthanized after being picked up as a stray.

"Not even 24 hours and my dog was gone," Jessica De La Rosa said. "I can't do anything now to bring him back."

De La Rosa tells Eyewitness News that her pet Oso, got out of her yard late Friday morning.

He did not have a collar or a microchip.

De La Rosa said she tried calling all the local shelters but was unable to find him. The next morning, she called the animal shelter and was informed that Oso had been put down.

"Everyone's upset," De La Rosa said. "They can't believe what really happened."

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A spokeswoman for New York Veterinary Specialists confirmed that Oso was brought into their facility on Friday and was euthanized.

The spokesperson said that Oso had a large cancerous tumor, could barely walk, had blood in his urine and that he appeared to be suffering. The decision was then made to put him to sleep.

Eyewitness News also spoke exclusively with the woman who initially found Oso. She was driving home from work when she saw several people trying to help Oso, as he was having a tough time walking.

Oso was actually waiting at the gate to his yard at the time, but the woman said she and the others were not aware of that at the time.

She called the Town of Hempstead, which sent officers to pick up the dog.

"It's not a dog that was out in the streets, a dog that was going to attack somebody," De La Rosa said. "He was a loving dog."

De La Rosa said Oso injured his back last summer and had arthritis, and she was doing physical therapy with him at home.

She said when he went to the vet a year ago, he did not have cancer, and that he did not show any signs of being in pain. De La Rosa is angry that the vet put him down without her permission.

"For them to just put him down and to find out he's gone, that's what hurts the most," De La Rosa said.

A spokesperson for the Town of Hempstead released the following statement:
"After consultation between the town's staff veterinarian and the private animal hospital's veterinarian, it was agreed that humane euthanasia was indicated for an animal that was clearly suffering and had a vastly diminished quality of life."

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