Dog willed to die begins journey to Utah no-kill shelter - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Dog willed to die begins journey to Utah no-kill shelter

Bela (FOX19) Bela (FOX19)

A 9-year-old German Shepard whose owner willed the dog be put down has been saved and is on his way to a no-kill shelter in Utah.

Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal rescue in the country, picked Bela the dog up on Christmas morning and began the 30-hour trip to Kanab, Utah.

Bela was set to be put down last week after his owner, an Aurora, Ind. woman, asked that he be buried with her or sent to the Utah sanctuary.

"You can definitely tell that you know, he has had a tough life. Everything has turned upside down, he doesn't have the person that he loves anymore, so he is coming from one environment to the other," said John Garcia of the Best Friends Animal Society.

FOX19 NOW first brought you this, creating an explosion on social media of the hashtag #Save Bela.

[RELATED: #SaveBela: Push to save local dog goes viral]

The attorney handling the estate originally said sending Bela to Best Friends Animal Shelter was not financially possible but an outcry from the community prompted another look. 

Bela was being boarded at PAWS of Dearborn County after he was found with his owner Connie Lay at her home when she passed away. 

According to volunteers, he is a smart, well trained, sweet dog who deserves a home and although, Attorney Doug Denmore said Bela's owner did keep a record of aggressive behavior, those that have handled the dog say he's shown no signs of being vicious.

"Over the last few days we have learned more about Bela from the deceased attorney's and friends," said Barbara Williamson, media relations manager for Best Friends Animal Society. "Bela has a history of intermittent aggression and his owner, Connie Lay was concerned about appropriate care and management of him after her death given Bela's special needs. Her attorney and her designated friend, charged to decide what was best for Bela, were unaware of Best Friends experience in providing appropriate care for dogs like Bela.

Best Friends Animal Society decided that rather giving up on him, they will work on him.

"At Best Friends, we believe that the life of every animal has intrinsic value and we will always do our level best to help Save Them All, which is the core of our mission," Williamson said. "Our trainers and animal behavior specialists will work with Bela so that he will have every opportunity to enjoy a full and rich life."

"We have an amazing team of animal behavior specialists, caregivers. At Best Friends we really do focus on giving animals a second chance." It's the best holiday gift we could have asked for," said Garcia.

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