SPENCER COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) – A family is outraged after their beloved pet was shot in the head by a Spencer County Animal Control Officer and thrown away in a dumpster.
A resident made the gruesome discovery in the dumpster behind the courthouse. They found a seemingly nameless dog, wrapped in a towel inside of a bag, shot in the head.
“She definitely wasn’t trash. She didn’t deserve to be thrown in the dumpster,” Nancy Lewis told WAVE 3 News.
The Chihuahua's name was Abigail, and she was Lewis' best friend of nine years.
“She was very playful, jumping around all the time, trying to chase the ball,” Nancy remembered. “She would do little tricks for us. She was my girl.”
Abigail roamed free on the Lewis' rural property, but the dog was never far from her heels.
“I have been sitting and looking out the windows, walking up and down the road, looking in the fields, she's not coming home. I had to know,” Nancy said.
She didn't want to look at the pictures, but she knew she had to so Abigail could be identified.
“All that day, all that night, probably 2:00 in the morning, I was walking up and down the road looking for her,” Tommy Lewis, her husband, said.
A passerby eventually found Abigail not far from her home, hit by a car, and she called Spencer County Animal Control.
“You killed my dog for no reason, you caused me a lot of pain,” Tommy said to Animal Control Director David Wood at a county meeting Thursday night.
Wood claims he shot Abigail after his officer brought her to his house. The dog reportedly had no identification at the time she was found.
“It’s not something that is obviously recommended or that Mr. Wood wanted to do, but under the circumstances, he was forced to do that,” John Coots, Wood’s attorney, said.
Wood claims Abigail was suffering, and the closest animal hospital was an hour away, so he decided to put her down.
“There's a family pet here. It's upsetting, understandably, so it brings out a lot of emotion, but as far as Mr. Wood is concerned, he didn't do anything wrong,” Coots said.
Kentucky state law bans euthanasia by gunshot unless the animal is suffering from its injuries. However, Nancy wishes they had gotten an opinion from a trained professional.
“Not just take it upon themselves to say she wasn't worth it,” she said.
Friends of the Spencer County Animal Shelter, a non-profit, also said they would have paid for Abigail’s vet visit if they were notified that she had been hit by a car. They raise funds specifically for these kinds of situations.
Judge-Executive John Riley says Wood’s actions do not call for termination but admits there is no county policy on what to do in these types of situations. He said one will be created. In the new policy, it would require animal control to notify the judge-executive and that the animal must be examined by a veterinarian, even if they need to be transported to seek care. The disposal of the corpse should be cremation arranged by a vet.
No matter the new policy, for the Lewis', the damage to their hearts is already done.
“My heart is broken because they had no right taking her away from us,” Nancy said.
A county meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday for officials to meet in an executive session to determine if Wood will keep his job.