US man shot dog dead to 'end her suffering'

US man shot dog Michael Whalen and Allie (CBS News)
Michael Whalen and Allie (CBS News)

A US man facing animal cruelty charges after the dead body of his dog was dug up on a beach says he shot her in the head to end her suffering.

Allie, a 15-year-old hound mix, was diagnosed with Cushings' disease last year.

Her owner, Virginia Beach resident Michael Whalen, was recommended euthanasia by his vet, but at the time he couldn't go through with it.

"Allie was not ready. I was not ready," he said.

"She was still having fun. She wasn't in ill health."

Instead, the 65-year-old, who said he did "everything" with the dog, kept giving her medicine he said kept her stable.

In February, she began seizing uncontrollably. They were more than 30 minutes away from a vet hospital, there was no one there to help him, and Whalen said he was concerned she would choke on the drive.

He said he took out his handgun and shot in her in the head to end her suffering.

The dog's body was found buried on a beach, when a fellow Virginia Beach resident was walking his own dog and saw a paw under a pile of sand.

Investigators identified and charged Whalen with animal cruelty a month later, but he maintains it was a necessary action.

"It was so emotionally disturbing. I can't tell you how many times I've had to go through this in my mind and sometimes I'll just start crying," he said.

His lawyer, George Yates, said he did what a pet owner has to do - "take care of their animal and when their animal is suffering, to properly euthanize the animal".

Whalen is due to reappear in court in June.