Healthy dog put down in US so owner could be buried with her

The dog "Petey" at MS 88 middle school in the neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York, U.S., August 10, 2017. When distressed students at MS 88 middle school in Brooklyn end up at the principal's office, Petey Parker often totters in, tail wagging, to comfort them. The rescued shih tzu mix is the darling of about 1,400 students who call out his name and lean over to pet him if they're having a bad day. "He's like a guidance counselor but in a dog form," said Maciel, an 8th grader at MS 88, donning a Principal's council t-shirt with an image of Petey's face printed on it. Petey joined the MS 88 community last December as one of the first participants in the Comfort Dog program, which is expanding to 30 more New York schools this fall after a pilot of seven last year. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz - RC11C8D2D550
Photo credit: Reuters

A healthy dog in the US was euthanised because it was her late owner's wish to be buried with her.

Emma the shih tzu cross was put down at a vet in Virginia on Wednesday (local time), after being picked up from a dog shelter by a representative of her owner's estate, local news source WWBT reports.

Emma had been at the shelter for two weeks since her owner's death. Police said an offer by the shelter to have the dog adopted was declined.

The late woman's dying wish has created outrage and controversy online.

"This is cruel and batsh*t crazy," one Twitter user said.

"DOGS ARE NOT PROPERTIES," another wrote. "I'm not against euthanasia but a healthy dog to be put down just to fulfill an owner's wish is just absurd!"

It is legal to be buried with your pet in the state of Virginia, CNN reports. While it was not illegal to euthanise a healthy animal, not all vets would do it.

"Whenever we're faced with a euthanasia situation, it's a very emotional situation," said Dr Kenny Lucas, of Virginia's Kenny Grove Animal Clinic. "Also it's something we take home too. It weighs on us as professionals," he told WWBT.

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