WARNING: Content might be sensitive for some readers.
Erin Bulfin’s rescue dog named Daisy was a beloved family member, especially to her daughter. So, when Daisy bit Bulfin’s daughter one day, Bulfin chose to do the responsible thing and report it to animal control. But soon after, she realized it was a terrible mistake.
St. Louis Animal Care and Control euthanized the family’s dog, saying Bulfin’s husband had asked them to. Even if that were the case, animal control still went about it in an inappropriate way. So, Bulfin is fighting back and suing St. Louis County.
From a Responsible Situation to a Deadly One
Bulfin explained that when her family first met Daisy, it was like love at first sight. The dog quickly stole their hearts and became best friends with all of them.
“She was just an amazing and loving dog,” said Bulfin. “She came running up to us, with her goofy smile and her underbite sticking out, and we knew right away she was for us.”
Yet, in December 2019, an accident occurred. Daisy was acting a little too overprotective of her toy, so when the daughter reached down to pick up the toy, Daisy bit her on the nose. It was a minor injury, and the family knew Daisy meant no harm. But Bulfin thought the right thing to do was contact animal control since there was an injury involved. She later wished she hadn’t done so.
Animal control told Bulfin that the county requires dogs with bite incidents to go into quarantine. They assured her that Daisy would be safe at their facility and that the family could even visit her. But after the family dropped Daisy off, they soon learned that it was possible to quarantine Daisy in their own home as an alternative.
So, Bulfin returned to animal control to bring Daisy home. When she arrived, she learned the horrific news that Daisy had been euthanized and decapitated.
Is Animal Control Hiding Something?
As it turns out, the facility euthanized Daisy within an hour of her arrival. The county explained that the pup was also decapitated as a way to get brain tissue to test for rabies. However, the county law requires them to keep animals with bite records alive for ten days to observe them. So, there was no excuse to euthanize Daisy in the first place.
Animal control argues that Bulfin’s husband agreed to have Daisy euthanized immediately, and he even signed paperwork for it. But he insists that was never discussed. To make matters worse, animal control won’t tell the family the details of the dog’s euthanasia.
“They refuse to tell us whether or not they sedated her before they euthanized her. What I have read from their statements is that they were just in a really big hurry to get it done,” Bulfin said.
The way the county euthanizes dogs has been a problem in the past. Documents state that up until recently, the facility was still using a cardiac stick to euthanize dogs, which goes directly into a dog’s heart and isn’t always paired with sedation. Heart sticks are seldom used in veterinary clinics.
Fighting for What’s Right
Due to the ongoing lawsuit, St. Louis County refuses to speak up about the situation. They haven’t even apologized to the family or acknowledged that they made a mistake.
According to the family’s attorney, Dan Kolde, Bulfin’s husband may have unknowingly agreed to euthanasia, which is not fair. The paperwork includes a check box labeled “ORE,” which means owner requested euthanasia. Most people don’t know what “ORE” means, so if the box is already checked, they might not think twice. It’s suggested that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in St. Louis County.
“The staff had filled out the paperwork for him so he had no idea, had never heard of an ORE, did not request an ORE,” said Kolde. “The audit said quit using that ORE box and five months later they’re still using this ORE box.”
Of course, the family wants justice for Daisy, but it’s about more than that. They want to ensure that no more families and no more dogs have to go through something like this.
“It’s just cruelty,” said Bulfin. “Our goal is to make sure that no animals suffer and no family has to be traumatized like ours.”