Reject Deceased Woman’s Request to Euthanize and Bury Healthy Pet


Target: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Director Laura Mackenzie

Goal: End unnecessary euthanasia of healthy pets for the fulfillment of their owners’ last wishes

Under U.S. law, pets are considered the property of their owners. Though they are afforded protections against abuse even if the abuser is the person responsible for them, the rights of the nation’s pets are limited. If an animal’s owner stipulates in her will that she would like to be buried with that animal, it is the obligation of anyone entrusted with executing that will to ensure the euthanasia is carried out, regardless of the pet’s health or age.

Connie Ley died in November 2014 and since that time, the fate of her German shepherd, Bela, has been uncertain. In her will, Ley stipulated that Bela should be put down, cremated and buried alongside her, or given to a no-kill animal shelter. The name of the will’s executor has not been released and no one knows which of the two drastically different fates will befall Bela.

Best Friends Animal Society has stated its wish to take Bela to its sanctuary to live out his days, but ultimately, they have no power to save him. There have been instances when judges refuse euthanasia in wills, deeming it unethical, unnecessary or against public policy, but the statutes separating the last wishes of the deceased and the rights of a pet are not nationally codified, and a legal will typically preempts the outcry of the living in such cases.

Wills are not the only circumstances that might cause a healthy pet to die unnecessarily, but they do support a precedent for the legal euthanasia of healthy animals in a different way than breed restrictions or shelter population control do. Killing animals based on an individual request as an enforcement of the rights of ownership leads one to question how much difference there really is between abuse and death on an owner’s request.

Sign this petition urging lawmakers to stop punishing animals for their caretakers’ death.


Dear Ms. Mackenzie,

U.S. law considers pets the property of people, subject to their wishes, indistinguishable in many ways from inanimate objects in the individual’s possession. When the owner dies, the animal is even subject to the stipulations in that person’s will, including unnecessary euthanasia, regardless of the animal’s health. That the last will and testament of an individual preempts an animal’s life is made all the more confusing in light of animal rights laws, which make it illegal to abuse that same property.

While judges have decided in multiple cases that the ethics surrounding unnecessary euthanasia outweighed the owner’s wishes, there is no protection in place against such practices other than a few kind judges. Animals deserve rights to not just their quality of life, but their life itself.

I urge you to support regulations against the euthanasia of healthy pets as per the stipulation of a final will.


[Your Name Here]

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. Her request is cruel and selfish. The dog deserves to live.

  2. lisa stalcup says:

    This cannot happen,this is crazy put a healthy dog down.let bela live out histime and be happy.then when it’s his time to go her wishes can be carried out,so many people are here to help bela.please let everyone help.spare belas life.

  3. lisa stalcup says:

    #Save bela

  4. In – fact this woman has already written her last will, indicating and giving this dog Bela, 2 choices. Either to euthanize or to send to a No-Kill shelter. For god’s sake the will’s executor need to think twice that NEVER to put down this voiceless, Innocent Bela, instead to send her to a place where ever it may be on the Planet, let this dog live with some one who would be so kindly take care of her the rest of her life. If this will’s executor takes the easy way out to get rid of this defenceless Bela, she/he should know that it would be a Crime against the god’s will. These animals are all god’s creations. Give this innocent Bela to some one who would be happy to take care of. This is Christmas season and give her this god’s blessings and entrusted her to another kind, compassionate human being to shower her with love & care. PLEASE DON’T MURDER THIS HELPLESS ANIMAL. “These Animals are ALL God’s Creations. THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS TO HATE EVIL.” Prov. 8:13


  5. Best Friends is a great place and would give Bela a wonderful life.
    Or – I’ll take the dog – I know someone would do it in a heartbeat.

  6. This appears to be standard procedure in Europe also. Yet specialized teams exist for the welfare of domestic animals whose owner died or is totally incapacitated. They usually go under the ‘Senior Dog (or Cat) Rescue’ name and are widespread!

  7. Irene Lauridsen says:

    I can’t understand that the executor of the lady’s will still has to think what he/she has to do. There IS ONLY one decision to make: Let this wonderful dog live in the loving hands of the Best Friends sactuary !

  8. Elizabeth Gonzalez says:

    This would be MURDER, plain and simple. Let Bela live her life in the hands of sane people!! PLEASE.

  9. SANDRA KELSO says:

    this is just plain murder. this woman could not of loved the animal as a pet====just a possession. do not kill this dog to please a selfish woman who is not wven here. please.

  10. “You know how much you love, respect and want to protect every dog and cat in the world? You know how much your heart breaks when you see a picture of a dog in a shelter who is going to be killed? You know how you feel when you see photos of piles of dead dogs and cats who are going to be used for fur? You know how enraged you get when you see a photo of a dog or cat who has been beaten to death? That’s how vegans feel about all animals. Every animal who is exploited and murdered for food, clothing, entertainment and “research.” We don’t distinguish between dogs and cats and other animals. If you allowed yourself to feel the deep suffering that billions of animals endure for your pleasure, you’d be vegan, too. And you might understand why vegans work so hard to end the animal holocaust.” —Gary Smith

  11. The ‘euthanizing’ craze seems to be taking over everywhere and at the drop of a hat. Better education might help; so might a different attitude with slightly more respect for life as a whole. It is true the dog will be distressed on losing its owner; this does not necessarily mean it ought to be put down : a kindly new owner and a second chance seem fairer!

  12. Evelyn Chuter says:

    This is insane!!! It should be against the law!!

  13. Sandra Zaninovich says:

    Best Friends is taking Bela! Christmas miracle!

  14. There is more to the story than our heartbreaking thoughts of loving pets having to be put down or handed over to a county shelter to be euthanized. There is the gnawing misery of Bela’s owner, who must lose a beloved creature whose ultimate fate must have been an unendurable agony during the caretaker’s waning life. If only the owner could have been assured of Bela’s happy outcome before the owner died.

  15. When my very dear friend died several years ago, she requested this same thing, albeit not in a will. Her reasoning was that she was afraid no one else would take the same care of her and what might happen to her eventually. I talked her out of this and promised my daughter and I would find someone that we were certain would give her a good home. She relented and allowed us to do so. We found a lovely older couple where the wife worked and the retired husband wanted a lap dog. So this somewhat senior little girl, but in good health, was able to live out her years on a welcoming lap.

  16. It’s not euthanasia if the person or animal is healthy! The will is inaccurate. It’s called murder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Facebook Comments


3136 Signatures

  • Jessica Claudio
  • claudia suarez
  • Janet Delaney
  • Julia C
  • joan walker
  • sheila childs
  • Chris Verhaegen
  • Jill Ballard
  • Alice Rim
  • Erin Borozny
1 of 314123...314
Skip to toolbar