Berks ARL: Cat euthanization was 'horrific,' 'unacceptable'

EXETER TWP., Pa. - Tiffany Wegman of Exeter Township has three children and an even greater number of pets. Now, she's missing one in particular.

Over the weekend, her one-and-a-half-year-old cat, Violet, went missing, until she got a text from a neighbor saying that Violet was found and taken to the Animal Rescue League in Cumru Township.

"I ran and got my kids up," said Wegman. "I said, 'Daddy's going to bring Violet home.'"

But to Wegman's heartbreak, her husband had to tell her their beloved cat was dead. They learned she had been put down by an ARL employee who worked there for about a year.

"One thing I'm having a problem digesting was my cat wasn't even there four hours, and the reason [why the employee put her down] was because she was aggressive," said Wegman. "Four hours. That's not even long enough to have a bowl of food."

"We rely on places like this to do the right thing and make the right decisions and help us," Wegman added.

Thomas Hubric, the interim director of the Animal Rescue League, penned a public apology on Facebook and profusely offered sympathy to the family. 

"This clearly was somebody's pet," said Hubric. "For this staff member to make the decision to euthanize this animal, it was completely inappropriate and unacceptable just from a common sense perspective." 

The employee is no longer with the ARL, but as Wegman knows, nothing will bring Violet back.

"I don't forgive them," said Wegman. "They euthanized my family pet that was collared, well taken care of, neutered, in less than five hours. There's no forgiving that."

Hubric said he planned to meet with the staff on Thursday to reiterate and reinforce the ARL's policies and procedures.

"Please do not let the egregious misjudgment of one individual overshadow the love and compassion of all others involved in the organization," Hubric said in his public post on Facebook.

He added that, from now on, either he or the ARL's veterinarian will be the only ones authorized to approve decisions to euthanize animals.

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