UPDATE: Thanks to donations, Bella will be heading to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab to have a second chance for a family.
AURORA, Ind. – A woman who recently died wrote in her will her dog must be buried with her… or sent to an animal shelter in Utah.
The issue is her German Shepherd, Bella, is still very much alive.
According to WCPO, Connie Lay died Nov. 25 and her attorney, Doug Denmure, said Lay stated in her last will and testament she wanted her dog to be euthanized, cremated and its ashes combined with hers.
However, the will allows for an out; the dog may also be sent to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah.
But, she said if that endeavor proves too expensive or not possible, the pup is to be put to sleep and buried with her.
There is no deadline for Lay’s dying wish so Indiana’s PAWS of Dearborn County Humane Center is taking care of Bella while the decision is made.
Lay’s attorney told WCPO everything about his client’s request is legal.
“The dog was owned by my client and now it’s part of her estate,” Denmure told WCPO. “And those are her wishes, as far as the future of the dog is concerned. Outsiders don’t have the grounds to rewrite the provisions of my client’s will and impose what they want.”
The 105-pound pup is at a shelter now but Denmure said the dog does not interact well with other animals and is considered by some to be “potentially dangerous.”
“He could cause damage and inflict bodily harm on strangers, in particular, children,” Denmure said. “When (Lay) died, she died at her home and the dog was in there. No one could enter the house because they were concerned the dog would attack.”
Denmure said a veterinarian even suggested euthanizing the dog at one point.
Eric C. Rayvid, spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, released a statement to Fox 13 Wednesday saying they had not been contacted about the situation, but later Wednesday evening they sent an update stating they had made contact and were working to find Bela a home.
“First and foremost we believe that all animals have intrinsic value and we will always do our level best to help Save Them All, that is at the core of our mission. As such, we’re thrilled to tell you that we’re working to save Bela! After not hearing from him directly, we reached out to the attorney involved and are working with him to make sure Bela finds a good, permanent home.
This situation is really a great reminder that our animals are our family, and families should plan for their pets who survive them. Whenever possible, the best option is for an adoptive home to have been identified, with informed consent, prior to the owners passing.”
Many have taken to social media defending the dog using the hash tag #SaveBella.
PAWS of Dearborn County released a statement on its Facebook page: