Family dog mistakenly euthanized due to computer error

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A Detroit, Michigan family is heartbroken after their family dog was mistakenly euthanized on Friday at the Detroit Animal Care and Control because of a computer error. According to AbcNews, Melissa Jackson’s four-year-old dog, Coco, had been brought to the shelter after escaping through the bottom of the family fence and biting the next door neighbor’s dog. Under state law, Coco was required to spend ten days in rabies quarantine.

With just a few more days left for Coco’s mandatory isolation, Melissa arrived to make arrangements to pick up her dog; Coco could not be found. Jackson was put in contact with the head of Detroit’s animal control and after learning of her dog’s  death and having been mistakenly euthanized was devastated and couldn’t understand what had happened:

“She told me I’m sorry that we had to euthanize your dog because she was aggressive to other dogs,” Jackson said. “But I don’t understand, if every dog is in their own cage, how could she get to another dog? I just bust out crying and they’re just rubbing my back and saying we’re sorry. And no, when were y’all going to call me and tell me. When I get there, she has already been dead six days without anybody telling me anything.”

A spokesperson for the shelter released the following statement:

“Ms. Jackson’s dog was brought to Detroit Animal Care and Control as part of a dog-on-dog bite situation. The owner complied with state law and the dog was held for a 10-day rabies quarantine period. As a result of a computer status error, a tragic and unacceptable euthanasia was authorized. Our hearts are with Ms. Jackson during this time of loss. We are thoroughly examining all procedures and systems that led to this and we are committed to putting safeguards in place to prevent this from happening again.”

Rest in peace Coco. You life was cut short because of human error. What a tragedy for a loved family member.

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  1. What’s sickening is that animal control was called at all. Did Coco have current a rabies vaccination? If so, WHY were the authorities called at all? My dog has been attacked when we were walking by others, and I have NEVER, EVER called anyone! Why not settle it between themselves? Oh, I get it: Coco appears to be at least part pit! Well, one of the dogs who bit Livia was a neighbor’s pit! These things happen every single day without animal control being called, yet here we go, and it cost Coco her life. Then we have ‘human error’ added to it- this is INEXCUSABLE! It happens far too often in shelters all across the country, and saying “I’m sorry” is just not good enough. Heads need to roll.

    • They will ONLY hold your dog for this reason IF & WHEN you DO NOT have your current rabies certificate and/or licensing. The main fault falls on the irresponsible pet owner:
      1.) the dog could escape from the yard, which almost always causes big problems; happy, well-adjusted dogs generally don’t try to run away from home, but other factors, like neglect and boredom, lead to digging. If your home doesn’t have secure, proper fencing, you shouldn’t have a dog.
      2.) failure to keep the dog vaccinated; this story is but one example of why you must always adhere to your local animal control laws.

      • Really? I see no acknowledgement in this article that this dog wasn’t current on shots and even the best pet parent can have a dog that is an escape artist. Blaming this owner for an inept animal control and their fictional “computer error” is going to fly with me. I happen to agree with maxiemom, Coco should never have lost her life in such a way and most likely the mitigating circumstance was the fact that she looks like a “Pitt Bull” type dog! Even the animal control is saying it was a mistake, why are you blaming the owner?

  2. They lie to that lady, the Detroit dog control has done this before. I hope the lady take them to court . Maybe this will stop, but if you don’t fired the person who did it and the one who runs it , than this will happen again .

  3. This is horrible, the owner complied with their “state law” and now her dog is dead!. First she is told she can get her dog, then she is told the dog had to be euthanized because she was aggressive to other dogs, Then they blame it on a “computer error”. I would be suing them for needlessly killing my dog. “Computer error” yeah right! Something is missing in this story! Computer’s don’t make errors if the information from the humans is fed to it correctly!

  4. aargh, this poor woman. When I have taken my pets to be boarded because I’m going out of town or because I was trying to reduce stress on everyone including the pet during an apartment move I already feel like the worst kind of villain and I miss them and count down the minutes until I can get them back home again. To find out that they’d died days earlier, that I hadn’t known, and that I hadn’t been able to even let her know during her final moments that she was not abandoned, that’s going to haunt an animal lover for a long time when the grief of losing a pet all by itself is painful enough.


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