Compassion or cruelty?

Compassion or cruelty? Man shoots his elderly, ailing dog

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Was it an act of compassion, or cruelty? A man in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is facing animal cruelty charges after he decided to kill his elderly, ailing dog with a gun rather than rushing her to an emergency veterinarian, twenty minutes away from his home, in the middle of the night.

According to WTKR News, 65-year-old Michael Whalen ended his 15-year-old Vizsla’s life with a gun when her failing health, from old age and Cushing’s Disease, took a sudden, and painful, turn for the worse.Whalen told the Virginian-Pilot how he was caught off guard in the early morning hours in late January, “Never, ever did it occur to me that at 3:30 in the morning that she would start with these violent seizures and convulsions.” The agonizing seizures went on for 40 minutes – he described how he tried to comfort his dog, Allie, “I kept trying to calm her down. I had to spend most of my time keeping her from choking.”

Whalen knew that Allie was suffering and he feared that he couldn’t keep her from choking on the somewhat lengthy drive to an emergency veterinarian, so he got a small caliber gun, and ended her suffering himself. He told the Virginian Pilot, ” I needed to end this for Allie right away. It was too painful to watch her suffer.”

After ending Allie’s life, Whalen drove her to the beach because she loved the ocean…he dug a shallow grave and buried his long-time companion. Unfortunately for Whalen, burying a dead dog on the beach is not legal and when she was found by a passerby on February 10, not only did the unknown circumstances about how she died spark an investigation, but the discovery generated charges.

On March 17, after investigators determined who Allie belonged to, Whalen was charged with improper disposal of “trash,” and animal cruelty.

Feel free to weigh in on the situation – did Whalen commit an act of animal cruelty, or was it an act of compassion? Should it be illegal for an owner to shoot a dying dog? Is it different than an officer putting down a wild animal who has been gravely injured? Or a farmer who is putting down sick livestock? Feel free to comment below.

(Screenshot via Virginia Pilot and FB photo via Daily Mail)



Devastating fire at breeder’s training facility claims the life of two pregnant German shepherds – read the heartbreaking story here.

Two shepherds perished in deadly fire

113 replies
  1. Bunny Peters says:

    Disgusting. We take our precious furbabies to the ER Vets (~30 minutes drive) & then we know that whatever happens, we have tried our best to save or @ least have our furbaby have a pain free end of life…….

    No reason to shoot a furbaby (I am sickened by the thought of that faithful angel being terrified and shot by the one person she loved and trusted)……

  2. Sue says:

    I have a friend who was raised in the country. She has rescued animals all her life, and is very humane. She also knows how to shoot (no, she doesn’t hunt, she also does wildlife rescue). She lives in a very rural area of Oregon. There have been a couple of times when she felt it necessary to shoot a dying animal in the head to alleviate suffering. Done right, it is quick and painless.

    For those who think that administration of injectable “euthanasia” is always painless, I must say that there are more than a few corrupt “humane” societies and SPCA’s (not to mention the Animal Reg’s), and I remember one time at the dog park when, in conversation with a fellow patron, she told me her daughter-in-law volunteered part time at our local “humane” society (which I already knew was corrupt), and she reported that the staff was giving half-doses of the killing serum, and that animals thus injected thrashed around in agony for quite some time before dying. And these animals were not old, sick, or dying, before being injected.

      • Lynda says:

        Not really. And I’ll name names. Ben Burdo, DVM, Santa Rosa, CA. He routinely lied to owners saying their dogs died and then sold them with the papers of animals who had actually died. He was the one who euthenized animals at the Sonoma County animal shelter. He thought the chambers that sucks the air out was just great and that stuffing a dozen dogs in at a time was the way to do it. It saved money. So. yes, corruptions doesn’t stop at a door because it says “vet” on it!

      • Sue says:

        Yes, Lynda, vets, as a group, don’t have a superior level of morality. I wanted to be a veterinarian, but when I was faced with the torture of animals that I would have to perform in laboratories in order to become one, I opted to become involved in animal rights instead. What kind of people can do what I refused to become involved in?

        When I became employed at a police department, and found out early on that K9 handlers routinely hang their K9 dogs to unconsciousness (slow, horrific suffering, with no relief of death), kick, and otherwise torture and abuse them behind the scenes, I went (and continue to do so) everywhere looking for help. What I did find out was that there were (and are) veterinarians in my town who knew what was happening to these dogs. They treated them after their handlers would mangle them into serious injury. The one whose office was across the street from where some of the abuse was taking place, actually served as a mouthpiece to promote the K9 program for the police department.

        Another vet, who accepted plaques from the PD, and had them on the wall in his waiting room, always had a jolly demeanor, when I would take one of my dogs to him. Then one day, when I told him what the police were doing to the dogs, his complicity really showed itself. His jolly attitude suddenly changed, and the look he gave me was frightening. His eyes narrowed and he looked daggers at me. He said nothing. I never went back.

        All the vets I went to, trying to get help, or at least a statement, refused to get involved.

    • ellen cottone says:

      What compassionate man kills his dog in the middle of the night and then burys her in a shallow grave at a public beach Sue?
      Nothing chokes 40 mins and doesnt die. so he killed a dog who wasnt even dying Just coughing.
      no seizure just a common defect in a lot of dogs have a partial collapsed treakia. dogs live with it for years. the dog wasnt dying . he could have taken the dog to the vet the day before. the dog still had the condidtin , but he killed her in the wee hrs and im sure a family found the blood bath and brains.
      Im sorry your so blinded by fantasy that you cant see the truth.
      But i can. i was trying to help you.
      I wont even read your text thru. because you are just making my blood boil about some humaine country chick who can pull a trigger on a pet at whim.
      but heres another country truth. Everyone in the country is a vet. country means cattel, live stock dogs horses, pigs , farm etc. The real truth is a vet 24hrs on call thru obvious nessity, vets in the country are practally family and would be available any time anywhere.
      Im not buying that suzy, crap statment either.
      Your a bad person. You dont know right from wrong sue.

      • Cynthia Como says:

        Ellen Cottone,You are %500 right!! You hit it right on the money!! I have a Cushings Dog,what he did was brutal!

  3. ellen cottone says:

    yes, he murdered his dog. The compassionate do not use guns to prove love.
    Weve been down this road before.
    Its called killing something against ITS, will.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Dogs have recived injectables during long term medical care. the dog would not know the differance between shots and are administered medically by a vet.
        not killed by the owner.. Thats part of the differance.
        dog would not know.

      • Sue says:

        To Ellen, and everyone else who did not read the article comprehensively: The dog was not driven to the beach to be put down. She was taken there after death, because “she loved the beach.”

        I had a dog who was the very love of my life. I had to make the decision nearly 15 months ago to have him put down. The vet said he had congestive heart failure. I am not sure what it was, but the symptoms appeared immediately after I took him in for minor surgery for possible/potential melanomas.

        He would cough during the day (but hardly, to never, on a walk), but at night is when the coughing, wheezing, and gagging would be the very worst. It got to the point that I would have tears streaming down my face, thinking that he was going to suffocate right then and there. He was too old to get into the car by himself, and I am too old (and no longer strong enough) to lift a 72 pound dog. I agonized how I could possibly get him to the emergency in the middle of the night (about 15 minutes away) if, and when, he went into full blown suffocation (and I have asthma, so I know there is no worse feeling).

        Finally, after a particularly bad night (I was up all night, and crying, because he seemed to be suffering, and choking so severely), I made the decision to take him to the vet the next day (when he was better, and I could get some help) and have him put down.

        Suddenly, with it being daytime, and happy to be on a trip somewhere, he seemed fine. While needing help to get into the car, he jumped out like a champ at the vet’s office. At the office, he pulled on his leash, and the vet commented on how strong he was. He made a little cough, and the vet asked me if that was what he was doing at home at night. I answered, “Not even close. It is horrible during the night.” The vet tested him for oxygen levels, and they were low, but he still seemed happy and interactive.

        The vet asked me if I wanted to go through with it, and I made the decision to do it, because, based on what had been happening, his chance of suffocating to death would obviously happen at night.

        It was the hardest decision I ever made. I still feel guilt over it, but others have told me that they waited too long, and their dogs died “naturally” in great and prolonged suffering.

        And still, I wonder, if the injection stops the brain before the heart and lungs, and if there isn’t some form of suffocation that takes place with a dose of Euthosol.

        There is no perfection, and sometimes we don’t know what it is like in the other person’s shoes. If he had this dog for 15 years, he obviously loved and cared for her all that time. And she was suffering, having seizures, he was trying to keep her from choking. Please hold the judgements. You weren’t there. I know from my friend in Oregon, who loves her dogs dearly, that a clean shot to the head is very quick and painless. I’d rather have a shot to the head than die suffocating from asthma.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Bingo sue!
        In your own words, when he got to the vets he was fine. joyfully enjoying the ride and the adventure. Doctors medical evaulation , strong, acceptable oxyegen intake,happy and full of life right.
        And you still killed him.
        You ass .
        Ill explain. Your elder dog had a heart murmor, and a collapsed wind pipe.a small amount of flud in the lungs from a falty heart valve. when he choked and sputtered as awful as it is it was part of the old age process. Part of the beauty of the choakin fit is the animal is treating its system. when it becomes nessarry. But the truth is your dog had years left. why you killed your dog i will never understand.
        the doctor told you he was strong.

        Now have you figured it out yet sue.
        Your experiance and this mans experiance are exactally the same case and out come.
        His dog suffered from a heart murmer, a collapsed trachea, a small amount of fluid in the lungs.
        These are treatable long term conditions. Cushings is a long term treatable condition.
        You both put down your dogs and they were still full of life.
        You both freaked out because of what you were going thru. watching him”process”

        And sue he did not kill the dog at home are you saying he discharged a gun in a residental area. that much blood, that much splattered brains. do you think he did it on his couch? the back yard? so he can see her body parts and fluid? Do you believe every thing you heare? or just what you want?
        he blew her brains out at the beach and left her there. inexcusable cruelty, Based on being stupid.

        But the biggest diferrance is you are a compassionate person Sue . you and your dog were facing a dogs old age. you werent perpaired, no one took the time to help you understand. you were together to the sad end you held your dog hand.I can still feel your crushing sadness.its couragious and you and your dog will be together again. hes next to you right now. look down and smile.your body will be warmed with the momentary acknowledgement. Repeat often.

    • Carol Szarek says:

      Disagree. It’s quicker than the injection and all the nervous anticipation of the shots(from the vet), plus the long ride with her owner all upset. As long by as the guy didn’t miss, it’s no less humane than the vet doing it. It must have been a really hard thing to do. Sounds like he cared about his dog.

      • ellen cottone says:

        good , sweet jesus!!??
        Would you want a family or loved one to be drivin out to a beach in the middle of the nite and had her brains blown out across the beach and then bury her because someone DECIDED she should be put out of her misery? At That time?
        The bottom line is.
        He says she sufferied and he didnt know what to do.
        He lies,
        He waited till the middle of the night.
        drove his dying dog to a beach.
        hid his actions from intervention.
        And shot his dog. Unless hes had some training in a kill zone. Im sure the dog was terrified beyond beliefe. Im sure he made a blood bath of the moment and fucked up and buried her alive.
        this is why you get your dog to a vet and you dont leave the room. but a trained medical professional does it not you.When a non medical kills something its called murder.
        No compassion here. And they better make an example him.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Im sorry tami,
        What part of the story leads you to believe he cared deeply for his dog.
        The part where he blew her brains out at the beach in the middle of the night 20 miles from home?
        Or the part where he left her body half buried in the sand and left her there.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Ellen, I believe he shot the dog at home and then drove her body to the beach and buried her, not that it makes much difference, he shouldn’t have done it in the first place. I have seen pictures of dogs that have been shot in the head and it’s appalling! How someone can do this to the dog they supposedly love, is beyond me.

      • ellen cottone says:

        its tru Barkley’s Mom,
        I didnt catch that part or the artical.
        Because you cant discharge a fire arm at home with out the police being called. It dosent Wash, as they say. I dont believe that part of the story. Its hard to shoot a gun at a home and walk out of said home with a hefty bag and a shovel. People will ask?

        My gut feeling, he couldnt deal with the 40min hacking spells that have been going on for months.
        He had a breakdown took her to a beach and shot her. I get the feeling she was alive in the car ride. you cant shoot something and then neatly transport blood, brains and bowel release. I think he took her to the beach then did the deed. Im shocked that anyone can agree with his actions.I know you cant. You cant be snowed by some pittyful 65 yr old man literally with blood on his hands trying to explain himself.
        A dog that was most likely, not dying and fully aware what was happening.

      • Sue says:

        To Ellen Cottone, You obviously have not had asthma, or any other ailment that restricts breathing to the point where you become completely panicked, and would rather be dead than trying to breathe, but not enough air is getting through to even make it seem like you are breathing at all. I do. I would rather be stabbed, shot, or anything other than struggling to breathe, while unable to get enough oxygen. Going through episodes of this constantly would be, to me, pure Hell.

        So, you see, in my opinion, people who allow their dogs to wheeze and choke and gasp for air for months on end, because they don’t feel it is their responsibility to alleviate their suffering by putting them out of that misery, are guilty of neglect and gross insensitivity.

        If you want to address REAL animal suffering, take a look at what the demons in the vivisection laboratories are doing to live animals, keeping them alive while torturing them. Those poor souls are better off dead, too.

      • ellen cottone says:

        sue, you got thru to me. you paint a vivid picture. and the vivid memory of watching my closest and best friend die.i do believe that your tru pet just wants to be with you always and animals dont know they are sick. Maybe the real question is ,
        can you let go? i could not.

      • Sue says:

        Thank you, Ellen, for seeing the other side. None of us here has wanted to part with our beloved dogs, but we also don’t want to make them endure a horrific, slow, long-suffering death at the end of their lives. I have not stopped crying over Otis. He truly was my soul mate. But when the occasional coughing, choking, wheezing, and gagging turned into all night episodes, I just couldn’t keep putting him through that, night after night. I knew it was going to end in his suffocating to death, and I wanted a quick, peaceful ending to his life, for his sake.

  4. Silvia says:

    apparently this man really loved his dog and it is understandable that he could not drive her to the vet and also keep her from choking, I don’t believe it was done with any malice, I believe he just wanted to stop the suffering and this seemed to be the most humane way at the time, since she loved the beach, he buried her in the sand, obviously he was very distraught and it had to be gut wrenchingly difficult for him to do what he did, he wanted her pain to end. Please don’t compare fleeting moments where an officer has to shoot injured wildlife etc., as far as farmers of late they’ve proven to not blink an eye regarding putting down suffering or healthy farm animals, sadly I’ve seen enough footage regarding dairy farmers, factory farmers and the like and not witnessed even a slight glimmer of compassion, the comparative examples were rather inappropriate, this man had a loving relationship with his dog and was faced with a crisis and did what he felt was best. Perhaps going after genuine animal abusers with the gusto your using in this case would serve animals, people and all involved in a far more understandable way, please give this man a break and allow him to grieve the loss of his beloved pet, have a heart!

      • ellen cottone says:

        you really buy his story? you really think she loved the beach in the middle of the night ? in january?
        The last time it came up lets see…
        the traditional proceedure when your dog is dying and your home with your 15yrs buddy in the last stages of life. the last stages of death is nigh. compasion would be to conduct your self with compassion. you hold and you rock and you cry ,to the bitter, noisy, messy,
        Then quite
        peaceful end.
        Thats compassion.
        How in the world can compassion and a gun be used on the same side of a rational sentance?

      • ellen cottone says:

        what a load of crap. What a prattle. To bad you believe what you want to believe.
        but worse, to bad your that easly conned.
        Hes a bad man. he did or could not deal with his dog and did the worst possable thing to do to a sick and elderly animal. drag it out in the middle of the nite to a remote area, blew its brains out and left her there.
        apparently this man dosnt know what love is. He killed his dog execution style
        Brace your self for this one folks.
        Cushing snydrom is not a death sentance. small dogs have it. its treatable with medication.
        but even worse. 40 mins of choking on nothing.
        the dog wasnt dying. she sounds like she had a condition called collapsed trachea. it can live with it she probibly had a heart murmer. This is treatable. you are beliving this man. he lies

    • Linda Szymoniak says:

      In 99.9% of cases where a person shoots their furbaby, I would call it cruelty. However, reading the exact details – knowing that the dog was critical and in pain, and would have suffered – and most likely choked to death in transit – makes me feel this is one of those 0.01% cases. Normally, I’m against the shooting of an animal, Even someone experienced with a gun isn’t guaranteed that the shot will cause instant death. The animal likely will feel pain from being shot, and in far too many cases, it seems the animal either suffers before finally dying, or suffering and surviving (then usually having a rescue spend thousands of dollars trying to save it, and even then often either dying or having to be humanely euthanized by a vet). I know I could not sit and watch one of my babies suffer like this one was. When I’ve felt any of my furbabies have reached their “time”, I’ve been fortunate to be able to get them to the vet and be with them at the end. If I were in the same position as this man, I don’t know what I’d do. I feel for this man and really hope they don’t do more than maybe give him a fine. His heart was in the right place.

      • ellen cottone says:

        You have to know when the “time” is. he did not.
        You are a civilized human being and you did not allow your pets to suffering needlessly.
        The last thing this dying dog wanted to do was go into the cold , go into the night go to the beach and have its brains blown out by an amature and a gun and then be buried in the sand.
        The stress and fear he put the dog thru and its violant and bloody execution style murder is inexcusable inhumaine animal crueltyhat he did in the dogs last moments is inexcusable animal cruelty.

    • ellen cottone says:

      who said the dog was dying? the dog had a treatable disease and was mostlikely suffering from a collapsed wind pipe its common and dogs live with it for years. You should know the differance before you excuse a horrable man who killed his dog and left its body in a half assed shallow grave so a family can find it the next morning.
      Whats the matter with you silvia. your not smart enough to see thru this? what was the compassionate part from him again.
      Could somebody explain it to me please.
      Facts please.Logic please.

    • Linda Szymoniak says:

      I’ve been with several vets over the years, and they have never made the decision. They haven’t even come right out and told me they felt the dog or cat should be euthanized. They have given me the facts of the animals’ condition and let me know my options. I would not want to take my furbabies to a vet that felt they could make that decision for me. In this case, the dog was having seizures and choking. It was a senior dog and it sounds like there wasn’t a second person who could perhaps hold and try to keep the dog was choking during the half-hour drive to the vet. I don’t own a gun, but I can honestly understand what this man was feeling with regard to the dog. While the vast, VAST majority cases of someone shooting a dog, even one that is severely or critically ill, goes against my beliefs, i can honestly understand why this man made the decision. He was putting the dog’s well-being first. A rare case.

  5. Robin says:

    Just m6 opinion but I think he should’ve put her in the front seat with him, laid her head on his lap and kept a loving hand on her while he took her to be humanely euthanized. It’s a thing that’s hard to do but the dog knows your there in its final time rather than put a bullet in her! We just did the same thing as our 17 yr old lashaopso was passing from cancer, we rode it out thtough all the messes and gave her a quality, respectful passing as we hugged and kissed her and spoke loving words to her until it was over, it’s not easy but it’s respect and thanks for all the years of devotion on they’re part and we have her ashes to be buried with us♡ To me a bullet seems cruel

    • ellen cottone says:

      That is compassion Robin.
      From cradle to grave. you loved your dog to the crushing sad end. with love compassion and gentle quite loving effect. your dog is lucky.

    • Tina says:

      Have you ever seen a dog have violent seizures? Years ago my dog has seizures for. 2 weeks before he passed away and they were so bad he literally threw himself all over the room. My daughter and I used our legs to make a circle around him to keep him from smashing in to furniture. There was no was he could have laid quietly in the front seat of a car with his head in my lap while I drove 20 minutes to a vets office. I am thankful that he passed on his own and I didn’t have to make the decision this man did. His dog died in the home he loved with the man he loved. You honestly think dragging him out in the middle of the night to a cold strange unfamiliar place would be the kinder thing to do?

    • Terr jago says:

      If he had done as you said and had an accident and killed someone would you have said should have put a bullet in its head.he did what he thought was right for them,good for him

      • ellen cottone says:

        Exactally he did what” he” thought was right. but he is a bad man he did a terrable thing to an ailing creature.
        Well just picture a world terr jago when bad people get to decide who and what takes a bullet to the brain under the cloak of winther in a remote area. and for what dubious reason.
        You better lock your grandmother up terr, he might think she has to be put out of her misery also.
        You got that pic. terr
        Good for you. glad to have you back on earth

  6. ellen cottone says:

    I wonder what beach his other “acts of compassion” are buried?
    I hope his elderly parents are far away from him and have a big young guard dog, a moat and working drawbridge.
    Who knows how deep his compassion goes.

  7. Elaine says:

    I don’t feel its murder….she was his life long companion and wanted to end her suffering….as long as it was done right, quick and painless, there is nothing wrong with it. I couldn’t do it to my pets, but i also live in the city where vets are many. I know farmers do it if needed for any animal. Again as long as its quick and painless I’m ok with it, if you know what you are doing. As for vets that do it half heartedly, well they should be reported. I will always stay with my pet to the end if it’s euthanasia. I know its done right because I’m there.

  8. pearl says:

    Evil beyond words my dogs were put to sleep painlessly by my vet.what if the dog was only injured hope you go to jail????

    • Denise says:

      I don’t feel it’s cruelty. I volunteer at a shelter and I’ve seen real cruelty. This man loved his dog. Although it’s not something I would do, who are we to really judge? We don’t know what was going through his head. We don’t know what the dog looked like or if he was screaming in pain. My cat was in horrible pain. The trip to the vet to euthanize her was horrible. The burial? He wasn’t thinking straight. Although illegal not malicious!

  9. Linda Love says:

    Wow, there is a lot of hate being written here. I don’t believe for one moment he was being cruel. His baby was 15 yo. It was quick and painless if done correctly which is a lot more then I can say for my beloved Dominic when he was put down for acute liver failure. He fought as much as he could muster when they were putting in the IV. It was horrible to see and feel his fear….that being said, burying his baby on the beach was just plain wrong. My guess is he was filled with grief and wanted his baby to be laid to rest in a place he loved, the beach, but he was plainly not thinking it through.

    • ellen cottone says:

      the problem with you linda love is you picture quite , pretty and fair.death with love, from a gun shot to the brain
      it is not. its bloody horrific and the lead up to the event is terrifying.
      you are thinking of tv and movie death.
      Done correctally!!??
      Referr to above reality statment. you are spinning a futher fantasy trying to justify his actions.
      you cant. He killed his dog and tried to hide the act.
      whats the matter with you? your lack of commensense is shocking.

      • Carol Szarek says:

        No, Ellen, I did not say the wrong thing. You ARE judgmental. And dark and depressing. Were you there, hovering over them, observing, getting your expert opinion in order? No, you weren’t. But carry on, trashing anybody that doesn’t see things your way. Way judgmental.

    • Carol Szarek says:

      The dog probably never saw it coming as opposed to being in the vets room, after the long drive, choking and convulsing and getting 2 shots, which a lot of the time they do fight ( which is an extremely awful thing to go through, for everyone). I am a huge dog and every animal lover, but sometimes people take it a little too far. Concentrate on and spend your time on the real animal abusers out there. They’re everywhere. I know I wouldn’t be brave enough to do this act of compassion for my best friends,if it were necessary.

      • ellen cottone says:

        You have to hold a living animal down with one hand when you execute a dog in the middle of the night.
        Hell yea!! she saw it coming and the Terror ride to the beach plus balancing dog and gun as he looked for a remote place to kill and dump her..
        it must have been precived as the worst betrayal ever.and whos to say how many bullets it took or if she was still alive when he buryed her and the blood and brains is everywhere.
        You sit in a vets office and you hold your dog and cry. thats humane,
        thats compassion. Thats the least…..
        You can do.

      • Mike says:

        My dogs and cats never fought while getting the injections. My vet was very tender while injecting them.

  10. Vicki L. Bardash Garrett says:

    Our 17 year old Cocker had Cushing’s, a stroke, and had cataracts but when she started seizing at 4 in the morning, we sat in the floor next to her trying to keep her calm, and setting her mouth to keep her from biting her tongue. Her seizure lasted well over 40 minutes, slept, then started in again about 6:45. We continued to sit with her until vets office opened, and took her in. They were able to stop the seizure, kept her for observation, and she started seizing again during the night, and tech was not with her – bit the end of her tongue off. Took over an hour to stop the seizure, and they called us – it was Easter Sunday. They wanted to immediately humanely euthanize but she was our baby, and I wanted to hold her and thank her for her unconditional love. She awakened in my arms, and was in so much pain, they wouldn’t us be with her at the end because they said they were having difficulty finding a vein. NO HE WAS NOT COMPASSIONATE – HE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HER TO VET. RIP beautiful baby.

  11. maxiemom says:

    Yes, it was cruelty! There are 2 emergency vets near me: one in town, and one 25 minutes away. The one in town (which I used once) is only open during business hours and is much less equipped for most emergencies. The other one is a full service vet, and when I say full service, I mean full service. They do EVERYTHING, from having a heart specialist, to eyes, neurologist, you name it. Guess which one I prefer and take my pets to when necessary? He should have put his dog in the front seat beside him and driven there, regardless of the time it would take. He also should have known that burying his dog on the beach was a huge no-no, which is why you have your dog cremated and his or her ashes scattered there. Yes, he undoubtedly loved his dog, but I truly wonder how much if he wasn’t willing to do the humane thing, or even the right one afterward.

    • ellen cottone says:

      how do you know he was suffering?
      Because he said so.
      his vet thinks differantally. or it would not have progressed to a execution style bloody murder.
      Of a terrified sick elder dog at a cold dark beach.
      He did not suffer for and never will.
      it was the dog that suffered

      • Cynthia Como says:

        I have a dog with Cushings Disease and it’s not fatal if treated!! Treatment is for the life of the dog and is very expensive to treat,I can barely afford it! It’s a very common disease in dogs and it’s also a human disease. Like I said before,I WILL NEVER EVER AGREE WITH WHAT THIS MAN DID! And obviously the law agrees!! John Halverson needs to not be calling people with an opinion that differs with his names!

  12. Kathleen Drude says:

    Shooting a dog is not a humane way of killing the dog! First of all when you shoot something they are not dead right away! Not to mention the horror I feel at the thought of shooting a beloved pet! You could have had a veterinarian come out to your house! We do that, this way the pet isn’t subjected to undue stress! I think what this human did is disgusting!

    • Mike says:

      It was the time involved getting help for his beloved dog that was of concern not if a vet makes house calls. Bth vets where I live don’t make house calls.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        If you read the Virginian Pilot story it states “Whalen said he was preparing for her death. He had contacted a veterinarian who comes to people’s homes to euthanize their pets”. Might have been worth a call to see if the vet would come.

      • Mike says:

        Barkley’s Mom I saw that, but, do vets make house calls at 3:30 in the morning? I am aware some are open 24 hrs.

      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Mike, I don’t know, I know my Vet has said to call him no matter what time of day if something goes awry with one of my dogs my Vet knows I will never be able to lift one of my shepherds into the car. It just makes me sick to think of a dog with a bullet hole in his head! It has been my experience that taking them to the vet to put them asleep and that’s what it is, they just go to sleep, is a much kinder thing to do. As I said, it might have been worth him at least calling.

  13. Graham says:

    I’d like EVERYBODY to consider the following scenario that could happen to any of us caregivers.
    You dog/cat/’baby’/etc. has spent the majority of their life with you. You live alone, possibly widowed, etc.
    What plans have you made for your dog/cat/’baby’/etc. upon your demise? If NONE then they will end up in a TOTALLY ALIEN WORLD IN THEIR OLD AGE, i.e. the local shelter, etc!
    OR they’re SERIOUSLY INJURED, e.g. broken neck or spine, many miles from assistance?
    If you have a gun, the ONLY HUMANE THING TO DO IS TO terminate yourself!
    Unfortunately these are experiences we’ve had to deal with and, as unpleasant as they were, the suffering of a dog/cat/’baby’/etc. was not acceptable to us!

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      This dog was NOT miles from assistance, she was 20 minutes away from an emergency vet, and are you saying you should put a “baby” out of it’s misery if you are “many miles from assistance”?

    • ellen cottone says:

      thats a load of crap.
      You stare death of a loved one in the fuckin face and you deal.
      With quiet and love and grace.You find away.

  14. Michele Conte says:

    I would have done the same for my beloved dog(s). It would be the hardest thing I could ever do, but easier than living with myself if I caused my dog to suffer longer than she needed. I had a friend whose vet urged him to euthanize his 18-year-old cat because the cat’s cancer had advanced, but he was not ready to let go of his cat. A few months later — in the middle of the night — the cat woke him screaming in agony, bleeding from his mouth, and in horrible distress. My friend watched helplessly while the cat cried in pain FOR TWO HOURS, then took his last breath. Five years later, my friend still cannot forgive himself for what that cat endured; neither can I. Mr. Whalen’s act was an act of love, not cruelty. No doubt it must have been extremely painful for him to pull the trigger, but a Godsend for Allie. BTW, dogs are my life. I have 3 of my own, and I foster dogs from kill shelters. The last thing I would tolerate is animal cruelty. My heart goes out to Mr. Whalen for his brave, kind act.

    • Sara-Patti Mason says:

      Michele, I was about to comment, but then I read yours. You expressed my feelings better than I could have. I totally agree with your feelings. I suspect most of those who are so opposed to Mr Whalen’s act of kindness have never sat through the night with a suffering dying pet that they dearly love. I have done so more than once, and I applaud Mr Whalen’s courage and compassion.

  15. Kimberly Seymour says:

    This guy truly loved his pup. You may not agree on the way he put his pup down. It’s sad to any pet owner to have to make that decision. How can people judge him when you are not in that situation. He wanted his loyal and best friend not suffer anymore. Sometimes the choices that we make as pet owners are not the ones that others would choose. You think that this was an easy decision for him? You truly think he wanted to end his precious pups life like that? If he had driven to the vet he may have watched his poor pup suffocate and die because he didn’t get the pup there in time. So who are we to judge? Unless you are in this situation you should not be the one to pass judgment. If he truly did it out of malice the pup would have shown signs of neglect and abuse.

    • Carol Szarek says:

      Thank you Kimberly. You sound like a very caring person. I can’t put it as eloquently as you, as I am angry with these judgmental folks, and will say the wrong thing.

      • ellen cottone says:

        you said the wrong thing carol.
        were not judgmental folks.
        were compassionate.and were not as easily conned as you,
        Last time i checked, killing something is wrong and against the law.

    • ellen cottone says:

      every one of us here today have been in this very same position with our companion pets.yet none of us shot our sick pets in the middle of the night in the middle of winter and then left her there in a shallow grave.
      dont be a chump. The dog also was having the same symptoms during the day also. still no trip to a medical professional for help.

  16. Barkley's Mom says:

    He was 20 minutes away from an Emergency Vet (some of us don’t have one that close and yet would drive to one) and should have opted to try to get her there than to pull out his trusty gun and shoot her in the head. He can spin this anyway he wants, this wasn’t the right thing to do! I feel for the poor man that found her body buried on the beach, if he wanted her to be on the beach she should have been cremated and ashes spread! The whole incident is disgusting! You can’t compare this to a wild animal who has been gravely injured or a farmer who is putting down sick livestock, this is a member of your family and deserves a better end than this!

  17. Dee says:


  18. Becky Harris says:

    I think that this was a humane way to end his companion’s suffering. None of us were there, how can we say what was right or wrong??? I have a boy who started having seizures from what turned out to be an intestinal blockage—–> it was intense and overwhelming. i believe he did what he did out of love and compassion.
    AND as a few others have said lets go after the real animal abusers instead of hitting this guy over the head.

  19. Letty zepeda says:

    At first I thought the act was out of love and compassion, but that he buried her on the beach because as he stated, she loved the beach lends me to believe that possibly it was not an act of compassion but the avoidance of paying to humanely have her put down. My reason for this decision was his act to bury her at the beach instead of cremating her than spreading her ashes on the beach or water, this would have been a better act of compassion.

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      I would imagine it’s kind of hard to take your dog that has been shot in the head to a vet to be cremated. I’m sure the Vet would have a few questions as to how the dog got shot.

  20. Camille says:

    I lived on a horse farm for 10 years, with that said I’ve seen many sick or dying animals from 900lb horses to 10lb yorkieshire terriers. There are many vets who come to the home 24/7, since the dog was sick and having seizures shouldn’t the owner have had a plan B? He could have comforted Allie while waiting for help to arrive. That’s my option.

  21. Christine Brown says:

    A couple of months ago our dog became really sick all of her body functions were closing down she was pooing, weeing, bringing up blood from her mouth and butt. She was not eating and drinking a hell of a lot of water, she didn’t even want to go out for a walk with the other two dogs.
    I sat up with her for 6 hours with her to insure that it was okay to go. I will never forget the scream of pain that she was making i will always remember that.
    She died at 6.30 am in the morning and yes this all happened at night time. Our vet only visits us once a month as we live in a little small town and could not take her to the vets before all this happened as i don’t drive and everybody would have been asleep. If i had a gun that night i would have shot her or maybe i would have smothered her with a pillow but i didn’t and i will never forgive myself in not helping her to die. Now i have her buried in the back of the garden in which i will do the same with the other dogs when they die. Was this compassion or cruelty in what he did with the dog it was COMPASSION and not murder in what a lot of people are saying.

  22. givingthemvoice says:

    Watching a loved one whether it is an dog or a human go through seizures and choking is both frightening and and terrifying. I believe in his heart he felt that he was doing what was best to alleviate her suffering in the most humane way possible for her as quickly as possible. What tips the scale for me is that he buried her at the beach which must have been a favorite place of Allie’s where he and she spent a great deal of time together. He should have buried her deeper, of course (dumb not to have), but it seems to have been a loving gesture to his beloved four-legged family member. No, he is not guilty of animal cruelty. Lady Justice is supposed to be blind, but she should be able to weigh love against cruelty.

  23. ellen cottone says:

    There is a very sad irony to this story and that may be a man feeling that he would have to help his dog die. for so long that when it happened naturally, he missed it.
    Yes ,
    He over shot it. literally.
    Nothing chokes for forty mins. The dog was not chocking. He was dying. he was dying at that moment. since the dog was not eating, he was not vomiting he was in the final stages if life.
    The death rattle,
    Its the sound you make in the final stage. its not a nice noise. humans and animals experiance. its for a reason.
    Its to let your closest one. literally the closest being at your bed side. that this is the final moment.
    Compassion would be to embrace tightly because it is now over my love. It is done.

      • Carol Szarek says:

        Hey, Ellen,. Just how many more years do you think a sick,15 year old Vizsla is going to live? Their life span is 12-15 yrs, and you’re acting like she had another 5 years, or so you imply. You’ve said it several times. I don’t see DVM following your name, so you should keep your doom and gloom, and snide comments to yourself. You’ve tried to jam your opinion down enough throats. I believe you’ve made your point. Nobody ever feels good about their best friend dying, whether it be by euthanasia or dying a slow and painful death, on their own.

  24. ellen cottone says:

    I cant imagine what kind of crazy it takes to shoot your suffering pet 4 oclock in the morning and leave her half assed buried in the sand. but that does not sound compassionate sounds crazy socially dangerious

  25. Ilona Brost says:

    God gives live and God takes it. Sickness could be VERY hard on the family. Still I am glad I did not shoot my grandma .
    Of course to shoot grandma would be illegal too (sickness or no sickness).
    For many people it would be “dog is not a grandma”. Still GOD GIVES – GOD TAKES.

      • Ilona Brost says:

        Exactly. I don’t decide. I provide care. In my 50 yo I did have few animals. They all got old. Most developed health problems. I see vet regularly since their day 1 in my home. Spent thousands of dollars to give them long happy lives. Sold my jewelry several times to afford the surgeries before learned to save in advance. Here in US the medicine can make miracles. I have seen it on my pets. Have seen it happened after vet advised “humane euthanasia” to my 10yo (then) cat. The cat lived till 27. We took terms in my family to sleep with him (the cat) through the night, even two of my friends did. And all possible treatments cost a bit. But he DEID pull through.
        Not all my pets lived that long. But none of them died because the seizures were too long, or doctor was not around or there wasn’t enough money.
        Yes, I do not believe in euthanasia. Horrible pain can be managed. Modern medicine makes miracles.
        Might be even one of the reasons why it is still illegal to euthanise people. It COST though. That is why I did not give a birth to 20 children and did not adopt 300 dogs. But those I did will get chances possible.

        By the way I also didn’t shoot my grandma whose poop I had to clean of her bed every day of her last 10 years. My college years. And still got a degree, dated, even managed to do stupid things as college students suppose to. . had fun. God brings miracles to the lives of caregivers too. He gives strength, possibilities, sends you right doctors in a right time and stretches your time too. 10 last years were HAPPY years of my grandma who died at 98. She wasn’t even that good of a person when she got sick. Those last 10 years did good to her and to us, her family.

        Sure the dog is not a person. It’s not the same as grandma. I am actually looking forward “seeing her up there
        But if one can handle 10 years with bedridden grandma (sick and mean) without taking her to the beech and shooting her sure he/she can handle doing it for the dog without bullet or needle.

    • Carol Szarek says:

      So do you not believe in euthanasia at all, or do you let your pet just hang out in horrible pain til God takes it? Just wondering.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Euthanasia is murder. On what or whos authority decides when its o.k. to kill?
        The person being on the reciving end of mercy killing raerly would agree. where their is life there is hope. John H. stands as an advocate . He gentally Asks the eternal question:
        Who and what gives you the right over life and death of a living creature.
        So No, we do not believe in Euthaniasia. Because its a flawed system.

      • Mike says:

        I personally don’t consider euthanasia murder. Too me it’s an act of ending a life painlessly to relieve pain and suffering. To anyone who has an animal that is in pain and suffering and allows it to continue without being euthanized that is murder. Just my opinion.

  26. ellen cottone says:

    oh my god,
    i forgot this is virginia. This is where if you dont want your dog anymore you take him out back and shoot it.
    O’L Yellered!!
    Crulty, Not Compassion. Murder

  27. John Halverson says:

    I believe that the gentleman loved his dog alot and what he did was done out of compassion for his girl, not out of anger but out off love not to see her suffer needlessly. I have put down a number of my dogs and it was never out of cruelty… It was out of love not out of some sick need to hurt a animal… All you crybaby liberals better come off your high pulpits and understand that a needle takes longer to die from than a quick shot in the ear. Not everybody is a animal cruelist…

    • Ilona Brost says:

      To you – yes. A lot of people would agree on it for THEMSELVES. And if it is not you but YOUR CHILD? Would you make the same decision or go to the end of the world to help? Even if there is no cure, no treatment.

  28. Sara-Patricia Ann Mason says:

    Oh for Heaven’s sake, you who are so angry about this, save that energy and anger for those who abuse animals with spite and malice, those who enjoy seeing an animal suffer, those who are involved in dog fighting. Instead of writing these ugly, judgemental comments, use that energy to write your lawmakers to demand change in animal protection laws, stiffening of animal abuse punishment and make a difference in that way. God will be the judge of Mr. Whelan’s motives. We do not know his heart, and it’s NOT our place to pass judgement. Make a positive difference–don’t just vent your anger. ,

  29. Debbie Dearmore says:

    The only difference is.they get paid to murder for the. Hell of it. Whereas he was trying to give hisdog some dignity. RIP sweetheart

    • Mike says:

      Who’s they? The vet? It’s the owner’s decision not the vets. What would you do if your dog got hit by a car and was in pain and bleeding internally? It happened to my dog. I had to make the decision to have her PTS.

  30. Justin Nickels says:

    I find it sad that he’s being charged with illegal disposal of “trash” and animal cruelty when actually he was being humane and in his grid he may have chose a bad place to bury his companion! But having grown up in the country when an animal is suffering and the kind yet hardest thing to do is end your suffering animals life but it’s the right thing to do. Again back to the charges which is a Complete oxymoron-
    Trash and animal cruelty! Seriously! He had every right to be kind and make one of the hardest choice there is. So all you wah wahs out there just because you don’t have the hustpah he had doesn’t make it wrong! Deal and move on

    • Barkley's Mom says:

      As it turned out he did not get punished for animal cruelty but did pay a fine for illegal disposal of trash (I love his dog being called “trash”). So what is your problem? This “wah-wah” still thinks one should not “shoot” their dog to “put him/her out of their misery”! So we need “hutspah” to pull out a gun and shoot our pets, I will pass thank you, mine will be taken to the vet to be euthanized in a way I CALL HUMANLY! So YOU deal and move on!


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