An Alabama family’s pet dog wound up at an animal shelter and then she was turned over to a veterinary school where she was going to be used for experimental surgery and likely…death. As reported by WRBL News, the Hively family’s seven-year-old dog Sheba was first taken in at the Russell County animal shelter – when her stray hold was up, she was transferred to the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.
By the time that Sheba’s family learned that their pet was at the county shelter, it was too late – she had already been handed over to the veterinary school. According to the news agency, Tina Hively could not get definitive answers out of the shelter about the whereabouts and fate of Sheba, so she turned to social media for help.
Hively said, “By that time I was desperate and started posting on Facebook groups to ask anyone if they had an idea what I could do.” Hively was ultimately directed to the Stop Pound Seizure In Alabama Facebook group where she learned about pound seizures and the likelihood of pets being used in experimental surgeries.
The family began an earnest quest to find Sheba at the veterinary school. Hively was eventually able to reach a professor at the school who was able to help, and Sheba was found in one of the holding kennels. Amazingly, the family was able to get their pet back from the school and bring her home.
The horror stories
Had Sheba not been located, it is likely that she would have been operated on and then killed. A former student at the veterinary school has spoken out about the traumatic situations the students were forced to participate in. The student told WRBL:
There have been eye enucleations (ie. removal), there are amputations, there have been where they’ll place a foreign body in the dog’s throat, wait a couple hours, and then we have to go in and retrieve the foreign body.”
The anonymous informant commented on the dogs’ demise:
“I mean, come terminal surgery day we were all in tears. I was a basket case. These animals, you know, they trust you. Even when they’re in kennels and in pain, they’re still looking at me, at us, for comfort and I had to betray them. It was sickening and very traumatic.”
The woman told WRBL what the school told the students:
“They try and make it seem like these are unwanted animals and they were scheduled for euthanasia anyhow, but when you start seeing dogs come in with collars still on them, I mean you as a student are mortified because you could have potentially done unnecessary surgery on this dog and euthanized it and it was someone’s pet.”
Veterinary school statement
There are alternatives to operating on live animals – but the school stands by its practice. The veterinary school provided a statement to the news agency:
College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dean stated:
“Our use of animals to prepare the next generation of veterinary practitioners is endorsed by many professional and industry groups that regulate our use of animals as part of our teaching efforts. These groups, as well as schools of veterinary medicine across the country, regard this type of surgical experience essential to preparing skilled, future veterinarians.”
-Dr. Ruby Perry, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine
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Yesterday in the news: Man died during hurricane while protecting his dogs – more here.
Inspiring – Rescuers saved horses who were neck deep in flood waters – more here.
Beaten and abused – dog gets second chance
From horrific cruelty to the beach – inspiring!