Dog may be “put down” because of stipulation in owner’s last will

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(CNN) — An Indiana dog owner wanted her ashes mixed with those of her beloved pet — so that the two could be together for all eternity. The problem is, the dog isn’t dead yet. But he soon will be because of a stipulation in the deceased owner’s last will and testament.

For now, Bela is being boarded at Paws of Dearborn County — after he was found with his owner, Connie Ley, who passed away. According to volunteers, he is a smart, well-trained sweet dog who deserves a home. But according to the attorney handling Ley’s estate, that was not his owner’s wishes.

While attorney Doug Denmure would not mention the other options available, he says the only feasible option listed in the last will and testament is to have Bela put down — and his ashes placed with his owner’s.

It’s an option Legal Analyst Mike Allen says isn’t entirely uncommon or illegal.

“Animals are considered property and that’s what the point of a will is to dispose of property upon one’s death. You have that conflicting though with rules that say you have to treat animals humanely,” said Allen.

Volunteers say several people have offered to adopt Bela. But Denmure says it’s Ley’s dog and the executor of her will has the authority to carry out her wishes.


  • L.S.

    Because mixing the ashes AFTER Bella lives out her natural life is too hard a concept for these people to understand???

    • REAGAN 84

      Amen! How about a family member or close friend holding the ashes of the deceased until the dog passes away? Please don’t put the dog down!!!

  • Terry W Thrasher

    I question who refused to acknowledge the deceased’s mention of Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary in Utah as an alternative to killing the dog?

    “Denmure says the case is more cut and dried for Bela, who is believed to be eight or nine years old. He is focused on honoring his client’s final wishes.

    “Animals are considered the property of the owner and I serve the estate and it has to be taken care of according to my client’s wishes,” he said.

    The rescue group in Utah told Eyewitness News Wednesday afternoon they had not been contacted about Bela.

    “There has been a lot of conjecture and rumor about (Bela’s) situation. At this point, no one has contacted us about (Bela), however right now we working to find out more facts about what’s happening,” Best Friends Animal Society wrote in a release. “Our animals are our family and this situation is a great example of the plan people should make 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.”

    The final decision, WLWT reports, will be made by a close friend of Lay’s, who is still trying to figure out what to do.”

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