Fox Lake woman at odds with authorities who euthanized her dog

 
 
Updated 8/10/2018 5:59 PM
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  • Orion, a 14-year-old Italian greyhound, was euthanized July 25 after an off-duty Lake County sheriff's office sergeant found the dog near his home. This is the photo of Orion that was placed on social media by authorities after the dog was found.

    Orion, a 14-year-old Italian greyhound, was euthanized July 25 after an off-duty Lake County sheriff's office sergeant found the dog near his home. This is the photo of Orion that was placed on social media by authorities after the dog was found. COURTESY OF Lake County Sheriff's office

  • COURTESY OF MARY PIERCEMary Pierce of Fox Lake said this photo of her dog was taken two months before the dog was euthanized by a veterinarian. Orion, a 14-year-old Italian greyhound, was euthanized July 25 after an off-duty Lake County sheriff's office sergeant found the dog near his home. Officials said the dog was neglected, malnourished and suffering. Pierce disputes the claim.

    COURTESY OF MARY PIERCEMary Pierce of Fox Lake said this photo of her dog was taken two months before the dog was euthanized by a veterinarian. Orion, a 14-year-old Italian greyhound, was euthanized July 25 after an off-duty Lake County sheriff's office sergeant found the dog near his home. Officials said the dog was neglected, malnourished and suffering. Pierce disputes the claim.

A social media debate was raging around a Fox Lake woman and authorities on whether an off-duty Lake County sheriff's deputy and a veterinarian acted responsibly when a dog that may have been malnourished was euthanized without the owner's consent.

As of Friday afternoon, 2,400 people have seen the posting on the Fox Lake Facebook site regarding the fate of Orion, a 14-year-old Italian greyhound put to sleep by a vet in late July. According to Facebook, 1,220 people have commented on the posting and 1,500 have shared it.

Orion's owner, Mary Pierce, is facing charges of failure to give care to prevent suffering and failure to give humane care and treatment, Fox Lake Police Chief Jimmy Lee said. If found guilty at trial, Pierce could be sentenced from probation to up to six months in jail.

"He (Orion) was not neglected. He was old and spoiled," Pierce said.

According to police, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Kyle Brown was off duty and near his home when he found the dog about 10 a.m. July 25.

The dog was malnourished, could barely walk, was falling over, was vomiting repeatedly, smelled of feces and had rotted teeth, sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said. In addition, Covelli said the dog had no tags and no collar, and was not microchipped when Brown found him.

"He (Brown) had never seen the dog before. It looked abandoned, so he took it to the vet to help the dog," Covelli said. "Based on expertise, the vet made the decision to put the dog down due to the examination of the animal."

Covelli said Brown agreed to pay the vet out of his own pocket.

Pierce, who lives about one block from where Brown found the dog, said she called Fox Lake police and Lake County Animal Control about 2:30 p.m., shortly after she realized the dog was missing.

"I called Fox Lake police as soon as I found out he wasn't here (at her home)," Pierce said. "I filed a missing dog report and called animal control. I looked for him all day and asked people if they had seen him."

A neighbor told Pierce Orion was last seen near Brown's home, and Pierce said she went there.

"I'm the one who called Fox Lake police because I couldn't get a straight answer (about the dog) from them (the people at Brown's home)," Pierce said Friday. "The Fox Lake officer who showed up told me Orion was put down."

Irate, Pierce said she went to Facebook to vent her frustrations. In one of her postings, she admitted she named Brown and put his address online.

She also said she is offended people think the dog was neglected and malnourished.

"He was missing some teeth, but his teeth were going bad because of his age," she said. "That breed of dog, many people are not familiar with it. Greyhounds and Italian greyhounds are thin and bred for speed."

Lee said an investigation was opened into the neglected dog and that Pierce "upset a lot of people" when she put Brown's name and address online.

The police department also went to Facebook and posted that Pierce provided "a very untrue account of the events," and attached a photo of Orion at the veterinarian's office.

The sheriff's office shared the same posting on its Facebook page.

Lee said Friday people should "slow down" when it comes to posting rumors and half-facts on social media, and not "bully either the sergeant or the suspect."

Pierce said she has retained a lawyer and, in the meantime, has been allowed to obtain and bury Orion.

"Common sense protocol would be to call the local authorities or animal control before putting the dog to sleep," she said. "He was really important to me. ... He was my best friend."

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