Staff members at a Bay Area animal shelter said they mistakenly euthanized a pit bull in June after the dog had been selected for adoption by an area pet rescue organization.
The 4-year-old pit bull named Barbie was housed at Contra Costa County's animal shelter in Martinez when the rescue group PETaluma PET Pals decided to adopt her. Barbie wasn't totally healthy — she had a large mass on her stomach — but she was still adoptable.
On June 18, a medical team went to Barbie's kennel to pick her up for a biopsy on the mass, but she wasn't there, said Steve Burdo, spokesman for the Contra Costa Animal Services Department.
The medical staff quickly pulled up Barbie's records and discovered that she had been mistakenly euthanized, he said.
"This was an error," Burdo said. "Everybody is crushed about the situation with Barbie. Everybody here is an animal lover. This is something that is real hard for us."
The Animal Services Department has now opened an investigation into what led to the oversight and will be looking at the shelter's policies and procedures.
"We realize we can't undo this terrible error, but we are going to learn from it," Burdo said.
Rescue group member Melissa Farley Law said a second dog named Tommy had been pulled for adoption as well, but was instead euthanized.
Burdo said the department does not have any records confirming that a rescue group had shown interest in rescuing Tommy. He doesn't believe there was a mistake.
Meanwhile, Law said she is still waiting for a fuller explanation of what happened.
"We have been patiently waiting for answers as to how this happened, the consequences to those involved and the changes being made to make sure it never happens again," she said.