HOWELL, New Jersey (CNN) – Authorities are investigating after a New Jersey woman says her dog she took in to be euthanized five months ago was never put down.
Ceaser is a 15-year-old mini pinscher. His owner though her dog had been put down five months ago after Ceaser was diagnosed with an illness that would kill him.
“She came back. She picked up the collar and actually paid her bill and received a letter from the veterinary offices stating their condolences on the loss of her pet,” said Chief Ross Licitra, Monmouth County SPCA.
But Ceaser was never put down. Instead, a vet tech took Ceaser home to live with her.
“She received an anonymous tip from someone that told her that her dog was still alive and in the care of a vet tech that worked at the hospital, Licitra said.
Keri Levy of Freehold, Ceaser’s owner, confronted the vet. Dr. George Menez used to own the Briarwood Veterinary Hospital in Howell but has since sold the practice.
Levy was reunited with her family dog one last time before Ceaser was euthanized. Licitra said all the records show that the dog was suffering from a life-threatening illness.
“We don’t believe it was done in a sinister way, but at the end of the day we have a victim who now has to double grieve,” Licitra said.
Police were there when the vet tech turned over the dog to Levy. They say she very emotionally attached to the animal.
The previous owner probably had some mixed emotions thinking that the dog had been put down and now was seeing that dog once again,” said Chief Andrew Kudrick, Howell Police Dept.
The SPCA said the vet tech employee no longer works at the hospital. Possible charges of theft and animal cruelty are being investigated.