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Police: Euthanasia of Healdsburg dog did not violate law

Healdsburg police found no city ordinance was violated by the Healdsburg Animal Shelter in the controversial euthanization of a dog last month.

Despite complaints from an animal rescue organization that "Posey," a 2-year-old border collie-catahoula mix was salvageable, Police Chief Kevin Burke said the shelter was within its discretion to put it to death.

"They are the experts in animal control. We contract with them to make the judgments the code contemplates," he said.

The decision to euthanize the dog, made by a panel of five experts, including a veterinarian and animal behaviorist, "appears to be a thoughtful and carefully reached decision, although unpopular," Burke said.

Shelter officials said Posey, who was surrendered by her owner three months before she was killed, continued to show dangerous and aggressive behavior toward other dogs.

Animal Services Manager Judi Adams said there was no indication the dog would ever be suitable for adoption and continued with "lunging, snarling and growling," despite efforts to rehabilitate her.

But an animal rescue advocate who tried to stop the euthanasia the day before, and offered to take Posey, disagreed.

Mary Quinn, founder of All Aboard Animal Search and Rescue, said the dog was not vicious toward people.

"She was not a human aggressive, biting-at-a-person dog. That would be a different story," Quinn said.

Quinn said she was contacted by a dog trainer, a volunteer who was working with Posey, who believed the dog had shown some sign of improvement and should be spared.

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