Woman's dog, found standing outside yard, put down without her knowledge

FREEPORT, N.Y. -- A Long Island woman is distraught and heartbroken after she says her 13-year-old dog was euthanized after being picked up as a stray.

"Not even 24 hours and my dog was gone," Jessica De La Rosa said. "I can't do anything now to bring him back."

De La Rosa tells Eyewitness News that her pet Oso got out of her yard on South Long Beach Avenue in Freeport late Friday morning.

He did not have a collar or a microchip.

De La Rosa said she tried calling all the local shelters but was unable to find him. The next morning, she called the Town of Hempstead animal shelter and was informed that Oso had been put down.

"Everyone's upset," she said. "They can't believe what really happened."

A spokeswoman for New York Veterinary Specialists in Farmingdale confirmed to Eyewitness News that Oso was brought into their facility on Friday and was euthanized. She said he had a large cancerous tumor, could barely walk and had blood in his urine, and that he appeared to be suffering. The decision was then made to put him to sleep.

Eyewitness News also spoke exclusively with the woman who initially found Oso, who was driving home from work when she saw several people standing on South Long Beach Avenue trying to help him, as he was having a tough time walking. Oso was actually waiting at the gate to his yard at the time, but the woman said she and the others were not aware of that.

She called the Town of Hempstead, which sent officers to pick up the dog.

"It's not a dog that was out in the streets, a dog that was going to attack somebody," De La Rosa said. "He was a loving dog."

De La Rosa said Oso injured his back last summer and had arthritis, and she was doing physical therapy with him at home. She said when he went to the vet a year ago, he did not have cancer, and that he did not show any signs of being in pain. She is angry that the vet put him down without her permission.

"For them to just put him down and to find out he's gone, that's what hurts the most," she said.

A spokesperson for the Town of Hempstead released the following statement:

"After consultation between the town's staff veterinarian and the private animal hospital's veterinarian, it was agreed that humane euthanasia was indicated for an animal that was clearly suffering and had a vastly diminished quality of life." null
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