Mix-up of pet remains leads to change in policy at Humane Society



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Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 2:38 AM

AZLE - A 70-pound pit bull was part of the family for Emmie Teehee.

"She was 11 years old, going on 12,"  Teehee said.

But one day at the end of February, Teehee decided to end Faya's suffering from hip displacia. She had the dog euthanized at the North Texas Humane Society.

She hired the Smoke Rise Farm Pet Cemetery in Azle to cremate her dog. Then on March 2, she said she received a certificate, along with remains in a small, wooden box.

Nearly two months after burying the remains of what she thought was her beloved pet, she got a call from a friend at the Humane Society.

"She said, 'Emmie, did you ever get Faya's remains back?'" Teehee recalled. "I said, 'Yes, I buried them in the flower bed.' She was like, 'I don't know how to tell you this, but Faya's still in our freezer.'"

Neither the Humane Society nor Smoke Rise Farm can fully answer the question of what happened. The owner of the pet cemetery, Kim Maitland, said her company picked up the dog back in February, but no record of that exists.

Until this mix-up, the North Texas Humane Society didn't keep track of who picked up dead animals from the shelter. That is now corrected.

"We will have a sign-in and out for all agencies that are picking up deceased animals," said assistant shelter manager Shelly Meeks.

In a statement, Maitland said employees at Smoke Rise Farm were under the impression that the animal they received was Faya.

"Our heart goes out to the woman that she had to experience this," Maitland said in the statement. "This is not the kind of thing we would ever want to see happen."

And what about the remains in the box given to Teehee? The identity of that animal remains a mystery -- and it may stay that way.

"[I hope to] find out who that pet belongs to, that they cremated for somebody that paid for it," Teehee said. "That pet needs to go back to the family."

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com