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The Meaning Of Oreo


By Nathan Winograd For SF Animal Shelters Examiner

Over the last several days, the ASPCA’s killing of a dog named Oreo has ignited a furor among animal lovers nationwide. They tried to justify it by claiming she was aggressive. But the question of whether or not Oreo was beyond rehabilitation is merely a side story to the most significant issues raised by Oreo’s execution. And while Oreo’s killing by those who were supposed to be her protectors has left too many questions unanswered, what has emerged as the most significant one is why did Ed Sayres, the President of the ASPCA, rush to kill an abused dog when the public demanded that she be saved and a sanctuary had offered her lifetime care?

Last June, a one-year old dog named Oreo was intentionally thrown off a sixth floor Brooklyn roof top by her abuser. Oreo sustained two broken legs and a fractured rib. Although the facts are sketchy, Oreo also appears to have been beaten in the past—several of the neighbors in the building where Oreo lived reported hearing the sounds of the dog being hit. The ASPCA nursed her back to health and arrested the perpetrator. They also dubbed her the “miracle dog.”

The miracle was short-lived. According to Ed Sayres, the President of the ASPCA, when Oreo recovered from her injuries, she started to show aggression. After a series of temperament tests, Ed Sayres says he made the decision to kill her. The New York Times reported the story the day before Oreo’s scheduled execution. Despite the best efforts of Sayres to spin the outcome, the furor and condemnation by dog lovers all over the country was immediate.

In an attempt to contain the wrath of the animal-loving community against him, Sayres issued a press release replete with crocodile tears (“We are all upset by this”), saying that she was truly vicious, and arguing that lifetime care in a sanctuary would have meant no quality of life. Sometimes, Sayres said, there are no happy endings. Early on Friday morning, Oreo laid dead, the victim not of her former abuser, but of an overdose of poison from a bottle marked “Fatal-Plus,” at the hands of a shelter bureaucrat.

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