The story of Oreo

Posted By elaine on November 16, 2009

It started as a story of triumph.  A dog is thrown from the roof of a 6-story building in Brooklyn, New York and survived.  It was the kind of story that you would see in movie or read in a book.  Super dog lives through a unthinkable abuse and lives happily ever after.  That is not how this story ends however. 

Oreo is very famous amongst New Yorkers who’ve been keeping up with her story in the daily papers.  It all started this summer when the ASPCA received a call that a dog was being beaten at an apartment.   Minutes later calls that a dog had been thrown from the roof starting coming in.  When emergency crews got there they found Oreo alive, but barely. 

Oreo recovering from her injuries.  Courtesy: ASPCA

Oreo recovering from her injuries. Courtesy: ASPCA

The Pitbull mix puppy had multiple fractures and internal injuries.  Over the next several months Oreo went through surgeries and therapy to heal her wounds.  The ASPCA received dozens of requests from would be homes for the pup.  So things should have ended great, but it didn’t.

Last week the ASPCA annouced that they would have to euthanize Oreo.

“Oreo was almost impossible to control once her injuries healed, ASPCA President Ed Sayres told the New York Times.  “Oreo had shown extreme aggressiveness during several behavioral examinations: growling, lunging and trying to bite people who came too close.”

In an interview the NY Daily News, ASPCA spokesman Andy Izquierdo said, “The second she started healing from her wounds we started seeing that aggression – and that is sometimes the result of animal cruelty. We tend to focus on the happy endings, but this circumstance happens a lot.” The ASPCA says they considered putting Oreo in a “long-term resident facility,”  where she would have no contact with other dogs and humans, but they felt her  quality of life wouldn’t have been good.

Oreo after her physical recovery.  Courtesy: Chernin/AP

Oreo after her physical recovery. Courtesy: Chernin/AP

This had people from all over the country calling for the ASPCA to spare Oreo, and to find a skilled trainer or program to help the dog recover from her mental injuries the same way they did for her physical injuries.  There were even animal sanctuaries that offered to take the dog.

Former San Francisco SPCA director of operations Nathan Winograd told the NY Times the ASPCA should have found a “a skilled long-term foster care situation,” noting, “The dog is a victim of cruelty. It’s incredibly traumatized. It’s going to be fearful and distrustful and perhaps even in pain. Under those circumstances, even evaluating the dog right now is setting the dog up for failure.”

The ASPCA felt that placing a possible dangerous dog wasn’t worth the risk and Friday they decided to Oreo to sleep.   It is a sad ending but realistically there are millions of healthy, seemingly well adjusted dogs that meet the same fate, so why the total outrage over Oreo?  Maybe it is because we are used to happy endings in movies or maybe it is guilt because we know that humans caused her aggressions, or could it be that we just plain felt sorry for this dog that went through so much only to have it end in this way.

 Anyway you look at it you also have to think, is it really worth the risk to place a dog that could be so dangerous?  Even with therapy could she have had a set back and permanently disfigured, possible even killed a human being  if placed?  What would people be saying to the ASPCA then?    It is a debate that is being fought on websites on all of the New York media outlets and blogs everywhere.

The only good news is that her owner, Fabian Henderson, 19, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court last month to a felony charge of animal cruelty and will be sentenced on Dec. 1st.

Now if you would like to read the statement from the ASPCA with details of the decision to euthanize Oreo, check out this site.

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