A Dead Woman Wants To Kill This Dog

241EDC9400000578-2877560-image-a-1_1418826228085Meet Bela, a healthy German shepherd in Indiana. He would seem ideal for an adoption except for one thing. His recently deceased owner, Connie Lay, specified in her will that Bela, her beloved companion, should be euthanized upon her death and his ashes buried with her. Despite an outcry, she may succeed in reaching from the grave to end Bela’s life. In fairness to Lay, her love for the dog seems to have motivated her unusual demand and she allowed for one escape clause for Bela.

The problem (which we have previously discussed) is that pets are legally treated as chattel or property. Owners have the right to do what they wish with their property. In this case, Lay seems to want a modern variation of a Viking funeral with her dead dog at her feet. But wait, it gets worse. Lay was not so heartless as it may seem. She said that the dog could be spared if he was sent to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, a no-kill sanctuary. However, her attorney said that there is no money for such a transfer.

Her lawyer Doug Denmore also says that Bela is aggressive and that Ms Lay kept a record of his aggressive behavior. Indeed, Bela would not allow people to come near Lay’s body after her death. Yet, there are people who are willing to adopt Bela and the shelter says that they have not witnessed aggressive behavior. In the meantime, Denmore is trying to raise money to send Bela to Utah and the euthanasia is temporarily on hold.

It is an interesting case since owners do have some greater limitations in their treatment of dogs than say a couch or a table. They cannot be cruel to a dog or wantonly kill a dog. Yet, they can put the dog down.

59 thoughts on “A Dead Woman Wants To Kill This Dog”

  1. Update on Bela. Here is what I received from Media Relations at Best Friends:

    “Hi, Karen,
    Thank you for your concern about Bela and I’m so happy to tell you we do have good news. Bela will be coming to the sanctuary. Check our Facebook page facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety for updates.

    and in the meantime you can read co-founder Francis Battista’s blog on this situation: http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2014/12/23/bela-is-coming-to-best-friends/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog

    again thank you for your concern

  2. Sati refers to a funeral ritual within some Asian communities in which a recently widowed woman immolates herself (“voluntarily”) typically on the husband’s funeral pyre. In Nepal, sati was not banned until 1920.

    I was always under the impression the servants went along as well…


  3. The photo of Bela is terribly reminiscent of my beloved dog “Zoya”, my she RIP …almost exactly the same pigmentation and expression. That tends to make me sentimental and angry at the same time that anyone would think to kill a faithful dog for the absurd reason cited.

  4. I don’t understand the mindset of someone who would say. “When I die, kill my pets too.”

    If you love your animals you would want them to have a happy life even after you are gone. My thought would be……”When I die, someone take care of my pets and find them good loving homes so I will feel that they are loved and they will be happy.”

    Hopefully there will be a good resolution to this. Either Bela gets adopted….the ultimate outcome…..or she gets to continue to live in Utah and not be snuffed out for no good reason.

  5. John, Toby the rabbit… hilarious. I had a wonderful dwarf rabbit for about five years, and I always threatened to eat him, but they were always empty threats.

    I’ve eaten rabbit once, and it was delicious. Whether or not the site was real, I think it was real emotional blackmail of some sort. The video said it all, “It’s not illegal to eat a rabbit!”.

    For this poor dog Bela, I think it has gotten a good deal of exposure and will have a happy ending. I hope, anyway.

  6. Karen S…thanks for pursuing information from the rescues…I was busy yesterday afternoon with a CT Scan with contrast to determine where I stand now vis a vis oncology. I expect good results.

    Let us know what changes in the disposition of Bela. There are several willing adopters if they are given the opportunity. I will join you in talking to the rescues if you think it will help. Let me know.

  7. I’ll adopt Bela. If she becomes free of her owners last wish post it and let us know where we can apply to adopt her.

  8. The dead lady was crazy. Her Will should be set aside and her ashes spread over some freeway in LA. Screw the itchBay. She is in Hell right now. Saint Peter would not put up with this apCray and when she got to the interview at the Pearly Gates he sent her straight to Hell. Those who carry out her wishes as expressed in the Will need to be lobotomized. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. We will take the dog.

  9. There is a statement on the PAWS website that they have no legal authority over Bela, and are just housing her. She belongs to the estate. That is why they cannot adopt her out.


    As has been pointed out by others earlier, raising funds to ship her to Best Friends shouldn’t be a problem. Hope we can find out more …

  10. Ari – I read that Best Friends was the sanctuary stipulated in the will. Is PAWS temporarily holding her, but has no legal authority to adopt her out?

    And, I agree, a suitable adoption in place is the best scenario, and less stress for the dog.

    Is the problem that the will was too specific, and only named the one out of state rescue?

    If you find out more info, would you please let us know? I’m hoping this story will have a happy ending.


  11. Karen S … there is no significant cost in letting a willing family adopt Bela now, where she is…merely schlepping her from one shelter to another is no solution. Not sshelter needs more dogs to care for…and I am ative in my local shelter so I’ve got a fair idea. A dog like Bela would be adopted before the ink was dry on her notification here. Something else is wrong. I’d gladly pay the cost of that shipment if it made any sense. I’ve shipped dogs from half a world away to here and it just isn’t that big a deal. I suspect there is more to this story than is being revealed. Pig headed people are the problem…possibly including the lawyer involved. Dead people don’t notice a dang thing…so let her go to a happy home now, in Indiana, period.

  12. The funds to send the dog to Utah would be there in no time.

    That is the problem, not the solution. A family that wants to adopt Bela is preferable, IMO. I plan to contact PAWS in Indiana and ask, but from what I’ve read, that is NOT the issue…as several potential adopters have been denied.

  13. John and Toby the rabbit

    Remember, and this is important; domestic rabbit is done in a white wine sauce with mushrooms, carrots, but no onions. Hare or wild rabbit is done in a red wine sauce with mushrooms, onions, and you can marinate the hare over night. The hare tends to be gamier thus the red wine sauce and the marinating.

    I’ve never eaten dog, or at least not knowingly.

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