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NJ Dog Survives Euthanization And Trash Compaction

by Sherry Morse

In early December a five-year-old female shepherd-lab mix was discovered - still alive - in the midst of the garbage in a garbage truck as it was being emptied into the Edgeboro landfill in East Brunswick.

Ron Barbati of the Perth Amboy Department of Public Works said the truck had just been emptied of most of the 29,440 pounds of garbage it carried, when he walked to the back of the truck to move the dozen or so garbage bags that had not fallen out.

As he reached for a piece of cardboard, a dog raised her head from among the garbage.

Shocked, Barbati yelled, "There's a dog in my truck!"

It turned out that the dog had been brought to the Perth Amboy animal shelter by a city resident on the previous day. Animal control officer William Paul had told her the dog would be euthanized because there was no room in the shelter.

Paul carried out the euthanization procedure on the dog, and threw her body into a dumpster.

That night, the dumpster was emptied and its contents taken to a waste transfer station where the garbage was packed into trailers to be transferred to the landfill.

After the dog was discovered alive at the landfill, East Brunswick police and animal control officer David Blumig were called, and Blumig lassoed the dog to get her out of the truck.

"She was kind of wagging her tail between her legs." Barbati said.

After checking her for injuries, Blumig took the dog to a kennel run by his sister Linda.

In the days since the incident, Linda Blumig said nearly 60 people have already called her from New Jersey and surrounding states, offering to adopt the dog.

Several of those people had called thinking the dog was theirs, she said.

"If people would put a name tag on their pet, 95 percent of the time they would get the pet back," Ms. Blumig commented.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Perth Amboy police are investigating the incident to determine if any criminal or disciplinary charges should be filed. The dog will not be adopted out until the investigation into the incident is complete.

"Obviously it's a miracle," said SPCA officer Michael Iovine. "The dog was euthanized with drugs, presumed dead, put into a plastic bag and then a trash compactor and compressed, and survived that."

"It's just amazing it lived through that whole mess," he remarked.

State officials also plan to investigate Paul's actions.

"This horrible incident is unfortunate and the Department of Health and Senior Services will do everything within its authority to investigate, identify what occurred and put into place measures to prevent another incident of this type," Department of Health and Senior Services spokesperson Donna Leusner said.

Paul said in an interview with the SPCA that he followed proper procedure, giving the dog one shot to sedate her and another to stop her heart before listening with a stethoscope for a heartbeat.

Under New Jersey state law, throwing a euthanized dog in the trash is legal.

2003 Animal News Center, Inc.

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