Jan 21 2013
Widow leaves £100,000 to pet charity – then it immediately puts down her loyal dog found lying beside her body
The Daily Mail
Everyone knows that I’m a sucker for a dog story, and I find this one very sad. However, the people who run this animal charity want a good fucking kicking. Absolutely disgusting. They are my sleaze bags of the day.
When widow Lynda Hill drew up her will, she left £100,000 to her favourite animal charity and expressed a hope that its staff would find a new home for her faithful dog, Henry.
But just hours after Mrs Hill’s body was discovered in her home, a vet from the charity recommended that the golden retriever be put down, and he was destroyed the following day.
Friends of Mrs Hill say she would have been ‘devastated’ by the actions.
Police broke into Mrs Hill’s home in Peterborough after being contacted by worried neighbours who had not seen the 85-year-old walking Henry for several days. Inside, they found the loyal retriever lying beside his owner’s body.
The police also discovered Mrs Hill’s will, which left nearly all her estate to the Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire.
She also left Henry to the charity, adding: ‘I express the hope that they will look after him.’
After giving Henry food and water, a police officer played with the dog in the garden while waiting for staff from Wood Green to collect him.
But after examining Henry, a Wood Green vet said the dog – which had been without food, water and medication to treat his mild arthritis for up to five days – should be put down.
The vet described Henry as bloated, distressed and in pain. Mrs Hill’s friends say that was not surprising, given the circumstances in which eight-year-old Henry was found last February, and claim he was not given a ‘proper chance’.
Neighbour Janet Anker, 74, said: ‘Lynda was devoted to her dog. She took him regularly to the vet, and only the month before she died she told me Henry’s anti-inflammatory drug for his arthritis had been reduced, which was a good sign. That particular visit involved a four-mile round-trip for Henry and he looked fine.
‘We were terribly upset when we heard that he’d been put down the day after he arrived at Wood Green. Lynda would have been devastated.’
Mrs Anker’s daughter Claire Mee, 45, added: ‘I phoned the shelter a few days later to ask how Henry was getting on, only to discover they’d put him to sleep. I couldn’t believe it was done so quickly.
‘No one wanted Henry to be in pain, but they didn’t know the circumstances. A couple of phone calls would have ascertained that. No dog is going to look healthy found in the situation Henry was.
‘I don’t think Wood Green should accept the bequest and should instead distribute it to other local animal charities.
‘The last time Henry was seen by his vet, there was mild arthritis and hip problems, but nothing life-threatening at all.
‘People who saw Henry with Lynda all confirm his mobility.’
A Wood Green spokesman said Henry was brought in because Mrs Hill had signed up to its Pet Promise Scheme, in which staff try to rehome a pet should the owner no longer be able to care for it. The spokesman added that the charity was unaware of any bequest at the time.
Sharon Evans, Wood Green’s director of fundraising, added: ‘The decision to put Henry to sleep was taken by a very experienced vet, in whom we have absolute faith. It was clear from the dog’s condition that his physical wellbeing and his quality of life were severely compromised.
‘We had Henry’s notes from his vet and were aware of his previous condition. Nevertheless, he had deteriorated to such an extent our vets considered the responsible decision was to alleviate his suffering and end his life peacefully and with dignity.’
A legal expert said Mrs Hill’s will placed no legal burden on Wood Green because she was only ‘expressing a hope’ the dog would be looked after.