Willow the Jack Russell terrier mix is on her way to motherhood and a new temporary home at a Pennsylvania shelter today, this after an incident with a local farmer and his chickens put her in line with a potential euthanization date.
Officials in Wythe County, WV, told NBC-affiliate WSLS that Willow was taken to its animal shelter about a week ago, when a pack of loose dogs made their way into a chicken coop where more than 30 of its residents were killed. Willow, of notably short stature and burdened by her pregnant belly, was the only dog they were able to catch in the wake of the attack.
Reported misinformation followed, per reports by CBS-affiliate WDBJ, and spurred ire, concern and action on social media as several posts concerning the dog directly stated she was set for the needle. Officials have gone on record saying that was not the case.
“There was a lot of misinformation regarding this and that’s just the unfortunate reality of living in 2016 is that a rumor can circle the globe thanks to the Facebook, Internet and social media faster than the truth can get out,” said Wythe County Public Information Officer Jeremy Farley.
Debbie Turner, a member of Friends Wythe K9, said, “They came down with the decision that she would be euthanized. At that time we found out she was pregnant. We already had rescue commitment and while we normally work well with the county, we felt like this time we needed to get outside people to help us.”
Farley countered: “The last thing the county could do was release the dog back into the general public here in Wythe County. It would be unfair to the taxpayers, it would be unfair to the citizens, unfair the to local farmers.”
Turner told reporters she was told the dog would be euthanized either Friday or Saturday.
Mid-Atlantic Jack Rescue stepped in, paid all the fines, reimbursed the farmer for his livestock, and agreed to take Willow to their location in Pennsylvania.
Farley added that one of the big misconceptions Friday was that the County Board of Supervisors wanted the dog euthanized. He said the board never even discussed this in their recent meeting, and outside of a meeting, no action could be discussed or taken.
Turner was delighted by the outcome. “I’m just thrilled. I jumped for joy when I found out she was going to be saved.”