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Two SPCA Employees Fired For Accidental Pet Death

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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2006
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      Local News > By Area Local Main Pennsylvania Wire New Jersey Wire Center City South Philadelphia Northeast Philadelphia North Philadelphia West Philadelphia Chestnut Hill Manayunk Berks County Bucks County Chester County Delaware County Lehigh County Montgomery County Northampton County Poconos Atlantic County Burlington County Camden County Cape May County Cumberland County Gloucester County Mercer County Ocean County Salem County New Castle County

      Mar 2, 2006 11:54 pm US/Eastern
      Two SPCA Employees Fired For Accidental Pet Death Jamie Smith
      Reporting

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      (CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA Two employees at the Delaware County SPCA were fired after altering events that led to the tragic death of a family's pet in February.

      SPCA officials said the two employees falsely reported that a 14-year-old cat named Whiskers bit an employee at the shelter.

      Because SPCA regulations state that an animal must be euthanized after biting an employee, the cat was put to sleep and its head was removed to be examined for rabies.

      "My failure to fully disclose the truth was a mistake," said Bill Vernon director of the Delaware County SPCA.

      Whiskers’ owner, Kathy Giaconia, said she was frantically searching for her beloved pet that ran away after slipping out the door of her Ridley Park home.

      Gianconia’s search brought her to the Delaware County SPCA, where she said she could see Whiskers’ in one of the cages.

      “I wish I would have broken in that window, I wish I had never left there without my cat,” Giaconia said.

      The shelter was closed due to a snow storm, so Giaconia said she left a note on the door, and left numerous phone messages.

      Officials said they mistakenly did not check their messages and went ahead with the euthanasia before realizing the cat had an owner.

      When employees finally got in contact with Gianconia, they told her the cat had to be put down because it bit someone.

      "Their intent was to soften the blow, but, you know, the fact is it was not the truth," said Vernon.

      But because of the response after the initial report on the incident, SPCA officials altered their euthanasia policy, creating a three-step process to prevent another accidental tragedy.

      The managing director of the SPCA apologized to Gianconia and her family Wednesday for Whiskers’ mistaken death.

      (© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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