Woman Set to Adopt 2-Year-Old Dog from Shelter. One Hour Before Pickup, the Dog Was Mistakenly Euthanized

According to NBC Los Angeles, the SoCal animal shelter blamed their tragic mixup on a communication error

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of a dog near a person


Stock image of a dog near a person's hand in a shelter cage.
  • Jianna Maarten Sadda was set to adopt a 2-year-old pit bull mix from an L.A. animal shelter. The dog was mistakenly euthanized an hour before Sadda's set pick-up time

  • Sadda told NBC Los Angeles that the shelter blamed a miscommunication error for the tragic mixup

  • She also told the outlet that the dog was not euthanized for behavioral reasons but "purely" to make space

A Los Angeles animal shelter mistakenly euthanized a dog slated for adoption, per NBC Los Angeles. The 2-year-old pit bull mix died about one hour before the new owner was due for pickup.

On Tuesday, June 11, Jianna Maarten Sadda called L.A. Animal Services’ South Los Angeles branch to let them know she would come retrieve her adopted dog, Sheba, at 3 p.m. The shelter staff reportedly confirmed to Sadda that the dog would be waiting safely, but when she called to check in at 2 p.m., she learned Sheba had died.

Sadda told NBC L.A. that the shelter blamed a communication error for the tragic mixup. The staff did not clarify amongst each other that the dog was going home with a new owner, she says.

PEOPLE has reached out to the shelter for comment.

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<p>Ashi Sae Yang/Getty</p> Stock image of a dog at the veterinarian.

Ashi Sae Yang/Getty

Stock image of a dog at the veterinarian.

Related: Woman Opts to Euthanize Her Sick Rescue Puppy. One Year Later, She's Shocked to See He's Up for Adoption

“Lived half her life in the shelter, so she had been in for a whole year,” Sadda said of Sheba, speaking to the local news outlet. “And after a year, a dog will usually go crazy after being in 'jail,' so we call it. And she was still such a good dog.”

At a local Board of Animal Services Commissioners meeting last week, L.A. Animal Services general manager Staycee Dains announced a temporary policy to handle the overcrowding crisis in shelters. Dogs who pose a safety risk are given 72 hours to be saved by an authorized rescue group.

“If they continue to communicate their constant discomfort in our care, we will authorize euthanasia for them because they are demonstrating they are suffering and that is not appropriate,” Dains said during the meeting, as reported by NBC Los Angeles.

Still, the new policy does not seem to account for Sheba's death: “There was no behavioral reason to kill Sheba. She was purely killed for space," Sabba told NBC L.A.

Sabba did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Getty Images Stock image of dog in shelter.
Getty Images Stock image of dog in shelter.

Related: Puppy Euthanized Allegedly by Mistake at Calif. Shelter Sparks Public 'Outrage'

A similar incident happened in Los Angeles in December 2022, when a 3-month-old puppy was euthanized at a local shelter, allegedly by mistake.

At the time, CBS Los Angeles reported that Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn of the LA. County Board of Supervisors filed a motion that alleged a Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC) worker "erroneously authorized the euthanasia of a 3-month-old puppy named Bowie at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center."

According to CBS News, Solis spoke during a board meeting and shared that unfortunately, it wasn't the first time that this type of incident happened.

"It's really heartbreaking to hear that this had occurred, and we found more and more cases where this has happened before," she said.

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