Woman learns dog is alive five months after she thought pet was put down

HOWELL, N.J. — A New Jersey woman thought her family’s beloved dog was dead only to learn that the animal had been living with an employee of the veterinary office where she’d taken the dog to be euthanized five months earlier.

Keri Levi brought her 15-year-old miniature pinscher to Briarwood Veterinary Hospital on May 17 to be euthanized “due to his declining health,” an official with the Howell Police Department told WPIX in a statement.

But the dog was never put down.

Instead, Caesar was sent home with a hospital worker in a move allegedly allowed by Dr. George Menez, who was the veterinarian at the hospital but who no longer works there.

Caesar’s owner said she was told her dog was going to be euthanized, only to find out months later the miniature pinscher was still alive. (Courtesy: WPIX)

“This employee wanted to do so out of compassion for the dog and a desire to rehabilitate his health, albeit without the owner’s consent,” police said in a statement.

Levi called police on Monday after learning that her dog was still alive.

Officials did not reveal how Levi found out what happened to her pet, but NJ.com reports that she was clued in by an “anonymous tipster.”

The employee who was taking care of Caesar returned the dog to Levi, who had the animal euthanized, police said. Levi was refunded the money she paid for the original procedure that was not done.

No charges have been filed, either against the veterinarian or the employee, police said. The Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is assisting police in their investigation.

It’s likely the dog did not receive medical treatment in the past five months, the SPCA said. NJ.com reports that the animal had Cushing’s disease, an endocrine disorder.

The SPCA said the veterinarian and employee no longer work at the animal hospital.