VIRGINIA BEACH (WFLA) —A Virginia man is facing animal cruelty charges after he fatally shot his dog and buried her at a public beach.
Now he is speaking out about his decision, telling WTKR in Virginia, he did this to end her suffering.
Michael Eric Whalen, 65 was the owner of Allie, a hound mix who had been his companion for more than 15 years.
He said he was devastated when she was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, a rare condition that’s a result of excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
Whalen says his veterinarian recommended euthanizing his beloved pet, but he couldn’t go through with it.
“Allie was not ready. I was not ready,” Whalen said. “She was still having fun. She wasn’t in ill health,” he told WTKR.
He says he continued giving the dog medication to keep her in stable condition until one day in February when her health took a turn for the worse.
She started panting, swaying and seizing uncontrollably, according to Whalen and he didn’t have time to take her to the hospital.
He took his small caliber handgun and ended her suffering.
“It was so emotionally disturbing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go through this in my mind and sometimes I’ll just start crying,” he told WTKR.
Allie was bured in a shallow grave on Virginia Beach. A passerby noticed her paw sticking out from the sand and alerted authorities.
Investigators searched for the dog’s owner and on March 17, Whalen was identified and charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of dumping trash.
His lawyer, George Yates told the CBS affiliate, “We feel that he did what a pet owner is required to do. Take care of their animal and when they’re animal is suffering to properly euthanize the animal.”
Whalen is due back in court in June.