Tampa, Florida -- Hillsborough County Animal Services is facing heat again from a family who tried to adopt a dog but then was told it had already been euthanized.
The county has had several cases in the last 12 months where dogs were spoken for to be adopted and then they were mistakenly euthanized.
Lisa Lawson tried to save Chai, a pit bull, on Saturday morning. She followed the shelter's protocol to email them saying "Do not euth Chai" and included her ID number. But when Lawson was calling a shelter volunteer, Jess Yingst, around 11:45 a.m. the volunteer tried to stop the killing and then heard it was too late.
A woman says that she had asked to adopt a dog from Hillsborough Animal Services, but then was told it had been euthanized. WTSP
"Jess walked back to the room and I could hear it was so awful," said Lawson as she described what happened. "I could hear her ask 'I have the person on the phone who is coming to get Chai. She sent the email.' And all I could hear was 'you're too late.' And then dead silence. And then Jess was crying I was crying. It was so sad we were coming to get her. We were actually coming and it was like 11:00 in the morning there was no reason why they couldn't wait until later. You know, I work during the week a lot of people work during the week and they should not be euthanizing dogs on Saturday morning."
HCAS refused to talk with 10 News on camera. They also said they were unable to pull up records from Saturday because they had an electricity outage. However, a spokesperson there said Chai had been there since June 6. She was taken in as a stray. She had a couple illnesses, including an upper respiratory infection, and was treated each time. She had been kept in the F kennel, which is not open to the public but you can request to go back there and see the dogs.
Lawson had seen Chai and another dog a couple weeks before and had chosen to adopt another dog because the other dog was diagnosed with heartworm and she felt like that dog had less of a chance of being adopted. However, she said when she found Chai a home Saturday morning she emailed and called and did all she could to save Chai, but then the shelter ignored her email and call and killed Chai anyway.
"My daughter and I felt responsible so we went right down to the shelter," said Lawson.
She is hoping the shelter can change its euthanasia times to the end of each day instead of the beginning.
The shelter sees an additional 70 animals a day and receives about 400 calls a day. They are at full capacity and are also struggling this time of year when adoptions are not popular.
VIDEO: Full interview with Lisa Lawson on euthanized dog
Lisa Lawson describes what happened as she tried to save Chai from being euthanized. WTSP