Oreo, the pit bull terrier mix who survived a six-story fall from a Red Hook roof last summer, was euthanized by the ASPCA Friday despite protests, twitters, 2 death threats and over 2oo phone calls from animal lovers.
ASPCA President Ed Sayres released a statement yesterday regretting the necessity of “this most difficult and heartbreaking of decisions”
Despite extensive behavior rehabilitation efforts undertaken by ASPCA staff, Oreo continued to lunge, growl, snap and attempt to bite. She would lunge at a behaviorist, only to spontaneously and unpredictably redirect her aggression toward her handler. She could not be socialized with other dogs for fear of an attack — her aggression toward other dogs was clearly evident during her evaluations. For the safety of the individuals at the ASPCA, the other animals, and Oreo herself, she had to be kept in relative isolation, and daily contact with her was kept to a minimum of essential, and highly-trained, personnel. In fact, employees were even directed to refrain from making sustained eye contact with Oreo so as to not incite aggression.
Because adoption was not an option, the ASPCA looked at placing Oreo in a long-term resident facility. However, because of the aggressive behavior displayed, it is almost certain that Oreo would have lived out her entire life in seclusion from other dogs and people. Her contact with the outside world would have been minimal at best. Her quality of life would have been reduced to virtually nothing.
Oreo became a local celebrity in July when the ASPCA, responding to phone calls reporting that a dog was thrown off the roof of the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, found him still alive on the sidewalk. Earlier calls reported the sounds of a half-hour beating and an animal in distress. The dog’s front legs had to be put back together with screws.
Fabian Henderson, 19, despite initially admitting to throwing the dog, later claimed that Oreo jumped off the roof. Fortunately, there were witnesses. He was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals, criminal trespass (for being on the roof), and reckless endangerment (for throwing a 45-lb dog where it could have hit a pedestrian). Henderson pleaded guilty to the aggravated cruelty charge. His sentencing is scheduled for December 1.
There were numerous adoption offers, but behaviorists hired by the ASPCA to work with Oreo determined that his behavioral issues were too severe.