Best Friends Blog
 

Making the case for Bela

No one wants to think about death, especially during the holidays, but the sad fact of life is that we are all going to die someday — death and taxes, as they say, being the only certainties in life. That’s a hard truth, but that hard truth means that we all should be thinking about what happens to our pets after we are gone, beginning with the critical hours and days following our passing. All too often we don’t plan well, and what will happen to them after we’re gone can be a bit of a gamble.

Over the last few days, a case out of Indiana has captured the attention of animal lovers around the world. Connie Ley passed away on November 25 at her home near Cincinnati. Her senior dog, Bela, was found in the home right by her side. Ms. Ley had a will and had provided two options for Bela. The executor of her estate, Ms. Ley’s close personal friend, was to either transfer Bela to our sanctuary, or put the dog to sleep and inter Bela’s ashes at her late owner’s burial site. It’s a big responsibility and one that seems like a no-brainer, but none of us know the details of conversations that may have transpired between Ms. Ley and her friend regarding her intentions.

This tragic story captured the attention of the media, and stories were popping up all over the country with headlines such as this: “Dog owner’s will: Let him die with me.” Obviously, that kind of headline is shocking to anyone who loves animals.

The request to have Bela transported to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary was a surprise to us. Unfortunately, Ms. Ley had never contacted us prior to her death, so we were reading the same news articles as everyone else. Since that time, our attorney has been in contact with their attorney, and we have reviewed the will.

We want to save Bela’s life and bring him to our sanctuary, but the decision to send him to us or have him put down and cremated is out of our hands. The decision needs to be made by the person designated in Ms. Ley’s will, and we are hopeful that she will agree to allow Bela to come to Best Friends. As might be expected in this age of social media, Ms. Ley and her executor are receiving some flak for the fact that Bela’s fate is still up in the air. As understandable as those sentiments may be, they are not helpful at this difficult time, especially for Bela.

We are continuing to educate the executor of Ms. Ley’s estate about Best Friends’ lifesaving mission and to demonstrate that Bella will be in good hands. Our staff stands at the ready to ensure that Bela receives safe transport to southern Utah, as soon as the executor decides on that option.

This situation is really a great reminder that our animals are our family, and families should plan for their pets who survive them. Whenever possible, the best option is for an adoptive home to have been identified, with informed consent, prior to the owner’s passing. Many people also choose to have a life insurance policy that can help provide for interim or long-term care of a pet. In any event, all concerned should be included in the planning long before there is a need, so that your best friend can be transitioned to a new home or to interim care as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

Best Friends and a few other animal organizations offer a lifetime care program. These programs typically guarantee a safe haven or loving home for a pet for life. However, it is something that needs to be planned for in advance, and organized between you and the organization. Bela is lucky, as we currently have the capability to take him on, but there are countless other Bela’s out there that might not have the same positive outcome.  You should never assume any organization will have space to take your animal without making prior arrangements. Most operate at capacity to save as many animals as possible. Click here for more information on our planned giving options.

We thank all of you for your concern for Bela. You can show your support for him to come to Best Friends by sharing this post on your social media pages. Please use the hashtag #SaveBela. Using the hashtag is important, so we can track just how many people want to see Bela be able to live. That show of numbers will be a powerful statement to the decision makers in Bela’s case.

Let’s do what we can to make sure he has a safe and happy holiday.

Together, we can Save Them All.

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Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society

(Photo credit: Partners for Animal Welfare Society of Dearborn County)

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  • Cindy Broenner

    I wouldnever decide somethind likfe thew nwoman that thought putting her dog to sleep was the best for the dog…she died I peace,let her dog have a life-period.

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  • WesleyGG

    How does one coordinate with BFAS to accept their animals as specified in their will? What if you’re full???

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  • Lisa Stalcup

    I pray this act on bela will not be carried out.send him to best friends.he will truly be happy.#save bela

  • Mia’s mom

    Bela looks just like my German shepherd, they are wonderful and smart dogs. Please do not put Bela to sleep, let someone else enjoy his companionship.
    Thank you!

  • Love Dog

    To the designated person of Ms. Ley’s will, please let Bela live.

  • Betty Bernelli

    I can’t believe such a selfish way of thinking in a woman!!!! There will always be someone or an organization with huge love towards animals to take care of this poor victim. I hope this judge be sensitive enough to avoid his unfair murder…..USA should give a good example letting this beautiful and HEALTHY dog live forever to show the whole world that this country respect the rights of all the living creatures to live….or should we think that USA is a country fond of death???? The whole world is watching your decision!!!!!

    • Since millions of animals are put to death in this Country your right, it does speak to how our Country cares for the rights of every living creature. Education is key, along with spay and neuter programs to help cover the costs of this sometimes very expensive surgery. i am in NH and on average it is between $350 to $650 depending on the vet. Thankfully only 5% of animals in NH are not spayed or neutered, but even 5% is too high. If we don’t want animals to die, it is important to support programs and rescues that work hard to save the lives of animals in need. Director of Rescue Operations at North of Boston Animal Rescue, Inc., rescuer and supporter of Best Friends Organization.

    • Since millions of animals are put to death in this Country your right, it does speak to how our Country cares for the rights of every living creature. Education is key, along with spay and neuter programs to help cover the costs of this sometimes very expensive surgery. I am in NH and on average it is between $350 to $650 depending on the vet. Thankfully only 5% of animals in NH are not spayed or neutered, but even 5% is too high. If we don’t want animals to die, it is important to support programs and rescues that work hard to save the lives of animals in need. Director of Rescue Operations at North of Boston Animal Rescue, Inc., rescuer and supporter of Best Friends Organization.

  • Animal lover

    Melissa…I understand the situation. I live in Indiana and would love to give Bela a forever home. Please give the executor my email to contact me so we can talk about Bela and what is best for him. I am sure this isn’t easy for the executor either. Thank you……jenniferburton1967@yahoo.com

  • Guest

    Why couldn’t someone agree to take her and let her live out her life, since so many I’m sure would be willing to take her, then when she dies, they could still Have her cremated and her remains put with the original owner?

  • Peach314

    Ms. Ley, please let Bela live.

  • Karen Donnelly

    To the executor of Ms. Levy’s will: Please allow Bela to be sent to Best Friends. I have been donating to them for years. There is no better place for Bela to stay or to find a forever home.

  • Paul Winds

    I shall be a believer of all that is deserving in animals.
    I shall plead for their lives, campaign for their safety and uphold their right to a natural death.
    I shall seek out the injured and the maimed, the unloved, and the abandoned and tend to them in their last days.
    I shall not forget their place in the hierarchy of life, nor that we walk in each other’s paths.
    I shall bear witness to the wonder they bring into our lives and to the beauty they bestow upon our souls. I sh…all renew their spirits when they are waning, bind their wounds when they bleed, cradle them when they whimper, and I shall be near them in their hour of greatest need, and hold the gently when their time has come.
    I shall watch over them and console them and ask that Great Spirit gather them in His arms, because
    from the creatures of the earth, I have learned the fruits of compassion and undying love.
    In their company I was humbly blessed.
    To this blessed mortal they have shown love unconditional to their last breath. More than any human I have met upon my journey here, and I look forward to the day I reunite with each and every one of them. – PAUL WINDS
    Rainbow Bridge bio-Cremation
    PET Funeral Director and Pet Loss Specialist · Adelaide, South Australia

  • bellatrix318

    Where can I donate to make sure the money goes directly to Bela to help him get to where he needs to go??

    • MelissaLMiller

      Hi Bellatrix,

      Thanks for your note and for your generous offer. At this time, funds or transportation are not the issue. According to the will laid out by Ms. Ley, there are two options for Bela; for him to come to our sanctuary or for him to be put down and cremated. Unfortunately, that decision is entirely out of our hands, as it needs to be made by the person designated in Ms. Ley’s will. We’re hopeful that through our outreach and education of the sanctuary that she will agree to send Bela to us.

      I hope this helps to clarify. Thanks for your support and for all that you do to help homeless pets.

      Sincerely,
      Melissa Miller
      New Media Coordinator

  • Emmas Mom

    There was a time in my life where I also thought that no one else could love and care for my dog as well as I could. That I would want her put down also. But I have come to realize how many wonderful rescue groups there are and how many wonderful forever homes there still are. Bela could not go to more wonderful and caring people than Best Friends Animal Society. But someday when Bela is cradled in someone’s arms as she leaves this world for the next, they should remind her of her wonderful, caring first mom and let her know that she will be with her again. Then have her cremated and make sure that she joins her as she wished.

  • Daniel Cason

    I have cancer and only a few days left. My dogs will be taken care of as it is my last request.

  • Bob Fett

    PUT THE DOG DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Linda

    What do you need to save Bela? I have a neighbor who may adopt or dotate to support Bela. Please respond asap!

    • MelissaLMiller

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your note. At this time, but the decision to send Bela to us or have him put down and cremated is out of our hands. The decision needs to be made by the person designated in Ms. Ley’s will, and we are hopeful that she will agree. Please be patient as we educate her about Best Friends’ life-saving mission and demonstrate that Bela will be in good hands.

      You can show your support for Bela to come to Best Friends by adding your positive message of hope for Bela to have a safe and happy holiday by using the hashtag #SaveBela. You can see other messages here: http://bit.ly/1sJNo1F.

      Thanks for all that you do to help homeless pets.

      Sincerely,
      Melissa Miller
      New Media Coordinator

  • Rocky’s Mom

    I pray that the executor of Ms. Ley’s will has the compassion in his or her heart to allow Bela to continue living a full life in a forever home and continue to offer his unconditional love to his adopted family. I believe Bela is grieving the loss of his owner, but he will cross the Rainbow Bridge one day and if Heaven is what I perceive it to be – then he and his owner will be reunited. Remember…All dogs go to Heaven! Peace!

  • Karen

    Ill take Bela. Contact me at sargirl48@outlook.com. I train canines for Search and Rescue. I have no problem adding this beautiful dog to my family. Thanks, Karen M Haller

    • MelissaLMiller

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your generous offer. According to the will laid out by Ms. Ley, there are two options for Bela; for him to come to our sanctuary or for him to be put down and cremated. Unfortunately, that decision is entirely out of our hands, as it needs to be made by the person designated in Ms. Ley’s will. We’re hopeful that through our outreach and education of the sanctuary that she will agree to send Bela to us. We’ll be sure to update our supporters and followers as we’re able.

      If you’re looking to adopt, there are always thousands of homeless pets looking for homes in your local shelters. Thanks for all that you do to help homeless pets.

      Sincerely,
      Melissa Miller
      New Media Coordinator

  • lover of animals

    If you died, would you put in your will that your family be put down also??? Bela is undoubtedly heartbroken, but she deserves to live life to its fullest and be happy with an “adopted” family until her days are over. Please, please, please don’t put her down!!

  • snarkeh

    Don’t put her to sleep! It isn’t her time! She deserves a chance at a new life

    • TacticalYoda

      It’s a “he” but I’m with you