Woman left with empty coffin after Humane Society loses dog’s body

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FORT SMITH, Ark. – An Arkansas woman said after her dog died, she planned to have a funeral for him through the Sebastian County Humane Society. However, she ended up leaving with an empty coffin.

Dorothy Cruthird referred to her miniature poodle Chocolat has her baby. That's why when he died she wanted to give him a proper funeral, KFSM reported.

“He was just cheerful as he can be, cheerful all the time,” Cruthird said. “The funeral homes around here didn't have a blue casket, so I [custom] ordered it for him.”

When Cruthird went to the Humane Society on Monday for the funeral, they told her they couldn't find the dog's body.

“I said, ‘what do you mean you can't find his body? You all can't do this to me. That's my baby,'” she said.

Employees explained that her pet's body was taken to the dump.

“They said his body must've gotten mixed up with the other dogs that were already dead,” Cruthird said. “The city picked up lots of dogs and took them to the dump along with mine.”

Cruthird said now she’s left shocked and heartbroken.

“I just can't imagine my baby being over in the dump when I wanted to bury him in the ground,” Cruthird said.

The Humane Society told Cruthird it would refund her money for the funeral. The staff also apologized, but she said it just wasn’t enough.

“I can't accept it right now,” Cruthird said. “Hopefully down the line I will.”

The Sebastian County Humane Society issued the following statement to 5NEWS Thursday:

"This was a very unfortunate situation, and we feel terrible about it. We believe that every animal is special and we will work diligently to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. We make every effort to take care of the animals in our shelter and to meet the needs of our customers. We are refunding the burial fee and would like to reimburse Ms. Cruthird for the casket that she purchased. Our condolences go out to her and her family."

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