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On Facebook: Readers respond to service dog’s death

July 12, 2013 

Carrboro police are investigating the death of this golden retriever named Worthy, who was being trained to be a service dog when he was left in a car with the windows rolled up and later died.

PICASA — Courtesy of Charlene Hayes

You can read and comment on more local news on my Facebook page ( on.fb.me/MNNNsH). Here’s a post from last week.

Monday, July 8: The death of a service dog named Worthy left in a car with the windows rolled up has generated strong interest. Several readers have called for the removal and/or prosecution of the Eyes Ears Nose and Paws program director who left him in the car. The case perplexes. The agency does good work; we have covered their graduation ceremonies and spoken to grateful clients. At the same time, EENP charges $20,000 per dog. A spokeswoman say they are reviewing procedures. What do you think should happen next?

Here is what some of you said:

Barbara Rich: Is this a criminal offense? Certainly cruelty to animals. Lack of judgment or compassion should be viewed separately from the good the organization does.

Frances Henderson: I think it was a tragic accident and the EENP board should be left to handle this. I admire the personnel and the program.

Todd Melet: I think the free market will handle this, and they will see funding dry up if the director does not leave right away.

Hope Ullman: The director needs to leave the agency for good and face the appropriate legal punishment. A helpless animal died a cruel, horrible death. Also, why $20,000 per dog? That strikes me as incredibly excessive.

Chris Marthinson: This happens not just to dogs. Sometimes the result is a murder charge; other times folks just shrug, depending on the mood of the prosecutor and the social station of the mother or father. It is an accident by any definition.

Barbara Rich: It may be an accident in that the outcome was not intended. It’s probably not a malicious act, but any way you look at it, this is negligence – responsibility abdicated.

Suzanne Haff: I don’t understand how the director could forget this. But ... perhaps she can personally train and give away a couple of her trainees to needy people who cannot afford to pay the fees.

Cynthia R. Greenlee: I can’t even begin to understand why someone would leave a dog in a car (during) a “transitional process” (Editor’s note: EENP says Cunningham placed the dog in the car so he wouldn’t see the woman who had raised him, who was coming in for a meeting.) Anyone with an animal, one iota of common sense, and humanity would not do this. It is doubly incomprehensible from someone who has spent time training service animals. This is Animal Care 101.

Tee Sally: California law is such that if you see a dog in a car you can break the window to get it out. We need that law in NC. I call the police for dogs in cars. Chapel Hill police get there in no time flat.

Sally S. K. McIntee: I agree. We should be able to break a window to save a life. Even in winter sun in NC, it can get very warm in a car. ... I think we should go on the assumption that people make mistakes and appreciate it when someone else saves their pet. It could discourage people from taking their pet in the car on errands, too, which I think is a good thing.

Laura Wenzel: I have volunteered with EENP and found the staff to be very conscientious and devoted to the dogs, the clients, and the important work they do. This obviously was an accident, and I’m sure the staff are grieving and probably questioning everything they do. I would not want to be in their place and feel for them.

Schultz: 919-932-2003

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