The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : A Couple Whose Dog Died Battling Cancer is Now Battling Stafford County and a Criminal Charge

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Couple Whose Dog Died Battling Cancer is Now Battling Stafford County and a Criminal Charge

A Virginia couple whose dog died battling cancer is now battling Stafford County and a criminal charge.

For about eight years, Travis and Aaren Evans say Buxton, their Labrador Retriever, was a part of their family. He even served as a volunteer dress-up friend to their 5-year-old daughter.

Travis Evans, who purchased Buxton, is now facing an animal cruelty charge, a Class 1 misdemeanor, after he brought Buxton in to a county animal shelter to be put down.

“I can’t have a misdemeanor on my record and try to keep a career to support my family. They can destroy my family," Travis Evans, a local government employee, said.

The couple told WUSA9 their 8-year-old Labrador Retriever had been fighting cancer.

“He was actually a good dog, we never had any problems with him until he had cancer," Evans said.

A few months before July of this past summer, Aaren Evans said Buxton had a biopsy done on an amputated toe. That is how doctors discovered the cancer. Travis Evans told WUSA9 by the time they got the results back, Buxton had another growth on his paw.

On July 2nd, Travis Evans said Buxton suffered a seizure but appeared to bounce back, so they did not take him to an emergency appointment Aaren had made.

Days later, the two said the 8-year-old lab was visibly weak. They said he was collapsing and decided it was time for euthanization.

On a tight budget, they chose to take Buxton to the Stafford County Animal Shelter, where the service is done for free for county residents. They claim, twice, Travis Evans was told they did not need to bring any documentation of Buxton's medical history.

Travis Evans went alone and said when he got to the shelter, a county animal control officer claimed the dog was seizing and soon after accused Travis Evans with not getting Buxton emergency care.

Depriving any animal of necessary food, drink shelter or emergency veterinary treatment is considered “cruelty to animals” according to a Stafford County code. But the couple says the shelter never told them to go to an animal hospital first and claims a shelter staff member lied about this in court.

“I’m up at night thinking 'did we do something wrong' because, at the first trial, they’re making us out to be monsters," said Aaren Evans.

WUSA9 called Stafford County for a statement but was told their animal control offices are closed on Sundays. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office is also closed for the holiday weekend.

The Evans' attorney, Jason Pelt, told WUSA9 over the phone, the couple already knew their dog was very ill and added, "the Stafford County courts completely overstepped their boundary."

“He had cancer. That’s what happens to dogs with cancer. That’s awful ... And for this to be happening to us afterwards is awful," said Aaren Evans.

The couple's attorney appealed a judge’s ruling. Travis Evans will now go before a jury for Buxton’s death on February 23.






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