Sadorus man's puppies euthanized shortly after being surrendered to animal control

Sadorus man's puppies euthanized shortly after being surrendered to animal control

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SADORUS — Eberhard Brieschke calls it the greatest regret in his 80 years.

When what started as a one-dog Sadorus household grew to three — then, a pregnancy later, an unwieldy 11 — the German immigrant turned to Champaign County Animal Control.

He says he was under the impression that the five dogs he relinquished would be found homes. The agency says it gave no such indication.

"I initially talked to him and said it would be best to take the dogs to the humane society because animal control is not an adoption agency," said Champaign County Animal Control Director Stephanie Joos. "These dogs were very undersocialized, and we were full at the time. They were euthanized at arrival.

"I feel badly about the outcome."

In Joos' world, "euthanizing animals is an everyday occurrence," she said, "because there isn't enough room for them and because people do not neuter their pets."

Brieschke became a "granddog," as he put it, after his own dog, a pit bull terrier, was joined at home by two dogs that had been given to his daughter.

He said he didn't realize that one of the them was pregnant. It gave birth to eight puppies on Aug. 21.

Brieschke soon learned that having 11 dogs in one household was too much of a good thing — even for a devout dog lover like the Air Force veteran turned professional accordion player.

So, the German immigrant said he began looking for loving homes for the young dogs. He wound up placing three of them.

Eventually, two of the adult dogs died, and Brieschke found himself with the mother dog — Elly, whom he wanted to keep — and five of the pups.

"The pups were only 25 pounds, and I could pick them up and love them and hold them in my arms," he said.

When he was unable to find families to take in the final five, he said he contacted Champaign County Animal Control, thinking it might have better luck finding homes.

Animal Control staff picked up two of the puppies on March 8 and three more the next day. Brieschke said he believed he had done what he could to ensure happy lives for the animals.

But the very next day, Breschke said he got a call from his daughter, who had a change of heart.

She wanted to keep some of those pups.

"My daughter cried like the dickens," he said.

Only three days had passed before Brieschke called Animal Control again to see if he could take some of the dogs back for his daughter.

The response he received shocked him, he said.

"Animal Control told me they had already killed the dogs. ... I would have gladly taken them back if I knew Animal Control were going to kill them," he said. "That's brutal. That's murder."

Brieschke calls it "the biggest mistake" he ever made, one he said still "breaks my heart."

All that's left at his home is Elly, who he said can often be found at the front window, pacing back and forth, looking for her babies.

"I sleep with that dog every night," he said. "It is so sad."

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