Criticism has been levelled at the Wood Green Animal Shelter, Godmanchester, Cambridge after the charity destroyed a donor’s golden retriever within hours of the donor’s death. (Mail Online)

Widow Lynda Hill had signed up for the charity’s Pet Promise Scheme in which Wood Green staff promise to try to find a new home for a pet if the owner is unable to look after it. In the event Mrs Hill was found at her home in Peterborough with her dog lying beside her after she had been dead for several days, and neighbours, used to seeing her walking the dog, became concerned and raised the alarm. Police breaking in to Mrs Hill’s home and finding her dead gave the dog food and water and played with it in the garden until it was collected by the charity.

A vet for the charity who examined the dog the following day claimed that the animal was bloated, distressed and in pain – it had mild arthritis for which it had been receiving medication – and that it should be destroyed rather than found a new home, which was done immediately.

The charity subsequently found out that Mrs Hill had bequeathed them £100,000, nearly all her estate, in her will ,and that she had specifically expressed the hope that they would look after her dog.

Neighbours say that Mrs Hill would have been devastated if she knew what had happened after her death and that Wood Green Animal Shelter should not accept the money but distribute it to other pet charities.

A legal view, for what it’s worth, is that “expressing a hope” places no legal burden on the charity.

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