New York Daily News, February 15, 1995
Beloved pooch dead in mixup
by Blanca M. Quintanilla
Daily News Staff Writer
Valentine's Day broke John Gracchi's heart.
Gracchi went to pick up his lost dog at a Brooklyn animal shelter -- only to find the animal had been destroyed.
"How can they kill my dog just like that?" Gracchi wept yesterday. "I want my dog."
"It's a heartbreaking story," acknowledged Cybele Fisher-Koppel, a spokeswoman for the shelter run by the Center for Animal Care and Control. "We feel really, really bad about it."
Ruffy apparently jumped a fence at Gracchi home on 71st St. in Maspeth, Queens last week, leaving his registration tag caught on the fence.
Neighborhood resident Brendan Curran found the lost dog two blocks away the same day, kept him at his home for two days-then, even as Gracchi was frantically searching, reluctantly took him to the Rego Park shelter, which subsequently transported him to the Brooklyn shelter.
Last Thursday, Gracchi, 20, filed a missing-dog report with the CACC shelter in Brooklyn-but Fisher-Koppel said Gracchi's description of Ruffy didn't match any dogs at the pound that day.
Ruffy was destroyed Friday, after, she said, a veterinarian deemed him "unfit for adoption" because he was "aggressive."
Curran doesn't agreed.
"My 3-year-old son played with the dog for two straight days," Curran said. "This dog would be alive today if I had a backyard. The only reason I had to give it up is because I'm not allowed to have pets in my building."
Gracchi called the shelter again early this week, and a worker who had seen Ruffy-and didn't know he was already dead-told him he could come get him the next day.
At the shelter, Gracchi learned he was four days too late.
"Our executive director called the Gracchi family and gave his condolences," said Fisher-Koppel. "We understand the dog was another member of the family."