A difficult decision ended with a heartbreaking tragedy for a family in Aiken County, South Carolina.
After surviving a car accident that killed her friend, Karli Blackwell was faced with the distressing reality that she needed to rehome her two dogs.
Tux, eight months old, and Bruiser, one-year-old, were devoted to their 16-year-old owner and had lived together since they were puppies.
Blackwell told WRDW News:
"I posted them on Craigslist and Facebook. I've been trying for two months to find them a home but nobody was wanting to take them."
As time to rehome the dogs ran out, Blackwell reluctantly took Tux and Bruiser to the Aiken County Animal Shelter hoping they'd be adopted into loving families. She signed the paperwork saying she was surrendering her dogs to the shelter's custody and left the shelter around 2:30 p.m.
An hour later, she received a call from someone who was interested in adopting Tux and Bruiser.
According to Blackwell, she called the shelter saying she wanted to pick them up, but she was told the shelter was getting ready to close. She said she'd stop by in the morning to reclaim custody of her dogs.
When Blackwell and her mother got to the shelter the next day, they received the worst news they could imagine.
The dogs had been euthanized less than three hours after they were dropped off.
Shelter representative Bobby Arthur said the contract Blackwell signed upon surrendering the dogs stated that euthanasia was a possibility. The shelter agreed to either have the dogs adopted or destroyed.
Faced with the devastating loss, Blackwell asked why her dogs were put down so soon after being surrendered. They weren't given the chance to be adopted, and she argues no one can understand a dog's behavior in only two and a half hours.
The shelter's response to her reaction was to say the dogs acted aggressively upon arrival. They told Blackwell that Tux and Bruiser started fighting with each other and other dogs and a decision was made that they weren't fit for adoption.
It's policy at the Aiken County Animal Shelter that dogs lost with identification and lost without identification are put on a two-week hold before any decision is made about their future. Dogs surrendered by their owners, however, have no such protection.
Blackwell hopes her story will bring a greater awareness to how serious the situation is for millions of shelter animals across the country.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments.
WATCH NOW: Rocket the Dog Goes from Death Row to Search and Rescue Team