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Dead Animal Prank Not So Funny

On September 20, 2008, reported that a 20 year old in Dublin, California was arrested for, and confessed to a prank that involved his stealing 2 dead cats and a dead dog from the morgue of a nearby animal hospital, and stuffing them in three yet to be assigned lockers in the local high school.

The first body was discovered that morning, according to police. The second body was found the first week of September, followed by the third body on Sept. 9th, after a smell was reported coming from a locker. 20 year old Brian Goett was shortly later arrested for suspicion of grand theft, tampering with school property, and improper disposal of animals. Goet has no affiliation with Dublin High School, and no motivation for his actions have been revealed.

As a veterinarian who deals with pet loss to death by natural causes or euthanasia due to prolonged suffering, I regularly see first hand the grief that clients experience as a result of the loss of their beloved companions. As a pet owner for many years, I have endured this same grief when I have had to part with my own pets. For those of us who feel our pets loss as more than just the death of an animal, but as the loss of a cherished family member, we wish for the remains to be treated with the same respect and dignity as our human family members – I have my late yellow labs ashes in a tower with an engraved plaque and her picture prominently displayed in my living room. For any of us to know that our deceased family pets were treated like in the manner that Brian Goet treated these deceased pets would be most distressing and compound the already present sadness of loss.

Although no one in the naivety of youth can claim to have been immune to occasionally exercising poor judgement and not thinking something through before acting, I would expect better from a 20 year old who should have by now left high school far behind. And while it is not my hope that the ramifications of his actions permanently scar this young man’s life, I hope that his penalties will be sufficient leave an impression on him that his actions were harmful on many levels and even border on sociopathic. Most importantly, I hope that in addition to sincerely regretting breaking and entering, theft, and creating potential human health hazards, that the young man also realizes and feels regret for the fact that he desecrated the remains of what were likely cherished family members.

Roger L. Welton, DVM

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