Debate rages over Indiana dog’s fate after deceased owner calls for pet to be buried with her

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Photo courtesy of FOX19 NOW/Lisa Hutson

DEARBORN COUNTY (Dec. 17, 2014) – An Indiana woman wanted her dog buried with her after she died—and it’s even in her will, FOX19 reports.

Connie Lay passed away on Nov. 25, but the dog—a German Shepherd named Bela—remains alive. Lay wanted the dog’s ashes put with her own.

The dog is currently being cared for at PAWS of Dearborn County Humane Society in Lawrenceburg.

Here’s a statement from PAWS:

You may have seen the news story regarding Bela [sic], the German Shepherd dog being housed at PAWS Humane Center. We would like to take a moment to clarify the circumstances of Bela’s stay at our Center.

Legally, Bela is considered the property of the estate of the deceased person and not PAWS Humane Center. He is only being housed and cared for at our Center while legal proceedings with the estate are being finalized.

PAWS has no legal right or control over his outcome. Bela will not be euthanized at our facility, either by PAWS staff or the Dearborn County Animal Control Officers. If a euthanization decision is reached by the estate, then it will be the responsibility of the estate to make those arrangements elsewhere.

We appreciate your care and concern for Bela and all of the animals in Dearborn County.

Lay’s lawyer said Bella is in the hands of Lay’s friends. They also have the option to send her to an animal shelter in Utah if they can raise enough money. The dog’s supporters have taken to using #SaveBella on Twitter in hopes of finding her a home.

For now, Bella’s fate remains unclear.

Read more on FOX19.com.