Logan CrawfordDec 7, 2017, 2:19 pm

Lawsuit: Hempstead Animal Shelter wrongfully euthanized family’s pit bulls

Ex-Nassau SPCA head says dogs were taken away after reports of being loose, but they didn’t hurt anyone

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MINEOLA — A trial is expected to start Monday in the case of the Hempstead Animal Shelter putting a family's two pit bulls to sleep without the owners knowing.

Animal rights advocates were at Supreme Court in Mineola Thursday on behalf of the Funez family, whose dogs were put down.

"It's been a tremendous tragedy. They lost two dogs, the stress they were under that night, there was a massive police presence," said former head of the Nassau SPCA Bob Sowers.

Sowers says police and the animal shelter took the Funez's dogs after reports of the pit bulls being loose in their Uniondale neighborhood. He says dogs didn't hurt anyone, but the animal shelter still euthanized them the next day.

Sowers says the family that doesn't speak or read English signed papers they didn't understand, which in turn released the dogs to the shelter's custody. The family is now suing the animal shelter with the hopes to get all of its forms in Spanish. The family also aims to let the public know about search and seizure rights. The lawsuit seeks $1,000 in damages.

Sowers says the lawyer for the animal shelter offered to settle the case Thursday morning by doubling the money for damages and telling the group to ask the town board to add Spanish to the forms. FiOS1 News was not able to confirm this with the shelter's lawyer.

The group said no, wanting to go to trial with a jury and get their message across.

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