Social media users across the country went online to share outrage over the City of Norfolk's decision to put down a pitbull.

Last Wednesday a woman adopted a pitbull mix, known as McLovin, from the Forever Home Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

The Norfolk-based group got McLovin in late February from Second Chance Rescue, an affiliated shelter based in New York City.

Only about an hour later, McLovin jumped on top a car and mauled a cat to death in an Ocean View neighborhood.

The adopted owner handed McLovin over to an animal control officer, who took the dog to the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center.

The city said the owner's willingness to surrender McLovin, gave Norfolk legal custody of the dog. City staff decided to put down the animal because of its history and in the interest of public safety, according to spokeswoman Lori Crouch.

But Second Chance, the New York rescue group, called the city shelter multiple times, claiming ownership of the dog.

"The city shelter knew the ownership of the dog was in question, yet they killed McLovin within 24 hours and destroyed the body," said Debra Griggs, Vice Chair of the Norfolk Animal Advisory Board.

Griggs said contested ownership claims and a lack of a required court order deeming the dog dangerous, should have stopped the city from moving forward with killing McLovin.

"The heart of the matter is a lack of transparency on the city's part about the facts of this case," Griggs said.

Lori Crouch, the Corporate Communications Director with the City of Norfolk, released a statement regarding the matter:

Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center understands that sometimes it may be necessary to give up a pet and staff does its very best to place an animal into a new home.

On May 11th, a Norfolk Animal Control Officer delivered a pitbull mix to the Center. The animal control officer advised shelter staff the dog’s owner called shortly after her dog mauled to death a 12-year-old domestic short-haired cat owned by a Norfolk resident. The officer reported
the dog jumped onto a car parked on the neighbor’s property to attack the cat.

The dog’s owner followed animal control to the shelter and relinquished ownership of her dog on the same day as the attack.

Shelter staff researched the dog’s history and discovered repeated failed adoption attempts with other out-of-state agencies and a rabies certificate that was altered to change the dog’s breed and age. The dog was scanned for a microchip. Staff contacted Home Again Microchip for owner information. The microchip was never registered.

Given the dog’s history, the decision of the dog’s owner to surrender the dog which legally transferred the ownership to the City and in the interest of public safety, staff made the decision to humanely euthanize the dog.

Second Chance and other animal rights groups plan to protest outside the city shelter Saturday.

Multiple flyers, like the one below, were posted to the 13News Now Facebook page.