-- The dog that faced being euthanized after the death of his owner will now be taken to an animal sanctuary in Utah.
Today, the Best Friends Animal Society announced it would be taking in the 9-year-old dog.
“Merry Christmas Bela! We are thrilled to announce that Bela has been released to Best Friends Animal Society,” co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, Francis Battista said in a statement.
Bela’s owner, Connie Ley, had made plans in her will to either have Bela euthanized or be sent to a special sanctuary run by the Best Friends Animal Society, according to Ley’s attorney, Doug Denmure.
Denmure said Ley considered putting Bela down because the dog had shown intermittent aggression.
“In her opinion, Bela was not a safe dog and that concerned her as to what Bela’s future might be upon her death,” Denmure told ABC News of Ley.
Bela was given to a Ley’s close friend after her death, Denmure said.
A spokesman for the Best Friends Animal Society said they were unaware of Bela’s situation until last week, when media outlets started to contact them to ask if they were going to take in the dog.
“It was this lack of information and the unfounded social media backlash about Connie Ley, myself, and the provisions in her will about her pets, that caused the delay in resolving Bela’s future,” Battista said.
A spokesperson for the Best Friends Animal Society said Bela was being picked up today by volunteers and will stay on a special animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. The center has previously rehabbed dogs that had been part of dog fighting rings, sanctuary officials said.
“Our trainers and animal behavior specialists will work with Bela so that he will have every opportunity to enjoy a full and rich life,” Battista said.