Death of Robin Starr's dog sparks strong emotions

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Many people are calling on Richmond SPCA CEO, Robin Starr, to step down following the heat-related death of her dog, Louie. The story quickly became a trending topic on Twitter as well as top conversation at Richmond's dog park.

Animal welfare groups, both locally and nationally, have spoken out. Some call it a tragic accident that Starr is already paying for emotionally, but others say it should cost Starr her job.

Sympathy and outrage on Twitter about the dog's death.

One person tweeted, "So sad, she loved him."

Another wrote: "Irony: animal rights CEO murders her own dog."

Someone else posed the question: "Will she get Vicked", referring to the Michael Vick dog fighting case in which Starr was so outspoken."

We asked some Richmonders if they thought Starr should resign.

"That's a tough call everyone makes mistakes unfortunately that's a huge mistake to make," said Sinead Hall.

"She should resign some disciplinary action should happen to her," said Quentin Merritt.

Angela Agee who volunteers with the Animal Adoption Rescue Foundation wants to know among other things why it took a week before Louie's death became public.

"The husband had put the dog in the car, how long was he in the car before she even got in," said Agee.

Agee is also calling for Starr's resignation.

"This is a huge tarnish on her role as the CEO of the SPCA," said Agee.

But one time Richmond SPCA volunteer Copeland Casati says anyone could have made that mistake.

"I could easily see in the chaos of the morning every day you have to ask yourself what if I forgot the latch on the back gate and the dog ran out and got him by a car," said Casati.

In a statement, Richmond Animal League called it a tragic accident that plays out more often than we care to think.

The ASPCA President said "While some might unfortunately call for Robin's resignation, it's imperative we focus on the thousands of animals' lives that she has saved."

"I hope she doesn't resign," said Casati.

The Richmond SPCA Board Chairperson says Starr has the board's and staff's full support and hopes she'll remain CEO. Starr says she has no plans to resign.

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