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Bald eagle put down weeks after rescue

Posted at 11:12 AM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 13:40:08-04

A bald eagle that was rescued in August had to be put down after it stopped responding to treatment to a life-threatening disease.

The bird was found by one family in an Evans backyard on August 9th. The SPCA was then called out to retrieve the bird.

After rushing to get the bald eagle back and providing initial treatment, the SPCA says he was severely malnourished, dehydrated, and was suffering from a severe eye injury.

The bird was able to survive and be tested for viruses and other infections. All the tests came back negative according to the SPCA. One test came back positive though. The bald eagle had tested positive for aspergillosis, a threatening respiratory disease. 

Then, with only one functioning eye, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services deemed the bird unfit for release or sanctuary placement and recommended euthanasia.

The SPCA says the doctor in charge of saving the bird was not comfortable with the euthanasia recommendation and turned to another plan. However, the bird stopped responding to treatment for the respiratory disease and started growing weaker. The decision was then made to put down the bald eagle.

"It's one of the hardest decisions that ever has to be made, the decision to give in to a condition or cruel infection that can't be stopped, one that took root long before an animal ever found his way to us," said the SPCA. "In those moments, however, we're painfully aware that the decision to end an animal's suffering is the kindest, most loving, and most humane decision to be made."