‘He brought us a lot of joy:’ East NY family mourns loss of dog that died during surgery at ASPCA clinic

An East New York family was left heartbroken when their dog died during what is usually a routine procedure.
Latia Reliford says she brought her 1-year-old Chihuahua mix Ace to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Mobile Spay and Neuter Clinic on New Lots Avenue to be neutered on Dec. 18.
She says when she and her daughter arrived to pick up their dog, they were told that Ace was fine. However, 30 minutes later, Reliford was told that her dog collapsed and had a heart attack.
“He brought us a lot of joy,” Reliford says. “He was with us every day.”
The ASPCA told News 12 in a statement that: “According to the necropsy findings, Ms. Reliford’s dog had an underlying cardiac condition that was likely unknown to the pet owner, would not have been detectable during a physical exam and would not have been evident in blood work.”
The organization says it followed all appropriate guidelines, but that anesthesia likely worsened the dog’s heart condition.
Reliford says Ace was an emotional support animal, and they were never aware of any issues with him.
She says she and her five children are still trying to recover from the loss.
“I really wish out of all of this, that they change what they do so that this couldn’t happen to another family,” Reliford says. “We’re really devastated by what happened.”