Woman kills husband’s dog with Xanax because she felt abandoned

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By The Buffalo News

Police in Olean have charged a woman in the bizarre Christmas Day death of a dog whose story has been seen and shared millions of times on social media.

Gertrude McQuiller, 60, of 113 S. Sixth St., is charged with misdemeanors for torturing and killing the American pit bull Kita by feeding her the anxiety medicine Xanax, police said.

McQuiller, who is separated from her husband, John, gave police a statement explaining that she “felt abandoned.” She is to appear in Olean City Court on Jan. 13.

John McQuiller, 46, told The Buffalo News that he and his wife got 9-year-old Kita as a young dog soon after they were married. Though the McQuillers were separated, they live in the same apartment complex, as did John McQuiller’s mother.

McQuiller said he would continue to walk Kita, and after a Christmas Eve party, he went to take her for a walk around midnight. That’s when he noticed Kita’s poor health and pills in her bowl.

He took Kita to his mother’s apartment, then called for police and for an ambulance, but the ambulance was canceled after personnel learned they were rushing to a dog, not a person.

Meanwhile, he tried to get Kita to a veterinarian, but the only one he could reach at that hour was in Allegany County, and he has no car.

McQuiller said the officer was not empowered to drive the dog to the veterinarian, but he did get hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. However, that strategy didn’t work. Kita seemed to be only choking, not throwing up.

Hours later, as McQuiller was on the telephone with a veterinarian closer to home, Kita died.

During the ordeal, McQuiller’s brother said the episode should be recorded to capture the suffering that Gertrude McQuiller had inflicted. The video of Kita’s agonizing final moments was then posted online – as a public display about the dangers of domestic violence, John McQuiller said.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, the Facebook video had been viewed more than 5 million times and shared more than 81,000 times.

“She was my baby,” he said of the dog. He said Kita had weighed about 60 pounds and was in otherwise good health.

At some point, the video became the centerpiece of an online fundraising effort, and that move generated posts that were critical of John McQuiller and questioned his motives. But McQuiller said he and his family are not trying to raise money in the wake of Kita’s death.

“I never expected anything like this,” he said of the public’s response. “All money that has been offered has been declined.”

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