First, Do No Harm
August 26, 2010
If you’ve ever worked at a facility that boards pets, you are probably familiar with owners who never pick up their pets. In my experience, this is a rare occurrence but it is sad when it happens. The pet spends week after week in the facility while the bill runs up, attempts are made to reach the owner and the business owner gets increasingly frustrated.
This happened at a vet clinic I worked at many years ago. We ultimately sent a certified letter to the owner, warning that if he did not respond, the dog would be considered abandoned and our clinic would dispose of him as we deemed fit. The owner did not respond and the dog was adopted by one of our staff members who’d been caring for him during his extended stay.
At Lehigh Acres Animal Hospital in FL, 2 dogs were in a similar plight. The bill had run up to $2000 and the owner was sent letters, probably along the lines of the one I described above. The owner did not respond. The difference in this case was that the vet killed the dogs and then accepted donations from the public who had seen a news story on the abandoned dogs and wanted to help.
On Friday, [Lehigh Acres Animal Hospital] released this statement: “The dogs were put down because they didn’t have a safe stable home to go to nor did they have any financial income to be cared for correctly.”
Do you see the words “medically hopeless and suffering” in there anywhere? I don’t. And in their absence, I find it shocking to think a veterinarian would issue a statement to justify the killing of these 2 dogs.
My vet, on occasion, will have a photo of a dog available for adoption at the front desk. These are typically dogs who have been abandoned for whatever reason. Couldn’t Lehigh Acres Animal Hospital have done something similar? At the very least, couldn’t they have taken the dogs to the local shelter so they could have a chance at adoption?