What price for a cat’s life?

What price for a cat’s life?

Sonny


We implicitly trust those caring for our pets when they get sick. They are holding something quite precious in their hands. But what happens when that trust is betrayed?

What happens when the alleged negligence comes at the hands of a veterinary professional? Someone you think has the best intentions for the care of your sick or injured pet?

These are the questions that Renate faces daily since the death of her cat Sonny just a few weeks ago at a clinic in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Here is part of the letter she sent to the clinic a week later.

At approximately 8pm on April 27, 2011, I made an emergency call to your hospital – regarding Sonny.

We told the veterinarian that we noticed that Sonny was hunched up when he came out of his litter box and vomited once. We were told to bring him in to your clinic.

Upon our arrival we gave [the vet] the history on our cat. Sonny showed no other signs of discomfort. He had eaten and was drinking that day and was still quite playful. (Having owned a male neutered cat in the past, I knew full well what signs to look for in a cat that had a urinary blockage.) Sonny was on the highest quality food for urinary tract and hair ball. The doctor obtained a urinalysis and [saw] crystals and at that time he advised us that an x-ray was necessary.

When the x-ray was completed, he showed us the image and said there were small stones but no blockage and that was good. He said Sonny would have to go on special food and possibly antibiotics. He debated on giving Sonny an injection and [bringing] him back the following day but he then decided to keep him overnight and flush his bladder. Feeling quite confident in what he had said, we put our beautiful cat in his hands.

At 11 pm that night, I received a call that he had lost Sonny.

I could not comprehend what had happened. The following day I went to get Sonny and asked to speak to the vet about what happened. The events that took place next will live in my mind forever. One girl brought Sonny in to us, while another followed with a debit machine asking us how we were going to pay for this? Holding my baby in my arms with my heart broken, I could not believe the lack of compassion!

I asked to speak to the vet who flushed Sonny’s bladder. When he came in he told us this: He flushed Sonny’s bladder and all went well with that and the anesthetic. He told me that Sonny was waking up from the anesthesia and when he went to check on him – Sonny had “PUKED” and he was blue by the time he realized it. He then went on to say that he worked on him for ½ hour but lost him anyway.

Sonny was left unattended as he was coming out from the anesthesia. Perhaps because of the food in his stomach, which the vet was aware of, Sonny vomited. Because he was laying down flat and likely barely conscious, he had no way to clear his mouth. With no one there to notice and no one to help him, Sonny asphyxiated on his own vomit. He suffocated to death.

To this was the added insult of the way the staff at the clinic seemed more concerned about payment. While Renate is sitting there holding her lifeless baby and trying to get her head around this whole event, she is being insensitively asked how she wants to pay for the “care” Sonny received.

In her search for answers about the work done for Sonny, Renate received this response from a vet professional:

If Sonny did not have a urethral obstruction, that is, if he was not blocked and could still urinate on his own, then there was no reason to rush the aesthetic procedure. This is especially true since your vet knew that Sonny had not been fasted, thereby increasing the risks of vomiting and aspiration of the vomitus into the lungs…

If Sonny’s life was not in immediate danger, then there is no reason at all why he should have been anesthetized that night. Your vet should have fasted him for 12 hours and performed the procedure the following day. In addition, if Sonny did not have a urethral obstruction and did not have bladder stones, anesthesia and flushing of the bladder is not even necessarily required.

It is far below the standard of care to allow an animal to wake up from anesthesia without someone there to monitor him. I feel this is another area in which your vet failed Sonny.

Just this week, Renate was finally contacted by the clinic’s owner.

She said that she was deeply sorry about what had happened to Sonny and offered us a full reimbursement.

Yes, I guess that is a start. But the hard part is Sonny’s loss, especially when it shouldn’t have happened.

The big questions that still loom are those already mentioned:

  • Knowing that Sonny had eaten just a few hours prior, why was a procedure that required anesthesia performed at that time? Sonny was not in danger.
  • Why was the bladder flush even recommended if Sonny’s condition did not necessarily warrant it?
  • Why was NO ONE supervising Sonny as he came out of anesthesia?
  • Was it really appropriate for staff to approach a client in the exam room, hand her Sonny and ask for payment? That seems so insensitive at that time.

Debbie, the clinic owner, has offered full reimbursement of Renate’s expenses and I think that short of performing some kind of miracle that would bring Sonny back, this is the least they can do when an unnecessary procedure is performed on an animal. Especially when that procedure results in this baby losing his life.

The vet that performed the procedure is on vacation. I certainly hope Debbie will take appropriate action with this vet to assure the public that this kind of veterinary care is never repeated; that unnecessary procedures are neither recommended nor performed because the pet’s owner ultimately pays the price.

Sonny should still be running around the house playing with his best pals — a rabbit named “Thumpy” and a budgie named “Fenster.”

Sonny and his pals Thumpy and Fenster


So where do we go from here? We’ll talk about that in another post.This post is about Sonny.

For now, Renate has created a wonderful video honoring Sonny. I encourage everyone to watch it (grab your tissues) and leave her a message on the Daisy Foundation Facebook page. I’m sure she would appreciate the hugs.


Skinned dog found outside Granum

Skinned dog found outside Granum

DOG © Andrii Iurlov | Dreamstime.com


We received the following email over the weekend. It tells a terrible story that we wish was not true. If you have any information about this dog or other similar animals from the area, please call the RCMP in Claresholm at 403-625-4445 immediately.

I was just with the RCMP from Claresholm on the phone.

My daughter found a dead dog outside of the town of Granum and sent me a picture. It looked like it was very fresh, the skin was missing like somebody had skinned it, very clean cut from neck to buttox. His meat was still red colored, no damage to the body other than the missing skin. Fresh probably from today as coyotes would have found him if he would have been there longer.

The police [were] not able to help me and said the killings in Mirror probably have nothing to do with this dead dog but if another dog shows up dead, they will open an investigation… The dog’s body was found just outside of Stavely East. Black in color, young one if you ask me. Again no injuries to the dog. The picture looked like he had been placed there after being skinned.

My first reaction is that nothing will happen until ANOTHER dog is found in a similar situation? Why is that? Is this crime not heinous enough or concerning enough to warrant an investigation?

When Heather Anderson spoke with RCMP last year about the dog killings in Mirror, the investigating officer asked, So you are telling me that we have a serial dog killer in Mirror? Well, I think the facts from a couple weeks ago bear out the answer quite loudly. YES! You have a serial dog killer in Mirror.

And let’s not forget that research does show a link between this kind of abuse and abuse to humans.

EVERY one of these cases should be investigated BEFORE something worse happens.

If this had been a child or an elderly person found skinned and left by the side of the road, would we have waited for another victim to be found before we started an investigation? If it had been the dog of the mayor or the chief of police or someone else prominent, would we be waiting for the next one?

This seems like a case of JADed justice – i.e., JUST A DOG justice. The value of their life is really no less precious than our own. Life is the only thing that really is ours and it should be respected.


No justice for Ben today

No justice for Ben today

Ben out in the park for the day


Ted was Lorna and Ed’s son. Ben was Ted’s dog.

Ted adopted him from the pound after hearing about this big gentle guy from his boss. Ben had been at the pound for three weeks.

They were buddies. Ted trained Ben. They played together. And together, they climbed the nearby mountains in their spare time. They were best friends.

Ben and Ted


Until Ted passed away the year before Ben, succumbing to cancer.

So Ben became kind of a connection to Ted for Ted’s folks. They did not hesitate to give Ben all the love that Ben gave to Ted. After all, they were family.

Losing Ben — especially so needlessly, so senselessly and by such negligence as an illegal snare trap — makes the hole they already had in their hearts even larger.

I guess the best you can say of the situation right now is that somewhere out there, Ted and Ben are back together and hopefully doing all the things they so loved to do together.

But here on earth, this carelessness needs to be more accurately addressed. John McWilliams purposely and negligently set an illegal snare trap in a publicly accessible park that should not have been where it was. And by these actions, he killed Ben. Thirty feet from Lorna, Ben was strangled in such a way that he could not even cry out for help.

At trial today in Cochrane, a slap on the wrist was handed down by the judge in this case. The stakes were a maximum fine of $100,000 and/or two years in jail plus the loss of his hunting license. But the judge fined John McWilliams $300.

Ben - 2009


That illegal snare could have killed a child. An adult. WHAT would the penalty have been then? That snare should never have been where it was. It was set weeks before hunting season went into effect by McWilliams’ own admission. Snares are not even legal in that particular recreational area per regulations. This snare could have killed Lorna as she walked Ben.

And for such gross negligence, John McWilliams pays $300 and returns to trapping as he does?

 

If this does not anger you into working for stricter penalties, I do not know what will. Ben should be alive making big holes in Lorna and Ed’s front yard. He should be there for Sarah, his dog mate. He should have never been strangled in an illegal snare in a public recreational park.

My deepest sympathies to Lorna and Ed that justice was not adequately served today.

I am tearfully speechless at this seeming injustice. I am so disappointed that such dangerously reckless negligence results in only a $300 fine. We MUST push for stronger punishments for our animals.


Ben – needlessly killed | The Story of Ben | Calgary Sun story | Global Edmonton story

 


Canada’s animal welfare after the 2011 elections

Canada’s animal welfare after the 2011 elections

The election provided some disappointingly expected results — keeping Harper, but it also gave us some surprises as the New Democratic Party emerged as the official opposition party. This will be good news for animal welfare as the stance the NDP has made public for animal welfare is very much in line with what animal advocates have been asking for.

So with that hurtle behind us, we must hold them to their word. It’s not so much that we can relax from our protests, vigils and petitions, but hopefully we now have voices in Parliment that are hearing us.

I am optimistic about these changes at this point. I hope you are, too, and will resolve yourself to continuing our push for better animal welfare legislation. Let’s hold the NDP to their pre-election stance.

Click to read the NDP's stance on animal welfare in Canada
 

RESPONSE FROM NDP CANDIDATE COLLIN ANDERSON ON THEIR POSITION FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS

New Democrats recognize that animal welfare is very important. We support strengthening provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Section of the Criminal Code of Canada to discourage violence and cruelty against animals and to punish those responsible for such acts.

We continue to support meaningful legislation to provide real protection for animals. The abuse of any vulnerable creature, human or otherwise, is something that we should all take extremely seriously.

Specifically, the NDP are on record in support of amending the Criminal Code to:
• move animals out of property law and extend protections to wild animals and strays,
• make it illegal to train animals for fighting or profit from animal fighting;
• close loopholes that allow 99 per cent of those charged with animal cruelty to escape conviction.

We fought tirelessly in the past to get these important amendments through the House of Commons. We agree that the legislation Bill S-203, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), is deeply flawed and that is why we joined the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in opposing this Bill.

New Democrats also support the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare and will work with the Provinces, Territories, government departments and agencies and stakeholders to update Canada’s laws and policies on animal cruelty and welfare to reflect the principles of UDAW. Furthermore, we will … ensure Canada plays a leadership role internationally to promote animal welfare.

With regard to animal transportation, the NDP’s Agriculture critic, Alex Atamanenko, MP, has been working to promote policies that protect animals from the various stresses they may endure during the excessively long transport times allowed under the current regulatory regime. He has been corresponding with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and meeting with officials since 2006 to urge them to move more quickly to modernize the current regulations around animal transportation. Although the CFIA has been studying this issue for several years, changes in regulations are still outstanding.

In 2008, Mr. Atamanenko had his motion passed at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF) calling for CFIA officials to be brought before the Committee to present a briefing on the status of their regulatory review process. According to their presentation they were still working with the Justice Department and preparing the regulatory amendments for publication in the Canada Gazette to be followed by a public consultation process. In response to Mr. Atamanenko’s November, 2009 follow up letter, the CFIA indicated there was still no movement on this file.

Mr. Atamanenko also re-introduced his previous motion in the House of Commons. It states as follows:
M-436 – September 15, 2009 – Mr. Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior) – That, in the opinion of the House, the government should immediately move to publish the revised regulations governing animal transportation under the Health of Animals Act.

Again, thank you for writing to me about such an important issue.

Collin

To quote a comment from Open-Eyes on one CBC newspage:

We must remember the parties do not own the voters, it is the other way around.

Change is slow, but I think we are on the path to seeing a new Canada. We have this opportunity now to create better legislation for our animals — companion, wild and farm animals. It is what we have been asking for for years, so let’s not waste it.

With thoughts of the slaughtered sled dogs, healthy pets killed in our shelters, abused farm animals, pathetic puppy mills, affordable spay/neuter options, stricter legislation for animal cruelty and so much more, I urge everyone to get behind some aspect of animal welfare and apply yourself to it.

Finally, change for our animals is at our fingertips. We CAN make it happen!


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