Phoenix, Arizona – What could be more tragic than a man’s kitten having been euthanized by a local humane society because they wouldn’t accept a credit card payment of $400 for the kitten’s non life threatening accident? And to make the situation even worse is convincing the cat’s owner to surrender his beloved pet telling him that the cat would then be treated and placed in foster care – instead several hours later euthanized.
Last weekend the Arizona Republic published the story about Daniel Dockery and his kitten Scruffy. Dockery, 49 a recovering heroine addict attributes his recovery to caring for Scruffy since she was four-days old. On December 8, Dockery took Scruffy to the Arizona Humane Society because of a barbed wire injury, but the organization told him it would be $400 for veterinarian charges. Dockery did not have the money, and called his mother in Michigan who then called the agency offering her credit card payment toward the cost of the vet. The agency refused to take the credit card based on fear of fraud, nor would they wait a few days for the cash to arrive. Instead they convinced Dockery to relinquish his rights to Scruffy allegedly assuring him the kitten would then be treated and subsequently placed in foster care. Several hours later Scruffy was euthanized.
Needless to say, when Dockery found out the organization had euthanized Scruffy, he was devastated.
After the story hit the media, humane advocates and animal lovers threatened to pull donations from the Arizona Humane Society, and began to post their feelings of anger on the organization’s Facebook page. Within a very short period of time however, the AHS decided to do damage control and hired Stacy Pearson to control the media frenzy about Dockery and Scruffy’s tragic story.
Pearson contended Scruffy’s injuries were very serious, and the young cat was cut from abdomen to knee which involved muscle damage. Pearson also said there was a lack of general funds to pay for the veterinarian charges and no vet was available.
Many of the Facebook comments were removed and only the agency director Guy Collison posted comments for the organization. He called the situation heartbreaking, but told the readers that pulling donations would only make the situation worse.
Pearson stated changes have now been made, and the agency will accept credit card payments over the phone and will also establish a separate fund with donations to advance pet owners the funds they need for emergency vet care in emergency situations.
Most people are still not sympathetic to the agency even after the AHS offered Dockery the choice of a new feline friend when he felt he was ready to find a new companion. Dockery refused.
“Being an animal lover and especially with a huge fondness towards cats, just be sure to read everything you sign and understand that when you surrender a pet, you are giving that agency full control over your pet’s future,” stated Douglas Hanna, a New Jersey attorney. “I would have liked to have been there when Mr. Dockery was promised they would care for his cat, and then not follow through.That’s why you have to read the fine print. The man and his cat certainly deserved better. I am so saddened for both of them.”