It's all over the news, so if you are local, you've heard by now of the terrible, horrible, awful story that should strike fear into the heart of every pet owner. For really, this could happen to almost anyone.
Allen and Allison Holmes of Occoquan Virginia had shared their lives with, and loved, their dog Basie, a Corgi-Border Collie mix, for nearly 17 years, according to press reports. Basie was an old dog. But Basie, according to accounts, was still hanging in there. Still eating, still drinking, still doing her business and going out in the yard. And that is where she was when her owners went inside for 15 minutes. When they came out, Basie was gone.
Now, like any old dog, Basie was slow moving, and they knew she couldn't have gotten far. But unfortunately, Basie was picked up by a client of Crosspoint Animal Hospital who saw her and took her there.
There, where the vets of their own accord decided that "for humane reasons that the dog should be put down." Within mere hours of being lost from her yard, the much loved old dog was dead. No hold period. No search for owners. Nothing.
A vet who apparently didn't care enough to find out if this lost old dog had loving owners looking for her. Which she did.
It is horrifying that your pet could go missing and within hours be summarily killed by a veterinarian without the vet, or the shelter (which the vet CLAIMS they called the local shelter and asked permission to kill the dog -- although I don't know how the shelter could possibly give permission for such a thing since the dog had only been lost for a few hours and that doesn't constitute any kind of hold period) checking to see if someone has reported a lost dog matching your pets description.
In fact, when confronted about the vet's claims that they called the shelter and asked permission to kill the dog that had been picked up on the street by a client and had only been in their office a brief period, according to one press report, "the Fairfax County Police Department, which oversees Animal Control, clarified that the shelter would never give that advice. Officer Shelly Broderick told WUSA the decision to put the dog down was the veterinarian's alone."
While press reports say the owners are considering a suit, and have not decided, I will predict that any action they take will be met with derision and nothing but further heartache, because these people who claim to love animals in the vet world believe that they should get to do whatever they want to our pets, and no one should question them. They have lobbies and money and they have made damn well sure that it remains virtually impossible to get justice when our pets are injured or killed. This is a vicious cycle. Because there is no accountability, it emboldens them further to act with disregard and impunity, arrogance, and the God Complex that allows them to mete out death to our loved ones on a veritable whim, without due process, without a search for a family, without even providing adequate time for the family to find the dog.
When Basie's family found her, the very day after she disappeared, they were given back a box of ashes. And apparently, no apologies. Not that an apology would be anywhere near enough.
In the words of her loving owner Allison, thanks to this vet, "Basie died alone with strangers, which is the real tragedy."
Shame, shame shame.
Links to local coverage:
Owners of Euthanized Dog May File Suit
OK, this is not local -- they care about this stuff in Great Britain, too. They find it horrifying.