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Rescue group in crises mode after cat euthanized

posted 12/29/2011 9:54:40 AM |
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tagged: animals, news, sad, straddle

PHOENIX (AP) — Animal lovers threatened to pull donations to an animal rescue group and the public flooded the agency with scathing comments and calls after a man's cat was euthanized when he couldn't afford its medical care, prompting the Arizona Humane Society to go into damage-control mode Wednesday.

The group has hired a publicist, removed dozens of comments on its Facebook page and directed a team of five volunteers to respond to the overwhelming calls and emails it has received since The Arizona Republic published a weekend story about Daniel Dockery and his 9-month-old cat, Scruffy.

Dockery, a 49-year-old recovering heroin addict, told the Phoenix newspaper that he took Scruffy to a Humane Society center on Dec. 8 because she had a cut from a barbed-wire fence, an injury that he described as non-life-threatening. The agency said it would cost $400 to treat Scruffy, money he didn't have.

The Humane Society cited policy when it declined to accept a credit card over the phone from Dockery's mother in Michigan or to wait for her to wire the money. The staff said if he signed papers surrendering the cat, Scruffy would be treated and put in foster care, he said.

Instead, Scruffy was euthanized several hours later.

Dockery told the Republic that he was devastated.

"Now I've got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal," Dockery said. "I failed her. ... That's so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated."

He described the cat as helping him stay off drugs for more than a year, the longest he had ever been clean. He hand-fed the feline before she opened her eyes at 4 days old, giving her fresh tuna and letting her sleep on his pillow.

Stacy Pearson, who was hired by the agency specifically to deal with media questions about the cat, said Dockery's case has led to two changes. The Arizona Humane Society has set up an account, funded through donations, that would cover the costs of emergency treatment of animals whose owners need a day or two to come up with money for payments. And the group is now accepting credit card payments by phone, Pearson said.

Dozens of scathing comments have since inundated the group's Facebook page, with animal lovers demanding to know why the cat was put down. Pearson said angry comments were removed because of their content: One called for the staff to be euthanized, while another said what happened to Scruffy was murder.

Pearson said Scruffy was put down over a number of reasons, including Dockery's lack of immediate funds, a lack of veterinarians to treat her and what Pearson described as a very serious cut on Scruffy from her abdomen to her knee that went to the muscle.

She said the Arizona Humane Society at the time didn't accept credit card payments over the phone because of possible fraud and can't treat pets with only a promise from owners that they can pay the next day. She said staff had every intention of getting Scruffy the help she needed but the number of animals requiring help at the group's second-chance clinic was too much for the resources available.

If Dockery had been able to pay, Scruffy would have been treated at the facility where he brought her, Pearson said.

"There was no malicious intent to take Scruffy away from her father," Pearson said. "Pulling funding is only going to make a problem like this worse."

On Facebook, where only the agency's executive director is allowed to post comments now, Guy Collison wrote that "Scruffy's story is heartbreaking, and underscores the worst-case-scenario of need eclipsing resources available." He said that his agency has always done what's best for animals.

In less than an hour after his statement was posted, more than 100 people responded, with most slamming the agency and some defending it as doing the best it can with available resources.

Pearson said the group told Dockery on Tuesday that when he's ready for another pet, he could come in and pick one out, but he declined, telling them: "No thanks."

Story on this poor little cat

I'm going to try to keep it clean about what I think of this rescue group. I think what they did was cold and heartless to this poor little cat and his owner. The fact that they now have something set up after the fact shows that they know they dropped the ball on this, and what they did was wrong.

I can understand if the cat was not going to survive, and the group felt that they had no choice, but bottom line is, there was a choice, and chose the heartless one instead because they weren't attached to the cat, and it was an easy way out of having to wait for their money.

No matter what the group now tries to do to make amends to taking this poor little cat's life, they can't bring the cat back.

Any thoughts?


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post a comment!


Dec 29 @ 10:12AM  
If you look at the track records of 'people' like the Humane Society and PETA,
they would rather have a pet dead, than serving some Human 'Master'.

Have you seen the commercials of that flaky woman actress, with the somber
music....asking for donations to keep those mistreated animals alive? About
.05 Cents on the Dollar actually go to help the animals. .95 cents on the Dollar
to fund the Bureaucrats and other crooks.

Not too long ago, PETA had a program telling College Students to stop drinking
milk, and drink more beer.

Dec 29 @ 11:35AM  
How sad that that could happen. I don't quite understand how a 9 month old cat could help someone for over a year but I am assuming that was just a misprint. The fact that they are scrambling now to make sure this doesn't happen again is wonderful but doesn't bring that man's pet back and hopefully he won't let this be a setback on his road to recovery.

Our animal shelter had to close this past year due to the fact that the building was falling down and was being condemned and the money that had been there for repairs had mysteriously disappeared. The county took over but it was too late and although we had a no kill shelter, they were forced to send our animals to other shelters some of which were kill shelters. A group here that had been in the area for quite some time helping with the fostering of animals, helping to pay for medical attention for animals and other vet bills has stepped in and got more people to foster the animals so they do not have to be sent to other areas. They run a thrift shop to help raise money for this so I encourage everyone I know to make donations there that 1) help the animals and 2) keep the price of the stuff down so folks can afford it...........unlike our Salvation Army and Goodwill........who charge more for stuff than Walmart and wonder why they are not getting much business.........oops sorry going off subject. They are trying to raise enough money to have a shelter once again but with money so tight I am not sure where its going to come from.............but Thank Goodness we have wonderful people in this area who take those animals in so that they don't end up in another county shelter that is not a no kill shelter.

So this is my pitch........people people people........if you are going to have pets remember they are like children, they need to have a warm roof over their heads, they need to be kept fed and cleaned, and they need to have have medical care.........not just when they are hurt, but shots, and check ups ect. If you can't afford to do this.........please don't get one...........a pet deserves a healthy happy home just like people do..............and if you have a pet.........please have it fixed, there is enough pets going without homes, the world doesn't need a bunch more that no body wants. (ok off my soapbox)

Dec 29 @ 6:25PM  
Oh well, tough titty for kitty... could have been a car or, around here, a coyote.

Dec 29 @ 6:36PM  
Oh well, tough titty for kitty
As most of us know Bruce, you don't like cats............and although I disagree with how you feel...........i do understand it.........i hate birds.............but what if it had been one of your dogs..........say when you were still at home and one of them had got out and got hurt and someone took him to the animal shelter and instead of getting medical help for him they had just put him to point is.........animals are loved by their owners and when a shelter is asked for help they should give the help and at least a 3 day waiting period before they even consider having it put to sleep unless the animal is past the point of ever living. Most animal shelters would have just got the medical attention and if the owner didnt come back put it up for adoption.......with all the elderly and disabled people that can't get medical help because they can't afford it..............what is that compared to an animal.........thank god the Emergency Departments don't put people to sleep because they can't afford to pay on the spot for medical services. I can see your point Bruce........but there is a difference between a car or coyote killing an animal and that could be understood tho just as sad.............but a person made the decision to put that cat to sleep when they could have just got it help. And that is something I just don't understand.

Dec 29 @ 6:43PM  
You think that's bad, my county puts them down all the time because despite there being a low-income spay and neuter program, people let cats and dogs breed constantly. And with that lots of them don't find homes and they face the inevitable. Sad, really. Sad reality.

Dec 29 @ 7:31PM  
So much for "humane".

It's sad when people who claim to "care" about animals care more about money than life. They were in the wrong, they shouldn't have euthanized that cat. The owner had his mother willing to wire the money and they wouldn't take it. That's a bunch of b.s.

Dec 29 @ 7:39PM  
It wasn't the Humane Society's fault the way I see it. Anyone who allows their pet to roam free outdoors has opened the door for all kinds of misfortune to happen to their beloved little pet. If the cat dog or whatever is so precious then why put it in harms way in the first place? I blame the owner.

Dec 29 @ 9:11PM  
Anyone who allows their pet to roam free outdoors has opened the door for all kinds of misfortune to happen to their beloved little pet.

There is a lot of truth to that. I don't know how many times I've seen a dog running alongside the road, highway, or expressway, and fumed at the owner's carelessness. Especially if I see that same animal laying dead on the road later. But, sometimes they can slip out a window or door without the owner knowing. We can be as careful and watchful as we want with our pets, but, if they are determined to find a way out...they will.

Bottom line, this guy had his mother on the phone with the Humane society, she was ready to pay for the $400 to have the cat taken care of, but they wouldn't accept her payment over the phone. Someone was going to pay for the treatment, they turned it down. That is on them.

Dec 30 @ 10:55AM  
well depending how bad the cut was .. non life threating .. he probably could have taken care of the cat at home and saved all this trouble plus the cats life. Animal injuries are no different than peoples .. if you cut yourself cooking you don't run to the ER. What's bad is when they get hurt then go hide for 2 or 3 days and it gets infected .. if it's a fresh wound you can take care of that at home.I agree also if your going to have a pet .. keep it in the house and take care of it. I live in town and I've seen too many cats,dogs,puppies and kittens get hit by cars. even in the country where you think you can let them run ... they'll run straight for the road ... or follow your car.

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Rescue group in crises mode after cat euthanized