Vet Clinic Faked Dog's Death
"Dana and Gary Ganyer said they cried while watching what they thought was the death of Annie ... But Annie was not euthanized ... Instead, the lawsuit says, the dog was given a sedative to make it appear she was dead. The clinic then gave Annie to a new owner, Gene Rizzo of northeast Philadelphia, who cared for the dog until he had her euthanized Nov. 2, the lawsuit says. "When I heard she was still alive I literally screamed and went into hysterics," Dana Ganyer said. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, accuses Mill Pond Veterinary Clinic, Mill Pond Kennels and three of its employees of fraud, negligence and defamation" (AP).I completely understand the temptation to fake a dog's death. I was a veterinary technician for more than ten years -- I worked in regular clinics, emergency rooms and animal morgues. I've euthanized many many animals. In most cases, this was actually a beautiful thing -- a peaceful end to suffering. But every once in a while, people turn to euthanasia for wrong reasons ... the dog is too much work, it sheds too much, they don't have time for it. When that happened, we'd try to convince owners not to do it. If we had kennels in the clinic, we'd take it and find it a home. If we didn't have kennels, we'd call an animal rescue group to take it. If the owner insisted on euthanasia, we simply refused to do it. No vet I worked for would ever fake a dogs death, but we talked about doing it every time.
This case doesn't actually sound like wrongful euthanasia: "On June 30, the Ganyers received a call from the former clinic employee, who told them Annie was still alive, and a few days later they drove to Rizzo's home. According to the Ganyers, Annie could barely walk and was ''bloated, her coat was grey, her eyes bulged and it appeared she had hip ataxia, all side effects of phenobarbital.'' A few days later, she lapsed into a coma after a seizure and was actually euthanized. It's hard to fathom how this vet could have thought keeping this dog alive was the right thing to do under any circumstances.
This isn't the only case of its kind: A similar lawsuit was filed in March by woman whose vet agreed to euthanize and cremate her cat, but didn't. I'm not surprised to hear that vets are doing this -- I've always assumed this happened, but few cases have actually been documented. To me, this doesn't mean it isn't happening, it just means some vets get away with it (and when it's wrongful euthanasia, it's hard not to say, more power to them).