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Trial will address pets' legal status

florida tumor vets

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#1 Hum

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 16:04

TAMPA - Liza Baceols says she considered her dog "Cody" her therapist, her pillow and her son's sleeping buddy.

She got Cody when he was just a puppy, and she considered him a part of her family.

"This has been so hard for me and for my son. He was 11 years old when it happened," Baceols explained.

It's been four years since Cody died. Liza is now suing the vets and Noah's Place Animal Hospital where they took Cody.

It was October 2007 when Liza says she first took Cody to Noah's Place. He was diagnosed with a tumor on his tail. She says treatment didn't work, so in November, the animal hospital planned to amputate the dog's tail.

Liza dropped him off and was told to call back in about five hours. When she did, she was told there was a complication.

"What happened was he was placed in a cage and from all the evidence we have, no one monitored him for a period of five hours," Puzzanghera said.

They say that's when things went horribly wrong.

"Well, unfortunately while he was trapped in a cage, Cody chewed on his tail to such a degree that he actually amputated it, through his own chewing. And chewed off his own tail," Puzzanghera said.

The vets took Cody into emergency surgery. But within a day, he was dead. Liza is suing Doctors John Hodges, Jennifer Buird and David Hoch, and the animal hospital, which now goes by a different name.

Jury selection in this case began Monday morning. It's an unusual case because in Florida, pets are considered property. Owners typically can only get fair market value. The owner is not entitled to pain and suffering.

Liza says it was heartbreaking to her and her son.

"I felt so bad because he trusted me, and I trusted these people to do what they were supposed to do," she said.

There have been changes over the years in how the courts view pets. Last month in Texas, an appeals court allowed a dog owner to recover sentimental value damages after animal control mistakenly euthanized a dog named Avery.

Liza and her attorneys are asking a jury to decide the "value" of Cody to this family.

"I want them to be accountable for what they did. I want them to not hide behind Florida law. The pets are family, they're our family and they need to be treated with respect," Liza said.

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#2 shakey

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 16:13

They should get some sort of compensation out of this. A dog is a huge part of a family, and the vet not doing their duty when it was in their care is beyond incompetence.

#3 Lexcyn

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 16:25

They should get some sort of compensation out of this. A dog is a huge part of a family, and the vet not doing their duty when it was in their care is beyond incompetence.

Agreed. This animal hospital has to be pretty pathetic to leave an animal in such condition alone for FIVE hours.

#4 ILikeTobacco

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 16:30

Agreed. This animal hospital has to be pretty pathetic to leave an animal in such condition alone for FIVE hours.


You'd think a dog coming in with a tumor would be first in line for care over say, the one that came in to be neutered.

#5 OP Hum

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 16:33

I'm no doctor, but it seems like a tumor on the tail, would be fairly easy to remove.