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Man learns cat was euthanized over money

phoenix humane society

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#1 Hum

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 14:55

A cat that helped a Phoenix man overcome his heroin addiction was euthanized just hours after he brought it to an Arizona Humane Society for treatment of a laceration.

Humane Society officials confirmed Tuesday that the 9-month-old cat, named Scruffy, was put down not because of its wounds, but because its owner could not immediately pay for its care. :(

Scruffy's owner, Daniel Dockery, who had been searching for the cat since taking it to the Humane Society's Campus for Compassion on West Dobbins Road three weeks ago, said he was devastated.
"Now I've got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal," Dockery, 49, said. "I failed her. ... That's so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated."

Dockery said he surrendered ownership of Scruffy on Dec. 8 after clinic officials declined to take a credit card from his mother over the phone or wait 24 hours for cash. He said staff told him Scruffy would be treated only if he signed over ownership.

A story about Dockery's search for Scruffy on Saturday in The Arizona Republic led to an outpouring of support. In more than 150 e-mails and phone calls, residents offered Dockery financial help, new kittens and free veterinarian services.

"The treatment of Mr. Dockery and his cat, Scruffy, was extremely sad and made me very angry at the lack of compassion he received," Andrea Peterssen wrote in an e-mail. "This type of situation tarnishes the reputation of all the good people who work and volunteer (at the Humane Society)."

Residents also expressed outrage on the Humane Society's Facebook page, which was flooded with messages from donors threatening to pull donations and demanding that Dockery be reunited with Scruffy.

A Humane Society spokeswoman said Tuesday that a lack of resources led to Scruffy's fate. She said staff members did not want to publicly discuss the issue before now because they had no way to reach Dockery.

"The Humane Society took that cat with every intention of treating the cat and putting it in foster care," Stacy Pearson said. "It was never intended for that cat to be euthanized."

Pearson said Scruffy was transported to the Humane Society's second-chance clinic along with three other cats; doctors were available to treat only two.

"This truly is a worst-case scenario ... and it is one the Arizona Humane Society must deal with every day," Pearson said.

She said if Dockery paid for the treatment or the clinic had accepted the credit card by phone, Scruffy would not have gone to the second-chance clinic.

On Friday, the Humane Society said it will review its credit-card policy.

That was little solace for Dockery, who credits Scruffy with helping him maintain sobriety after a lifetime of heroin addiction. Dockery, who has an extensive prison record, said he raised Scruffy from birth.

Despite his anger, Dockery is encouraging people not to pull funding from the Humane Society.

"I don't want to turn people away from the Humane Society," he said. "They do do good works."

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#2 Colin McGregor

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:00

I hate the humane society. They do nothing to help you even if you buy the animal from them. I had a dog that i got from them, paid top dollar for all the shots and for it to be fixed and ownership. A week after getting the dog she cut her paw on a piece of glass while playing in the park and i called them cause she was bleeding pretty bad. I didnt get paid till the next day so i asked if they could fix her paw and hold her till the next day and i can fully pay and they refused. i finally found a mom and pop vet that agreed and fixed her up.

As for the OPs story i had a cat that had kidney stones and they said they would do the surgery and at a discount cause im a student, they called a few hours later and said he died from heart issues and couldn't come out of the
anesthetic. While it might be true i always wondered about vets giving discounts then something bad happening when you leave. Could just be lingering questions when you lose a pet but this kinda confirms it does happen.

#3 FMH

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:06

Oh, I'm heartbroken for him. :(
And it is very decent of him, for requesting people to not cancel their donations for this organization.

#4 Azies

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:07

********, I would sue the **** out of them. They call themselves the Humane Society, yeah right, more like InHumane Society.

#5 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:07

That is actually a very common thing for Both Vets and Humane society to do. There are a lot of people that simply cannot afford to keep their pets healthy. However; generally they offer it as an option not just do it.

#6 Mr.ed

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:09

"They do do good works."


They do do good works... lol...

Im having a Chandler Bing moment....ROFL...

Sorry about that... do carry on...

Mr.Ed

#7 shakey

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:15

I think the problem is here pet healthcare. It is leagues behind what human healthcare is. With Humans, we give them the option to pay after the visit, to be fixed first. With pets, they require the money upfront, or they pet will just have to suffer. And while there is "pet insurance", many do not know about it, and you then have to find a vet that will work with whatever type of insurance you have on it. There needs to be a more humane way of treating peoples pets.. something more than the cake or death option.

#8 OP Hum

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:43

Even with humans, money is more important than life. :(

#9 jwjw1

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:54

Even with humans, money is more important than life. :(

...how far do you think he would have gone for a $400 fix of heroin?

#10 shakey

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 15:55

Even with humans, money is more important than life. :(


I'll starve before my pets ever do. They are under my care, and I will do all I can to make sure they are well. Pets become people after a while. There needs to be a better system.

#11 Hell-In-A-Handbasket

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 16:05

...how far do you think he would have gone for a $400 fix of heroin?


Prolly not far since just a cat got him Sober.

#12 OP Hum

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 16:15

I don't see why they couldn't have treated and held the cat, until the owner came up with the money.

Would have been far less cruel ...

#13 jwjw1

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 16:16

"removed original post"

after reading this...I'd say the humane society really messed up!

Dockery said he surrendered ownership of Scruffy on Dec. 8 after clinic officials declined to take a credit card from his mother over the phone or wait 24 hours for cash. He said staff told him Scruffy would be treated only if he signed over ownership.

#14 Stetson

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 16:34

I don't think the problem here is the lack of compassion, if it's their policy that injured animals in their custody with no money to pay for treatment get euthanized then that's one thing.

The problem here seems to be that the man was lied to or mislead.

If they had told him "We can take your cat but since you can't pay and she's injured she will be euthanized" then he could have either decided that that would be best to stop the suffering or he could have tried to take her somewhere else. It seems like he was lead to believe that he was doing the right thing to get her treated.

#15 Rippleman

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 16:46

the good folks criticizing the society should send THEIR money to help future cat victims... I am pretty sure you won't. :)