12 On Your Side: Knowing your rights as pet owners

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Jan. 6, 2012

AIKEN CTY., S.C. -- A dog owner claims his vet told him either to hand over his pup or pay up.

Corbin McRae says the nightmare began when one of his other dogs stepped on Precious.

"It put her eye out," McRae said.

McRae and his wife brought the 7-month-old pug to Silver Bluff Animal Hospital. He says the vet technician told them Precious needed surgery immediately.

He did not have the $500 for the surgery so he asked about options.

"We could turn the dog over to them or if we took the dog home, then they would call animal control. That meant we needed a way to come up with the surgery," McRae said.

Shannon Phillips is the technician that talked to McRae. She says the whole situation is one big misunderstanding.

"I never told her I would call the authorities ever," she said. "I told her that she could surrender it to the SPCA, that she could surrender it to us, she could euthanize it for the pain or she could find the money," she recalled.

Heatsong Director Loretta Emmons says owners have many choices when they have a sick pet but none involve a vet or county agency taking the animal.

"According to the law, they cannot legally seize the animal," she said.

Phillips says the McRaes could have left anytime with their injured dog.

The couple ended up coming up with the money for the surgery after pawning the title of their truck.

Precious had the surgery but died a few days later. The veterinarian determined the cause of death as parvovirus.

"The wife was sitting here crying," McRae said. "Before they did the surgery, they were suppose to check the dog to see if she was healthy enough to survive the surgery," he said.

Phillips says they did test to make sure the dog was healthy enough for surgery, but the tests did not include parvo.

"That is not a routine test," she said.

Precious did not have her vaccinations.

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