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Who should be responsible?

danielle9
September 1st, 2011, 07:47 AM
Hello there,

Wanted to post this article and see what everyone else here thinks of this event as it is most likely a common occurance:


http://www.edmontonsun.com/2011/08/31/man-fined-over-hideous-dog-crime

I am not so interested in discussing the events that occured between the owner and his dog as there seems to be details missing from this story to truly form an informed opinion. I am more interested in what YOUR thoughts are in regards to situations such as these. In this situation, it appears that a young man's dog was hit by a car and suffered a broken leg. The owner took the dog to not one but two vet's and did not proceed with treatment for the broken leg. The article later states that the dog was euthanized but does not say what exactly the circumstances were of why the dog was euthanized.

There are many people who have commented on this article and many of them are of the opinion that "vet care is too expensive" and that the owner shouldn't be fined "just because" he couldn't afford vet care. If this is truly the case of what happened (but again we can't be sure that in this case, this was actually the reason why the owner didn't proceed with the treatement), do you think that veternarian's should have some responsibility to make sure that animal health care is accessable and affordable to everyone? If someone cannot pay a large vet bill, it the vet's responsibility to offer payment plans to the owner to make it more likely that the owner would be able to afford the care for the animal? I am not personally sure that all vet clinics offer payment plans (haven't researched this too much) but would be very interested to hear what other pet owner's opinions are on this topic!

Melinda
September 1st, 2011, 09:06 AM
if my dog were hit by a car it would be my responsibility because I allowed her to go loose, if I could not afford to have medical treatment then I would sign her over to a reputable rescue. mind you, my dog is never loose and I'd remortgage my house if I had to for medical treatment....

Marty11
September 1st, 2011, 09:44 AM
The way I feel is, pets are not just things that we own. They have real "pain". There should at least be emergency vets that can at least treat the animal and then decide if the owner can pay in full or in installments. If not then maybe a rescue could step in or maybe even a "gov subsidy" to help. It's sad that treatment is put off because of money. The animal deserves health treatment, just as people do. Some of the poorest people have pets for comfort, company, etc., they don't realize the price of emergencies. Maybe all pets should have "insurance" we have this with everything else........

Shaykeija
September 1st, 2011, 04:58 PM
Bet this moron had money for booze, smokes and drugs. Bah, people suck....

Rgeurts
September 1st, 2011, 05:13 PM
if my dog were hit by a car it would be my responsibility because I allowed her to go loose, if I could not afford to have medical treatment then I would sign her over to a reputable rescue. mind you, my dog is never loose and I'd remortgage my house if I had to for medical treatment....

DH and I have renegotiated our mortgage, maxed our credit cards and increased our credit line 3 times. I would sell my vehicle (we have 3 in our house) and beg, borrow steal (j/k about the steal, but you get the point!) if one of my boys needed medical attention. So I think the owner is responsible. I do think vets have a moral obligation to the animals, if not the owners, but there is no law saying they have to.

Rgeurts
September 1st, 2011, 05:19 PM
The way I feel is, pets are not just things that we own. They have real "pain". There should at least be emergency vets that can at least treat the animal and then decide if the owner can pay in full or in installments. If not then maybe a rescue could step in or maybe even a "gov subsidy" to help. It's sad that treatment is put off because of money. The animal deserves health treatment, just as people do. Some of the poorest people have pets for comfort, company, etc., they don't realize the price of emergencies. Maybe all pets should have "insurance" we have this with everything else........

I think poor people should be able to afford pets as well, Marty. I think if the owner is doing everything he/she can possibly do (which includes selling something if need be), that's all that can be asked. I know a lot of elderly people can't afford the price of emergency care, and it truly is sad. For some of them, that pet is the only thing keeping them going. To say poor people shouldn't have pets is harsh. But to have an animal suffer due to lack of money is just as harsh. I really am mixed on this one :shrug:

Rgeurts
September 1st, 2011, 05:37 PM
As for the original post, in my opinion, the owner is scum. If he didn't want to pay for emergency care, fine. But take the poor dog in to the nearest vet clinic as soon as they open and have it taken care of. This owner is completely and totally irresponsible. There had to be some hard evidence for them to fine him because trying to hold anyone accountable for animal abuse and get them charged is damn near impossible in Canada.

BenMax
September 2nd, 2011, 05:59 AM
Vet care is terribly expensive and not everyone is in a position to re-mortgage their home or rack up credit cards. Personally, I think that is extreme. I say this because I did just that and thinking back it really was not the right thing to do.
However, it is the obligation of the owner to do the animal right. He was shopping for a better rate and in the meantime the dog was suffering. A vet should NOT let an animal leave the clinic without any sort of pain relief in my opinion. If the vet would not accept installments of payment..then shame on him/her!
Give the dog to a rescue? Really? I see this often and there are rescues that do take on such a burdon but why should it be that easy just to give the animal up to a rescue...once again and have them incur the medical costs?
My opinion is if you cannot pay for a surgery due to financial restraints then do the humane thing and euthanize the poor dog. Why shift your own obligation and expect others to take care of it?
As far as the elderly and the less priviledged owning pets...everyone who is caring and can provide love to an animal does have that right to have one. If they cannot medically care for an animal then we are back to square one.

Marty11
September 2nd, 2011, 07:04 AM
I totally feel that even lower income people deserve to have pets, they can be great owners.....does anybody think that insurance should be manditory? We have it on our cars, homes, etc....It could help the animals who suffer. Could be a money grab too though. I have a friend who is very poor, he is so great with his cat, takes it for walks on a harness, gives it the care it deserves. I don't want rescues to have the burdon either!!!

danielle9
September 2nd, 2011, 08:31 AM
Hi everyone, thanks for all the replies!

Marty, your suggestion that pet insurance be mandatory is defintiely an interesting one. When I first was thinking about it, I thought that it would not be enforcable but then I later thought that, as most people have to register their pets (dog/cat) with the city or county that they live in, it could kind of be like a car... where you can't register unless you prove you have insurance! Mind you, there would be a lot of people who would just not register their pets but it's defintiely an interesting idea. Any idea if anywhere in the world has something like this going on?

The reason as to why I posted the originally article and want to discuss it is that I am very split on my opinion in regards to how much responsibility the vet should have to ensure that the animal receives the care it needs versus how much of the responsibility the owner should govern, regardless of financial circumstance. On one hand, I feel that the vet clinics are morally obligated through their profession to help animials but at the same time, they are running a business and not a charity. If I take my dog to the emergency vet clinic and am told that my dog requires immediate surgery, is it my veternarian's fault if they are not in the position to offer me payment plans for the surgery? Should a veternarian be morally (or even legally) allowed to send a pet home (such as the example in the article) when it is clear that the owner will not be seeking further treatment for the pet and the pet is suffering? I know that in this specific example, the owner stated that he would be taking the dog to his "own" vet so it's possible that the emergency vet clinic might not have foreseen any issues but I really think that there needs to be "follow-up" in stituations such as this. I would really like to think that even if there are specific vet clinic's that won't/can't offer payment plans to clients there are many that would. I have actually never spoken with my vet before in regards to this and I think that I should just in case the situation should ever arise. If my current vet doesn't offer "options" in regards to paying for costly animal care, I will be seeking a new vet. Is this something that other people have also discussed with their vet as well?

I, too, am very glad that the individual mentioned in the above article was criminally convicted but am floored as to why he's still allowed to own a dog!? :confused:

marko
September 2nd, 2011, 08:46 AM
There's SO much to chew on in this thread.

As pet lovers, it hurts us when we hear stories of animals in pain. But ultimately, the pet's owner is responsible for the pet. If the pet's owner has little money (and isn't a member of this board :) ) .....it's always the pet that will suffer. ALWAYS.

Should poor people be allowed to own pets? We live in a democracy so the answer HAS TO BE yes.

And yet, pets ALMOST ALWAYS get sick a few times in their lives and sometimes the treatment may well be expensive. The average poor pet owner will choose rent/food/recreation over their pet most often in my opinion......
So the pet will always suffer - physically...and mentally when ultimately they are surrendered.

I personally see no end to this loop unless things change. mandatory insurance (from the SPCA/SHELTERS - pet stores - breeders) is the best idea I've heard to date. :2cents:


I, too, am very glad that the individual mentioned in the above article was criminally convicted but am floored as to why he's still allowed to own a dog!?
It's because our legal system is so very very flawed, and logic often does nor prevail. "Rights" for losers seem to be stronger than the pattern set by the loser's history.

hazelrunpack
September 2nd, 2011, 08:57 AM
Mandatory insurance has its problems, too, though. The first being that if someone who is low-income wants a dog, the premiums may be beyond their budget. The very people who can't afford pet care, won't be able to afford insurance, either. Because of that money issue, imo you'd see a lot of people going under the radar--having a dog but not licensing it and not obtaining insurance. Unless something happens and they need to use vet services, who would know?

The other problem I see with vet insurance is that it doesn't cover a lot of things. When we looked into it a few years back (and maybe things have changed since then) most of the the ailments that our dogs had were not covered--and they were the expensive ones to treat. So we've never gotten insurance--just socked that premium money away for use on an as-needed basis.

BenMax
September 2nd, 2011, 08:59 AM
There are limitations to what pet insurance covers. It is deceiving.
The best course of action is compassionate vets who will accept payments in increments and provide lower costs based on financial status. Don't say there are no vets like this out there...there are. Infact, all you must do is ask your vet if there is a program to help the underpriviledged. If they say they don't know, ask another. If one qualifies the program, they are accepted and the vetting is considerably lower. This service is offered to those whose animal requires surgery to save it's life. It is not for low spay and neuter which would be a totally new thread and topic.
In the end, the vets make it very difficult to pet lovers and show very little compassion for both animal and human. This is where you need to point fingers - the vets which are soaking people dry.

marko
September 2nd, 2011, 09:17 AM
I agree that mandatory insurance is not a perfect idea.

But it's way better than what we got going now. :2cents:

Personally I would never lay this on a vet. Vets need to make a living, they are not saints or priests. We'd like to think they should be saints sometimes, but imo that's not realistic. Vets (likely) charge what the market will bear and need to cover costs and make a profit. That's what every business needs to do or it goes out of business.....And people are free to shop around.

For me this is purely about value and people suck because they have no problem taking their cars into the garage when it is sick. They almost ALWAYS find the cash for their sick cars. They don't need to be forced. But because they do not value their pet in the same way, imo - forcing insurance on pet owners, for now seems to be the best idea. (I'd love to hear a better one though)

danielle9
September 2nd, 2011, 09:24 AM
Mandatory insurance has its problems, too, though. The first being that if someone who is low-income wants a dog, the premiums may be beyond their budget. The very people who can't afford pet care, won't be able to afford insurance, either. Because of that money issue, imo you'd see a lot of people going under the radar--having a dog but not licensing it and not obtaining insurance. Unless something happens and they need to use vet services, who would know?

Very good point - I guess it's the same issue that we have now though in regards to licensing pets. There are many people who don't license their pet even if they're required to. Some of these people are caught but sometimes they are not. Another problem with this too is that not all areas have mandatory licensing at present either. I live in a county where pets do not have to be licensed.

The other problem I see with vet insurance is that it doesn't cover a lot of things. When we looked into it a few years back (and maybe things have changed since then) most of the the ailments that our dogs had were not covered--and they were the expensive ones to treat. So we've never gotten insurance--just socked that premium money away for use on an as-needed basis.

Another very good point. I think that if there was something such as mandatory health insurance then the insurance policies would have to evolve. Just for interests sake, I was looking a bit at the different insurance policies that are avaliable in Canada. There are defintiely some very comprehensive (and very expensive) policies that are offered but there are policies that are as low as $12.95 per month and are strictly for an "accidents"... covering up to $2000 per incident ($100 deductable). I would think that the average person would be more inclined to take their dog to a vet after getting hit by a car if they knew that most of the cost, minus the deductible, would be covered. If pet insurance was "mandatory", I do think that there would be more companies who would offer it and thus become more competatively priced/more comprehensive coverage plans.

I also think that if pet insurance was mandatory, there should be a minimum amount and/or specific things that your pet must be insured for. Again, just like you must have liability on your car as a minimum, maybe your pet should have to be insured for a certain minimum level of coverage?

I am sure that we are far from the day that this would ever exist and to be implemened sucessfully, there would be many issues that would need to be addressed but I do like the basis of the idea.

I would really be interested in any comments from people who have other alternatative views on the idea of mandatory pet insurance.

marko
September 2nd, 2011, 09:29 AM
How about socialized veterinary medicine, like medicare in canada.

EVERYONE pays in whether they have pets or not, because the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. :)

BenMax
September 2nd, 2011, 09:31 AM
Personally I would never lay this on a vet. Vets need to make a living, they are not saints or priests. We'd like to think they should be saints sometimes, but imo that's not realistic. Vets (likely) charge what the market will bear and need to cover costs and make a profit. That's what every business needs to do or it goes out of business.....And people are free to shop around.



Really. Well then sit in a cat neuter and put on your time watch. It takes 10-15 minutes which is a 200.00$ procedure? Not likely.
Let's talk about ultra sounds that cost the human 300.00 but a dog will cost 650.00. Why? Well because their hands are very deep into an animal owners pocket before you say one word.
How about going to an emergency clinic with a very ill animal and the first thing they want is a 200.00 payment up front.
Vets can do better but they choose not to, and we have people marching to their tune..:2cents:

danielle9
September 2nd, 2011, 09:32 AM
Personally I would never lay this on a vet. Vets need to make a living, they are not saints or priests. We'd like to think they should be saints sometimes, but imo that's not realistic. Vets (likely) charge what the market will bear and need to cover costs and make a profit. That's what every business needs to do or it goes out of business.....And people are free to shop around.


Definitely agree with this but sometimes I have a hard time remembering that vet's are not charities, they are a buinesses :D. However, I do think that there needs to be accountability though and vet's should not be able to send animals home with people when they know that the owner is not going to provide the animal with the proper medical care (or just basic care) that the pet deserves. Perhaps this is putting too much responsibility on the veternarian but as we have noted, it seems that there needs to be "someone/something" that is also looking out for animals as it is clear that some owners lack the ability to properly care for the. I guess what I am looking for is a "social worker" for pets :D... I know that the humane societies are very busy and do their very best (in most areas) but likely the humane soceities don't have contact with an animal until it is too late (in some situations).

Marty11
September 2nd, 2011, 09:52 AM
Very interesting "debate". The insurance could at least be for accidental causes for a minimal fee. My dog was hit by a car and I am a responsible owner, it just took a second and he got away from me :( At least an emergency would be treated. There are ways to keep your pet healthy and hopefully no serious illness. We could have an option to buy premium insurance for diseases and such.

Sylvie
September 2nd, 2011, 10:27 AM
We had a case in Hamilton, where a dog had bloat, was taken to the vets, would not pay for the operation as it was too much. SPCA was called, they took possession of the animal, had the operation done and then given to a rescue and adopted out. Owner never saw the dog again.

My question in this case is, why not work with the owner to pay the bill. The SPCA could have set up a plan for payment and given the dog back to the owner. To me that would have been a great outcome, however the best outcome was that the dog did come out on top.

I have mixed feelings when it comes to vets. I know that my vets have done a lot of work for animals and never received a cent. But if it doesn't hit the news, who knows about it. There are probably a lot of vets out there that do the same thing. But they are a business, not a rescue.

Dog Dancer
September 2nd, 2011, 10:39 AM
Great topic. Like Marko I was also thinking socialized welfare for pets. You could have clinics that are not necessarily fully supported by tax dollars, but that offer services to those who qualify for welfare or such, at a lower rate. You would have to prove the financial need to qualify for these reduced services. Not every vet would necessarily offer it, but say the SPCA clinics, or some such place. I have heard that here in Vancouver there are some vets who volunteer their time at free clinics for the poor/street people for their pets. They can get shots and basic treatments and such.

I see many street people on the East side who treat their dogs well. They sit on the street while their dogs are all bundled up in blankets and coats. It's a tough ethical question though. If these people are collecting welfare,should they be spending these dollars on animal care and not care for themselves first? That said I'd rather they be buying dog food than cigarettes and booze or drugs...

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 11:12 AM
Vet care is terribly expensive and not everyone is in a position to re-mortgage their home or rack up credit cards. Personally, I think that is extreme. I say this because I did just that and thinking back it really was not the right thing to do.


Maybe not the right thing to do for you, which is fine. We all have our own opinions, values etc. DH and I won't ever regret doing or think it "wasn't the right thing to do", because for us, it was. And again, we are blessed to have been able to do it. I know not everyone can. But I believe everyone who owns a pet does have the obligation to do everything "within their means" to take care of them.

However, it is the obligation of the owner to do the animal right. He was shopping for a better rate and in the meantime the dog was suffering. A vet should NOT let an animal leave the clinic without any sort of pain relief in my opinion. If the vet would not accept installments of payment..then shame on him/her!

I agree 100%. But unfortunately, here in Edmonton and Calgary, the emergency clinics are owned by 1 company. They are in it strictly for the money. I can say this because we have had to use them on several occassions (thank goodness we don't anymore. Our clinic we go to now has a 24 emergency number). The way the emerg clinic works is you pay $150 fee right off the top, then they assess the pet and they give you a high estimate and a low estimate. You have to leave a deposit equal to the high estimate, then they refund you if it isn't needed. I don't think we've ever gotten a refund because they make sure it's used.

Give the dog to a rescue? Really? I see this often and there are rescues that do take on such a burdon but why should it be that easy just to give the animal up to a rescue...once again and have them incur the medical costs?

For the sake of the animal. Why put down an animal that could be perfectly healthy other than an injury such as a broken leg, like this one? A lot of rescues get reduced rates from the vets (at least here, anyway). They can have the animal taken care of then find it a loving home. If they are willing to do it, I would rather see that happen than have it put down.

My opinion is if you cannot pay for a surgery due to financial restraints then do the humane thing and euthanize the poor dog. Why shift your own obligation and expect others to take care of it?

To give the animal a chance at having the loving home, and care, it deserves.

As far as the elderly and the less priviledged owning pets...everyone who is caring and can provide love to an animal does have that right to have one. If they cannot medically care for an animal then we are back to square one.

Ya, that's the one that is tough for me. I would never say someone less priviledged would not have the right. I think, again, as long as that person is truly doing everything they can, that's all someone can ask. Vet care does need to be made more affordable, and in the states it is. They literally take advantage of the fact that people love and care for their pets here in Canada. My DH and I should have never had to pay everything we have, but I won't get into that. But again, I don't regret it at all and I would do it again as long as I am able to.

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
There are limitations to what pet insurance covers. It is deceiving.
The best course of action is compassionate vets who will accept payments in increments and provide lower costs based on financial status. Don't say there are no vets like this out there...there are. Infact, all you must do is ask your vet if there is a program to help the underpriviledged. If they say they don't know, ask another. If one qualifies the program, they are accepted and the vetting is considerably lower. This service is offered to those whose animal requires surgery to save it's life. It is not for low spay and neuter which would be a totally new thread and topic.
In the end, the vets make it very difficult to pet lovers and show very little compassion for both animal and human. This is where you need to point fingers - the vets which are soaking people dry.

I could not agree more!! We had a few that really took advantage of us. But we didn't know any better. It was the first time we have ever had to deal with anything like this :shrug:

One of our vets now is extremely compassionate. She has given us SO many breaks financially. She only charges us a recheck fee of $21 for the visit. When we had to have x-rays for Thorin a couple of weeks ago, instead of charging us the set up fee of $79 then the $30 fee for each film, she did Thorins x-rays right after another dog and only charged us $15 for each film. So there are vets out there who will do it, and work with you on payments. You just have to find them :)

And sometimes it is more than worth it to travel to the states. Even with my gas, hotels and meals, I save almost $6,000 for Thorins surgery. That's not a minor difference... it's HUGE. And for most people, may mean the difference between being able to do it, or not.

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 11:36 AM
Personally I would never lay this on a vet. Vets need to make a living, they are not saints or priests. We'd like to think they should be saints sometimes, but imo that's not realistic. Vets (likely) charge what the market will bear and need to cover costs and make a profit. That's what every business needs to do or it goes out of business.....And people are free to shop around.



I would have to disagree with you 100% on this one Marko. Yes, they need to make a living. But charging what the market will bear and taking money over compassion is NOT the way to do it. They can charge much less than they do and still make a great living, without turning away the people who cannot remortgage their homes to pay. You live in Ontario, so maybe you just aren't aware of the financial difficulties AB faces. AB is a wealthy province overall, so the market, for the most part, will bear A LOT. And a lot of people will just blindly pay without ever questioning it. Unfortunately, a lot of the people that are making the big money are oilfield related, so yes, they can afford it. But for the struggling student or the fast food employee, the costs here are so far out of reach. One of my vets is living proof that you don't have to rob people to make a good living. She is kind, compassionate and extremely affordable. Almost anywhere you go in the city is $210 - $240 for x-rays (the emerg clinic is higher). We pay (when we pay full price) $110 at that clinic. The costs there are from 30% to 50% lower than most of the other clinics. How is it that they could afford to do that and none of the others can? It's because the others have no care or compassion and are in it just for the money. I was quoted app. $9,000-$10,000 for surgery for Thorin if I took him to the cancer center in Calgary. It cost me $3000 for the same surgery to drive a few hours south. It cost me less than $1000 for my meals, gas and hotel. I'm sorry, but the costs between here and there should not be that much lower, even with regards to population.

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 11:37 AM
How about socialized veterinary medicine, like medicare in canada.

EVERYONE pays in whether they have pets or not, because the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. :)

:thumbs up:thumbs up

Myka
September 2nd, 2011, 11:38 AM
if my dog were hit by a car it would be my responsibility because I allowed her to go loose, if I could not afford to have medical treatment then I would sign her over to a reputable rescue.

Agreed.

However, I also believe vet clinics should offer payment plans OAC.

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 11:48 AM
Really. Well then sit in a cat neuter and put on your time watch. It takes 10-15 minutes which is a 200.00$ procedure? Not likely.
Let's talk about ultra sounds that cost the human 300.00 but a dog will cost 650.00. Why? Well because their hands are very deep into an animal owners pocket before you say one word.
How about going to an emergency clinic with a very ill animal and the first thing they want is a 200.00 payment up front.
Vets can do better but they choose not to, and we have people marching to their tune..:2cents:



Here in Edmonton you have to pay the $150 fee upfront to see the vet. Then you have to leave a deposit for the high estimate. Our last one was $1400. We didn't have $1400 available for the debit (our transaction amount was, I think, $900 at that time. We've since had it increased just for this greedy reason). So they would not "take care" of Nookie until I went home and got cash to pay the remainder (over an hour drive in total).

Now for the worst part... they made us sign a form stating that the costs are estimates and if we do not pay any additional amount owing at the time of pickup, they have the right to sell or euthanize the animal! Now if that isn't soaking people and showing your in it JUST for the money, I don't know what is. It made me sick.

Do they have a right to make a living? Of course they do. Do they have a right to soak you for every dime they can then threaten to kill your pet if you cannot pay in the end? They have that right, but they shouldn't.

danielle9
September 2nd, 2011, 12:17 PM
Here in Edmonton you have to pay the $150 fee upfront to see the vet. Then you have to leave a deposit for the high estimate. Our last one was $1400. We didn't have $1400 available for the debit (our transaction amount was, I think, $900 at that time. We've since had it increased just for this greedy reason). So they would not "take care" of Nookie until I went home and got cash to pay the remainder (over an hour drive in total).

Now for the worst part... they made us sign a form stating that the costs are estimates and if we do not pay any additional amount owing at the time of pickup, they have the right to sell or euthanize the animal! Now if that isn't soaking people and showing your in it JUST for the money, I don't know what is. It made me sick.

Do they have a right to make a living? Of course they do. Do they have a right to soak you for every dime they can then threaten to kill your pet if you cannot pay in the end? They have that right, but they shouldn't.

I also live in Alberta (45 minutes north of Edmonton) and find that the amount that I pay for vet care in our rural community is much less than what my parents pay for the same procedures in the city(ie. spay/neuter, routine check ups, annual vaccinations). As Marko has stated though, people are free to shop around and I don't believe that all vet's in Edmonton have the same policies as what you are describing above. I think I would be very upset if my vet required payment for the visit before I even saw them. Maybe this is a common practice but I've never experienced this before.

What do you think about putting "a ceiling" on how much a vet can charge for certian procedures? From the sounds of it, there seems to be quite the disparity amongst prices and while I do think that it is the vet's choice as to how much they want to charge, it is upsetting that this then becomes a deterrent for pet owner's in regards to seeking out the proper care for their pets.

Choochi
September 2nd, 2011, 01:28 PM
This shouldn't be laid at the feet of the vets. Yes I agree most are over priced, but that's a whole other issue. I'm sorry but if you can't afford to properly care for the pet you shouldn't have one, it's as simple as that. Caring for another living being at that living being's expense is not a right, it's a privilege. I know plenty of people who when faced with en emergency have scraped up and gotten creative and raised funds for their dogs care. I've seen a couple local fund raisers and car washes organized to help pay for one or another dog's vet care. When there's a will there's a way. Saying that, circumstances change, people loose jobs, if you find yourself out of money and with a sick dog it can be hard. I think you should always have some sort of an emergency plan for your pet, but then again lots of people don't even have an emergency financial plan for themselves or their homes.

And as for dogs being good for seniors, etc, if you take that argument you're taking the position of referring to those pets as objects of use, not individual beings with their own needs. There are programs out there where pets visit seniors or people in hospitals. That would be a far more responsible way of providing those people with access to animals without putting those animals at a disadvantage.

We had a similar case here in Toronto to what some one else mentioned, a family couldn't afford treatment for their dog who I think had cancer and reached out to the humane society for help. The only way there were willing to help them was if the family gave up their dog, which in the end they did just that, the shelter paid for the dog's surgery, and then adopted her out to some one else. WHY? What on earth was accomplished by doing that? It's like just some big ego trip for the shelter.


I HATE HATE HATE the idea of mandatory pet health insurance. Why force it on people who don't need it and have planned and can afford emergency care for their pets? Pet insurance is a complete and total rip off if you do the math. It's only useful for people who are unable to come up with the necessary sum of money on the spot. You're far better off having a line of credit or a low interest credit card to use in case of an emergency and putting money aside to pay it off if needed.

And the people who are financially underprivileged to begin with, why force them to pay the ridiculously high premium rates if they might be a lucky person and never have to use the full extent of the insurance? Insurance is a completely wrong way to go about this. Insurance companies are in the business of making money at the cost of their clients, think about it. You wouldn't be doing any pet owners any favours.

I think setting up some sort of a low interest loan option would be a far better idea. Have it be like a credit card that you can apply for when you first get your dog and the account simply is there in case you need it. This way you never have to go through the stress of trying to apply for credit as your dog is sitting in front of you injured. I would also love to see a low cost clinic, we used to have some like that for spay/neuter. It could be operated at cost by a charity and it could be a great place for young vets just out of school to go to for some experience. In my eyes, this would be some thing the OVC should be doing, not individual vets. It's not right to force some one to do charity, ie expecting a vet to serve you for less just because you walked through their door. If any one is going to be making an initiative of doing socially responsible work at low cost it should be the governing body of the profession. Heck, they would even have the power to force any graduating vet to have to work there for a minimum number of hours, or as part of their degree.


You want to be responsible for another life then be responsible for it. Don't wash your hands of the responsibility and try to pin it on some one else when it becomes inconvenient to you.

Rgeurts
September 2nd, 2011, 06:52 PM
I also live in Alberta (45 minutes north of Edmonton) and find that the amount that I pay for vet care in our rural community is much less than what my parents pay for the same procedures in the city(ie. spay/neuter, routine check ups, annual vaccinations). As Marko has stated though, people are free to shop around and I don't believe that all vet's in Edmonton have the same policies as what you are describing above. I think I would be very upset if my vet required payment for the visit before I even saw them. Maybe this is a common practice but I've never experienced this before.

Maybe you missed the part where I said it's the emergency clinics, not all the vets in Edmonton. There are 2 in Edmonton and 1 in Calgary, all owned by the same people. Had your parents ever had to use one of the emergency clinics, they would have experienced this. You pay the $150 fee, get assessed then decide whether or not you can afford the treatment. This wasn't at a vet clinic. This is what anyone needing after hours services will have to deal with unless their own clinic has an after hours number. And yes, people are free to shop around when it comes to a vet. But unfortunately, there is no shopping around in an emergency situation and being that both in Edmonton are owned by the same people, the prices and policies are exactly the same at both clinics. Until you have had to make the heart-wrenching decision of whether or not to sign that document allowing them to sell or euth your pet if you can't pay in the end, then I guess it may be hard for you to understand, or even feel upset about that policy. But we have had to do it several times. And knowing the things that can go wrong, hoping you can come up with the rest on such short notice if it goes that much over. Knowing that if you can't, you've signed your pets death warrant.

What do you think about putting "a ceiling" on how much a vet can charge for certian procedures? From the sounds of it, there seems to be quite the disparity amongst prices and while I do think that it is the vet's choice as to how much they want to charge, it is upsetting that this then becomes a deterrent for pet owner's in regards to seeking out the proper care for their pets.

I think a ceiling would be great, though I don't think it will ever happen. There should be a "reasonable and customary fee". As for the rural vets, yes, I agree. The clinic we go to is in Spruce Grove, not Edmonton. All the clinics in Edmonton are within a few dollars of each other, price-wise. And they're all far above what we pay now just 10 minutes outside the city.

Goldfields
September 2nd, 2011, 09:06 PM
During a recent trip to the vet with Silk I witnessed two young guys come in with an emergency, a limp pup that had eaten something it shouldn't have. The vet refused to look at it, which horrified me, then it became threat and counter threat, the owner threatening the vet, the vet saying he'd call the Police etc.. When the people left, I asked the vet nurse did they get many like that, and her reply was yes, and it's always the ones(logically) who won't pay their bills. So, you could says payment plans are a great idea, but those people are probably still not going to pay that way, and why should the Vet be threatened with violence because he can not or decides not be a charity? What vets will do for people they know and trust is also different to what they might for people who have proven untrustworthy in the past. Both our Doctor and Vet clinics here have signs up about zero tolerance re abusive or threatening behaviour. The poor animals though. :cry:

Something has me curious. In that article it said that the X-ray showed the dog’s leg was broken in two places and the vet recommended further testing. What further testing? Surely an op. was the next step? I thought it was good that they said the fine must be paid in full before he could have another pet, and then the humane society were to monitor that pet.

Love4himies
September 3rd, 2011, 07:16 AM
I totally disagree with mandatory insurance. As Marty stated, poor people should have pets too and if insurance became mandatory, those living paycheck to paycheck would have to give up either their pet, or food or heat, etc.. If your pet is sick, I do believe in having to seek medical attention, but it is the pets owner's choice to either pay to have the malady fixed or have the pet PTS (and hopefully the vet would have the compassion to at least put the pet down, if the owners couldn't afford the vet bills). Can you imagine how many more homeless pets there would be?


Houses only have to have insurance if they have a mortgage tied to it and it is the banks that require the insurance, not the law. For autos, it is mandatory to have 3rd party liability, you don't have to cover your own car, unless, once again, it is financed and it is the bank/finance company that requires it, not the law.

That's too bad about your vet's fee policy, rgeurts, never heard of a vet doing that :shrug:. Maybe it's time to find another one? Although most vets DO state NO payment plans, if you've been a regular customer for a while, and something unexpected happens, they are normally pretty good about accepting late payments. I know with the e-vet here in the region, you do have to pay upfront, I think it's $160 to cover the cost of the initial visit and then up front after diagnosis.

Rgeurts
September 3rd, 2011, 10:30 AM
I totally disagree with mandatory insurance. As Marty stated, poor people should have pets too and if insurance became mandatory, those living paycheck to paycheck would have to give up either their pet, or food or heat, etc.. If your pet is sick, I do believe in having to seek medical attention, but it is the pets owner's choice to either pay to have the malady fixed or have the pet PTS (and hopefully the vet would have the compassion to at least put the pet down, if the owners couldn't afford the vet bills). Can you imagine how many more homeless pets there would be?

It makes me very sad to even think about that, L4H :(
I do like Markos suggestion of social care, like we have for people. They could have vet clinics you can take your pet to that are government funded (low cost) and also private vets like we have now. Those with money, nothing changes. But for those who can't afford it, the government funded clinics would be there. A 2 tier system :D
But unfortunately, I don't see that as ever becoming a reality.

Houses only have to have insurance if they have a mortgage tied to it and it is the banks that require the insurance, not the law. For autos, it is mandatory to have 3rd party liability, you don't have to cover your own car, unless, once again, it is financed and it is the bank/finance company that requires it, not the law.

That's too bad about your vet's fee policy, rgeurts, never heard of a vet doing that :shrug:. Maybe it's time to find another one? Although most vets DO state NO payment plans, if you've been a regular customer for a while, and something unexpected happens, they are normally pretty good about accepting late payments. I know with the e-vet here in the region, you do have to pay upfront, I think it's $160 to cover the cost of the initial visit and then up front after diagnosis.

L4H, it isn't my vet that has that policy. It's the after hours emergency clinics here in Edmonton. There are only 2 in the city, owned by the same people. I would say at least 80% (if not more) of the actual vet clinics in Edmonton give you the emergency clinic number for after hours service as they do not do it themselves any longer. There's only 2 I know of that still take care of their own after hours (one of which is our vet) and the 2nd is also outside of the city. We tried several in Edmonton and 2 in Leduc (which is where we live). None of them have their own emergency number. So the emergency clinic is what most people have to deal with. There just aren't any other choices. It's sad. We have probably spent about 8k just on the emergency clinic services with Nookie since we've had him (and they screwed up on one of the visits, badly. They forgot to check culture and sensitivity test box when they sent a sample to the lab, to see what the right antibiotic would be when he had aspiration pneumonia). Luckily for us, our regular vet has people on call 24 hours a day. So we haven't had to use them in over a year now. But it's an hour drive from our house, so in a life and death emergency, we may still be forced to use the after hours clinic.

Rgeurts
September 3rd, 2011, 10:44 AM
This is a link to the downtown emergency clinic location. There is also one on the southside. Again, both owned by the same people, so same policies. The link below is the FAQ:

http://www.edmontonvetemergency.com/files/EVEC_FAQS.pdf

It clearly states their policy of $149.00 exam fee, then a written assessment and estimate, then you can decide whether or not to have your pet treated. If you decide on treatment, you will be required to pay a deposit. Unless their policy with regards to that has changed in the last year (that's how long it's been since we've used them), they give you 2 estimates-a low and a high. What it doesn't say in the FAQ is that the deposit is equal to the high estimate and if it's not all used, you get part of it back. Our last 2 visits actually went over the high estimate (not by a huge amount, but it did go over).

What the FAQ doesn't tell you is that you have to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility if your pet dies (which is pretty standard) and also giving them permission to sell or euthanize your pet if you can't pay in full at the time of pick-up. Always read the fine print.

Mirela
September 3rd, 2011, 06:51 PM
What the FAQ doesn't tell you is that you have to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility if your pet dies (which is pretty standard) and also giving them permission to sell or euthanize your pet if you can't pay in full at the time of pick-up. Always read the fine print.

Sorry but WHAT??? This is insane! How can this be legal?

Rgeurts
September 3rd, 2011, 08:05 PM
Sorry but WHAT??? This is insane! How can this be legal?

I know, sick isn't it? I freaked when I read that, but Nookie had just had a seizure and his lungs were filling with fluid, so we didn't have a choice but to sign and just hope and pray it didn't go to much over the estimate. It's obviously legal or they couldn't put it in the "agreement". :yell:

Choochi
September 4th, 2011, 10:31 AM
Sorry but WHAT??? This is insane! How can this be legal?

It's perfectly legal to ask for property as collateral in case of unpaid accounts.

A clause like this would be there to protect the vet from some one who decides to just leave the dog there and not pay their bill. Even if the person clearly abandons their dog, it would still be illegal for the vet clinic or a boarding facility (who deal with this often) to try to "get rid" of the pet which they have no legal right to.

If a vet is stuck with a severely ill animal that has been abandoned, putting that animal down might be the best option. Having the clause to sell the animal gives them the ability to adopt the animal out if they think that's more appropriate.

I doubt it's because they think if you don't pay your bill they can take away your dog and sell it for thousands of dollars to re-coup their costs. Obviously that would not be the case with most animals and secondly the last thing the vet would want is to come into possession of an animal they now have to care for and rehome at their expense.

It's always better to have the ammo in your contract and not use it, then to not have it at all.

Mirela
September 4th, 2011, 11:20 PM
Choochi, the way you have explained this - as much as I don't like it, I have to admit that it does make sense and that the clause probably stemmed from exactly such situations; howewer, it seems so cold to have an owner who is truly caring and worried sign something like that.

I hope the language on the waiver is quite a bit more "legalese" than that, if not for other reason but to lessen the shock...